How Much Spending Money to Take to Orlando, Florida (2023)

Orlando, Florida is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. Home to incredible theme parks, amazing experiences and delicious food.

As such, it’s very easy to overspend while on vacation here (I speak from experience). But how much money do you really need when going to this attraction-packed city?

We recommend budgeting an average of $100 per person, per day for your Orlando vacation. This covers; parking, gas, Ubers, food, drinks, snacks, miscellaneous spending (think band-aids & penny pressing machines) as well as the occasional souvenir but not theme park tickets or hotels.

Of course, this is just an average. When we visited Orlando as a young couple, we were more than happy to save money by taking a hotel’s complimentary shuttle bus to the theme parks, packing snacks and eating at McDonald’s.

Today, however, we eat at least half of our evening meals in a restaurant and regularly dine inside the theme parks, as such we often spend slightly more.

Orlando Spending Money Calculator

This calculator has been designed to help provide you with a quick ballpark figure as to how much spending money you’ll want to bring to Orlando based on the number of adults and children as well as your level of travel.

A more detailed explanation of cost estimates that have been used to create this calculator is broken down in detail below.

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This spending money estimate is based on parking, gas, Ubers, food, drinks, snacks, miscellaneous spending and the occasional souvenir. It does not include the cost of transport to Orlando, rental cars, accommodation or theme park tickets.

Spending Money Factors to Consider

There are a handful of factors that can significantly impact how much you spend while visiting Orlando, Florida. They include;

  • Duration of your trip
  • Domestic or international travel
  • Car hire or public transport
  • Staying on-site (at Walt Disney World or Universal Studios) or off-site
  • Staying in a hotel or a villa
  • Number of people you’re travelling with
  • Type of holiday (once in a lifetime or semi-regular summer vacation)

Things to Budget for an Orlando Vacation

Whether you’re travelling to Orlando solo, as a couple or on a family vacation, there are six key categories you’ll need to consider budgeting for;

I’ve gone ahead and broken this post down into each of these six categories to help you understand the costs (and ways to save) for each.

Transport

There are two types of travel you’re going to want to consider for your Orlando vacation;

  • Getting to Orlando
  • Getting around Orlando

Since we’re discussing spending money, I’ve gone ahead and assumed you’ve got ‘getting to Orlando‘ covered and instead now need to consider the costs involved with getting around Orlando.

There are two ways you can opt to travel around Orlando;

  • In your own car (that you drove to Orlando) or in a rental car.
  • By using a rideshare service, public transport and walking.

Driving in Orlando

The cost of driving in Orlando has increased significantly in recent years and subsequently. As such it’s well worth researching the cost and flexibility of a rental car in Orlando compared to rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft.

Best Place To Rent A Car In Orlando

Discover Cars compare car rental deals from more than 500 partners so that you can choose which is best for your trip.

If you’ve taken a road trip to Orlando, then in the wider scope of your vacation having a car is of course going to make a lot of sense.

However, if you are looking at hiring a rental car while in Orlando then it’s worth considering some of the additional costs you’ll face when doing so. The additional costs you’ll want to consider when hiring a car in Orlando include;

  • Gas
  • Hotel Parking
  • Attraction Parking

Cost of Gas in Orlando

I recommend budgeting between $7 and $15 per day for gas when hiring a car in Orlando. Of course, the exact amount will depend on a variety of factors including;

  • Type of vehicle
  • Trip duration
  • Amount of driving
  • Self refuelling

For example, many rental companies charge a premium both in the cost of gas and in the form of a service charge if you ask them to refuel the car for you. Instead, it’s cheaper to refuel the car yourself before returning it.

However, if you opt to refuel the car yourself then in most cases you need to refuel within five miles of the airport, otherwise, you’ll be charged an excess. If you’re returning the car to MCO I recommend the 7-Eleven garage next to the highway.

Be sure to keep your receipt and photograph the car’s gas meter before returning the vehicle. Budget attempted to charge me an additional $100 recently claiming that I did not return the car with a full tank and I needed this information to prove otherwise.

We hired a car during our most recent trip to Orlando, Florida (September 2023) and spent roughly $7 per day in gas.

This was based on an economy four-door vehicle and included visiting one of the beaches near Orlando and a trip to the Kennedy Space Center.

Cost of Parking at Hotels in Orlando

The cost of parking in selected hotels in Orlando can be as high as $25 per night. Unsurprisingly, this significantly increases the overall cost of hiring a car, and in some cases makes it uneconomically viable to do so.

However, much like many vacation rentals, there are selected hotels and resorts in Orlando that offer free self-parking.

As such if you must hire a car in Orlando, then I recommend thoroughly researching your accommodation and opting for somewhere with free or discounted parking.

For example, if the cost of a hotel is $100 a night but the parking is $25 and you have a hire car, then the total cost is $125 a night. In some cases, you may be able to find a better hotel with free parking for $115 a night, which works out cheaper in total.

Cost of Parking at Theme Parks in Orlando

The cost of self-parking at the majority of major theme parks in Orlando and the surrounding areas is $25 per day.

This is a big expense, especially if you plan to spend several days at the likes of Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando. Subsequently, you will want to budget for parking if you’re hiring a car in Orlando.

With parking at selected hotels in Orlando costing up to $25 per day and parking at certain attractions starting at $25 per day, you can easily spend upwards of $50 per day simply parking a vehicle.

Rideshare, Public Transport & Walking

Using a rideshare service such as Uber and Lyft or public transport removes the need for you to pay for parking at hotels and attractions in Orlando. However, it can also reduce the flexibility and spontaneity of your travel plans.

Now that we travel with a young child, we always hire a car in Orlando as the flexibility is worth the additional cost. However, when travelling to Orlando in the ten years prior, we always relied on a combination of rideshare services, shuttle buses, public transport and walking.

In our opinion, the success of this combination relies solely on where you stay while in Orlando. As such we recommend staying;

  • In a hotel on-site at Universal Orlando or Walt Disney World. That way you’re able to either walk to the parks (where applicable) or take the complimentary transport.

An onsite hotel at either the Walt Disney World Resort or Universal Studios Resort generally costs 10% to 20% more when compared to similar hotels in the area.

However, the amount of money you’ll likely save by using the onsite complimentary transport instead of Uber’s and Lyft’s can often reduce that difference significantly.

Get $15 off your first Lyft ride by using code: CORA86601

This combined with the convenience of being able to go from our hotel room to the parks in under 20 minutes means that we look to stay onsite wherever our budget allows.

Of course, if you’re staying at Walt Disney World and want to travel to Universal Studios then you’ll need to consider the cost of a return Uber or Lyft (which was roughly $25 each way – $50 return, on our previous visit).

Alongside this, you’ll also want to consider the cost of getting from the airport (where applicable) to your accommodation.

If you’re flying into Orlando International Airport (MCO) then you’ll be looking at around $40 each way to most hotels in the Orlando area.

Meanwhile, if you’re flying into Sanford Airport (SFB) then you’ll be looking at around $60 each way to most hotels in the Orlando area.

Finally, if you’re flying into the likes of Melbourne Orlando Airport (MLB) or Tampa International Airport (TPA) then you’ll be looking at around $100 each way to most hotels in the Orlando area.

On one of our previous trips to Orlando, Florida (Sept ’22) we stayed at Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn & Suites at the Universal Studios Resort and used the complimentary transport to the Universal Studios parks.

Transport from the airport to our hotel was included (return), and as such we only had to pay for rideshare services to other theme parks, shopping malls, outlets and stores in the Orlando area.

Our total spend on Uber and Lyft over 14 days was $435 (averaging $31.07 per day).

Accommodation

In my estimate of $100 per person, per day for Orlando spending money I haven’t accounted for the cost of accommodation, and instead assume that you’ve booked that in advance of your trip.

However, accommodation is still worth mentioning as where you stay in Orlando can have a significant impact on how much spending money you need.

For example, staying in a hotel with free breakfast will reduce the amount you need to budget for food while staying in a suite with a full kitchen could save you money on food and drink.

Of course, it’s not just the type of accommodation you stay in while visiting Orlando that’s going to make the difference, it’s also the location.

For example, International Drive and Lake Buena Vista are both popular areas, however, they each have benefits and drawbacks that may or may not apply to the type of Orlando vacation you’re looking for.

Other financial influencing factors include;

  • How much money you will spend on gas
  • How much money you will pay for parking
  • Whether you’ll be able to get a shuttle to the theme park
  • Whether you’ll be able to walk to some of the theme parks
  • The cost of an Uber to different attractions & the local grocery store
  • How much you’ll need to budget for food (is breakfast included?)

In some cases, spending more on a hotel can reduce the amount of spending money you require and increase the overall quality of your trip.

If you’ve not already booked your accommodation or can change your accommodation then here are some guides that might help;

Attractions

Much like accommodation, my estimate of $100 per person, per day assumes that you’ve purchased your major theme park tickets in advance.

However, the number of attractions and type of attractions you visit during your Orlando vacation will still impact the amount of spending money you require.

If you’re based in the US or Canada I recommend Klook for your Orlando theme park tickets. They have the most competitive prices and a range of different ticket options to suit all budgets and requirements.

If you’re based in the UK I recommend buying your Orlando theme park tickets from AttractionTix. They have the most competitive prices and incredible customer service.

For example, it’s more than likely that you’ll spend significantly more money on a day at the theme parks or at one of Orlando’s water parks when compared to a day relaxing by the pool.

It’s also more than likely that you’ll spend more money at major attractions such as Magic Kingdom and Universal Studios Florida than you will at smaller attractions such as Gatorland and the Crayola Experience.

As such if you plan to spend the majority of your time while in Orlando inside the city’s major theme parks then you may want to add a 10% buffer to your budget for food, drinks and souvenirs.

Meanwhile, if you are planning on investing in ‘skip the line’ passes such as Disney Genie+ or the Universal Express Pass, then you’ll want to budget for those separately as they are often very expensive.

While Orlando is predominantly marketed towards families with young children there are still plenty of things to do in Orlando for teens. However, the majority of these attractions cost more than similar attractions would for smaller children.

Therefore if you’re travelling with teens it’s worth classing them as adults when using the Orlando spending money calculator above.

If you’re yet to plan what you’re doing while in Orlando then consider some of the more budget-friendly Orlando attractions or even some of Orlando’s indoor attractions if you’re planning on visiting during the rainy season.

Food & Drink

Unlike some of the other spending money categories listed above, the amount you budget and subsequently spend on food and drink while on vacation in Orlando can vary dramatically.

For example, you may be happy dining in Orlando’s budget-friendly restaurants for the majority of your vacation and therefore only spend $30 – $40 per person, per day on food and drink.

Alternatively, you may be happy to skip breakfast, and have a quick service lunch but have a table service dinner every evening with at least two courses and a glass of wine. In which case you’ll likely spend in the region of $70 – $90 per person, per day.

It’s therefore incredibly important that you understand the types of dining experiences that you personally are looking to have on your trip to Orlando.

Unsurprisingly, some of the best family-friendly places to eat in Orlando are table service restaurants and are subsequently on the more expensive side.

Personally, we only eat at these types of restaurants once or twice on a one or two-week trip, and spend the rest of the time eating quick service meals, takeout and cooking at our accommodation. As such on average, we spend around $40 per day on food and drink while in Orlando.

However, as our son Oliver gets older we’ll likely invest in more character dining experiences at the Walt Disney World Resort which is likely to see our average budget increase closer to $60 each instead.

You’re likely to spend the most money on food and drink during days at the theme parks since prices are higher. However, there are a number of ways to save money on food at Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World without compromising on the experience.

One of our favourites is bringing snacks into the theme parks. The price of a bag of chips inside the Walt Disney World Resort for example is four times that of Walmart, Walgreens or Target.

Food, drink and snacks can be brought into both Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando provided that they meet the security rules and regulations set out by each theme park.

However, even then some snacks are better than others given the heat and humidity in Florida. Some of our favourite snacks to bring to Walt Disney World include;

  • Chips & Crisps
  • Croissants & Pastries
  • Pretzels
  • Cereal & Granola Bars
  • Breadstick & Cheese Dippers

Souvenirs

The amount of money you could spend on souvenirs during your trip to Orlando, Florida is near enough endless.

I’ve seen people spend $1,000+ on a single transaction inside stores at Magic Kingdom. However, I’ve also known plenty of people to visit Orlando and go without souvenirs altogether.

When travelling to Orlando as a young couple, we didn’t have a lot of spending money for Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World, because we simply couldn’t afford it. All our money had gone on the trip itself and we were totally fine with that.

At most, we’d have $25 each to spend on Orlando souvenirs and would look to maximise that as much as possible.

If you’re looking at purchasing souvenirs from Walt Disney World then be sure to visit the Disney Character Warehouse.

There are two Disney Character Warehouses in Orlando. One at Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets & one at Orlando International Premium Outlets.

However, as we got older and subsequently had more disposable income to spend we were able to purchase popular Universal Orlando souvenirs such as a Harry Potter robe and one of the Harry Potter wands from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter as well as a Memory Maker for photos at Walt Disney World.

However, since we now travel to Orlando with a child, the amount of souvenirs we purchase and subsequently the amount of money we spend on souvenirs is likely to increase further.

Miscellaneous

There are a handful of other miscellaneous expenses that you’ll want to consider budgeting for when visiting Orlando, Florida.

These will vary depending on a host of factors, including the circumstances you encounter, where you’re staying, who you’re travelling with & how you’re travelling.

However, consider thinking about the expenses that might be associated with;

  • Any dietary needs you have
  • Any money you might want to spend at the airport
  • Tips at restaurants, hotels etc.
  • Any first aid purchases you need to make
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Laundry fees
  • Hiring pushchairs & wheelchairs

Miscellaneous expenses are tough to plan for in advance. However, we’ve experienced something along the lines of everything mentioned above at least once during a trip to Orlando.

As a general rule, we find that it’s always worth budgeting $100 per person for these miscellaneous expenses (up to $500 per trip).

We rarely go over $100 in this category. However, it’s always nice knowing we’ve budgeted accordingly should we need to hire a wheelchair or do some emergency laundry.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have you still got questions about how much spending money you need for a trip to Orlando? Here are some of the most frequently asked questions first-time visitors have.

How Much Does it Cost to Go to Florida?

Excluding transport, a trip to Florida costs between $125 and $600 per person per day. However, the exact figure will typically depend on where in Florida you’re travelling to, who you’re travelling with, how long you’re travelling for and the type of trip you’re looking to have.

For example, if you’re a couple on a budget, then $250 per day for your accommodation, food, drink and entertainment is possible.

However, if you’re a family of four on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Walt Disney World, then you could just as easily spend $1,000 a day on accommodation, food, drink and entertainment.

How Much Money Does it Cost to Go to Florida for 2 Weeks?

A two-week trip to Florida typically costs around $2,500 per person excluding flights. This includes a mid-range hotel, occasionally eating out, groceries, drinks and some entertainment.

However, the exact figure will typically depend on where in Florida you’re travelling to, who you’re travelling with, how long you’re travelling for and the type of trip you’re looking to have.

For example, if you’re a family travelling on a budget then you could easily spend as little as $1,000 per person. However, this would mean staying in a budget hotel, not eating out, and avoiding major theme parks such as Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando.

Alternatively, if you’re a couple going on a once-in-a-lifetime trip, then you could just as easily spend $10,000+ for two weeks in Florida.

How Much Spending Money for 2 Weeks in Orlando for a Family of 4?

I recommend $4,760 of spending money for two weeks in Orlando as a family of four. This amount does not include your transport to Orlando, your accommodation or any theme park tickets and is based on a mid-range level of travel.

If you’d like to eat out more during your trip to Orlando, Florida or spend more on souvenirs then I recommend increasing your spending money to around $7,140.

How Much Spending Money for Disney World?

As a family of three (two adults, one baby – although the baby cost us next to nothing) we spent $175 per day when recently visiting Walt Disney World. This included all of our food, drinks, snacks, transport (Uber / Lyft) & souvenirs.

Much like the amount of spending money you need for an Orlando vacation, the amount of spending money you need for Walt Disney World will depend on several factors including the duration of your trip, the number of people visiting and the type of trip you’re looking to have.

Orlando Travel Planning Guide

πŸ₯ Should I Buy Travel Insurance for a Trip to Orlando?

If you’re travelling to Orlando for vacation, then travel insurance is recommended. Basic travel insurance coverage with Safety Wing averages between $5 – $10 per day and offers peace of mind.

However, if a trip to Orlando isn’t part of a vacation. For example, you live locally. Then travel insurance isn’t likely to be necessary.

🚘 Do I Need to Rent a Car for a Trip to Orlando?

You don’t need to rent a car for a trip to Orlando (you can use rideshare services instead). However, a hire car will make your trip to Orlando significantly more convenient.

I personally use Discover Cars to find the best car rental deals when visiting Orlando. Discover Cars allows you to compare different companies and cars to find the best prices.

🏨 Where to Stay in Orlando?

Deciding where to stay in Orlando can be incredibly overwhelming. Having visited Orlando several times over the past decade, I’m going to try and make it as simple as possible.

When booking accommodation in Orlando, I use either Booking.com or Hotels.com. However, for large families and groups, VRBO is my number one choice.

🎟️ Where To Buy Orlando Theme Park Tickets?

If you are visiting a theme park in Orlando, then you’ll need to purchase theme park tickets. If you’re based in the US or Canada, I recommend Klook for your Orlando theme park tickets.

Klook consistently has the most competitive prices. There’s also a range of different ticket options to suit all budgets and requirements.

Meanwhile, if you’re based in the United Kingdom. Then I recommend buying your Orlando theme park tickets from AttractionTix.

I personally use AttractionTix when purchasing theme park tickets. That’s because AttractionTix has the most competitive prices and incredible customer service.

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2 Comments

  1. Really great tips, thank you. It’s all common sense really but helps to focus in on the little bits that need budgeting for. Thank you πŸ˜€

  2. good tips here. never underestimate how much money you will get through every day. Drinks, food, souvenirs – they all add up. I budget $200 per day for 4 of us then anything left over at the end of the day is a bonus!