How to find cheap holidays in Orlando and visit the theme parks on a budget

Orlando holidays can make a pretty magical trip for families, especially with theme parks such as Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort.

Unfortunately, as parents will know, these breaks don’t come cheap, and what is a dream holiday can quickly seem like a financial nightmare.

But it is possible to go and explore Orlando and its theme parks while on a budget.

It’s all about knowing where to look, as well as some extra top tips to help stretch your budget that little bit further.

To give you a helping hand, we’ve searched out top places to find cheap Orlando package holidays, as well as where to nab cheap tickets or discounts including meal deals.

Happy holiday hunting!

What’s included in our guide?

  • Where to find cheap Orlando holidays
  • How to visit the theme parks on a budget
  • Top money-saving tips for Orlando breaks


Where to find cheap Orlando holidays

If you’re looking to get the best value for your money, package holidays can often be the best option, especially when you’re travelling with kids.

That’s because they often include your flights, accommodation, and extra perks such as free shuttles to the parks and bonuses from extra hours to exclusive offers.

However, not all packages include access to the theme parks – it’s worth double checking with your travel agent before booking so you’re not left facing a nasty surprise!

Disney-World-Holiday

 

Virgin Holidays can be a great source for families after Disney holidays as the firm has plenty of packages including the Disney hotels and special offers .

They also have a policy where if you book a package with attraction tickets and find the same ticket for cheaper within 14 days of your booking, they will match the price .

Meanwhile, First Choice recently launched a new all-inclusive package for Walt Disney World – but it’s worth noting it’s only great value if you plan to do the Disney parks only, otherwise the costs start to add up.

If it’s Universal that’s piqued your interest, then British Airways and Thomas Cook have some packages including the resort’s on-site hotels which can be ideal.

Expedia , TravelSupermarket and Lastminute.com can also be good sources for cheap flights and hotel packages – but it’s worth noting that these don’t include park tickets.

You can also find more inspiration on our Florida Holidays page .

Universal Orlando Resort, Florida

If you don’t want to go for a holiday package…

If you’re not fussed about staying in one of the resort’s hotels or are just spending a couple of days in Orlando as part of a wider trip, then it may be worth looking to book your flights and hotel separately.

Sites such as Hotels.com , Booking.com and Lastminute.com often have offers and deals on cheap hotel stays – sometimes going for as little as under £20pp a night – meaning you could free up plenty of budget to spend on the parks themselves.

As for flights, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic offer direct routes, but if you’re saving the pennies and don’t mind stopovers, then Cheapflights.co.uk and Skyscanner have plenty of cheaper options.


How to visit the Orlando theme parks on a budget

Whether you’ve opted for a holiday package or booked your flights and hotel separately, chances are you’re going to need to book your day tickets to the parks.

While Disney holiday packages often include offers on tickets to the parks, these won’t include Universal tickets – and vice versa.

There are a lot of parks to get through too. Disney has six parks; Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. As for Universal, there are three parks: Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay.

Check out our top three tips for finding cheap tickets below…


 

1. Keep an eye on voucher and ticket websites

To give you a helping hand, we’ve already rounded up the best Walt Disney World ticket offers here and the best Universal Orlando Resort ticket offers here .

Attractiontix can be a great source for days out and theme park offers.

For example, they currently have a ’14 day for the price of 7′ ticket to Walt Disney World , as a well as a two to three Universal park explorer tickets with unlimited access for 14 consecutive days – including The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

You can also find offers year-round with the likes of Picniq , Groupon and Floridatix .

2. Consider combination tickets

Planning to do a mish mash of the various parks? Then a combination ticket could be just the… well, just the ticket.

These often include unlimited access to all of the parks so you can go exploring while also making the most of your favourites.

Attraction Tickets Direct and FloridaTix can be good sources for these.

3. Look out for meal deals

If it’s the Disney parks you’re planning on visiting for the majority of your stay, then you may want to consider a Disney Dining Plan .

These are worked out on a per person, per night basis but can work out at great value.

For example, the more basic plans include 2 self service meals, two selected snacks, and one refillable resort mug per stay (with unlimited refills of fountain soda, coffee and tea at any Disney Resort Hotel).

Universal Orlando Resort also offers a dining plan which includes at least one self service meal, one quick service meal and one non-alcoholic beverage. (You can chop and mix the plans to suit your needs whether you’re there all week or just for the day!).

A statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse, sits in front of Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom

Top money-saving tips for Orlando breaks

VisitOrlando have shared some top tips and advice for Brits visiting Florida so you can make your holiday budget stretch that little bit further.

Check them out below…

1. Book early

It’s wise to book early for the best choice of flights and accommodation; traveling in May and September offer best value for money.

2. Buy early

Purchase theme park and attraction tickets before leaving home, as the theme park websites, travel agencies or Visit Orlando offer the best deals in advance.

3. Make use of the extra perks

Staying at one of the theme park’s on-site properties has major advantages, such as early admission and extended hours; complimentary breakfast and transportation; convenient child care services such as in-room babysitting and children’s activity centres; front-of-the-line access and special discounts.

4. Check out the free attractions

There is a plethora of activities in Orlando that guests can enjoy in the attractions area or off-the-beaten path that range from free to under $25 including: The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, Andretti Indoor Karting & Games, SAK Comedy Lab, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Orlando, Odditorium, Madame Tussauds and The Coca-Cola Orlando Eye.

5. Look out for attraction deals

Take advantage of destination-wide savings by visiting VisitOrlando.com/deals for discounts on everything from attractions, shops and restaurants to spas, golf courses and cultural arts venues.

For those that don’t purchase ahead of time, stop by one of Visit Orlando’s ticket sales locations, including the Official Visitor Center, which is available year-round to offer planning assistance to visitors, The Mall at Millenia, United States Tennis Association National Campus or on Florida Turnpike Plazas.

6. Use the resources for tourists

Download the free Visit Orlando App, featuring augmented reality experiences for visitors to explore, have fun and earn savings throughout the destination.

Available in Apple App and Google Play stores.

7. Getting around

Orlando is much easier to navigate with a car, although many of the hotels offer complimentary shuttle service to the theme parks. Ride sharing services are available.

8. Plan a pool day

Orlando’s resorts offer everything from water slides and lazy rivers to white sandy beaches, so be sure to set aside time to enjoy your on-site amenities, which come at no additional cost and offer some much needed downtime.

9. Eating out

Pay attention to three magic words: “Kids Eat Free”. Many restaurants have special offers where children dine free with a paying adult, like The COOP in Winter Park, Monday through Wednesday, or Kobe Japanese Steakhouse on Tuesdays.

The theme parks also offer special dining packages, with meals and snacks included in one deal. During the month of September, Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month offers three-course meals at some of the area’s finest restaurants for a discounted price.

10. Shop smart

Orlando’s diverse shopping selections range from high fashion well-known brands to smaller eclectic shops. Each of the major malls and discount outlets offer coupon booklets worth hundreds of dollars in savings.

Shoppers should visit the Simon Guest Services Booth at The Florida Mall to receive the Style Savings Booklet containing over $900 in savings at many of their retailers and restaurants.

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