2 Cheap and Fun Orlando Staycations


I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – we are so lucky to live in Central Florida. We live where the rest of the country (heck the world) literally dreams of coming on vacation.

Most people I know {locally} have Annual Passes to at least one of the major theme parks and spend a lot of time there. This is one reason why living in Orlando, we are primed for the perfect staycation when we need a break from reality.

Here are two favorite staycations that my family has taken in 2018 when we just needed to escape…and they aren’t going to drain your bank account…I promise!

staycationsHit the Parks

During Spring Break my family had a number of commitments that prevented us from getting away, but we were able to fit in a 2 day trip down to the Universal Orlando Resort where we are Annual Passholders. We booked ourselves an overnight stay at the Hard Rock Hotel for just under $300. While typically this price would make my eye twitch {especially for only one night}, the benefits included more than make up for it! 

2 Cheap and Fun Orlando Staycations - Hard Rock

The Benefits

  • 2-Day Express Passes. We checked in CRAZY early and while our room wasn’t ready {we honestly didn’t expect it to be} so we left our bags at the front desk and picked up our complimentary 2- Day Express Passes. These passes alone had a value of $500 for my family of 5 and allowed us to skip all of the lines at both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure and come with staying at the Hard Rock.
  • Walking distance. The walking path between the Hard Rock and the parks is a short 10 minute-ish walk and is shady, quiet, and includes a butterfly garden. 
  • The amazing pool! While the kids scattered to go down the water slide, listen to music under water, and explore the hot tubs I sat in my chair, ordered some food and drink, and read my book. It was like a dream come true! I am already planning our next stay so that I can spend more time here.
  • The most delicious breakfast buffet…EVER at The Kitchen.  Now I’m not going to lie to you, this was an expensive breakfast, but with multiple made to order stations, fruit, pasties, eggs, breakfast meats, coffee, juice, and so much more I feel it was worth it. All 5 of us were able to fill our tummies before heading back to the parks for another full day. 

Not a Universal Passholder? Switch this out for a Disney, SeaWorld, or Legoland hotel and a lot of the benefits are the same (minus those amazing Express Passes). Not a passholder anywhere? No worries!! I would suggest staying at a Disney hotel, spending some time at Disney Springs, and hotel hopping!! There is so much to see and do without park tickets!

Beach It Up

Pick a beach…any beach and GO!! Orlando is perfectly situated a short drive away from a variety of amazing beaches on both the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. Is there anything better than dipping your toes in the sand and letting the waves splash you? I don’t think so!

Earlier this summer our family of 5 packed our bags and headed to New Smyrna Beach for an overnight adventure because we were craving some sun and sand. For under $200 (with taxes and including breakfast) we checked into the SpringHill Suites New Smyrna and were RIGHT on the beach at Flagler Ave. The hotel was updated, comfortable, and had 2 beds AND a pullout couch so all 3 kids could spread out and I didn’t have to listen to them fight over pillows and blankets.

When we arrived we were unfortunately in the middle of a Florida afternoon shower, so we grabbed some of our snacks we had brought and headed to the lobby. There was an interactive TV that the kids could draw on and a lobby bar that the parents, just sayin’. 

Once the storm blew over, we went for a walk splashing in the waves, grabbed an ice cream cone, and discovered that there was a local street fair that night. The kids played games which won them candy and I attempted to control my shopping at all of the local shops. Then we turned in for an early night so we could catch sunrise at the beach {our main goal of the trip}.

2 Cheap and Fun Orlando Staycations - Beach

While waking up to a 5am alarm on vacation was not ideal, the sunrise that followed was breathtaking. My life is forever changed after watching the sun rise on the beach. After a delicious continental breakfast on the patio we got our suits on and claimed our spot on the beach before it got busy.

We spent about 5 hours playing and relaxing before heading home around lunchtime. It was a wonderful 24 hours getaway that can be repeated on a whim when life just gets too busy.


Book a Staycation NOW

Check your calendar now before the busyness of school activities and homework fills your planner. You owe it to yourself and your family to start the school year refreshed. Whether you decide to hit the parks or dip your toes in the sand, a staycation is exactly what you need and these cheap options are perfect.



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