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livelaughlove21's avatar

Honeymoon in Orlando (Sans Disney) on a Budget: Ideas?

Asked by livelaughlove21 (15608points) November 27th, 2011

I’m getting married in early May of next year and my fiance and I are paying for the entire thing ourselves. I’d hate to skip a honeymoon or postpone it, but we don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on a trip to Hawaii or Tahiti. So, I’m thinking about things that aren’t so expensive, but still fun.

We went on vacation to San Diego last summer and visited SeaWorld. I LOVE animals, and this was by far the best part of our trip. We’d love to go there again, but we live in the Southeast. I was thinking we could visit the Orlando one instead, which is about a 7 hour drive from where we live.

I found a hotel called Caribe Royale in Orlando and the rate for a Deluxe King Suite for 4 nights (checking in on a Monday, out on a Friday—an attempt to avoid crowds) is $650. It seems really nice and is one of the cheaper ones I found with that quality. It’s also about 10 minutes from SeaWorld, so that works.

Here are some other ideas I had in mind for our trip. Of course, we can’t do them all, but I’m just trying to get the best bang for our buck here.

- SeaWorld is $145 for both of us for two days…
– OR we can go to Discovery Cove and swim with the dolphins (plus their other attractions) and get 14 days of unlimited access to SeaWorld for $490 for both of us. This seems like a decent deal when I checked out the Discovery Cove site and I hear great things about it. Swimming with dolphins would be AMAZING!

So, if we do the hotel and the Cove/SeaWorld deal, that adds up to about $1200. With gas for the trip, we’re probably looking at something like $1500 I guess.

- Ghost Tours are something we really like doing and we do them in Charleston, SC when we vacation there. So, we can do a walking or riding tour one night for about $50.
– Ripley’s Odditorium – $40 for both of us
– International Drive – Since this is near where SeaWorld and Ripley’s is, it’s convenient plus there is shopping, dining, night life, etc.
– City Park – This seems pretty cool. We could walk through the parks and maybe see a show or something.

I was also thinking Clearwater Beach, but it’s over an hour from Orlando. I’m not sure if it would be worth it. I also heard the ZipLine is pretty fun, but $230 seems kind of…excessive to me.

I didn’t want to pack the honeymoon full of activities, because we’ll also want to relax at the pool at the hotel and everything else you do on a honeymoon—ahem. :) But I also don’t want to drive 7 hours to Orlando and not do anything fun.

We don’t want to do Disney or anything like that. I’m open to ideas outside of that though. Nothing crazy expensive. I’m not sure how much this sort of vacation would end up costing us (with all the main stuff we want to do, including gas and about $400 for food and shopping, I’m getting about $2000), but I’m getting pretty excited about the possibility of going.

ETA: I just realized we probably sound like a couple of kids with all this SeaWorld and Ripley’s stuff. We’re 22, so I guess we are kids. :) Relaxing on a beach with an umbrella drink and chocolates on our pillows isn’t really our idea of a fun honeymoon. We’ll have plenty of time for that later.

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7 Answers

bkcunningham's avatar

Take a cruise. IMHO, they are the most bang for your buck and you get to experience different ports of call and do what you want, when you want. The price includes all you can eat. You only pay for your alcohol and usually a $10 a day tip that is added to your bill. You can’t beat that.

Judi's avatar

I agree with the cruise. There is a really neat excursion from Cozumel (I think) to swim with the dolphins.
You should also let a local travel agent book it. You won’t save any money booking it online.

bkcunningham's avatar

I love the fact that they take care of everything for you. You bring your luggage and they do the rest. For the price you would pay to go to Disney or Sea World or to any of the beautiful West Coast Florida beaches you could be in at the very least three beautiful countries for the day.And you don’t have to pack and unpack! Plus, May will be very busy down here.

If you do decide to go to Florida, let me know if I can help you check out any of the hotels or whatever you decide upon. I live about 80 minutes away from Orlando and I have friends that live about five minutes from Disney. I’d be glad to let you know if a hotel is a no or a go. Congratulations on the upcoming marriage.

geeky_mama's avatar

I worked in Orlando for a time and 2 things I did (that I recommend if you’ll have your own vehicle and/or a rental car) that I enjoyed were:

1) drive to Cocoa Beach to enjoy the beach for a day. Drive down to one of the residential streets FAR far from the pier and park at a parking meter. You’ll get a secluded (not crowded) beautiful beach experience and there are lots of restaurants and little shops to visit before or after. Makes a nice one-day side trip.

2) Try a day trip to Kayak. I loved the Manatee kayak trip

Also, if you haven’t already checked out Trip Advisor’s ideas for Orlando I heartily recommend doing so. You’ll notice that Discovery Bay is the #1 rated attraction. I have friends who have gone twice and say it was their most favorite trip experience ever. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it—but if you haven’t already booked it do so as soon as possible as they limit attendance each day and days DO sell out. (So, if your dates are firm-best to book Discovery Bay ASAP).

WhiteWingDove's avatar

Another vote for a manatee adventure. Our fam had a long weekend in Orlando, and we did the 2 hr drive to Homosassa to see the manatees, and we fell in love with them. We have been to Mexico and swam with dolphins, snorkeled with turtles on several Hawaiian islands but nothing come close to those sweet creatures on that humble cruise.

marinelife's avatar

You could go to Blue Spring. It is short drive from Orlando. You may still be able to see manatees (they winter there). There is a trail that goes to the head of the spring where you can see it coming out of the Earth, and it’s amazing.

Also the little town of Winter Park is right next door to Orlando. it has a lovely upscale, downtown with lots of shopping and great restaurants. It also has a boat ride through the canals on a series of lakes.

Please be advised that all of the lakes in Orlando have alligators in them. Avoid early morning or evening (feeding times). You will be there during alligator mating season when they tend to be a little more aggressive.

linguaphile's avatar

If you’re driving and looking to save money, stay in a hotel about 30 mins outside of Orlando, closest to the places you want to visit (i.e. Kissimmee is where Disney/SeaWorld, etc really are, and that’s on the west side of Orlando, stay somewhere west of that.)

Or, go to Tampa (watch your wallet at Ybor) or Clearwater’s gorgeous white beaches… or the less known places instead. These places have a lot of attractions as well like Weeki Wachee or Silver Spring. Tarpon Springs has the best Greek restaurants and that area has century-old hotels. St. Augustine is an amazing place to visit—sleepy and historical, but no less enjoyable. The Miami area also has gorgeous natural-spring pools that adjoin hotels that are a few miles from the beach. Even if you limit yourself to the Keys- you can do MANY things on that tiny little chain of islands. Orlando is quite overpriced and overcrowded compared to these other places, in my opinion.

Whatever you choose, have a wonderful time!!!

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