We have recently got back from a nearly three-week trip to Orlando. This was out 10th trip to Florida (obsessed much?) and over the years we have visited a few different areas including Miami, Tampa and Sarasota, plus beaches like Cocoa and Miami. We’ve spent the majority of the time in Orlando though, and its an area we know and love very much. Today I wanted to launch a new series which will cover some of the alternative things to do outside of the parks. I’m not knocking Walt Disney World or Universal (and others) you could in fact visit a park every day of you trip, which we’ve done too. I wanted to give options of other things to do whilst you are in Orlando though. Whether it’s a rest or rainy day, or you are planning more of a non amusement park holiday, keep tuned for some of my suggestions over the coming days.
The shopping in Orlando is EPIC, I don’t use that phrase lightly. We tend to visit all of the main malls and outlets, when we visit and there’s plenty. We’ve tried visiting smaller individual stores, but prefer to shop at these more dedicated larger areas which have so much choice. I’d say all under one roof, but many of them offer more of an outdoor indoor arrangement.
Here are the locations of the main shops that we recommend :
Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores
15657 State Road 535 Orlando, FL 32821, Phone: (407) 238-9301, Location: Lake Buena Vista Area, Visit Website
If you are looking for something a little smaller, this is a good introduction of the idea of American Outlets. An outlet store, is a brick and mortar in which manufacturers sell their stock directly to the public for a discounted price.
Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores has a car park in the center, and is surrounded with large stores around its perimeter. Find some shade when you park if you can, or maybe visit at night, as the car get hot!
Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets (our family favourite)8200 Vineland Avenue, Orlando, FL 32821, (407) 238-0703, Visit Website, Location: Near SeaWorld & International Drive South Area
Orlando International Premium Outlets
4951 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819, (407) 352-9600 Visit Website Location: Universal Orlando Resort & International Drive North Area
There are two main outlets, Vineland and International Premium Outlets – see above for more details. Both are great, large and offer a great mix of stores. We tend to buy clothing, especially sports, trainers and shoes. They both have Disney’s Character Warehouse stores, which are fantastic for cut price deals on Disney items such as toys, clothing and pins. There is also a food court with lots of different food stalls available if you decide to make a day of it. Parking is plentiful, and there is an option at Vineland to pay for undercover parking or valet parking.
The Mall at Millenia –
A good mix of higher end shops such as Gucci, Tiffany & Co and Jimmy Choo. It does have others such as Forever 21, American Apparel, Bath and Body Works and Keihls. Not strictly a place where you can get lots of discount, but if you hunt around there are some available. In stores such as Macy’s there are whole areas (look out for the red banners) which have many items reduced to clear. It’s definitely worth a visit, even if it’s just for window shopping that pair of Jimmy’s.4200 Conroy Road, Orlando, FL 32839, 407-363 3555, Visit Website, Location: The Mall at Millenia Area
We love visiting here, because it really does have it all, plus there is just something about the atmosphere of the place, that just makes me happy. Must be a little of that Disney Magic?
As well as shops, there are restaurants to suit every palate. In the evening the place comes alive with live music and entertainment around every corner. Also because its a Disney owned property, there really is an amazing amount of merchandise, so if you can’t find it anywhere else, come here! A special mention to Sephora, in my opinion the staff at this store are outstanding!1780 East Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830, 407-939-2698,Visit Website, Location: Disney Springs Area
Shopping in Orlando is for us, an opportunity to buy items such as shoes and clothing, and beauty items. They are branded items, like Nike and would usually be quite expensive with little or no discounts available in the UK. Some will be absolute bargains, and this year has been our best yet I think. For example my daughter bought some Converse One Star Gold trainers that she’d been lusting after, which are £55 at Urban Outfitters in the UK, for around £25 in the US. My husband got a pair of Nike trainers for £25 and they usually sell for around £90. T-shirts which are around £20 in the UK, we got for around £5. We also can pick up items from brands that might not be available at back home, for example like Ultar, Old Navy and Justice.
How to make the most of the discounts?
Now we all like a bargain don’t we? Well with a little bit of planning you can pay even less! You can see I have linked to all of main malls and outlets. Visit those sites, and individual stores that you plan to visit and sign up for their mailing lists, you should start getting offers via email quite quickly. This really is a top tip, that can save you lots. If that’s too much to organised, then wait until you arrive in Orlando, go visit the customer ser vices, and ask them and when you first shop there, you will asked for you email address, as they tend to email the receipt but they also use it to send you emails with offers. Believe me America is the place for a deal. We received deals that were between a third and half off the RRP regularly. The exchange rate if you live in the UK like us, isn’t brilliant at the moment, so using things like this can make a big difference, if you plan on doing lots of shopping.
So that’s my round-up Orlando shopping, please do let me know if you have any questions as I’ll be very happy to help if I can.
Other posts about Orlando that you might be interested in :
Winter Park : Fun away from the theme parks.
Shopping : My hints and tips on shopping in Orlando.
Entertainment : Blue Man Group
Nature : Boggy Creek