Want to head to Orlando, but your budget isn’t cooperating? With a little strategic planning and some best practices, you can find yourself enjoying the country’s number one vacation spot sooner than you think. Read on to learn one TMOM’s secrets to a budget-friendly family vacation in Orlando. Then start planning!

Want to head to Orlando, but your budget isn't cooperating? Learn our secrets to a budget-friendly family vacation in Orlando, and start planning!

The Halloween show on Cinderella’s castle at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (photo credit: Jana Seitzer Geek TravelingMom



Secrets to a Budget-Friendly Family Vacation in Orlando

I put together this handy guide for a budget-friendly family vacation in Orlando. It features almost everything you need to know about pinching those pennies as much as possible. It IS possible to cut down on costs in Orlando, the theme park capital of the world.

But to be honest – the costs do add up. Food, hotels, souvenirs, tickets – the list goes on and on. And let’s be real here, vacation isn’t as fun if you blow your budget the first day. All of those little expenses on vacation can really add up quickly if you aren’t careful. Even if the vacation is wonderful, the magic will surely fade when you get home and see your credit card statement. You may up deciding you are never going on vacation again.

TravelingMom Tips to the Rescue

But my TravelingMom tips will make things easier on you – and your bank account. Below you’ll find a ton of money saving ideas on just about every aspect of your Orlando vacation.

I went to Orlando in October this year for “Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party” at Disney World, as well as some fun in the sun. The party lived up to its name, not so scary. It was so festive and exciting! But then the scary part hit me: I had spent too much money on this incredible trip.

It was well worth it, but it got me thinking. What should I have done then that I could do in the future to prevent this stress? I really thought about it and asked around. Now I want to share my newfound knowledge with everyone. Orlando is one of the most fun destinations in America! Especially if you have children. The fun parts should be remembered, not the aftermath of dollars spent. Be kinder to your budget by considering these money-saving strategies:

Want to head to Orlando, but your budget isn't cooperating? Learn our secrets to a budget-friendly family vacation in Orlando, and start planning!

When to Go (Yes, this can make a huge difference!)

  • Try to visit during off season to save on hotel cost. This is usually when school is in session.
  • Some park tickets, hotels, and airfare are cheaper if you go during the week versus the weekend

Getting There

  • For your flight, try to pack carry-on bags if your airline charges to check bags. Most airlines let you take one carry-on bag per ticket for free. So, even if your child’s clothes are tiny, you can still use a whole extra carry-on bag with their ticket.
  • Pack your own stroller and car seat, as they are free to check. I recommend a gate check for the stroller to push the kids and/or your carry on bags.

Where To Stay

  • Rent a resort residence where you stay in a home basically with the amenities of a hotel. The major money saver is having a full kitchen where you can prepare all of your meals. So much cheaper than dining out!
  • Consider researching and finding a timeshare presentation in exchange for a free stay. Some timeshares have great pools with slides and splash pads, as well as fun activities for the kids, so you can skip the water parks and still have a great time.
  • Choose a hotel with complimentary breakfasts and shuttles to theme parks to save on food and transportation and parking costs.


  • Some websites offer tickets ahead of time for a discount.
  • Don’t forget to check fo any discounts to theme parks you may be eligible for: AAA, military, etc.
  • Be realistic about time spent at the park. Sure, you can theoretically save money for multiple day park hoppers, but for things like SeaWorld you would only need a one day pass to enjoy the whole park. And don’t forget you and the family might want a “do nothing” day of downtime at the hotel pool. 

What To Eat

  • Pack snacks to take to the park, but not junk. Instead choose more filling options like granola bars, etc. 
  • Bring your own reusable water bottles and refill at the park.
  • Meals in the parks are usually large enough to share, especially if you have young children.
  • Make your own meals if you have a room with a kitchen.  TravelingMom Tip: shop further away from theme parks to save grocery money. Also this is the time to get sunscreen. It’s very expensive to purchase at the park.


  • Don’t buy your souvenirs at the theme parks. They are a lot more expensive. Take note of what the children want and look at Goodwill, order online, or buy at a Wal-Mart in Orlando during your trip. It can be more fun after the fact, anyway. You keep the magic going after the trip and have less stuff to haul home. 
  • The photographers that take your family photo when you enter the park will also take a picture with your smartphone if you ask. That way you don’t have to buy the expensive park copies. While I appreciate the value of a professional photo take with a quality camera, this purchase is not always possible on a budget.

I hope these tips help with budgeting a fantastic money saving adventure in Orlando! I’d love to hear any other ideas to save money! The more you save, the sooner you get to plan the second trip to Orlando!