The Ultimate One Day in Orlando on a Budget: Free and Cheap Sights

Are you planning a trip to Orlando in Florida and looking for ideas on how to spend one day in Orlando on a budget? In this article, we share the best Orlando itinerary along with some crazy money-saving tips to visit Orlando.

Orlando is not a cheap place to visit in Florida – with popular theme park access, dining, and accommodation. Don’t worry. It’s definitely possible to visit Orlando on a budget, which is why we are here to help you save money with our Orlando travel guide without skipping out on the fun.

One Day in Orlando on a Budget

Located in the central part of the state, Orlando is one of the most beautiful places in Florida. If you plan to go to Orlando for one day and want to make the trip memorable, and budget-friendly, you may also like to read our 25 cheapest ways to travel across the US.

We are going to cover all you need to know before your budget trip to Orlando.


How to Spend a day in Orlando on a budget

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Best Time to Visit Orlando

Summer is the high season in Orlando, therefore you will see the worst crowd and higher rates in hotels and restaurants during the summer months. So, for the budget travelers, the best time to visit Orlando is the offseason when the weather is beautiful, the crowd is thin and the hotels offer the cheapest deals.

September to November and mid-January to February is the perfect time to visit Orlando on the cheap.

Downtown Orlando
Downtown Orlando

How to Get to Orlando on a Budget

Finding a cheap flight to Orlando can be pretty difficult, especially during the summer months. Orlando has two airport options, Orlando International Airport(MCO) and Sanford International Airport(SFB). However, MCO is the bigger airport that has high flight availability. Both airports offer a taxi service and car rentals.

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Another option to reach Orlando is train service. Amtrak offers frequent train service from New York to Miami with numerous train stops including Orlando. It takes around 20 hours and is costlier than a flight.

How to Get around Orlando

Always prefer Uber over a taxi service from the airport to the hotel. Not only for the airport to hotel transport, Uber is the easiest and cheapest way to get around the city. Don’t forget to ask if your hotel provides a complimentary shuttle service to nearby theme parks and attractions.

While exploring the downtown area, take the complementary LYMMO service that offers visitors quick access to tourist attractions, restaurants, and entertainment. I-Ride is also popular in Orlando that runs along International Drive and the fare is pretty cheap($1 for kids, $2 for adults). If you are a first-timer, check out this detailed Orlando travel guide.

On the Way to Walt Disney World Park
On the Way to Walt Disney World Park

Where to Stay in Orlando on a Budget

Whether you are a budget traveler or a solo backpacker, you can’t deny that there is no better way to save a few bucks than by staying in a hostel. Hostels are great places to meet fellow travelers from all over the world.

If you travel with family or cannot stay in a hostel, rent a room or apartment which is a few kilometers away from the theme park. Especially for people who have cars that can easily save some bucks just by staying away from the theme parks.

On the other hand, most hotels near the theme parks offer ticket packages and priority park access. Try to stay closer to Disney World than Universal Studios. The hotels near Disney World are comparatively cheaper. Cabana Bay Beach Resort is one of the best hotels in Orlando on a budget.

If you want to save money from your accommodation budget, you must check 10 amazing tips to find cheap hotels from anywhere.

Eating on a Budget in Orlando

One of the best ways to save money while visiting Orlando is to find cheap and delicious food. Which usually means you won’t be eating near the theme park area. Instead, eat a large breakfast and a large dinner away from the park and carry a snack for lunch. Cooking for yourself, and carrying ready-to-eat food is also highly recommended when visiting Orlando on a backpacking budget. Check 10 more crazy tips on how to eat cheap while traveling.

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One Day in Orlando Itinerary

Visiting all the tourist attractions in a day can be hectic. But if you are running out of time and have only 24 hours in Orlando, you have to skip some landmarks and spots. Check out what to see in Orlando in one day on a budget.

Disney Parade in Magic Kingdom
Disney Parade in Magic Kingdom

Things to do in Orlando on a Budget

From world-famous theme parks to beautiful gardens and countless outdoor adventures – this central Florida city is a hub of the ultimate entertainment.

Walt Disney World Park

Disney World must be on your USA bucket list. There are a total of four parks under Walt Disney World Park. Prioritize your Disney Park trip, because you cannot see all the parks in one day. Our top two recommendations are Magic Kingdom Park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

However, Universal Orlando is also a beautiful theme park. So, Disney World or Universal Orlando? Click here if you cannot decide which one to include in your one day in Orlando itinerary.

One Day in Orlando | Walt Disney World Park
Walt Disney World Park

Visit Hollywood Studios in the morning and enjoy three rides using the FastPass. Then come to the Magic Kingdom and end your day by watching the night show and fireworks.

If you visit Orlando in winter, you should not miss Mickey’s Christmas celebration in Walt Disney World. It is one of the best places to celebrate Christmas in Florida. Enjoy the enthralling Christmas events in Walt Disney World with your kid.

Tips: To utilize your short but precious time effectively, plan ‘what to see’, and ‘what not to see’ before your visit to Walt Disney World Park. The food near the theme park is very expensive. However, carrying your own food into the park is allowed.

Winter Park Farmer’s Market

Orlando is the world’s theme park capital. But there are a lot of things to do in Orlando besides the theme parks. Explore fine plants, baked goods and much more in the local shops at the Farmer’s Market held at the old train depot on each Saturday from 7 am to 1 pm.

Winter Park Farmer’s Market
Winter Park Farmer’s Market

Lake Eola Park

Located in the heart of downtown Orlando, Lake Eola offers mesmerizing views, a .9-mile walking sidewalk, and some very large swans. Rent a swan-shaped paddle boat and enjoy the surrounding views.

Orlando on a Budget | Lake Eola Park
Lake Eola Park

Read Next: 15 Best Lakes in Florida for Weekend Vacations

Old Town Kissimmee

Get a different taste in Old Town in Kissimmee. Explore the retro complex of shops, restaurants, and buildings in this old-fashioned small town. Enjoy live music on the central stage, amusement rides, and lots of food. The most popular event in Old Town is the weekly Saturday Nite Classic Car Cruise, a must-see thing in Old Town.

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Disney Springs

Want to enjoy the Disney theme park atmosphere without spending any money? Head to Disney Springs, which is completely free to explore the lakeside corridor of shops, restaurants, and bars. Enjoy the lively atmosphere of Disney Springs, formerly known as Down Town Disney where parking is totally free. There’s a Lego Store and outside the center, everyone is welcome to play with the bucket of bricks. Undoubtedly, it is one of the best free things to do in Orlando.

Disney Springs
Disney Springs

Orlando Brewing

Enjoy a 30-minute free tour in Orlando Brewing where you can learn the history and the process of making organic beer from a brewmaster. Don’t forget to stop by the taproom to grab a pint of beer. 

If you are flexible with your time or have some extra time, visit any of the natural springs near Orlando. Wekiwa Springs State Park is just 20 minutes driving distance away from Orlando. It is a great place to watch marine life and do adventure activities like kayaking and swimming in the spring.

Tips on Spending to One Day in Orlando on a Budget

  • Book your vacation as early as possible, you’ll get access to cheaper hotel and cheaper flights.
  • Buy Disney World and Universal Studios tickets at a discounted price from Undercover Tourist, Official Ticket Center, and get some amazing deal or combo.
  • Finding a budget rental car in Orlando can be pretty hard. Getting around Orlando is easy, you can explore all the nearby Orlando attractions by Uber and Lyft.
  • Don’t buy souvenirs from the theme park. Outside the theme park, you can find themed souvenirs at a discounted price.
  • Pack your own meal while exploring Orlando. It will save some serious bucks on your budget trip to Orlando.

If you are flexible with your time, check out these amazing day trip ideas from Orlando.

If you are looking for what to pack for Orlando, click on the link to learn more about the packing list.


One Day in Orlando on a Budget

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  1. Fantastic article, especially for the budget travelers who are looking for a budget trip to Orlando.

  2. charmaine says:

    I cant wait to visit Disney again and this time with my sons. I have visited quite a few but not this one and this is very helpful for budget travellers. thank you

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