It’s no secret that I love going to the Disney Parks. But, as much as I love the Disney Parks, I’m not blind to the fact that the prices are getting out of hand. And like many, we have a budget for all of our family vacations. If we can’t stick to that budget, we don’t go.
I’ve had to get a lot more wise with how we spend our money. It’s honestly they only way we’re able to go as much as we do (and by that, I mean once a year).
But, even then, many things still end up being way too expensive and out plans change. And for the first time ever, we stayed off property for our recent trip to Orlando, simply due to cost and space.
So, if Walt Disney World has (finally) priced you out, don’t cancel your trip altogether. But, instead, consider one of these less expensive options.
Margaritaville is quickly growing into a destination all of its own.
The Resorts are beautiful by themselves. But, now that there’s Margaritaville at Sea, you can easily do a “Land and Sea” vacation from Hollywood Beach (about 1 hour away) or Orlando (about 2 1/2 hours away).
Current Cruises are short (2 nights to Grand Bahama). But, if you’ve never cruised before, it’s the perfect length to “test the waters”.
And the prices are good. After looking at the cost for my family, I found the full price cost of one of their cruises can be as low as $900, after taxes, fees, and port expenses. And I have 3 children, so I’m required to get 2 Staterooms on most Cruise Lines, as most staterooms can only accommodate 4 people. And Margaritaville at Sea is no different.
Unlike the Theme Parks, occupancy does count for children under 3 on Cruise Lines since they are a “soul at sea.”
Universal Studios can get expensive, especially if you purchase Express Passes. But, overall, it’s probably going to be cheaper than booking a trip to Walt Disney World.
Admittedly, there’s less for young children to ride. My youngest son is even too short to ride the slow moving train, The High In The Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride, in Islands of Adventure.
However, if you have older kids who like thrill rides, Universal Studios is a blast!
They also get bonus points for having Harry Potter, The Simpsons, Marvel Comics, and Jurassic Park. And now that Epic Universe, Universal’s newest Theme Park, is being built, they have all the things my older boys love.
But, not only is Universal Studios cheaper, it’s also a heck of a lot easier to plan. No Park Reservations. No waking up early to book attractions. And no windows to ride those attractions.
Who says you can’t love Disney AND Universal? It’s truly one of our favorite family vacations.
No matter what age you are, there’s something for everyone at a Sea World Park. If you love roller coasters, Sea World has some pretty good ones. And if you have little ones, there’s an entire land, dedicated to Sesame Street. Who wouldn’t love to hang out on Sesame Street?
If you subscribe to their emails, you’ll notice that they run deals all the time
There’s no reason to pay full price for your family vacations ever again.
Whether you choose an Eat Free Package, Howl-o-scream Package, Christmas Celebration Package, or any other package Sea World is promoting at the moment, you’re sure to get a great price.
And Sea World is more than just rides and animals. Spooky fans love the Haunted Houses during their nighttime Event, Howl-o-scream. During the day, there’s a family friendly Halloween event called Sea World Spooktacular. This way, everyone can participate in Halloween.
During the Christmas Season, they hold Sea World Christmas Celebration, with lights and food and entertainment. It certainly gets you into the Christmas spirit.
Owned by Sea World, Discovery Cove is perfect for those who want to learn more about and interact with the animals.
You won’t find any water slides at Discovery Cove. But, what you do find are once-in-a-lifetime experiences at one of the most beautiful places.
It’s definitely not like the other destinations on this list. It’s certainly not the cheapest, either. But, if your Travel Agent can find you a good Package deal, then it’s a lot more affordable. There’s so much included in the cost of your ticket, including all food and drinks, snorkeling, wet suits and gear, towels, sunscreen (Panama Jack), and more
Certain sunscreens aren’t safe for our animal friends. But, because Discovery Cove doesn’t expect you do your homework to find out which sunscreen is reef save, they provide the sunscreen for you.
They do not require you do use their sunscreen. So, if you are allergic to Panama Jack, or simply want to bring your own, you are permitted to do so. I would just be sure that whatever you plan to wear is reef safe.
Also owned by Sea World is Busch Gardens. It’s located in Tampa, so if you were planning your trip around activities in Orlando, the 1-1/2 hour drive isn’t exactly ideal.
But, if the drive doesn’t bother you, let your Travel Agent know. The Sea World and Busch Gardens Packages are likely going to be the best deal. Many give you unlimited Park entries to both Parks for your entire stay, which. Aquatica, Sea World’s Water Park, and Adventure Island, Busch Garden’s Water Park, can be added on, as well.
While everyone can enjoy Legos(it says so on the box), Legoland is geared towards younger kids, ages 2 – 12. If your child loves Legos, this could quite possibly be one of their favorite family vacations.
Orlando has no shortage of hotels to stay at. But, if you decide to go all out on the Lego Theming, Legoland has 3 to choose from: The Pirate Island, the Legoland Hotel, and the Beach Retreat, that looks like little Lego houses.
Like many Theme Parks in the area, Legoland goes all out for the Holidays. If you’re traveling during Halloween, your little ones can participate in Brick or Treat, which just so happens to be the cutest name ever.
While the events at Christmas doesn’t have an adorable name (it’s simply called Holidays at LEGOLAND), there is a giant Lego Christmas tree, Lego Christmas Characters, and more.
Peppa Pig Theme Park
Owned by Legoland, Peppa Pig Theme Park is the newest Theme Park in the Orlando area. It is a place for the youngest members of your family to play and explore. Geared towards kids, ages 1 – 6 years old, you’ll find that all of the attractions are specifically designed for this age group.
You’re not going to find anything for older kids do to. So, if you have kids in different age groups, like I do, it may not work for “family vacations.”
But, if you have young children, they’ll have a blast at Peppa Pig Theme Park, especially if they know who the characters are.
Ready to book your magical vacation?
Planning a trip can be overwhelming. Don’t do it alone. Get a helping hand.
This post contains affiliate links. By providing these links, we may receive a small commission when you purchase items through these links. This does not come at an additional cost to you, nor does it provide us with any of your information. These commissions, however small, help small businesses, such as Explore With Catherine, stay afloat. So, THANK YOU!