The theme park capital of the world has so much to offer. But once you add attraction tickets to accommodation, food and transport, costs can quickly spiral – especially if you’re traveling with the whole family. However, a trip to Orlando doesn’t have to break the bank. There are plenty of ways to save money and enjoy a family holiday to Orlando for less.
Each year millions of families flock to Orlando, but since the UK’s vote to leave the EU the value of the pound has fallen significantly – which means that in relative terms, holidays to the US have become a lot more expensive for British families. You shouldn’t let that put you off the trip of a lifetime though, as there are plenty of ways to travel to the US for less.
Here’s a complete guide to planning a budget-friendly holiday to Orlando, with tips on when to travel, how to find cheap flights, where to stay and what to do once you arrive. We’ll show you how a one-week trip to Orlando can cost as little as £642 each for a family of four, including flights. On with the tips!
Go off peak
The sun shines year-round in Orlando and the attractions are open for business every day, so there really is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ time to go. Peak season typically comes into effect during school holidays but if you’re tightening the purse strings then consider going during term time.
You’re still likely to get good weather plus you’ll benefit from lower prices and less crowding at the theme parks. Holiday prices are at their highest during the UK half terms, the US Spring Break, the summer holidays and the Christmas holidays – so these are the periods to try and avoid.
If you’re planning to take your child out of school during term time in the UK, be warned: you could now face a fine for doing so. However, there have been plenty of reports of parents opting to take the fine, rather than paying for higher air fares during the holidays.
Book flights in advance
Finding a good deal on flights used to be all about booking at the last minute, but with so many budget airlines offering cheap flights in advance, that’s not always the case. There are easy ways to find great-value flights using flight comparison websites such as Skyscanner. Research shows that if you look around 18 weeks in advance you’ll get the best deals for long-haul destinations.
Be flexible with your dates
If you’re willing to be flexible with which dates you can travel on, you’re likely to get a better deal. For instance, you can book a one-way flight from London to Orlando in November 2017 for as little as £181 with Norwegian Airlines, while a one-way flight with the same airline in August costs a hefty £457 (prices correct at the time of publication). Sometimes, buying return flights with one airline can be more expensive than purchasing two one-way tickets from different airlines so that’s worth checking out too. Either way, make sure you have adequate insurance in place to cover you in the event of cancellations.
Infants usually fly for free
Most airlines operate a ‘free flight’ policy for infants under the age of 2 – it usually covers 1 infant flight per paying adult.
Sign up for flight deals
Although last-minute flight deals can be hard to find, they are around if you know where to look. If you visit a few of your favorite airlines and sign up for their newsletters you’ll get updates about new travel routes, introductory discounts and flash sales on last-minute flights before anyone else.
Opt for a villa instead of a hotel
Generally speaking you’ll get better value for money if you opt to stay in a villa instead of a hotel. Villas tend to offer more space for families traveling together and they usually work out cheaper than booking multiple hotel rooms.
Hotels may offer private rooms, but with a villa you’ll get just as much privacy as well as your very own in-villa amenities like spacious living and dining areas, swimming pools, game rooms and laundry facilities – so you won’t have to share with strangers.
Stay near Disney World
Some of the best Orlando villa resorts are located close to Disney World which is super-convenient if you’re visiting the theme parks. Reunion Resort is one of the best-known communities, offering 3 championship golf courses, a water park, tennis courts, a spa, and plenty of on-site restaurants – all just 5.5 miles from Disney’s main gates. This will help you to cut the cost of transporting the whole family to and from the parks. At Encore Resort at Reunion, there are free shuttles to Disney and other great theme parks.
Rent an apartment
Accommodation near Disney World isn’t as expensive as you might think. For example, you can rent a spacious 2-bedroom apartment through Top Villas for as little as £69 per night in low season. Features include a private balcony, a large shared pool, and a Disney-themed kids’ room with twin beds.
Split the cost
Look out for special offers
If you sign up for exclusive offers with a reputable villa rental company like Top Villas you’ll be the first to know about special offers and money-saving tips.
Get discounted park tickets
Top Villas offers some of the best deals on theme park tickets with offers like ’14 days for the price of 7′ at Disney World, as well as ticket bundles that include unlimited admission to multiple theme parks and entertainment venues.
A one-day ticket to Disney World will set you back around £85 for an adult and £80 for a child aged 3-9.
For more information or to book the best value attractions tickets contact the Top Villas concierge team.
Save on car hire
Other factors that can affect the cost of your trip include whether or not you want to hire a car. If you’re staying close to Disney World you won’t necessarily need to hire a car to get around, but if you do you can make savings by choosing a small car over a large family saloon. You can hire a small Chevrolet for around £150 a week.
If you decide not to hire a car, you can get a taxi from the airport to the resorts near Disney World for around £45 for a one-way trip.
Limit dining out
Eating out in Orlando doesn’t always come cheap but there are plenty of ways to eat on a budget.
Disney World is one of the worst offenders for over-priced dining but the good news is you can take your own food and drink into the park with you. You pack a family picnic in a cooler box or backpack then store it in a locker at Disney World to save you lugging it around.
Even when you do dine out it doesn’t have to be expensive as there are hundreds of places to find cheap eats in Orlando.
Cook at your villa
Alternatively you can stock up on groceries at a variety of supermarkets and grocery stores near your resort and cook a meal at home for a fraction of the cost of going to a restaurant.
Look out for cheap and free things to do
There are heaps of cheap and free things to do in Orlando and they are just as much fun (if not more fun!) than the theme parks. In fact, if you’re staying for a week you could spend a day or two at the theme parks and use the rest of your trip to explore the wider area.
There are hundreds of state parks like Weeki Wachee Springs State Park where you can go swimming and kayaking, or even watch live ‘mermaid’ shows. If you want to take the kids to the coast there are plenty of beaches near Orlando, and if you want to explore the wider area the options for day trips from Orlando are practically endless.
Have a family holiday to Orlando for £642 per person
There’s no denying that holidays to Orlando are more expensive for British holidaymakers since the fall in the value of the pound, but with a bit of planning in advance, it’s still easy to have a great trip without spending a fortune. Here’s an example of how a one week trip to Orlando can cost as little as £642 per person for a family of four.
- Return flights: £1086
- Accommodation: £483
- Car hire: £150
- Disney tickets for 1 day: £250
- Food & drink: £300
- Spending money: £300
- Total: £2569
- Cost per person: £642.25
*Prices are approximate and based on low season prices without insurance. Family of 4 is based on 2 adults, one child and one infant.
If you’re thinking of booking an Orlando vacation and you need advice on the best places to stay then contact us today. Additionally, our dedicated concierge team can arrange any added extras you need such as great value car hire and attraction tickets.