Column by Dan Hatfield
I am planning a trip to Orlando. We are not quite sure whether we want to stay on Disney property, on International Drive by Universal Orlando, or by SeaWorld. But my question isn’t about accommodations – it’s about shopping. Since I don’t know the area, can you help me locate the closest grocery stores and non-Disney shopping malls to the attractions?
Great question! I can certainly help. There are a number of grocery stores, regular shopping malls, and outlet malls all over the Orlando area. There are so many in fact, I decided to create a custom Google map to display them all. Click Here to open the map. Once you’re inside the map, click on any of the venues to view its address. From there you can punch in your hotel’s address if you’d like to get specific directions.
I’ll also go through a few highlights, just to help you get your bearings.
As with any city there are a lot of grocery stores around. If you’re staying at Walt Disney World, the single closest grocery store is Goodings. It is open 24-hours and is located at Disney World’s north entrance, in the Crossroads shopping and restaurant complex. You can take a virtual tour of Goodings on the OrlandoInformer.com Facebook page. There is also a Winn-Dixie about two blocks east of Goodings.
Otherwise, Orlando’s biggest grocery chain is Publix, and you’ll find them in almost all the neighborhoods. Just check out my custom-made map for locations.
If you’re looking for a larger selection, there are also a two Super Targets and two Walmart Supercenters around the attractions. Their locations are also marked on my Google map.
The three closest malls to the attractions are Florida Mall, Mall at Millenia and Festival Bay Mall. I’d also like to throw in Kissimee’s The Loop & Loop West, which is an outdoor shopping area similar to mall. Out of those four, Florida Mall is going to be about as “normal” as you can get for a mall. It is anchored by a JC Penny, Sears, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Dillard’s and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Mall at Millenia is worth a visit too, if only to window shop. It is Orlando’s luxury mall, and their “exceptional collection of retailers is presented in a distinctive environment of dramatic architecture and amenities.” It is quite beautiful. Mall at Millenia was also recently the scene for an Orlando Flash Mob! Cool stuff.
Don’t forget about the outlet malls. There are two big ones in Orlando, Premium Outlets International Drive near Universal Orlando (formerly Prime Outlets), and Premium Outlets Vineland Ave. near SeaWorld.
In case of emergency, 24-hour Walgreens and Liquor Stores
You never know just what complications may arise when you’re on vacation. For that reason I’ve also marked the closest 24-hour Walgreens and liquor stores on my Google map. And don’t forget that in Florida regular grocery stores sell beer and wine.
If you think I missed anything, please leave a comment at the bottom of this post. You may also be interested in seeing the other 10 custom-made Google maps I’ve created, covering everything from the Magic Kingdom resort area, to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, to Lake Eola and Thorton Park. Click Here to see the collection.
Do you have a question you’d like to have featured in my weekly column? Please contact me and put “Attractions Magazine blog” in the subject. Thanks! Have a great week.
• Dan Hatfield is an Orlando enthusiast, vacation planning specialist, local blogger, and full-time student at UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management. He runs OrlandoInformer.com, a site dedicated to providing practical knowledge and insider tips about a wide range of Orlando vacation activities. You can reach Dan via his website, on Twitter at @OrlandoInformer, or at [email protected].