Cheap Family Vacation from Cincinnati to Orlando

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When it comes to family vacations, there’s nowhere on Earth quite like Orlando. With exciting attractions like Disney World, Universal and SeaWorld, it’s the premier destination for families from all over the world. But how much will a three day stay cost you – and what if you’re on a budget?

The Drive Down to Orlando

There’s 900 miles between Cincinnati and Orlando, but fortunately it’s a very straightforward drive. Just jump right onto I-75 S and keep driving – it really doesn’t get much easier than that! You can stop for lunch around Knoxville, TN, but if you want to save a little money, be sure to bring snacks, pack your own lunches or grab some inexpensive fast food along the way.

It’s not a distance you’ll be able to cover in a single day (especially with kids!) so you’ll want to make an overnight stop. Kennesaw, GA, is about halfway there, but if you want to save a little more on the hotel, try to go a few extra miles and make it past Atlanta.

During Your Stay

Hotels, food and, of course, entertainment can be expensive in Orlando, with a visit to Disney World potentially costing more than $1,000. However, there are other options that can provide a lot of fun for the family, without breaking the bank. For example, Disney Springs allows visitors to enjoy the magic of Disney for free; there’s entertainment you can pay for, but you can plan your visit and stick within your budget.

Similarly, if SeaWorld is a little beyond your budget, you can visit Gatorland to learn more about Florida’s famous amphibians and reptiles. Alternatively, visit Blue Spring State Park (about 30 miles north of Orlando) to see these beasts in their natural habitat. There’s also a bunch of activities to entertain the whole family, making it a great choice for an outdoor adventure.

Lastly, like Disney World, Universal Studios can put a large hole in your budget, but there are still plenty of alternatives. For example, the Crayola Experience allows kids to get creative with plenty of activities to keep them occupied all day. If you’d prefer to do something more relaxing (and don’t mind an hour’s drive), check out the famous Cocoa Beach. It’s just $15 for parking, making it one of the most inexpensive options on your vacation.

The Drive Home

If there’s one good thing about driving home after your vacation, it’s that you know which way to go! More than this, you have a pretty good idea of how much it will cost too, as you’re basically making the trip down to Orlando in reverse.

Hop back on the road and head north along I-75 to Kennesaw, GA. You can stay in the same hotel and either eat at the same restaurant or go eat someplace different. After a good night’s rest, jump back onto I-75 N and you should be home by evening. Depending on your budget – not to mention how much energy you have left – you can then either cook at home or dine out at your favorite local eatery.

Food - Breakfast
WhereSuper SaverValue PlanPremium Package
Day 1 – Travel to OrlandoCincinnati, OHHome
$0
Wendy’s
$15
Sleepy Bee Café
$55
Day 2 – Travel to OrlandoKennesaw, GAHotel
$0
Chick-Fil-A
$30
Cracker Barrel
$50
Orlando – Option AOrlando, FLHotel
$0
McDonald’s
$35
Perkins
$70
Orlando – Option BOrlando, FLHotel
$0
iHOP
$40
Keke’s Breakfast Café
$75
Orlando – Option COrlando, FLHotel
$0
Burger King
$30
iCafe de Paris
$90
Day 6 – Travel HomeOrlando, FLHotel
$0
Sonic
$25
Denny’s
$75
Day 7 – Travel HomeKennesaw, GAHotel
$0
Subway
$40
Waffle House
$45

Pro Tip: Almost every hotel includes a complimentary breakfast, allowing you to save money by eating at the hotel. If you’d like to eat out, most fast food restaurants have a Value Meal menu while others, such as Denny’s and iHop, have family meal packs that can save you $10-$20. Don’t forget to pack snacks for the car ride.

Food - Lunch
WhereSuper SaverValue PlanPremium Package
Day 1 – Travel to OrlandoKnoxville TNArby’s
$25
Cracker Barrel
$50
Connor’s Steak & Seafood
$65
Day 2 – Travel to OrlandoValdosta GATaco Bell
$30
Fazoli’s
$45
Olive Garden
$65
Day 3 – OrlandoOrlando, FLBlaze Pizza (Disney Springs)
$40
Joe’s Crab Shack (Near Sea Life)
$80
DisneyWorld
$250
Day 4 – OrlandoOrlando, FLLelo’s BBQ (Blue Spring State Park)
$30
Pearl’s Good Eats (Gatorland)
$40
SeaWorld
$150
Day 5 – OrlandoOrlando, FLTiny Turtle (Cocoa Beach)
$50
Café Crayola (Crayola Experience)
$40
Universal
$250
Day 6 – Travel HomeValdosta GAZaxby’s
$35
Relish
$55
Austin’s Steak, Seafood & Prime Rib
$70
Day 7 – Travel HomeKnoxville TNBojangles
$35
Nachos Taqueria Grill
$45
Not Watson’s
$85

Pro Tip: Grabbing drive-through while driving to and from Orlando can save you time. Also, if you’re visiting Disney or Universal, you can eat for less by eating just outside the park. Sea Life Aquarium doesn’t have any restaurants inside, so make sure you plan to eat either before or after your visit. If you’re visiting Downtown Disney, Blue Spring State Park or Cocoa Beach, you can save even more money by buying snacks and grocery items at a store and packing your own lunch or eating at a nearby restaurant.

Food – Dinner
WhereSuper SaverValue PlanPremium Package
Day 1 – Travel to OrlandoKennesaw, GABig Pie in the Sky Pizzeria
$35
Fried Tomato Buffet
$45
Big Shanty Smokehouse
$80
Day 2 – Travel to OrlandoOrlando, FLSubway
$30
Friendly’s
$60
Melting Pot
$160
Day 3 – OrlandoOrlando, FLBartaco
$45
Neopolitan Pizza
$55
Rainforest Café
$135
Day 4 – OrlandoOrlando, FLQ’Kenan
$45
Bob Evans
$60
BJ’s
$90
Day 5 – OrlandoOrlando, FLHot Krust Panini Kitchen
$45
Beth’s Burger Bar
$50
Bahama Breeze
$115
Day 6 – Travel HomeKennesaw, GAWendy’s
$30
Mediterranean Bistro
$70
Mellow Mushroom
$95
Day 7 – Travel HomeCincinnati, OHHome
$0
Taste of Belgium
$50
Corinthian Restaurant
$105

Pro Tip: Some hotels have a restaurant that can offer good food at reasonable prices – even if you’re not staying there – potentially saving you both time and money.

Hotel (Per Room)
WhereSuper SaverValue PlanPremium Package
TravelKennesaw GASuburban Extended Stay
$55
La Quinta Inn
$100
Embassy Suites
$135
OrlandoOrlando FLBest Western Orlando Gateway
$60
Embassy Suites
$95
Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort
$165

Pro Tip: Stay in one room with two beds and book online through travel sites for additional savings. Also consider staying further from Atlanta to save more money.

Entertainment
WhereSuper SaverValue PlanPremium Package**
Day 3 – OrlandoOrlando, FLDowntown Disney
FREE
Sea Life Aquarium
$120
DisneyWorld
$825
Day 4 – OrlandoOrlando, FLBlue Spring State Park
$7
Gatorland
$110
SeaWorld
$260
Day 5 – OrlandoOrlando, FLCocoa Beach
$15
Crayola Experience
$106
Universal
$680

Pro Tip: Save money by booking your tickets in advance online. Many attractions will have special deals. You may also be able to save money by parking off-site and walking a short distance. Due to the humidity, it frequently rains in the afternoon during the summer, so be sure to bring an umbrella!

** Premium Package pricing for Universal includes Express passes and prime parking. Prices for DisneyWorld include Park Hopper and regular parking.

Summary of Costs
Super SaverValue PlanPremium Package**
Gas$180$180$180
Breakfast$0$215$460
Lunch$245$355$870
Dinner$230$390$780
Hotels$350*$580*$1,860
Entertainment$22$336$1,765
Total$1,027$2,056$5,915

* Cost of one hotel room per night

** Cost of two hotel rooms per night

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