ORLANDO ON A BUDGET – About Orlando https://aboutorlando.com Insider Tips for Orlando Florida Thu, 07 Nov 2019 20:15:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.5 Orlando’s Magical Dining Month https://aboutorlando.com/orlando-magical-dining-month/ Wed, 01 Aug 2018 17:17:46 +0000 https://aboutorlando.com/?p=848 Eight day preview begins in August! Tips and dining deals during Orlando Magical Dining Month. In 2019, choose from over 120+ restaurants during September's Magical Dining.

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Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House on International Drive part of Orlando's Magical Dining month of September. Morton's is located on Sand Lake Road. #magicaldining AboutOrlando.com
Photo © Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House – 8oz Filet Mignon

September offers a month of magic in Orlando! Tourist season is slowing down giving Orlando area restaurants the opportunity to once again WOW us with great dining deals! During Orlando’s Magical Dining Month, begins August 23th and continues for over 5 full weeks until September 30, 2019, diners can enjoy a three course dinner for only $35. Each participating restaurant will offer a prix fixe menu with selections for appetizer, entrée and dessert.

Not just for Florida residents and no coupons needed!

This is your chance to try out some new restaurants or visit your tried-and-true favorites for the full treatment – all at a discounted price. There are over 120 restaurants participating in the 2019 event.  So many new Orlando area restaurants has made this the largest list ever! So how does it work? Peruse the list of restaurants to find the ones that interest you. Click on the link and you’ll see the prix fixe menu that is being offered.

Restaurants are listed by area; Convention area, Disney/Lake Buena Vista, Downtown, Restaurant Row (Sand Lake Road), Universal/CityWalk, Winter Park and North, Surrounding Areas.

Each year the program supports local, Orlando not-for-profit organizations.

September Magical Dining Tips:

Some of the more popular restaurants will book up early for Friday and Saturday evenings, so plan in advance and make reservations right away.

Not all restaurants will automatically hand you the prix fixe menu, so be sure to ask about it.

If you have other discounts or coupons for the restaurant, be sure to call ahead to see if they will be honored with the Magical Dining menu.

Sometimes restaurants may offer a featured wine at $35 a bottle.  Others may allow you to bring your own wine – call ahead to see what the corkage fee is.

This is the restaurant’s opportunity to show the customer just how fantastic the dining experience can be – therefore it is to their detriment if they serve smaller portions or specialty items that are not usually on the menu. For this reason, I always ask the server about the prix fixe menu – how it compares to the restaurant’s regular menu and what have been the most popular selections from others.

Best Choices for Magical Dining:

  • Fogo de Chao and Texas de Brazil are both on the list this year. These Brazilian Steakhouse do not offer a standard menu – it is usually a flat rate of $46.50 – $49.95 for the full dinner, therefore if you request the Magical Dining price, you will save more than $13.50 per meal and receive a dessert! Confirm this when you call to make your reservation.  Also, some prime cuts of beef may not be included in Magical Dining.
  • All of Orlando’s top Steakhouses are included on the list: Capital Grille, Fleming’s, Morton’s, Ruth’s Chris, Spencer’s and the beautiful Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House on International Drive.  If your selection can only be one, choose carefully, check entree cost on the restaurant’s menu to see where the best savings can be had.
  • Some of the restaurants do not include prices on the website menu. Others that have more seasonal selections do not list a menu on-line.

Each year I indulge and visit at least four of the restaurants participating in Orlando’s Magical Dining Month: Two favorites and two new restaurants. For me this is a good opportunity to try something different than what I might normally select from the menu. There is usually so much food, it is doubtful that I will go away hungry.

My go-to favorite restaurants are Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Vines Grille & Wine Bar and The Boheme.   What are your favorites? Post your comments below.

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Leu Gardens https://aboutorlando.com/leu-gardens/ Mon, 26 Jun 2017 22:42:34 +0000 https://aboutorlando.com/?p=4939 Beautiful gardens, meandering paths on a beautiful serene lake, Leu Gardens offers monthly events and free admission on the first Monday of the month.

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Harry P Leu Gardens
1920 N. Forest Avenue, Orlando FL
Lush landscape of Leu Gardens offers a quiet reprieve from the busy Orlando area attractions .

Minutes away from bustling downtown Orlando lies the beautiful Leu Gardens. Relax in the formal gardens along the shores of Lake Rowena, or meander along paths and foot trails located throughout the 50 acres of manicured grounds and artfully designed gardens that seamlessly flow from one to another.

The lush gardens were the creation of the late Harry P. Leu and his wife Mary Jane, who acquired the property and home in 1936. A tour of the home explain how they transformed the 1898 farmhouse into a rich man’s estate.

As a local, prosperous businessman and Orlando native, Harry P. Leu and his wife traveled the world to collect specimens of exotic plants for their garden. The Leus’ resided on the grounds until 1961, at which time they donated their estate to the City of Orlando, with the stipulation that their home and gardens would be made available to the public. In the heart of the gardens is the Leu House Museum, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Originally the grounds were a drive-through garden, as evidenced by the large paved walk-ways. Numerous foot trails, benches and a gazebo have been added to encourage your stay. A typical tour of the grounds takes about an hour and a half, but feel free to take your time here.

Next Page: Rental Facilities, Seasonal Blooms and Monthly Events

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Florida Hurricane Sales Tax Holiday 2019 https://aboutorlando.com/hurricane-sales-tax-holiday/ Wed, 16 Mar 2016 21:07:55 +0000 https://aboutorlando.com/?p=1537 Hurricane season is June 1st through November 30th. Plan ahead and be prepared. Check to see if the Hurricane Sales Tax Holiday in Florida has been approved for 2017.

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Hurricane Sales Tax Holiday Florida, read more about hurricanes in Orlando at AboutOrlando.com
It was the seven named storms that made landfall in Florida during the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons that prompted the initial hurricane sales tax holiday in Florida. The tax break for hurricane supplies helped families save money while planning ahead for the upcoming hurricane season.
Governor Ron DeSantis has once again signed a bill for a Hurricane Sales Tax Holiday. This year the dates for the emergency preparedness sales tax holiday will be May 31 – June 6, 2019 beginning at 12:01a.m on Friday continuing until 11:59 p.m. on Thursday.
The hurricane sales tax holiday will run for just 7 consecutive days and is expected to save Floridians $4.5 million and will cover hurricane preparation supplies, such as flashlights, batteries, weather radios, and other basic items. The 7 day sales tax holiday is expected to save Florida families over $4 million as they prepare for the upcoming hurricane season by protecting their homes.
Atlantic Hurricane Season begins June 1st and continues through November 30th.
The sales tax holiday gives Floridians the opportunity to prepare in advance for the upcoming hurricane season. More about The Florida Hurricane Season, including information regarding Hurricanes in Orlando. For updated information check with the Florida Department of Revenue.

Some items included in the Florida Sales Tax Holiday:

  • A portable self-powered light source selling for $20 or less
  • A portable self-powered radio, two-way radio, or weather band radio selling for $50 or less
  • A tarpaulin or other flexible waterproof sheeting selling for $50 or less
  • A self-contained first-aid kit selling for $30 or less
  • A ground anchor system or tie-down kit selling for $50 or less
  • A gas or diesel fuel tank selling for $25 or less
  • A package of AA-cell, C-cell, D-cell, 6-volt, or 9-volt batteries, excluding automobile and boat batteries, selling for $30 or less
  • A nonelectric food storage cooler selling for $30 or less
  • A portable generator that is used to provide light or communications or preserve food in the event of a power outage selling for $750 or less
  • See the complete list for the 2019 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday.

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Orlando Outlets https://aboutorlando.com/orlando-outlets/ Fri, 06 Nov 2015 16:33:10 +0000 https://aboutorlando.com/?p=4129 Orlando shopping discounts and deals at two Orlando Premium Outlet Malls, International Drive and Vineland Ave. What are the best deals at Orlando outlets?

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Central Florida has two Orlando Premium Outlet malls for discounted shopping of your favorite brands.  See More Orlando Shopping at AboutOrlando.com
Orlando International Premium Outlets
4951 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819

Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets
8200 Vineland Avenue, Orlando, FL 32821

Shoppers can find name brand bargains year round at these two popular Orlando outlets.  Both malls are fairly convenient to the Orlando area attractions and  just off of I-4.
For some Orlando visitors it seems as if a day spent shopping the outlets is just as important as the theme parks. Any time of the year, there will be travelers from all over the world searching for favorite designer brands to bring back home.
Sections of both outdoor malls do provide some shelter from the rain, therefore making them a popular alternative to a theme park on a rainy day.
Visit the website for Orlando International Premium Outlets or Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets to print or download the mall map.  This is the best time-saving strategy to plan your shopping adventure and find the brands that you are looking for.
Both malls have an indoor food court with plenty of options for fast-food dining. You can also find lots of drink machines located at the outlets with soda and water – but be forewarned these will generally run you around $2 each. When I shop at the Orlando International Premium Outlets, I generally bypass the food court for a nice sit-down lunch or dinner at Vinito Ristorante.
At the customer service desk, you can purchase a VIP Coupon Book for $5. Usually the savings at one store will justify the cost book. If you have a AAA membership you can get a free coupon book at both Orlando Premium Outlets – and that’s a deal you can’t beat!Check for the best deals before even leaving the house by signing up on-line for the VIP Club. Along with receiving email notifications of store specials you’ll also have access to online coupons. When you sign up, you will also receive a voucher for a free VIP Coupon Book.


It helps to know your prices! Don’t just assume that because you are in an outlet that you are getting an outstanding deal. I found a lingerie item at a local Walmart that was 60% less than the outlet price. The deal was even better on the stores website.

If you have any doubts about a purchase, be sure to ask about the return policy. Often times you will not be able to return the item at your local mall, since outlet shops carry different merchandise and run different specials.


Parking is a nightmare at both outlets. The Vineland location does have a parking garage which helps a little, but you may still find yourself circling the lot for a while. My best advice, go during non-holiday times and avoid the weekend. Earlier in the day is also better than the afternoon. If you are staying at a local hotel, check first for shuttle service to the outlets. The I-Ride Trolly also stops at both outlets, though your purchases will be limited to what you can carry.

Vineland Trolly stop #42
International Trolly stop #1

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Top Movie Theaters in Orlando https://aboutorlando.com/top-movie-theaters-in-orlando/ Thu, 09 Jul 2015 00:44:40 +0000 https://aboutorlando.com/?p=3587 Favorite movie theaters, discounted movies, quality sound systems - what are you looking for in a movie theater? If you are in the Orlando area, near the theme parks or in International Drive, find the top movie theaters.

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Best Movie Theaters in Orlando. Where to find discounted movies, best sound quality, IMAX theaters and more from AboutOrlando.com
Sure, you can easily watch a movie at home – stream it, rent it, record it – but sometimes, you just want the full movie theater experience. So when you head out for a date night or special family outing, why not make the most it by choosing a theater that offers you a few extra perks.What is your criteria for choosing a movie theater? Is it price or perhaps sound quality? Some prefer the big comfy seats, for others it is by location. Whatever your reasons for choosing a movie theater, here is a little information to help you with your selection.
Next Page: Favorite Movie Theaters in Orlando

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Family Fun, Splash Pads in Orlando https://aboutorlando.com/splash-pads/ Sun, 07 Jun 2015 01:53:51 +0000 https://aboutorlando.com/?p=3480 The best way to beat the summer heat with the little ones.  Splash pads are perfect for toddlers. You certainly can’t beat the easy (and free or cheap) spur of the moment outing that is guaranteed to entertain. City and County run splash pads offer a variety of ways for kids to cool off on ...

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Where to find free splash pads in the Orlando areae. On the list of Free things to do with kids in Orlando from AboutOrlando.com.

The best way to beat the summer heat with the little ones.  Splash pads are perfect for toddlers. You certainly can’t beat the easy (and free or cheap) spur of the moment outing that is guaranteed to entertain.

City and County run splash pads offer a variety of ways for kids to cool off on a hot summer day. Some of the parks have a more intricate set up than others as  part of a larger park system with a pool and playground facilities. These locations are perfect for an all day outing with a picnic lunch.  Occasionally, you may come across a local splash pad that charges a buck or two, but most are free. Be sure to check the websites for directions, hours of operation, cost and restrictions. Some splash pads may be closed during cooler months or only open on the weekends.

All the Central Florida splash pads on this list are either city or county run.  In your travels through the area, you may also come across some unexpected locations for splash pads such as the Magical Water Fountain at Downtown Disney Markeplace (found near Once Upon a Toy).  So as you are out and about with the kids this summer, be sure to keep a bag with a swim suit, towel and sun screen for a quick cool off at one of the Orlando area splash pads.

Orlando Splash Pads

More Central Florida Splash Pads

Splash Pads in Seminole County

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Outdoor Movies in Orlando https://aboutorlando.com/outdoor-movies-orlando/ Fri, 05 Jun 2015 03:44:43 +0000 https://aboutorlando.com/?p=3417 Looking for a free movie under the stars? Each month several locations in the Orlando area will feature outdoor movies. See Tips for watching an Outdoor Movie Orlando.

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Where to find a free outdoor movie in Orlando.  Family movies, classic movies and kids movies for a movie under the stars.  Tips for watching an outdoor movie at AboutOrlando.com

Free Outdoor Movies in Orlando:

A popular trend for family entertainment is watch a movie under the stars. Due to our warm year round temperatures, here in Central Florida, you’ll be able to find an outdoor movies every month of the year.

Popcorn Flicks in the Park
One of the more popular outdoor movie events for kids and adults in Central Florida. Sponsored by the Enzian, movies are usually presented on the second Thursday of the month. You’ll find an eclectic mix of classic movies at this location – everything from classic black & white films to movies with holiday themes.
Central Park in Downtown Winter Park

Wednesday Night Pitcher Show 
Held on the front lawn at the Enzian Theater. Drinks and food are available before and during the shows that are shown on select Wednesday evenings beginning at 8 pm. Come early for movie trivia and Jell-o shots – this outdoor movie is not recommended for children.  It is also doubtful that they will allow coolers with food and drinks.
Enzian in Maitland

Food Truck Friday & Movie in the Park
On the third Friday of the month you’ll find food trucks for dining and a free movie in the park on the outdoor screen. Hosted by the City of Ocoee, the event begins at 6 pm.
Bill Breeze Park in Ocoee

Cranes Roost Sunset Cinema
Watch a family-friendly movie on the second Saturday of the month. Come early and take a nice walk around the lake at Uptown Altamonte before the movie starts. In addition to the many restaurants located nearby, there will also be food and beverages available for purchase at the event.
Uptown Altamonte in Altamonte Springs

Each month Leu Gardens presents an outdoor Date Night Movie on the first Friday of the month. Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children (K – 12th grade). A dinner picnic basket and alcoholic beverages are allowed.

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Bass Pro Shops Orlando https://aboutorlando.com/bass-pro-shops-orlando/ Thu, 04 Jun 2015 00:56:08 +0000 https://aboutorlando.com/?p=3349 Amidst the rows of Outlet Mall Shopping in Orlando you'll find Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World with over 150,000 sq ft of shopping, fun and wildlife creations.

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Themed Orlando Shopping at it’s best!

Here in the tourist capital of the world it’s all about the themed attractions. So, there’s no reason we shouldn’t have some themed shopping to go along with that. Head over to the north end of International Drive, Orlando’s most popular shopping destination, and you’ll find the awesome Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World. If you’ve never been to to one of these huge stores, you’re in for a real treat.  You don’t even have to be an outdoors-person to appreciate the experience. The outdoor theme is incorporated into just about every detail of the of the store’s décor – to the extent of what you would find at a Disney attraction.
The focal point of Bass Pro Shops is the is a huge 17,000 gallon aquarium that is located in the center of the store. The tank, stocked with an impressive selection of native Florida game fish, is embedded in a collage of faux rocks, giving the illusion of an outdoor pond.   Above the tank is a nature scene that includes several preserved wild animals posed around the man-made stream that flows into the tank below. Kids (and adults) love view the trophy fish swimming by. Come in during the fish feeding times, every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 pm for a real treat that’s both entertaining and educational. (Call to confirm dates and times.)
For a few bucks, you can try your luck at the indoor shooting arcade. The rustic setting has a Florida swamp vibe complete with an open mouthed Florida gator. Hit one of the marked targets to set something in motion; a light turns on, a sign falls. For a quick snack, head over to Uncle Buck’s Cabin, a mini cafe located near the center of the store with fresh baked treats.
As far as supplies and gear for hunting, fishing, camping and all things outdoors, the selection here is second to none. With everything from inexpensive fishing tackle to pricey boats all under one roof, it’s no wonder Bass Pro Shops is listed as the No. 1 “Outdoor Retailer in America,” by Sporting Goods Business magazine.
The large selection of outdoor attire for men, women and children includes some of the most popular brands including Columbia, Guy Harvey and Salt Life. Also impressive is the shoe and footwear department. Be sure to check the house brand, RedHead, for great prices with quality that is comparable to the much pricier name brands. For the camouflage enthusiast, this store pretty much has the market covered.  Along with everything you would need for your next hunting trip, you’ll find plenty of non-hunting items with the camouflage print such as baby clothes, designer purses and even sexy nighties.
For the indoors, Bass Pro Shops has quite the selection of educational items for children, unusual gift for the outdoor lover, and a full department of household items with a nature theme.
For a free outing (not counting what you might spend on the shopping), Bass Pro Shops should be put on the list of places to see in Orlando. SEE more Free Things to Do in Orlando.

Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World
5156 International Dr.
Artegon Marketplace
Orlando, FL 32819

Best shops in Orlando includes Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World at Artegon Market on International Drive.  Bass Pro Shops Orlando Review from AboutOrlando.com

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Orlando Playgrounds and Parks https://aboutorlando.com/orlando-playgrounds-parks/ Thu, 09 Apr 2015 00:52:22 +0000 https://aboutorlando.com/?p=3159 Are you looking for a park in the Orlando area? For an inexpensive and fun family outing head on over to an Orlando playground and public park.

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Parks and playgrounds are great places to take the kids. They can offer everything from a place to run around for fifteen minutes while burning off a little energy to an afternoon family outing. In this list, I’ve focused on public parks that provide fun, safe playground equipment for kids.If you are visiting the Orlando area and looking for a break from the fast-paced, crowded theme parks, consider heading over to one of the Orlando playgrounds and public parks for a day of free fun.

Top Orlando Playgrounds & Parks

Lake Eola Park

512 East Washington Street
Orlando, FL 32801
Downtown Orlando’s favorite park is beautifully landscaped and offers a wide range of activities and annual events. You’ll find the playground at Lake Eola Park a great spot for kids to explore the pieces of brightly colored play equipment. The area is safely fenced and features a rubber playground surface to protect against injury.

Lake Island Park

1050 W. Morse Blvd.
Winter Park, FL 32789
Nicely shaded play area with lots of things to do. You’ll find tire swings, slides and a large wooden castle structure for exploring. With so many places to run and hide, this is not a spot for parents to drop the little ones while they relax under a tree with a good book. It is easy to lose site of the kids, so you will want to make this an interactive play date. Bigger kids will enjoy the basketball courts and large open fields that are perfect for a game of baseball or tossing a Frisbee.

Dr. Phillips Community Park

8249 Buenavista Woods Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32836
A city park for all ages! At this 43 acre park, you’ll find an off leash dog park, pavilions to rent and a multitude of fields for soccer, volleyball, softball. Be sure to check out the nature trail – Long Horn Steakhouse Loop with over 1/2 mile of meandering paths through 10 acres. Bright and sunny where most of the shaded areas are provided by canopies. Year round kids can cool off at the awesome splash pad which is well worth the $1 admission price charged for each four-hour session.

Gilbert Park

310 S. Tremain St.
Mount Dora, FL
This Mount Dora playground with it’s Wood Wonderland design features a large maze-like castle will entertain your kids for hours. A canopy of mature oaks provides an abundance of shade, making a summer day at the park much more enjoyable. Pack a lunch for a picnic along the small creek or at the shores of Lake Dora. The two pavilion can be rented out for parties.

Do you have a favorite park or playground in the Orlando area? If so, post your comments below.



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Savings at Dollar Tree – Your Orlando Vacation https://aboutorlando.com/savings-at-dollar-tree-orlando-vacation/ Fri, 29 Aug 2014 20:03:19 +0000 https://aboutorlando.com/?p=2046 This is a list of some of the items I’ve found useful when I’m out at the theme parks, by the pool or at the beach. It’s easy to purchase these items when you arrive in Orlando – no need to add more items to your already packed suitcase. You’ll be surprised at the savings ...

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25+ items to purchase at the Dollar Tree to help you save money on your Orlando Vacation.
This is a list of some of the items I’ve found useful when I’m out at the theme parks, by the pool or at the beach. It’s easy to purchase these items when you arrive in Orlando – no need to add more items to your already packed suitcase. You’ll be surprised at the savings and convenience that these 25, $1.00 items will provide. Leave a reply below and tell us about some of the Savings at Dollar Tree that you have found for your Orlando vacation.

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