Orlando is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with more than 57 million visitors each year. With hundred of hotels, thousands of restaurants and countless attractions, planning an Orlando holiday can seem like a daunting task.
But it doesn't have to be. A great place to start is visitorlando.com/plan-your-trip, which offers trip ideas, a free downloadable holiday planning kit and other helpful resources.
In addition, here are some general pointers to start your dream holiday.
1) Book early: The early bird catches the cheap holiday! The busiest months are from the end of May until the middle of August, but no matter when you choose to visit, it’s better to book early for the best choice of flights and accommodation.
2) Getting around: Orlando is much easier to navigate with a car. A tour operator can hire a car or even include that in your holiday package. However, many of the hotels offer complimentary shuttle service to the theme parks. And if you plan to visit International Drive, take advantage of the convenient I-Ride Trolley.
3) Theme park tickets: Discounted theme park tickets are often available through your travel agent, so if possible, purchase tickets before leaving home. Many holiday packages include a hotel room and theme park tickets for a better rate than buying a la carte, so consider bundling your vacation. Finally, for last-minute discounted tickets, stop by Central Florida's Visitor Information Center for bargain tickets to local attractions.
4) Extra perks at the parks: If planning a theme park visit, staying at a hotel on property has advantages such as early admission and extended hours; complimentary transportation; front-of-the-line access and special discounts. Offers vary from park to park, and by season.
5) Shop 'til you drop: Save space in your suitcase, because Orlando is a shopper's dream. From high-end boutiques at the Florida Mall and Mall at Millennia to several outlet malls, there's retail therapy for every taste. For more shopping know-how, follow VISIT FLORIDA Shopping Insider Ginger Harris.
6) Dining: If possible, rent a vacation home or condo that has a kitchen so you can save money by eating in for some meals. If you're staying in a traditional hotel, ask about dining packages for your accommodation and at the theme parks you plan to visit. Finally, in the United States there are loads of restaurants that offer "Kids Eat Free" deals. And with more than 5,000 restaurants in the Orlando area, it's easy to come across a bargain. In addition, September is Orlando Magical Dining Month, when dozens of eateries offer special discounted fare.
7) Extra savings at attractions: Take advantage of destination-wide savings by downloading a free Orlando Magicard, which offers discounts on everything from attractions, shops and restaurants to spas, golf courses and cultural arts venues.
8) Before you go: Remember to complete an ESTA form at least 72 hours before traveling.
For more help planning your trip, please see VisitOrlando.com.