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Top 10 Vacation Values In Florida

Put more bang in your vacation buck!

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Of course you want the very best deal when spending your vacation dollars, so I've put together what I consider the best money-saving, value-packed vacation and getaway places and deals in Florida — places that offer great add-on value with special events and concerts, as well as deals on park admissions, annual passes, special value cards and more.

1. The Fun Card

Florida residents can purchase a SeaWorld Orlando or Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Fun Card and enjoy unlimited visits for the calendar year to that same park for less than the price of a single-day admission. It's quite the bargain even though you pay for parking each visit. >Details

2. Silver Springs - Silver Pass

Editors Note: Silver Springs is currently closed as it is converted to one of Florida's State Parks. It is unclear whether meals will again be offered.

One of Florida's oldest theme parks, Silver Springs is perhaps most famous for their glass bottom boats that allow passengers to view the underwater life around its natural spring. While its gardens, rides, cruises and wildlife exhibits have provided years of enjoyment visitors, it is the live concerts that add particular value to this annual pass.

The Silver Passholder will enjoy the following benefits:

  • Free admission to Silver spring for a full year.
  • Free parking.
  • Free admission to all concerts and VIP early entry on concert days.
  • Free admission to all special events.
  • Free admission to Festival of Lights.
  • Free Wild Waters Season Pass
  • Discounts on merchandise.

The Silver Pass is $55.99 for both adults and children or $54.99 for seniors (55 or older) and active military personnel. The Silver Pass may be purchased or at the park.

3. The Go Orlando Card (and Go Miami Card)

If you're going to Orlando and not going to spend the entire time at a certain resort, then the Go Orlando Card can save you money. It includes admission to over 50 attractions and tours. Purchase the credit-card-size Go Orlando Card to cover just the number of days you'll be in Orlando — three, five or seven days — and then just add up the savings as you plan your itinerary.

The Go Orlando Card also offers exclusive deals and savings including discounts at restaurants and gift shops, as well as some tours, rides and activities. The card is also good for some out-of-the-Orlando-area activities and adventures. Purchase a three-, five-, or seven-day Go Orlando Card and receive a bonus — your choice of dinner theater tickets to Arabian Nights Dinner Theater, Pirate's Dinner Adventure or Out of Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show. In addition, all orders that include a child's card will ship with a "Kids Eat Free Card." Visit any of the restaurants listed and present the Kids Eat Free Card to the waiter when ordering your meal.

While this is a great deal, as with every purchase it pays to read the fine print. Lost cards are not refundable and there are some restrictions with the Kids Eat Free Card. Ordered cards may be picked up in Orlando without further charges, but shipping charges apply to cards that are shipped.

You can also purchase the Go Miami Card, which offers free or discounted admission to popular Miami area attractions.

4. Museum, Science Center, Zoo and Aquarium Memberships

Besides usual free admission to museum and science center's regular exhibits, discounts on additional admissions and merchandise and free parking, purchasing an annual membership often includes free or discounted admission to more than 250 ASTC (Association of Science-Technology Centers) member museums and science centers around the world. That means you could easily purchase a membership in your own community and enjoy the benefits of free or reduced admission in Florida while on vacation.

The same holds true for zoos and aquariums. Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa has a nice by-state reciprocal list on their Web site that lists the zoos and aquariums that participate in honoring memberships for free or discounted admissions. Usually benefits such as parking or special events are not included.

5. Orlando Flex Ticket

Imagine up to 14 consecutive days of unlimited admission to five (5) Orlando theme parks for one reasonable price! It's possible with the Orlando Flex Ticket that includes a 4-park option to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, SeaWorld Orlando and Wet ‘n Wild or the 5-park option that also includes Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Also available is the Orlando Flex Ticket Plus that offers a 6-park option after March 1, 2008 to SeaWorld's new water park, Aquatica.

Admission is valid for the entire length of your stay (up to 14 consecutive days from the first day of use). You may visit the parks as many times as you want during this time. No matter how many parks are visited during one day, only one parking fee is required (simply show parking receipt from first park visited that day). Tickets that include Busch Gardens Tampa Bay include free shuttle bus transportation with scheduled departures from several Orlando locations.

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