When it comes to an Orlando holiday, we’re all about the savings without sacrificing any of the fun. With that in mind, we sat down for a Q&A with Larry Raubach, co-founder of the Eat and Play Card.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for the Eat and Play Card?
A: I was holidaying with my girlfriend in Florida in 2008, and we were overwhelmed with coupons. None of them appealed to us and we wondered how they could appeal to most people. There had to be a better way to save. A year of research with travel partners and consumers about what they liked and disliked about coupons and discount cards lead us to develop the Eat and Play Card.
Three years later we undertook a detailed audit of all the coupons in Orlando - every booklet, magazine, map and anything else readily available that had coupons, and what we discovered was astounding. There were so many golf coupons we stopped counting them and removed them from our analysis. From what remained, 26 brands were responsible for 70% of all the coupons and 80% of the coupons were for local brands and offerings that most people will never have heard of, or were in locations not convenient for most tourists – basically most people would never use them.
Q: Why was Orlando the best place for it?
A: It’s the most popular vacation destination in the country, the average length of stay is amongst the longest in the country, and the average group size tends to be larger than other destinations, making it more expensive because they have more mouths to feed and tickets to purchase. Ultimately, the opportunity and need in Orlando is the greatest.
Q: What is the value of the Eat and Play card for UK visitors?
A: It generally sells for around $25 (£19.72*) per card, and it’s valid for an entire family (up to 4) so it often works out to as little as $6 per person. You can recover your money in one use!
Q: How much can I reasonably expect to save during a 2 week holiday?
A: It depends upon how often you use it and what your meal/shopping budgets are. You could theoretically use it for every meal and all your shopping and entertainment expenses, but that expectation is not reasonable. The average discount is 18% off your total purchase, often including alcohol. So simply calculate your average meal expense and multiply it by how often you expect to use it. A family of four over a fortnight should easily save $400 - $500 on dining alone.
Q: Give me a sample itinerary for 2 days using the Eat and Play card If I take a couple of break days during my stay.
A: Day 1 – International Drive
Breakfast: Hash House a Go Go – save $13+
Shopping: Orlando Premium Outlets
Morning fun: Titanic The Artifact Exhibit – save $20
Lunch: UNO Chicago Grill – save $13+
Afternoon fun 1: Ripley’s Believe it or Not! – save $16
Afternoon fun 2: WonderWorks – save $19
Dinner: Carrabba’s Italian Kitchen – save $20+
Evening fun: SEA Life Aquarium/The Wheel – save $15
Day 2 – Lake Buena Vista/Kissimmee
Breakfast: Denny’s – save $10+
Morning fun: Hawaiian Rumble Adventure Golf – save $13
Shopping: Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores
Lunch: Chili’s – save $10+
Afternoon fun: Wild Florida Airboats Tour & Gator Park – save $45
Dinner: Red Lobster – save $10+
Evening fun: chill by the pool, you’ve had a busy couple of days.
Q: What do visitors do once they have their card?
A: Order your meal. Enjoy your meal. Ask for your check. Present your payment method along with your Eat and Play Card. And bingo – save!
Q: How far in advance should they purchase the card?
A: The earlier you get your card, the earlier you can start planning where you can use it as your holiday’s itinerary begins to materialize!
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