**Visit Orlando and Universal Orlando Resort sponsored parts of my trip to Orlando. They had no say in the content of this article.
There’s no denying that Orlando can be an expensive destination. If you were to visit any of the theme parks, you’ll spend at least $100 USD per ticket for a one day ticket. For a family of four, that’s $400 USD or about $520 CAD and that doesn’t even include the cost of parking, food, and any souvenirs.
On my recent trip to Orlando with my wife and daughter, we purposely sought out some value things to do. From relaxing at your hotel to biking the West Orange Trail, these are some things to do in Orlando that won’t wreck your vacation budget.
Value things to do in Orlando
One new thing we tried in Orlando was renting bikes from West Orange Trail Bikes and Blades where you can get bikes from $7 per hour or $30 per day. This was honestly our favourite experience this trip since we were able to get a trailer for Scarlett. We biked on the West Orange Trail which is relatively flat towards the city of Winter Garden. Once there, we explored the shops and had lunch at the Plant Street Market as well as a beer tasting at the Crooked Can Brewing Company. The trail is 35 kilometers so you could easily spend more time biking, but since we had Scarlett, we kept things simple.
Another one of my favourite things to do in Orlando is to visit Disney Springs. A couple years back, Downtown Disney was rebranded Disney Springs and went through a massive renovation. This area is basically a shopping, dining, and entertainment which is perfect for adults and even people travelling with kids. Food prices are a bit higher than surrounding areas, but many of the restaurants here are owned by celebrity chefs or have live entertainment so I think it’s worth it.
Parents travelling with kids tend to ensure there’s at least one activity every day, but I think you should schedule a pool day at the hotel. Theme parks are exhausting so grabs some snacks and enjoy your day relaxing at the pool.
Now, if you’re still looking for thrills, you could consider Orlando’s Fun Spot which is like a traditional carnival. For about $50 USD, you’ll get unlimited access to rides such as bumper cars, go-karts, roller coasters, and more. Best of all, parking is free and there is limited wait times for rides.
Saving money at Orlando theme parks
Let’s be realistic, if you’re going to Orlando for a holiday, you’ll likely be headed to the theme park. Fortunately, there are ways to save here which will help with your overall budget.
Disney, Universal Orlando Resort, and SeaWorld all own multiple parks. One day tickets are the most expensive options which is why you want to buy multi-day tickets since the cost per day drops in price. This obviously only works in your favour if you plan on visiting different theme parks on multiple days.
All of the theme parks also offer tickets which allow you to visit multiple parks in a single day. These types of tickets are less expensive than buying two separate tickets so there’s good value here. Keep in mind that if you’re travelling with young children, trying to do more than one park in a day is not a good idea. Now if you’re travelling with a bunch of adults and plan on staying out from open to close, then a multi-park is incredibly valuable.
Parking at Disney and SeaWorld costs $25USD per day while SeaWorld charges $22 USD per day. Many hotels offer free shuttles, so that’s a way to save. Uber / Lyft are also relatively inexpensive options in Orlando.
Every theme park also allows you to bring in food and drinks. That being said, the food at Disney and SeaWorld is quite good. I find the food at Universal Studios to be decent especially in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You can also purchase dining plans which can help you save money if you like to eat or you’re staying multiple days.
I don’t advise going to Orlando with the intention to spend as little money as possible. Sure it makes sense to save where you can, but overall, you should just budget according to what you want to do. Remember, the Visit Orlando site also has tons of tips on how you can save as well as other inspirational ideas.