Orlando on a Budget: How to Visit Without Breaking the Bank

July 29, 2022

Awesome theme parks, critically acclaimed restaurants, and breathtaking natural beauty. Orlando has become a go-to Florida destination, and it’s not hard to see why. However, planning an Orlando vacation doesn’t always come cheap.

Follow along to learn how to visit Orlando on a budget.

From insider hacks to Disney parks to completely free outdoor activities, our guide will spill all the details on how to tackle O-town without a lot of money.

Wander through blossoming botanical gardens, kayak in Wekiva Springs, and save pennies with park picnics.

Conquer Universal Studios and Walt Disney World for a steal, soak in some sun, and see even more of the City Beautiful when you follow our top tips.

Visit During Off Season

Can’t wait to pull off an amazing O-town adventure? Our number one tip when it comes to planning an Orlando vacation on a budget is to visit during the off-season. We highly recommend traveling during the low season if you have flexibility when scheduling your Central Florida getaway. 

Related Post: Upcoming Orlando Events and Festivals

Scheduling your stay from mid-January to early March or September to early December will afford you significantly lower prices. Traveling with school-aged children in tow? While school breaks will always translate to higher crowds and elevated prices, another mini-low season can be found from late July to mid-August. 

Check out our complete guide on when to visit Orlando for the best trip ever!

Another way to reign in spending is to bundle your accommodations, activities, and more with an Orlando Vacation Package. Combine your theme park thrills with your choice of hotel to save some serious cash.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to book early! Early birds will be rewarded with lower prices when they book ahead for flights, hotels, tickets, and more. Remember Orlando is a world-renowned travel destination, so availability is limited. 

pathway surrounded by palm trees and plants with body of water and buildings in distance at Lake Eola Park in Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Joshlyn Jacob via Facebook

Budget Orlando Area Accommodations

Resorts, hotels, and inns, oh my! Orlando accommodations run the gamut, and it can be hard to know where to begin. Nonetheless, smart savers know that being thrifty with your accommodations can save you money in the long run.

Related Post: In-Depth Guide to Best Hotels in Orlando

Thankfully, we offer a wealth of options regarding Orlando Hotels & Resorts.

You can still enjoy boatloads of Mickey and Minnie accented fun by staying offsite.

Why not opt for a Disney Springs resort for a cheaper yet convenient park option? With plenty of names you trust, from Comfort Inn to Best Western, your whole family can sleep in savvy style when they reserve with Tripster!

Orlando Outdoors on a budget

Need a break from endless rides aboard Hagrid’s Motorbike? Take a mini respite from the theme parks, and show your wallet some love when you engage in the great outdoors. Embrace the bounty of Central Florida when you take advantage of the many free or low-cost nature-based attractions.

From tropical gardens to sparkling natural springs, there are plenty of ways to splash, swim, and paddle in the Sunshine State:

close up of people swimming in water at De León Springs State Park in Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Julien Marc Beauregard via Facebook

Kraft Azalea Garden 

Craving some old-school Florida charm, or perhaps just a scenic backdrop for your latest social media post? Explore the charming 5.22-acre Kraft Azalea Garden.

Related Post: 12 Totally Free Things to Do in Orlando with Kids

Located on the stunning shore of Lake Maitland, this ‘secret’ garden is a serene oasis of secluded beauty. Take in the giant cypress trees and the Grecian appeal of the Exedra monument. 

Harry P Leu Gardens 

Stop to smell the roses, azaleas, camellias, and more when you pay a plant-powered visit to the Harry P Leu Gardens. Featuring 50 acres of exotic and tropical flora, these breathtaking grounds contain 200-year-old oaks, permanent art exhibits, and the historic Lee House Museum. 

pathway under trees through Harry P Leu Gardens in Orlando, Florida, USAMead Botanical Garden

For over 80 years, the Mead Botanical Garden has infused the metropolitan area of Orlando with natural tranquility. Established in honor of renowned horticulturist Theodore L. Mead, the garden features 47 acres of hiking trails, boardwalks, greenery, and ponds. Swing by the butterfly garden, or enjoy the sensory experience of aromatic and edible plants. 

Blue Springs State Park

Azure-colored natural springs, manatees, and abundant aquatic activities come together to make Blue Springs State Park a must-visit destination.

Related Post: Ultimate Guide to Real Florida Adventures Coupons and Discount Tickets

Hike the Pine Island trail, kayak past manatees, or set up camp for a star-filled night of wonder. Birdwatchers can even catch sights of wading birds, ospreys, eagles, and kingfishers.

close up of manatees underwater with woman in swimsuit in background standing

photo credit: VISIT FLORIDA via Facebook

Little Big Econ State Forest

Dreaming about hitting those trails? Pack your hiking boots as Little Big Econ State Forest features almost 12 miles of nature paths.

Related Post: Book Your Spot on 4 of the Best Airboat Rides in Orlando

Uncover diverse ecosystems such as pine flatwoods, scrub, sandhill, and more. Ideal for hikers of all ages, the American Hiking Society named Little Big Econ State Forest one of the country’s most family-friendly hikes.

Wekiwa Springs State Park

A natural wonder just minutes from downtown Orlando? Yes, please! Suit up for plenty of H20-fueled activities when you swim the day away in the emerald waters of Wekiwa.

Canoe, kayak, or snorkel through crystal clear springs. And keep on the lookout for a staggering array of creatures, including white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and black bears. 

Someone kayaking through Wekiwa Springs state park during beautiful summer day near Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Dave Cannon via Facebook

Trade Theme Parks for Winter Park

Cobblestone streets, quaint small town appeal, and an abundance of complementary activities make Winter Park a cozy respite. So slow down your frenetic theme park pace when you spend an afternoon uncovering the city’s various museums, markets, shops, and events.

Calling all shopaholics! Check out our guide to the best shopping in Orlando. Park Ave in Winter Park is a must-stop on any browsing itinerary.

Visit the Rollins Museum of Art, sneak in some live music, or catch an outdoor movie downtown. Stock up on fresh produce, wildflowers, and pastries at the infamous farmers market and set up an impromptu picnic by the Rose Garden. 

people walking along various shops and establishmets at Winter Park Park Ave in Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Park Ave Magazine via Facebook

Beach it Up

While an O-town holiday may more readily conjure images of SeaWorld, Universal Studios, and Disney, the theme park capital of the world is just a hop, skip, and jump away from some of the East Coast’s best beaches. Revel in sun, sand, and surf when you head to Cocoa, New Smyrna, or Daytona Beach.

 

After you’ve had your fill of water sports, sand castles, and swimming, take a minute to check out nearby top attractions such as the Kennedy Space Center. Located by breathtaking Cape Canaveral, this NASA launch headquarters contains countless space-themed immersive exhibits, artifacts, and displays. 

Are you still exploring for Kennedy Space Center discount tickets? Check out our Ultimate Guide to score some out-of-this-world savings.

Cocoa Beach Florida Pier

Cocoa Beach, Florida, USA, at the pier.

Navigate Walt Disney World like a Pro

Don’t let a trim savings plan stop you from making unforgettable memories at the most Magical Place on Earth. Enjoy every inch of the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and more when you traverse Disney World like an expert. 

Related Post: Disney World Bucket List: 9 Experiences You Can't-Miss

Our top tips to save at Walt Disney World are:

  • Go during the off-season. Disney ticket prices fluctuate, and you can generally find better deals if you visit in January, February, the end of August, and early September.
  • Buy your Walt Disney World tickets from Tripster.
  • Plan a Disney vacation before your little one turns 3; children under the age of 3 can attend Disney for free.
  • Check whether you are eligible for discounts - Disney offers impressive discounts to the military, AAA, and AARP members. In addition, Florida residents are also included in the Disney deals.
  • Buy your souvenirs ahead of time. Don’t waste precious cash on spendy souvenirs when you can purchase tons of Disney apparel, toys, and memorabilia at Target, Amazon, or Walmart.
  • Bring your own stroller. Stroller rental costs can add up quickly, and this is an easy and sanitary way to save some cash.
  • Keep food costs down. Disney allows you to bring your own food and snacks into the park. Still hungry? Instead of splurging on a full-service meal, grab an iconic (and tasty) Disney churro or Mickey ice cream bar. 

Couple on Rock N' Roller Coaster in Disney World - Orlando, FL USANavigate Universal Studios like a Pro

Calling all cinephiles! Universal Orlando is the place to be for silver screen studded action and death-defying roller coasters. But, while we love a stomach-churning plunge on the VelociCoaster, we can’t say the same for our bank account. 

By planning ahead, you can easily stay out of the red on your Universal Orlando vacation:

  • Similar to other sister theme parks, you can save a whole lot of dollars by visiting Orlando during the off-season.
  • Be savvy with ticket purchases! Buy your ticket from Tripster, and do your research. It is often cheaper to go with a multi-day ticket than a day pass.
  • American Express, AAA, or Military member? You can utilize all these special discounts when securing your tickets.
  • Take advantage of free shuttles and hotel transportation. Universal parking can cost a pretty penny, so finagling other means of transport is well worth your time.
  • Bring a refillable water bottle. Not only will you stay hydrated, but you'll avoid shelling out $10 every time you’re thirsty!
Close up photo of Optimus Prime at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Universal Orlando Resort via Facebook

Invest in an Orlando Pass

Are you a type-A traveler? If you can’t wait to paint O-town red, investing in a multi-destination pass may be for you. 

Related Post: Orlando on a Budget: How to Save BIG With a Go City Pass

Discover over 20 thrilling Floridian attractions, including LEGOLAND, WonderWorks, and Boggy Airboat Creek tours, when you invest in either a Go Orlando All-Inclusive or Go Orlando Explorer Pass:

Dine with Purpose

One of the biggest money pits on any vacation is eating out! Preserve your precious pennies when you dine with a purpose. While we would never suggest completely skipping out on restaurants and treats altogether, with a few tricks, you can achieve a lot of financial wiggle room:

  • If possible, opt for accommodations with a kitchen. Grocery shop and try to prepare at least one meal a day at ‘home.’ 
  • Take advantage of complimentary breakfast if provided by your hotel or resort.
  • Stock up on snacks and non-perishable foods before your park day and bring them with you.
  • Opt for quick-service restaurants, cafes, and eateries. 

photo credit: DoveCote Restaurant via Facebook

Saving the universe with the Guardians of the Galaxy, mixing it up with crazy Minions, or perfecting your paddle at Blue Springs State Park.

While there are endless ways to enjoy Orlando, they don't always come on a budget with a low price tag.

Related Post: How to Make the Most of 3 Days in Orlando

From uncovering discount theme park tickets to how to fuel up on the cheap, our extensive guide makes it easy to plan a trip to Orlando.

Savor moments of natural bliss at New Smyrna Beach, or save oodles of cash when you utilize an Explorer Pass.

Whether you are gearing up for a family-friendly adventure or seeking a fun-filled weekend away, you can always visit O-town without breaking the bank!

Tell us, What’s Your Favorite Way Explore Orlando on a Budget?

Leave us a comment below!


isis with mural in background

Written By Isis Maya

A New York native, Isis-Maya spent most of her professional life working in TV production until a vacation whisked her away to Central America and her love o ...

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