Channel your inner Santa with five surefire tips for successful holiday shopping in Orlando.
Updated November 30, 2021
The holiday shopping season has arrived, and all due respect to Santa’s workshop, but there’s no better place to get your gift-buying done than Orlando. Between upscale malls, discount outlets, imaginative shopping districts and one-of-a-kind neighborhood boutiques, you’re sure to find the perfect gifts for family and friends while you’re here — and our insider tips for holiday shopping will keep your tinsel from getting tangled while you’re at it!
Tip 1: Save on Orlando Theme Parks & Attractions With Discounted Tickets From Visit Orlando Powered by BestofOrlando.com
Visit Orlando is an official reseller of authorized discounted theme park and attractions tickets — head to Visit Orlando powered by BestofOrlando.com to learn more. If you prefer gifting experiences over physical objects, this could be the only holiday shopping tip you need!
Tip 2: Orlando’s Malls Have (Just About) Everything for Everyone
Orlando is the ultimate holiday shopping destination in part because our malls have something for practically every budget and style. Better still, our most popular malls are all inside a 15-mile radius of our theme parks!
If only the finest in upscale gifts will do, head to The Mall at Millenia, just 15 minutes northeast of Universal Orlando Resort. This luxury shopping destination boasts a refined shopping experience with 150 retailers, service-providers and restaurants, including 40 shops you won’t find anywhere else in the area.
About halfway between Universal Orlando and Orlando International Airport, The Florida Mall® is Central Florida’s largest shopping center, providing 1.8 million square feet of family-friendly shopping with more than 250 retail and dining options. It also has numerous market exclusives, including Crayola Experience, Carlo’s Bakery (from celebrity chef Buddy Valastro) and more.
Save on discount tickets: Crayola Experience
For deep discounts, hit up our outlet malls, including Orlando International Premium Outlets®, Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets® and Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores, all close to the theme parks. In addition to incredible savings from scores of the world’s best-known and sought-after outlet stores, these shopping destinations offer super-convenient parking and plenty of amenities for guests.
Discover: Discount Shopping in Orlando
Tip 3: Discover Unexpected Surprises at Neighborhood Shops
Orlando’s shopping malls will take your holiday gift-buying far, but to satisfy the hardest-to-please people on your list, you might have to dive deeper — and that’s where boutiques in Orlando’s unique neighborhoods and charming nearby towns come in.
For instance, vintage goods and handmade treasures can be found in Orlando’s Thornton Park, Ivanhoe Village and College Park neighborhoods, all minutes from downtown’s core. And in the nearby Audubon Park neighborhood, stock up on handcrafted goods and artisanal foods at East End Market.
Discover: Neighborhood Shopping in Orlando
Just 15 minutes north of downtown Orlando, gorgeous Winter Park offers high-end boutique shopping along the cobblestoned streets on and around Park Avenue, as well as at the walkable, outdoor Winter Park Village shopping center. And 30 minutes west of downtown Orlando, Winter Garden has artisanal goods and other unique wares at Plant Street Market and the wider Plant Street entertainment district.
Discover: Winter Park Shopping
Tip 4: Make Time for Theme Park Shopping
While happy families enjoy the action at Universal Orlando Resort, Walt Disney World® Resort, SeaWorld® Orlando and LEGOLAND® Florida Resort, happy shoppers can do their own thing. The best time to shop for unique collectibles inside the gates is from opening hours until mid-afternoon, which will help you avoid crowds buying souvenirs as they head out for the day. No ticket? No problem: Merchandise is available outside our parks’ gates, too.
Save on discount tickets: Orlando Theme Parks
Serious shoppers will also want to visit Disney Springs® at Walt Disney World Resort and Universal CityWalk at Universal Orlando Resort. At Disney Springs, shop till you drop at more than 100 retailers, including many area exclusives and Disney merchandise you can’t get anywhere else. And Universal CityWalk has a truly eclectic lineup of shopping options — you can even gift someone a tattoo while you’re there! Both districts offer free admission, with free parking all day at Disney Springs and free parking after 6 p.m. at Universal CityWalk (excluding special event nights).
Also, International Drive has two shopping, dining and entertainment districts of its own: Pointe Orlando and ICON Park®. In addition to a range of unique retailers, both offer free admission. ICON Park also has free parking, and you can check with shops and restaurants at Pointe Orlando for details on how to get your parking validated there.
Discover: International Drive
Tip 5: Plan Your Attack
Before hitting up any of Orlando’s retail hotspots this holiday season, plan your shopping spree ahead of time for the best experience. For example, you can figure out the best route through our malls by taking advantage of free maps available from their websites. Or, pick up a paper map from guest services upon your arrival. Detailed maps of Disney Springs and Universal CityWalk are also available online, including information on where to find which retailers.
Speaking of maps, it’s also a great idea to get a feel for your preferred shopping centers’ locations, both in relation to where you’re staying and to each other. Doing so can help ensure you’ll be able to hit every location on your list before the day ends.
Last but not least, check applicable websites for cost-cutting offers and even printable coupon books before you embark. After all, the more you save, the more you can buy this holiday season in Orlando!
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