Visit Orlando Blog
With more than 100 attractions in Orlando, there are plenty of affordable options for the entire family. Here's a snapshot of 20 activities under $20 each (subject to change):
$5 or less per person
1. Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens houses the works of Albin Polasek, one of America's most prominent sculptors of the 20th century. $5 adults, $4 seniors, $3 students (ages 12 through college), free for children 11 and under.
2. The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art (pictured) features the world's most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany, including his famed leaded-glass lamps. $5 adults, $4 seniors, $1 students, free for children 11 and under. Free admission 4 p.m.-8 p.m. Fridays (November through April).
3. The Mennello Museum of American Art offers a diverse collection of sculptures and paintings, including contemporary American folk art and works by Earl Cunningham. $4 adults, $3 seniors, $1 students, free for children under 12.
$10 or less per person
4. Bok Tower Gardens, a national historic landmark, is nestled among 50 acres of picturesque gardens and hosts a 205-foot art deco and neo-Gothic Singing Tower on its grounds. $10 adults, $3 children ages 5-12.
5. Enzian, Central Florida's only full-time alternative cinema, presents independent and classic films as well as produces annual film festivals and a variety of community events. $10 general admission, $8 seniors/students, $8 matinee (before 6 p.m.).
6. Fun Spot Action Park entertains guests with a multi-level go-kart track, thrill rides, pre-school rides and more than 100 arcade games. $6 go-kart track, $3 single-ride. Armbands available at an additional cost.
7. Harry P. Leu Gardens hosts 3 miles of paved scenic walkways, a butterfly garden, bamboo and palm gardens, and 1880s house museum. $7 adults, $2 students ages 5-18. Free admission on first Monday of every month.
8. Orange County Regional History Center (pictured) showcases a variety of exhibits and programs that explore Central Florida's history dating back 12,000 years. $9 adults, $7 seniors, $6 children ages 5-12.
9. Orlando Museum of Art displays local, national and international works of art. The museum also features two discovery centers for children, devoted to interactive activities and educational programs. $8 adults, $7 seniors/college students, $5 children ages 4-17.
10. Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf offers two 18-hole miniature golf experiences in a pirate-themed setting (locations in the Lake Buena Vista and International Drive areas). $9.95 adults, $8.95 children ages 4-12 (Lake Buena Vista). $10.95 adults, $9.95 children (International Drive). Admission available for the 36-hole adventure at an additional cost.
11. West Orange Trail Bikes and Blades Co. offers hourly, daily and weekly road bike rentals for visitors to explore Central Florida's scenic trails, including the 22-mile West Orange Trail. Rentals start at $6 per hour. Hotel delivery and group bike tours available at an additional cost.
$15 or less per person
12. AMC Dine-In Theaters, located at Downtown Disney, allow movie-goers to watch the latest movies with seat-side service. Ticket prices range from $8-$13. Menus items range from $6.99-$12.99.
13. Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens includes hundreds of rare and endangered animals and 800 species of plants and flowers. $11.95 adults, $9.95 seniors, $7.95 children ages 3-12.
14. Dinosaur World (pictured) has more than 150 life-size dinosaurs at its outdoor museum. $12.75 adults, $10.75 seniors, $9.75 children ages 3-12.
15. Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour provides a relaxing narrated cruise through the lakes and canals of historic Winter Park, showcasing natural wildlife and mansions that line the waterways. $12 adults, $6 children ages 2-11.
$20 or less per person
16. CoCo Key Hotel and Water Resort offers day passes to its 54,000-square-foot water park that features 14 water slides and four pools. $19.95 weekday pass. Reservations are strongly recommended.
17. Orlando Repertory Theater, a professional theatre that caters to young audiences and families, presents performances based on classical and contemporary children's literature. $17 adults, $15 seniors/students, $11 children 17 and under.
18. Orlando Science Center (pictured) is a hands-on science museum with educational exhibits, programs, giant screen films and planetarium shows. $17 adults, $16 seniors/students, $12 children ages 3-11.
19. Ripley's Believe It or Not! Orlando Odditorium houses artifacts, art and interactive exhibits in 16 galleries of the odd and unusual from around the world. $19.99 for adults, $11.99 for children ages 4-12.
20. Showcase of Citrus, a 2,500-acre working citrus and cattle ranch, produces more than 50 seasonal varieties of citrus, ripe for the picking. Bring a blanket and enjoy a picnic among the acres of groves.$20 for a half bushel, $10 for a quarter bushel. Entrance into the groves is free. Eco-tours available for an additional cost.
For more budget-friendly ideas in Orlando, contact one of our Official Travel Counselors by phone, email or live chat.
Enjoy Orlando's warm and sunny weather into the fall season with these top 10 activities:
1. Enrich your artistic side with dance, theatre or orchestra performances during the start of the 2011-2012 arts season in Central Florida. For a sample of Orlando's cultural offerings, attend the special evening event Red Chair Affair Aug. 27 or take advantage of free admission to select Orlando museums on Museum Day Sept. 24.
2. Savor and save during Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month, a culinary celebration Sept. 1-30 with more than 65 Orlando-area restaurants offering three-course prix fixe dinners for just $30.
3. Take a leisurely stroll at some of Orlando's scenic outdoor attractions like Harry P. Leu Gardens (pictured), Bok Tower Gardens or Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens. Or, relax on a Scenic Boat Tour of the beautiful lakes and estates of Winter Park.
4. Rock out alongside fellow Christian music fans during Orlando's Faith and Fun Weekend Sept. 9-10. The weekend features contemporary Christian music festivals at two major theme parks - Night of Joy at Disney's Magic Kingdom and Rock the Universe at Universal Studios.
6. Sip and sample international cuisines and wines at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Sept. 30-Nov. 13 or the tastings from the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin hotels during their Food & Wine Classic Oct. 7-8.
7. Explore a world of epic proportions at the newest theme park to the Orlando area, LEGOLAND Florida, opening Oct. 15. As the world's largest LEGOLAND, the 150-acre family theme park will offer more than 50 rides, shows and attractions.
8. Trick-or-treat at some of the biggest Halloween bashes in Orlando. Little ones will enjoy hauntingly happy fun during select dates at Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (pictured) at Magic Kingdom (September-November), SeaWorld's Halloween Spooktacular (October) and Zoo Boo Bash at the Central Florida Zoo (October). For those looking for the ultimate Halloween scare, confront your fears at terrifying magnitudes at Universal's Halloween Horror Nights (September-October).
9. Follow golfers from the tee to the green during the Children's Miracle Network Classic (Oct. 20-23) on Disney's Magnolia and Palm courses. The 72-hole tournament brings together nearly 150 top PGA Tour players in a quest for a multi-million dollar purse.
10. Get your jam on during Orlando Calling, the new music festival coming to Orlando Nov. 12-13. The weekend event will host 100 bands on four stages, including headliners The Killers, Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band and Kid Rock.
If you have questions about your Orlando vacation, contact one of our Official Travel Counselors by phone, email or live chat.
Enjoy this special post by syndicated travel writer and mom, Eileen Ogintz:
We moms know the dirty little secret of family vacations: They're no vacation for us, especially when young kids are part of the equation.
Here's how to make sure you get a much deserved vacation break:
1. Go off on your own for a few days with friends. Come to Orlando for spa, shopping and good eats. (Pictured below: The Waldorf Astoria Spa by Guerlain)
2. Invite grandparents along so you have extra hands-and eyes-on the kids. But if you're planning a trip with the in-laws, discuss beforehand exactly how much they're willing to baby-sit and who is paying for what.
3. Join forces with another family. Not only can you share costs for that vacation condo or cottage and food but you can share child care chores and the kids have built-in friends. This is an especially good bet for single moms.
4. Bring along your favorite sitter. Let her (or him) entertain them while you steal an hour to yourself!
5. Hire a sitter for a few hours or evening. See if the resort or hotel has an employee list of approved babysitters. If you have friends in the area, ask for their recommendations. Sign the kids up for the hotel's kids' program (even several Disney hotels have them). Even if you only go so far as the hotel restaurant or the adult pool, you will still get a break.
6. Negotiate "just me" time with your significant other: you get an hour to sleep in while they get the kids fed; you watch the kids at the pool while he plays golf.
Most important, let go of the guilt! It's your vacation too.
To read more family travel tips from Eileen, visit takingthekids.com.
Christian music fan? Every September, Orlando hosts a "Faith and Fun Weekend" featuring evening contemporary Christian music festivals at two major theme parks.
From Sept. 9-10, catch live performances of top Christian music artists* at Walt Disney World Resort's Magic Kingdom and Universal Orlando Resort's Universal Studios. Festival tickets also include admission into the parks, so you can enjoy your favorite artists and theme park attractions.
Disney's Night of Joy features performances by artists in rock, pop and gospel, including MercyMe (pictured above), Newsboys, Jars of Clay and Marvin Sapp. Advance ticket prices are $51.95 for one night ($59.95 day of) and $92.95 for both nights. Group rates are available.
Universal's Rock the Universe, Florida's biggest Christian music festival, includes performances by Casting Crowns, Switchfoot, Relient K and Third Day. There will also be a non-denominational Sunday Morning Worship Service at select times (free with any Rock the Universe ticket; reservations required). Advance ticket prices are $51.99 for one night ($59.99 day of) and $84.99 for both nights ($85.99 day of). Special weekend packages and group rates are available.
For more fall events in Orlando, check out our calendar of events.
*Artists subject to change.
Summer time is heatin' up in Orlando as we're taking on a second round of summer Aug. 15-Sept. 30. That's 45 extra days to soak up the sun at one of these cool pools and get the best deals of the entire year.
From tropical oases and lazy rivers to adventurous water slides and rockin' underwater sound systems, these 10 Orlando pools will have you cooling off in style. Check out our slideshow below! (Pictured above is the Orlando World Center Marriott's pool, voted one of the world's coolest pools by Forbes!)
To see a description of each pool, follow these easy steps: press play button on slideshow below, expand the slideshow (bottom right icon), then press "Show Info" (top right).
Click here for more information about our "Second Summer" and special savings.
Just when you think summer is coming to an end, think again! In Orlando, you can experience a second summer with the best deals of the entire year.
Orlando's deal season, running from Aug. 15 - Sept. 30 (that's 45 days!), features the cream of crop of savings, including up to 65% off on accommodations and special offers on theme parks, dining, golf and more.
Here are some of the sunny savings* available:
• 5-star Waldorf Astoria Orlando - rates from $141 per night
• 4-star Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress - rates from $118 per night
• 3-star CoCo Key Hotel and Water Resort - rates from $85 per night
• 3-star The Wyndham Orlando Resort - rates from $63 per night
• Walt Disney World Resort - get a free dining plan when you buy the New
Memories Vacation Package (restrictions apply)
• Universal Orlando Resort - save up to 30% at an on-site hotel, plus stay 3
nights or longer and receive $150 in resort savings
• SeaWorld Orlando - adult tickets at kids prices, plus a second day free
The month of September is also Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month when more than 65 of the best Orlando-area restaurants offer three-course dinners for just $30.
So don't store those summer shorts just yet and enjoy a second summer in Orlando! Find more details on rates and offers at VisitOrlando.com/deals.
*Subject to change and availability