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ShermansTravel experts rely on years of collective travel experience to bring you the best money-saving tips for your vacation. We take a discerning look at all the attraction passes, public transportation options, and other local bargains to make sure you get the most bang for your buck while traveling.

Orlando Money-Saving Tips

Outdoor Movies

If you’re in town the second Thursday of the month, be sure to catch the presentation of Winter Park Popcorn Flicks (www.enzian.org/films/events.html), popular al fresco cinematic events held at sunset in Winter Park’s Central Park or Shady Park.

Spring for Wheels

Taxi fares add up fast and shuttle routes seem painfully slow after a long day of park-hopping, so take advantage of the largest rental car market in the world, with its competitively priced rental rates. But get a good map or pack your GPS!

Lodge Logically

If you’re not up for renting a car, choose a hotel that offers free shuttle service to the theme parks. If you’re staying at a Disney hotel, you can arrange in advance for free Magical Express transportation to and from the airport and then are free to use the resort’s extensive bus system.

Save Money, Magically

The Orlando/Orange County Convention and Visitors Bureau distributes the free Magicard, which is printable from www.orlandoinfo.com and provides discounts to participating hotels, attractions, shops, and restaurants for up to six people.

Prepare for the Life Aquatic

Pick up a waterproof camera to capture stress-free memories at the abundant water parks and splash-prone attractions.

Avoid the Summer Sauna

Orlando gets mighty steamy around mid-day. Schedule an air-conditioned lunch, hit some indoor attractions, or chill at your hotel pool during the hottest hours to prevent nasty sunburns and heat exhaustion.

Brace Yourself for a Chill

Yes, central Florida gets cool in the winter, especially at night, so pack some extra layers. A sweatshirt or light jacket comes in handy for overly air-conditioned spots year-round.

Timing is Everything

Gay Days brings more than 135,000 gays and lesbians to Orlando the first weekend in June, and the Main Street Parade at Magic Kingdom on Saturday afternoon is the long-standing gathering place. Participants wear red for maximum visibility.

Art on the Wild Side

Orlando's International Fringe Theatre Festival – one of the largest events of its kind in the U.S. – takes over Loch Haven Park for offbeat theatrics, music, and dance over the 12 days leading up to Memorial Day each year. For performance of a different nature, plan your trip around the springtime Florida Film Festival, featuring not only great flicks but also intriguing foodie events.

Look for Attractions that Offer Free Admission Days

The Harry P. Leu Gardens (www.leugardens.org) offers comped entry from 9am to 5pm and free storytelling for kids on the first Monday of the month. Or, head to the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art (www.morsemuseum.org) on Friday nights from 4 to 8pm from November to April and skirt the regular admission fee of $5.

Try a Tipple on the House

Want to wet your whistle? Try the Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards (www.lakeridgewinery.com) in nearby Clermont for a free winery tour and tasting, or head to Orlando Brewing  (www.orlandobrewing.com) for a complimentary brewery tour and on weekends, free live entertainment. 

Free Activities for Families

Love the great outdoors? Downtown Orlando's 43-acre Lake Eola Park is primed for picnicking, bird-watching, and boat excursions. Looking for something quirky? The Peabody Orlando hotel (www.peabodyorlando.com) hosts a twice-daily duck march, that’s sure to please kids and adults alike.

Wait Till the Kids are Back in School for the Best Bang for Your Buck

Late August and September are the most affordable times of the year to visit Orlando, when the kids are back in school, and humid summer weather and threats of tropical storms and hurricanes keep crowds at bay. Hotel rates dip accordingly and the Orlando visitor bureau sweetens the pot with special deals specific to that time frame (www.visitorlando.com/deals).

Take Advantage of Free Annual Events

Orlando plays host to a plethora of free annual events. Some highlights include the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival in March (www.wpsaf.org), Juneteenth Music Festival in June (www.floridajuneteenth.com), Winter Park Autumn Art Festival in October (www.winterpark.org), Festival of the Masters (www.disneyworld.com) in November.

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