This Mistake Costs Money When Planning Your Trip to Orlando

If you're like many tourists heading out to Orlando, you want to enjoy a Disney vacations (Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Disney's Animal Kingdom) and fit in some other attractions, too. You plan to head over to Universal Orlando Resort and add Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure. You know there are four theme parks at Disney and two at Universal. You have a family of four, so you think that hitting two resorts and buying three-day Disney tickets and two-day Universal tickets is a money-saver.

Unfortunately, that's a big mistake. If you fall into the trap of combining more than one set of theme parks into one trip, you'll end up paying a lot more money. Here are some examples that show how much you can save by sticking to either the Disney or Universal parks exclusively:

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Orlando Vacation Example 1

Two adults and one child can get a five-night package in a moderately priced hotel like the Baymont Inn and Suites Celebration for only $1484 plus tax, or $494 per person. They get a room with two queen beds, a 36-inch plasma TV, double marble-dressed bathroom sinks, and even a kitchenette complete with a refrigerator and microwave. They also get a Free continental breakfast to get them off to a good start and free scheduled shuttle service to all of the Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort theme parks.

This package comes with a two-day base ticket, good for one park per day, at Walt Disney World along with a two-day pass to both popular parks at Universal Studios. Compare it to the following example:

Orlando Vacation Example 2

Let's say same family of four visits Orlando and decides to just visit Walt Disney World for the same five days. Staying at the same hotel, the cost is $1,340, or $446 per person. If they opt to stick with Universal Orlando Resort and stay at the same hotel, their savings are even more dramatic. They could get a five night stay plus 4 day tickets to Universal Studios base ticket for only $854 plus tax. That's just $284 per person for five fun-filled days.

Why is there such a big savings when you focus on one major set of attractions? Booking a vacation isn't much different than shopping for groceries. A local store might sell apples for 89 cents each. A warehouse club like Costco or Sam's Club offers five apples at 69 cents each. The more you buy, the more you save. That same money-saving rule applies to Orlando attractions, with better deals for longer visits.

You can even apply your savings to upgrade your hotel, maybe splurge on a vacation home, or go out to a really nice meal while you are here in Orlando