Universal Orlando Resort: On a budget
I'm not going to pretend I haven't written a blog post for you guys in almost 2 whole years. I honestly can't believe it myself. But with navigating my travel business through the travel shutdown, family life, sickness, and travel finally picking back up and making me work again (haha), I kind of accidentally abandoned it. But, really, post-pandemic, there's not a lot that is relevant anymore. Things have changed so much in the industry. Over the next few weeks, I will be taking down most of the previous posts and updating them. And of course, one of my New Year's Goals is to write more--not only blogs like this one, but exclusive travel guides and tip sheets available only to my clients to help them make happy memories on their vacations. And now, to the main feature:
Here are the money saving tips:
We've all felt the hit of inflation. And I think the most common answer I get when discussing budget for my clients is "as cheap as possible." We can talk about that answer later, but right now let's talk about Universal Orlando resort. When it comes to this particular theme park, they usually have at least one great deal that I can offer my clients on any given trip. But in general, prices are prices, and they are set. So if you can't really save money on your hotel and ticket package, what are some ways you can save after you book? I'm so glad you asked.
Last weekend, my family and I went to Universal Orlando for a break before we enter into full holiday mode. We had a blast. Everybody should go at least once, even if you're not a roller coaster or Harry Potter fan. There truly is something for everyone. But, of the 4 trips I've done so far this year, our budget was a little tighter this time and we had to get creative to make our dollars go farther. Here's what we did:
If you've followed me for any length of time, you might be surprised by this one. And honestly, I cringe as I type it (that's why it's first...to get it over with). I am not a fan of staying off-site and I hardly ever recommend it. Especially with the addition of the 2 value hotels giving you all the exclusive benefits of staying on-site with the price-point of an off-site hotel, the benefits almost always outweigh what little savings there might be. However, in our case for this particular trip, we had some resources (read: timeshare membership) that made it much more cost effective for us to stay off-site. We would have rather stayed on-site and, having done both, on-site is definitely the way to go. But if you absolutely find a great deal and really need to save that couple of hundred dollars to be able to go, I recommend it. But remember, you'll be missing out on:
Estimated Savings for us this trip: $240
bring your own snacks.
We're big breakfast and small lunch eaters, especially when we're riding thrill rides at an amusement park. So we went grocery shopping before the trip and brought along our cooler packed with eggs, bacon, orange juice, biscuits, and grits. We cooked breakfast each morning before we left for the parks, then packed our park bags with snacks. Make sure to pack plenty of protein! This breakfast cooked by my hubby was better than any restaurant!
This not only saved us money on 2 meals in the parks, but we ate "lunch" while we were in line for rides, so we didn't lose any park time by stopping to eat a full meal.
We had the advantage of a full kitchen in our room, so breakfast was easy. But what if you don't have a full kitchen? On previous trips, we have packed our own continental breakfast--muffins, pastries, fruit--or our hot plate/griddle for easy eggs, bacon, and pancakes.
Estimated Savings for us this trip: $300
Skip the souvenir cups.
We left ours at home this trip and brought regular water bottles. Ice water at the freestyle machines is free, so when we were ready to refill our drinks, we drank water. Not only did we save on cup activation, but it was the healthier option. And you know that yucky feeling you get when you combine sun and sugar? We didn't get that. We also didn't have any sticky messes when the water bottles leaked or spilled (which didn't happen as much this trip because we packed leak-proof bottles).
Estimated Savings for us this trip: $110
We each have a park bag, and they are tiny. There's a picture of mine somewhere on my Facebook page, but they are just big enough to fit a water bottle and some sunscreen (and obviously...snacks). We stopped carrying the larger backpack for theme park trips because of the bulk and the temptation to pack a ton of stuff into it making someone have to carry around, well...a ton of stuff. But the free lockers for rides that require them are also small. Carrying small bags mean our stuff can fit into 1 or 2 lockers (one for each ticket holder) and we don't have to pay for a big day use locker just to ride.
Estimated savings for us this trip: $60
Estimated total savings: $710
That's a huge chunk of change. Honestly, we probably saved enough to take a whole different weekend trip.
With a little creativity and planning, you can theme park on a budget.
Remember those travel guides I mentioned?
The first one is almost ready to be released! I've been working for months to pull together almost 30 years of experiences at Universal Studios Resort in Orlando. It's packed with tips, advice, itineraries, must-haves for your visit, and a lot more. And it's ONLY available if you book your package through me.
Fill out the theme park quote request form to get started.
Tales of a travel agent. Reviews, lists, and anything in between. *Opinions are my own and do not reflect the views of any travel companies mentioned. There may be affiliate links in these posts. If you use these links to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission.