Until 1857, Orlando was called Jernigan, after the city's first permanent settler, Aaron Jernigan. However, after he was removed from his military position, it was deemed inappropriate to continue calling the city with the name of an officer with a marred reputation. So, the name was changed to Orlando.
Considered as the "Theme Park Capital of the World", Orlando, a city in the state of Florida, and the county seat of Orange County, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the U.S. for obvious reasons. The city allegedly receives more than 50 million tourists every year, and has the 13th busiest airport in the United States, and 29th in the world.
Amongst other theme parks, the city is home to the Universal Studios Florida
, while the Walt Disney World Resort
is located only 21 miles away from Downtown Orlando. However, there is much more to Orlando than just theme parks and adrenaline-pumping rides. The city is also home to picturesque neighborhoods, stunning parks and gardens, fascinating museums, and a very lively performing arts scene. Buzzle brings to you some practical tips to help you plan a budget-friendly Orlando vacation.
Orlando on a Budget
Avoid Going During Busy Times
Orlando is busiest during the spring break, Thanksgiving, Easter, and December. This is also the time when accommodation prices in the city are high, and you may not be able to crack cheap bargains at all. Moreover, owing to the heavy crowds, there are almost no offers/discounts on theme park tickets as well. For those traveling on a budget, these are not the right times to travel to the city. They should rather travel during the rest of the year and take advantage of low accommodation prices, special offers and discounts on theme park tickets, etc. An added incentive of traveling during the slower times is that there are not many tourists, and you get to enjoy your vacation in peace.
Book Well in Advance
Booking you air tickets well in advance can help you secure some great bargains and save a considerable amount of money. Keep an eye on airfares, at least three to four months before your plan to go. Several budget airlines offer great bargains and frequent specials to Orlando, and some even offer discounts on car rentals. Watch out for such deals on the Internet, and do not forget to compare prices. Check all the details thoroughly before making final payments.
Opt for a Vacation Rental
If you are traveling with friends or family, consider renting a vacation home. This will not only be cheaper than most budget hotels, but will also prove to be more cost-effective. Firstly, it will be bigger than a confined hotel room. Moreover, you will get to use all the facilities for yourself, and you will also save money on food, since you will have your own kitchen to prepare meals.
Check for Discounted Deals at Popular Attractions
Several popular attractions of Orlando offer discounted tickets throughout the year. Inquire about them. Furthermore, some attractions also offer special discounts for specific groups of people. For instance, Universal Studios
offer free tickets and dining programs for military members. Check if you are eligible for any such offers. Moreover, several companies also offer discounted tickets to their employees, so check if you can avail any such benefit.
Get the Orlando Magicard
The Orlando Magicard is a great tool to save money on an Orlando vacation. First of all, it is free-of-cost, and that's indeed great news. Moreover, it provides several offers and discounts on numerous attractions throughout the city. But, the fun does not stop there. The card also provides discounts in a good number of restaurants (which means you can eat on the cheap), and also on shopping. You can either register for the Magicard online, or collect it from the Official Visitor Center, while in Orlando. For further information visit visitorlando.com
Orlando has Several Free Attractions
The arts and culture scene of Orlando is vibrant, and there are several attractions and activities which can be enjoyed free-of-cost in the city. The city is home to a good number of parks and museums, many of which can be accessed for free or at discounted rates. For instance, Disney's BoardWalk
features live street entertainment every evening for free, and the Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards
offers tours of the vineyards and wine tastings for free.
Explore Orlando's Outskirts
As entertaining as the city is, its outskirts will also leave you spellbound. Though you can pretty well spend your entire vacation in the midst of theme parks, let us inform you that there are a number of beaches located just a hour's drive away from the city. Drive an hour towards the east of Orlando, and you will reach the Cocoa Beach, where you can indulge in activities like deep sea fishing and so on. Similarly, a 55 minutes drive north of Orlando will take you to Daytona beach, which offers several water activities and attractions.
Glimpses of Orlando
With so-many world-famous attractions, Orlando is one of the must-visit places, especially for family vacationers, apart from others. While a premium vacation in Orlando can easily make you shed thousands of dollars, the good news is that the city can be fully enjoyed even on a budget. So, head to Orlando this vacation season, and have a blast.