Looking for a quick getaway or a family vacation? Orlando, the US's number one vacation destination, is only a short flight away and no matter what you are into, Orlando will certainly have it. Famous for its multiple theme parks and attractions, the city has so much to offer, from dolphins and whales to that famous mouse, and spring is the perfect season to experience the best for less.
Eleisurelink (tel. 888/801-8808; www.eleisurelink.com) has consistently been the winner for the cheapest package deal. Prices start from an incredibly low $343 plus taxes per person for round-trip airfare and five-nights accommodation. In addition to the round-trip airfare from New York or Chicago to Orlando, five-nights at the Sleep Inn at Maingate Walt Disney World located right near the entrance to the theme park, you also get a free shuttle service to other Disney parks, daily continental breakfast, five-day car rental with unlimited mileage and an Orlando attractions coupon book. They can even arrange your theme park tickets and passes for you (additional charges apply) and this deal is available from now until December 15, 2005 (some surcharges apply for high season dates and weekends). Add $49 for departures from Washington, D.C. or Atlanta; $59 from Boston; and $149 from Dallas; base prices will vary from other gateways.
Southwest Airlines Vacations (tel. 800/243-8372; www.swavacations.com) also has some rock bottom prices for its getaways to Orlando. If you're departing from Birmingham, Alabama, you can get round-trip airfare to Orlando plus two nights accommodation at the Howard Johnson Inn Maingate East for a paltry $114 per person (valid for travel between April 11 and June 7 and August 13 and September 10, 2005). From Tulsa on those same dates, the price is still a low $229 plus taxes. Get round-trip airfare and stay two-nights at the Sheraton Vistana Resort Lake Buena Vista from a low $284 per person from Indianapolis or $304 from Hartford (April 11 to June 18 and August 23 to September 10, 2005). For $214 you can fly from Louisville and stay two nights at the Raddison Resort Parkway or $274 from Detroit (April 18 to June 7 and August 22 to September 10, 2005. All prices quoted are for departures on a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday. Three-business days advance purchase required.
Spirit Airlines (tel. 800/772-7117; www.spiritair.com) has flights from New York La Guardia to Orlando on various dates in June from $125 plus taxes round-trip, in May from $129, and in July, the price goes up to $158 for midweek departures. JetBlue's (www.jetblue.com) prices out of JFK New York are higher starting at $89 plus taxes one way for mid-week departures but they do offer almost hourly departures, which may suit your busy schedule better.
Travelocity (www.travelocity.com) is currently offering the lowest priced return airfares for the New York to Orlando sector, with prices on US Airways starting at $110 plus taxes for midweek departures from now until July 1, 2005. From Los Angeles, Travelocity's prices on US Airways start at $185 plus taxes for flights from now until May 14, 2004.
Accommodations in Orlando are very affordable; in fact, your hotel room will undoubtedly cost you a lot less than the entrance price to most of the attractions. Orlando Escape (www.orlandoescape.com) is a website that provides some great deals on a variety of accommodation types, from hotel rooms to private vacation home rentals. Prices start at a mere $29 per person per night. Almost all hotels offer free continental breakfasts and free shuttle rides to the various theme parks.
There are dozens of websites that purport to offer "too good to be true" low vacation prices for Orlando including theme park entry tickets. You will soon discover that most of these are trying to sell you something, generally vacation homes and time shares. So if you are willing to sit through a sales spiel, then you may want to consider an option like Mousetrip (tel. 877/428-4552; www.mousetrip.com), which promotes its $83.16 package that includes three-nights hotel stay including breakfast. Their $119 package includes two-nights accommodation with breakfast and two one-day tickets to either Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando. There is a catch with these deals (the fine print is very specific), but if these conditions fit your demographic then it may be well worth it. To qualify, guests must be married and/or living together (25 to 68 or single women 30-60) with an annual income of $40,000. Adults must attend a 90-minute sales presentation and they must not have toured the vacation resort being promoted during the previous 12 months. Transportation, meals and taxes are additional.
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