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Trip List by Lexyann

Family Fun in Orlando, Florida on a budget!

3 May 2006  Our vacations in Orlando, Florida
4.0 of 5 stars based on 39 votes

Orlando is one of those destinations advertise to have something for everyone. Indeed it is, but if you are not careful it can set you back a pretty penny. My family and I go to Orlando twice a year, in the spring or summer and on Thanksgiving.
Here are some of our budget tips, we learned these the hard way...you got it, by trial and error.

  • Explore locations featured in this Trip List: Orlando, Celebration
  • Category: Recent trip
  • Traveler type: Sightseeing, Shopping, Repeat visitors
  • Appeals to: Families with small children, Families with teenagers, Students, Budget travellers , Tourists
  • Seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
  • 1. Universal Studios Orlando
    Universal Studios Florida, Orlando

    This is by far the best theme park for families with teens and pre-teens. My son and daugther never get tired of going there and Islands of Adventure.
    Budget tip: Make sure to purchase your tickets online, as the best deals are posted on the Universal Studios website.
    If you are a Florida Resident make sure to check the "Florida Resident" area for special deals on tickets and packages.
    We bought "Annual Passes" last June and have definitely gotten our money's worth out of them.
    If you have a limited budget to work with Universal offers a flex payment plan with no interest charges .
    Additional benefits for annual passholders include complimentary parking, 10% discount on all merchant purchases inside the parks, as well as at Citywalk restaurants and movie theatres.
    You'd be surprised how much those savings amount to at the end of two or three days in the parks!

  • 2. Downtown Disney
    Downtown Disney, Celebration, Florida

    Another great find for families on a budget. Parking is free, the Lego store has all kinds of outdoor interactive areas (free as well) where the kids can entertain themselves for hours on end.
    Next to the Lego store is a McDonalds and a little further down there is a Ghiardelis where you can get all kinds delightful treats.
    During the Holdiays there are free concerts, we happened to be there over Christmas one year and we listened to the most beautiful Christmas carols while we sipped on hot chocolate looking at the beautiful lake and holiday decorations!

  • 3. The Mercado

    There is a little bit of everything here for everyone: dining, shopping, entertainment and attractions.
    Budget tips: The international food court and arcade are both great for families and very reasonably priced. Also, there is "FREE" nightly entertainment starting at 7:30 PM (usually live music). Check their website for a calendar of events.

  • 4. Homewood Suites Orlando - International Drive/Convention Center
    Homewood Suites Orlando/International Drive/Convention Center, Orlando
    Show Prices
    Avg price: $165

    The hotel has a terrific location. The suites are well appointed, clean and with lots of room for families. The property is kept inmaculate and the staff is very helpful.
    Budget tip: breakfast buffett (with a large list of hot/cold items) is included with the room rate, this translates into savings of at least $20.00 to $25.00 for a family of four.
    If you book your reservation on the Hilton Honors website you are guaranteed the best available rate and you can earn points towards your next stay.
    We have gotten rates of less than $100.00 during off peak season dates!

  • 5. Sonic - International Drive

    Drive in or eat in. Our kids always like to enjoy their food in the car while music is blasting on the outdoor speakers. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner items (extensive menu) is served all day long, the prices are inexpensive and the staff always has a smile on their face!

  • 6. Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville
    Margaritaville, Orlando

    This restaurant breaks the rules of budgeting, but you deserve to treat yourself to one nice dinner during your vacation, right?...The food and drinks are great(best ribs we have ever had) , the atmosphere is terrific with live music and a lot of fun for the whole family, don't miss the erupting volcano!
    Make sure to make reservations well in advance, and to visit the store adjacent to the restaurant on your way out.
    If you love Key West as much as we do, this is definitely worth the splurge!
    Budget tip: remember you get 10% off your entire check and any store purchases with your annual pass!

  • 7. Orlando Premium Outlets
    Orlando Premium Outlets - Vineland Avenue, Orlando

    Hands down, the best bargains I have ever found have been here. We live in Fort Lauderdale and I can honestly say these Outlets have better quality and prices than Sawgrass Mills.
    Some of our favorite stores are: The Gap, Nike, Fossil, Ecko and Nine West.
    Budget tip: check online for the monthly merchant specials and downloadable coupons.