Orlando for Couples (& on a budget!)
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For our Christmas vacation, the husband & I went to Orlando for a week. Seeing as we had a blast, ate a lot of good food, & did it all on a budget (or as budgeted as you can get for Orlando), I decided to put together this little guide for other couples looking to make the most of their time in Orlando, Florida.
First, we decided we wanted to go to a theme park, because let’s face it, Orlando is known for those! We easily decided that it would be Universal Orlando for us. My first tip for enjoying whichever theme park you choose is: do NOT go at Christmas time if you can help it! We did not realize this is the busiest time for them until right before we went (we still enjoyed ourselves though)!
We purchased the tickets through Undercover Tourist because they were cheaper than buying directly from Universal and they had some amazing reviews. We’re all about making the most of our money, so it was pretty much a no-brainer to use UT plus we paid for a 2 Day Park-to-Park pass but got a 3rd day free!
When it comes to which ticket to buy, I highly recommend paying a little extra to get the park-to-park. We enjoyed being able to go back & forth each day, and if you find you like one park more than the other, you’re not forced to stay in it the whole day.
Top Things to See or Ride in Universal:
- Diagon Alley & Knockturn Alley (Universal Studios)
- The Mummy ride (US)
- Transformers ride (US)
- The Simpsons ride (US)
- The Hulk ride (Islands of Adventure)
- Flight of the Hippogriff ride (IOA)
- King Kong ride (IOA)
- Escape from Gringotts ride (IOA)
You may notice The Forbidden Journey is not on this list & that is because we did not even try to get on it because the line never dropped below a two-hour wait. We waited that long for Escape from Gringotts and just couldn’t do it again.
Also not on the list is Hogsmeade Village & that is because it was a mad house and we couldn’t even stop to look around and enjoy it.
The other thing we did a lot of when in Orlando was EAT! I seriously think most of our days were planned around what we wanted to eat for lunch & dinner. And I am okay with that because I love good food.
The top things to eat & drink in Orlando:
- Finnegan’s Bar & Grill (US)
- The Leaky Cauldron (US)
- Tako Cheena (Mills 50 District)
- The Brass Tap (M5D)
- Ten10 Brewing (M5D)
- Butterbeer! (US/IOA)
Yes, butterbeer gets on this list because the hype is right! We enjoyed so many cups in those three days – cold for the husband, hot for me. And having our last cup on that last day, we were actually kind of sad to know it.
Also, there is a lot to see & do in the Mills 50 District of Orlando, but we just didn’t have time to explore it all. However, we HIGHLY recommend going to Tako Cheena & enjoying anything off their Asian-Latin fusion menu, drinking a craft beer & eating some fresh food at The Brass Tap, and hanging out with the rad bartenders at Ten10 Brewing with one of their amazing beers in hand.
Bonus Food List:
1. Sakura Asian Fusion – In Kissimmee, we had some amazing sushi & gyoza. The building is an old Waffle House (or something) & the inside is shiny, bright, & full of orchids, but the service and food is out of this world.
2. Hella’s – We took a day trip to drive out to Tarpon Springs specifically for this Greek restaurant. It was highly praised by my mom & stepdad, who have made several 400+ mile trips just to eat here, and it was well worth it.
While the trip was expensive, at least by our standards, we were still able to have fun & come back home with money still in the bank. I’ll leave you with a few more tips to help stay on budget:
- Bring water & snacks to Universal! This allowed us to eat a light, free breakfast and have something to drink throughout the day.
- Parking is NOT free at Universal. You are looking at $20-$30 each day, so make sure to budget for it.
- If your hotel has a kitchen, use it to eat-in for some meals!
- Start saving way ahead of time (we have an Adventure Fund Box). This allows you to have plenty of spending money without breaking the bank.
Do you have any money-saving tips or great eats to add? Tell me below in the comments!