Your Florida Travel Tips: Savings & Parks

As we suspected, dealchecker readers know rather a lot about Florida holidays, and they have some real gems of advice to share. So many in fact, that there’s not space for all of them in one guide! So we’re starting with all your tips on how to save money in Florida and how to get the best out of the theme parks – something you lot clearly care a lot about!

But first off to crown our winner: We were impressed by Kate’s very effective Florida advice, which also passes on a number of top tips:

Fancy a burger? Gilbert’s 17th Street Grill does the best in town!
Lovely view of the Disney parade from the level 2 of the train station…and chairs!
Order theme park tickets in advance to avoid the queues on the day!
Relax on Clearwater Beach…breathtaking!
If you dream of fame, head to the Rising Star Club where you can sing karaoke to a live band!
Don’t ever buy theme park tickets from the discount booths-they don’t work!
Always pack a plastic bag to protect cameras & wallets on the water rides!

She has deservedly been treated to £20 to spend in Disney Stores.

Tips to Save Money in Florida

Finding coupons seems to be the top way to save money on Florida. This is from Sue:

These Vouchers/Coupons are giving you typically 5-20% discount, I’ve even found 33% discount in some which will make make a huge difference on your budget… especially if you have to pay for family to visit the Kennedy Space Centre or an Air Boat Ride at Boggy Creek, shopping at Sheplers the Western Clothing Store, eating at many of the popular Restaurants and Evening Entertainments at some of the shows.

Image by krossbow

As Sue says, “There are quite a few different Booklets so make sure you pick AT LEAST ONE OF EACH OF THEM ALL” and dealchecker readers have a number of suggestions on where to find them. Sue’s own advice is the “big supermarkets like Walmart, Walgreen Pharmacy and also along the pathways when walking along the touristy type places“.

Danny recommended checking the Florida press for coupons, and Joey specified that the locals know to look in the Orlando Sentinel for their money saving offers.

Avoiding parking fees was another way in which our readers saved money. Sue advocates using your hotel’s shuttle bus, whilst Stuart has found another way if you’re visiting Disney World:

Drive to the Disney Market Place in Lake Buena Vista and park your car for free, then hop on one of the Disney buses to whichever park you are going to that day and let the bus take the strain. At this year’s prices, $15 per day, that’s quite a saving over 14 days

Image by Sue Elias

Sue also tells us not to splash out on gifts in the theme parks as “they are MUCH cheaper at the Disney outlets stores at Premium Outlets (there are 2 on International Drive). Or get them from one of the numerous Walmart stores“.

Quite a few readers mentioned that they would go to Florida in off season to save money. According to Paul “November time always seems good for quotes to save money.” Great! That’s about now then!

Tips on Florida Theme Parks

We have three questions answered for theme parks. First: Which ones should we go to?

Well, maybe our responses were influenced by the prize treat of Disney Store vouchers, but the DisneyWorld Resort came out a clear winner.

Karine also rates SeaWorld, saying; “you MUST ride the Manta roller coaster!! It really feels like flying from sky to sea like a giant manta ray – the best park attraction ever!” And Busch Gardens is a must-visit for Caetano; “The park is huge and beautiful, an exotic combination of wild animals and great rides.

Whales at SeaWorld – Image by Ross Hawkes

Second question, how to save money on theme parks?

Well, Alphonse recommends buying a pass for all the different theme parks, “it works out a lot cheaper then paying for individual tickets at the gates.

Once you’re in the parks you could follow Michael B’s tip to save money and keep hydrated: “Go to food booths and ask for water in a cup from the machines that they use for coke, sprite etc. This is free and you can just either fill it up again at the water fountains or go back to the booths for refills. This costs nothing.” Worth a try?

And thirdly how can we avoid those humongous queues?

Well Elaine has one method:
When entering the theme parks, try and get there early, head straight for the centre, visit the attractions in a clockwise direction, when they will be quiet, then in the afternoon visit the attractions where most people start from in the morning. It does work – and a lot less queueing!!

Thunder Mountain
Thunder Mountain at DisneyWorld – Image by Guilherme Jófili

And if your group is willing to sit separate from each other you can use Anthony’s tip:

If the queues are long on the more popular rides, use the single rider entrance, normally you bypass the long walk to the start of the ride, and join the front of the queue though a separate entrance. I have used it on several of the more popular rides with my wife and usually both of us get on at the same time eg. Spiderman and Men in Black at Universal, Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain at Disney to name just a few.
His other piece of advice is to “head for the big rides when the parades are taking place the queues are much shorter, if any at all.

Any more tips? Well, yes. This tip courtesy of Carol may help you if you’re looking to avoid the biggest crowds:
The “back door” at EPCOT (near the UK in Worldshowcase) is not very well known and is a quiet way to get in and out. From here you can catch a boat to Hollywood Studios and also stroll to the Disney Boardwalk.

And finally Michael B clearly speaks from a lot of experience with his tip about making the end of the day as easy as possible:
Learn how to use the Disney monorail system. Make sure you have your car in the car park you are going to visit LAST as you will be tired and there will be many many many people trying to get on the monorail to get to their vehicles in the other parks or back to their hotels at the end of the light show or fireworks.

Image by LimeBye

Part two will be all about trips further afield in Florida, and if you want even more advice on Florida from real travellers check out the travel tip section of dealchecker, or leave some tips of your own.