If you’re into theme parks, Orlando is the perfect destination. Because however into theme parks you think you are, Orlando is one hundred thousand percent more enthusiastic about them.
Seriously, if theme parks had an overlord, it would be Orlando. From Disney World to EPCOT, Universal Studios to nearby Legoland in Winter Haven, you can easily entertain yourself or your family for an entire week.
Recent estimates put the number of amusement parks in and around Orlando at more than 30, which … whoa. You’re basically set for life.
That’s not to say there are no other reasons to go there, though! The city’s proximity to the Everglades is nice for those who like the outdoors, while shopaholics will love the availability of retail therapy outlets.
Plus, it’s beach weather all year round … where do you go wrong? Well, in failing to make a budget, for one thing. Luckily, that doesn’t need to happen to you.
We’re here with an insider’s guide to getting to and around Orlando without spending your entire paycheck Doing The Thing.
The following sections will cover food and drinks, activities, accommodations, flights, and more. By the time you’re done, you’ll know all you need to about saving money while enjoying a thrill a minute in beautiful Orlando!
Average Trip to Orlando Cost in 2023
An average one-week trip to Orlando for two people will cost around $3,200:
- Average Accommodation Cost: $100 per night
- Average Flight Cost: $250 per person
- Food, Drink & Activities: $125 per person, per day
- Transportation: $200 total
- Total Cost: $3,200
You have read that Orlando is expensive. In fact, according to some pieces, it is the most expensive city in the world to visit. Says Yahoo! Finance, “A weeklong stay will set back a family of four an average of $7,350.
This figure breaks down to $4,138 in lodging during peak season, $3,148 in activities, and roughly $64 in other daily fees.” There are several things to note about these figures, though.
The first is that they apply to a family of four, not a couple, so right there you can cut the price in half. The second is that these are average costs, which means some people are spending much more.
You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on activities.
Sure, you can visit a theme park or go on a deep-sea fishing expedition every day if you want to, but it’s not necessary. Orlando’s free activities abound, and we will consider several of them below.
Our figures are lower than Yahoo! (which quotes about $3,700 per couple), because you can spend much less using our tips. Bottom line: don’t fret about your budget until you’ve gotten more accurate information about this sunny, friendly destination.
Orlando Trip Cost: Average by Item
The average cost of a trip will look different for everyone. How you get to Orlando, who you’re traveling with, where you stay, what you do, how you eat, and more … these all factor into the total you’ll pay to have the experience.
The point isn’t to figure out exactly what each category will cost, but rather to get some rough figures to help you start budgeting.
As you consider the following information, keep in mind that you can scale up for areas that you care about (e.g. nicer accommodations or more days at theme parks) and down for areas that don’t matter as much to you (e.g. dinners out or fancy drinks).
With this starting point in mind, you can start putting together a budget that really works for you.
Hotels are a real bugbear in Orlando. A night at a Disney resort will cost between $250 and $500, so it’s not a budget-conscious choice. Luckily, it’s not your only one!
If you stay away from the city center and look for 3-star options, you can find great deals – especially in the low season, where hotels with pools and saunas can go for $60 a room.
If you take the cheap route most of the time, you could even splurge for a night at a theme park resort. On average, plan to spend $100 per night for two.
Flights to Orlando are quite affordable. From New York, plan to pay about $100 for a round-trip ticket during the low season, and $200 from LA.
During the high season, you’ll likely pay more, but if you price-shop you can defray the cost somewhat. Add in $100 if you’re not leaving from a central hub, for a total of $250 per ticket, on average.
Food, Drink & Activity Costs
The main cost of a trip to Orlando, for most people, is entrance fees into amusement parks. As discussed, there are dozens in the city and nearby, and chances are good you want to go to some. Which is fine, you’ll just want a good financial plan.
The cost of a one-day ticket to Disney World is between $109 to $189, which breaks down to an average price of about $145 per ticket, per person, per day.
You’ll pay slightly less if you book multiple days, if you go during the off-season (January, February, and fall), and if you avoid weekends and holidays. Costs to visit Universal Orlando are roughly the same, while Busch Gardens is closer to $100 per ticket.
Lesser-known theme parks can still be really fun, but much cheaper. Wild Florida Everglades, for instance, is only about $35 per ticket, but you can still take safaris and boat tours, see animal shows, and visit the gator park.
Our recommendation: spend a few days in top theme parks, then intersperse more affordable ones in between. Free activities in Orlando include the many fabulous gardens, walking its pretty streets, or visiting the beach (it’s about an hour away to Cocoa Beach).
Where possible, don’t eat theme park food. Estimates for a full day’s eating for a family of four at Disney World range between $200 and $300, so about $100 to $150 for a couple.
That breaks down to between $33 and $50 per meal, per couple, which is pretty outlandish for something like breakfast and lunch. With churros starting at $6.25, this can get out of hand quickly.
Instead, bring your own food. You’re allowed to bring beverages and consumables in, so long as they are not in glass containers and are non-alcoholic.
Pack your snacks the night before to avoid that morning “oh, the heck with it” feeling that can lead to lazy packing and expensive purchases later in the day. When you are going to buy theme park food – or spend on a nice meal while on a tour or boat cruise – make sure you give yourself a budget ahead of time.
That way, you can enjoy yourself guilt-free, knowing that you won’t spend more than you intend. When you’re not in theme parks, plan to spend about the same amount on food that you would on vacay anywhere in the US.
If you can find a hotel with complimentary breakfast, that’s ideal so you can skip that cost. Plan about $15 each for lunch and dinner, and another $10 for snacks. In total, $50 a day is fine for food and drink.
Overall, plan to spend about $125 per person, per day on a budget. That’s all your food, two expensive theme park days, and three cheap theme park days. If you opt to add more experiences onto that, then expect to pay closer to $150 or $200 per day.
Don’t rent a car in Orlando. It’s costly compared to your other transportation options, of which there are mainly two:
- Busing: The bus is cheap, fast, and will get you to most places for only $2 per ride. Better yet, consider an all-day pass ($4.50) or a 7-day pass ($16).
- Shuttles: Many hotels in Orlando offer free shuttle rides to the main theme parks. These will save you a lot on taxis, rental cars, and gas, so use them.
Assuming you use your free/cheap options and only take one cab ride – say, from the airport to your hotel – you can get around on only $100 for the week.
For greater convenience, as you will have to wait for shuttles, you might want to take an Uber or Lyft to some places, which will cost more. On average, budget $200 to be safe.
Things to Consider
Here are a few other things to consider when planning your trip to Orlando:
- Take the shuttle to theme parks. Many hotels, even the non-resorts, offer these for free. It will save you a grip on parking.
- Try leaving the kids behind for your first experience. Theme parks – and Orlando in general – are tons of fun for adults as well. If you can, get the lay of the land when it’s just two grownups and bring the kids later.
- Fast passes ARE worth it. A fast pass will let you skip the lines at Disney World and other places, so you can spend more of your time soaking up fun. Yes, it costs more, but at the end of the day, it means the money you paid to get in goes much further.
- When you take the bus, tell the driver you want an all-day or 7-day pass before dropping your money into the box!
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about budgeting your trip to Orlando:
Is Orlando expensive?
While Orlando can be expensive, it doesn’t have to be. You can save money by limiting your time in theme parks or on tours, staying on the outskirts of town and avoiding resorts, and eating out of grocery stores or simpler restaurants while on the go.
What does it cost to get into the theme parks?
We know how much you want a specific answer about the cost of theme park tickets, but unfortunately, it’s just not that easy. Each ticket is dependent on a number of factors, including the age of the entrance, the date, how many days you’ll be there, and which park you’re talking about.
The best way to get hard facts is to Google “Theme Park Name + tickets” and check out the park’s page. Once you put in the details of your trip, you’ll get the numbers you’re looking for. Just know that some parks (like Disney) release ticket information in a limited fashion, so that you can only book within a specific window of your visit date.
How can I save money at theme parks?
There are plenty of ways to save money at the theme parks. You can travel during the off-season and buy multi-day passes to fewer parks rather than going to every one you can get your hands on. You can also avoid eating in the park, which is very expensive.
Where possible, intersperse expensive theme park days with less expensive experiences, such as safari parks or hikes in the Everglades.
Is it safe in Orlando?
Yes, Orlando is pretty safe, as cities go. Since it caters to tourists, the city has a vested interest in protecting visitors, and most of its neighborhoods boast a high level of security. There are a few more dangerous areas of town, but if you have a reason to be there, you don’t need to be afraid. Just remain aware of your surroundings.
When is the best time to visit Orlando?
March through May are the nicest times to visit, weather-wise. The daytime temps aren’t too hot yet, and nighttime cools to as low as 50 degrees, keeping mornings pleasant.
For cost savings, visit Orlando in January or February. The holidays and summer months are very expensive, so avoid those if you can.
Over to You — Book Your Trip Today!
|🛎️ Average Accommodation Cost||$100 per night|
|✈️ Average Flight Cost||$250 per person|
|🍽️ Food, Drink & Activities||$125 per person, per day|
|🚕 Transportation||$200 total|
|💲 Total Cost||$3,200|
The average cost of a one-week trip to Orlando is around $3,200 for two people. Given the range of activities, delicious seafood, and lovely weather for much of the year, you’re bound to love it.