How to Enjoy Orlando Without Spending a Fortune

**This post may contain affiliate links. I may be compensated if you use them.

**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.

How to Enjoy Orlando Without Spending a Fortune bikes

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.

How to Enjoy Orlando Without Spending a Fortune buzz

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.

Check out my guides on how much does it cost to go to Disney World and how to save money at Disney World for more tips.

Final thoughts

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.

How to Enjoy Orlando Without Spending a Fortune

About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi


  1. SD on November 12, 2018 at 7:19 PM

    Have you used Cash Passport before when traveling abroad? Would you recommend it over using a credit card?

    • Barry Choi on November 12, 2018 at 7:26 PM

      You mean like a prepaid credit card for travelling? I personally prefer to use a credit card without forex fees.

  2. Joseph on December 11, 2018 at 2:58 PM

    Hi Barry. Enjoy the blog. Quick question – how old is the little one and did you feel that she enjoyed the trip? I’ve got a soon to be one year old who, although already a good and seasoned flyer, may not enjoy Orlando as much as this stage as we would like her to. Thanks very much

    • Barry Choi on December 11, 2018 at 5:29 PM

      Hey Joseph,

      I do believe she enjoyed the trip, but to be honest, I don’t think it would have mattered where we were, she just liked being with her parents and running around. That being said, she went bonkers meeting Buzz Lightyear, Goofy, Chip N’ Dale etc.

      My wife and I went to Disney knowing that realistically speaking, we’d only go on one ride per park, but we didn’t mind since it was still a great family vacation.

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