Shops exist everywhere in Orlando – everywhere. It’s a tourist destination. For the full shopping experience, however, consider the following areas. Each includes a link to the host site for info on specific shops and directions.
Each Disney resort has a gift shop (or more) that includes general Disney merchandise and specialty items angled to that that resort’s theme. The Boardwalk Resort offers extra shops, restaurants, and clubs. For the full shopping experience, however, there’s only Downtown Disney.
An outdoor shopping center bordering a lake, Downtown Disney has a huge array of stores, and many items you wish you’d bought in the parks can also be purchased here without the parking fees and tickets. The World of Disney store is a destination unto itself. Downtown Disney has plenty of room, requires a fair amount of walking, and offers free bus and boat transportation from one side to the other. Transportation is also free to/from Disney parks and hotels.
An outdoor shopping/restaurant area on the shores of a lake – a pretend ocean – the Boardwalk has a number of upscale shops. It’s best enjoyed for an evening if paired with dinner in one of the nearby restaurants.
International Drive runs parallel to Interstate 4 north of Disney, and the drive itself has three general shopping districts. The convention center takes up the southern section, packed small businesses make up the middle, and the northern area, which dead ends at Interstate 4, has a huge selection of outlets.
At the northern dead end of International Drive, Prime 1 Outlets, a huge complex new in 2008, hosts over 100 outlets and discount stores. Of special note to those seeking Disney items: It’s the only location of the Character Warehouse, a Disney-owned store that sells overstocks from the parks at up to 70 percent off.
To visitors, it’s tough to tell where one outlet ends and another begins at International Drive’s north end. Festival Bay abuts Prime 1, and offers 65 shops along with a movie theater and restaurants.
Located on south International Drive near the convention center, Pointe Orlando is the most convenient shopping for guests of convention center hotels. It has both outlet-style and higher-end shops.
Outlets seem to spring up near interstates to catch the eye of passing tourists, and Orlando Premium Outlets fits that mold. It has over 150 stores and is located just off the south end of International Drive.
Kissimmee area/US 192
US 192 touches the south end of Disney World and runs through Kissimmee to the east. The original “tourist area,” it’s filled with T-shirt shops and small tourist magnets.
Old Town has shopping, dining and rides. It looks like a poor version of Disney’s Main Street, and many of the shops offer unique items, such as Ireland trinkets or magic tricks.
Located close to U.S. 192 and Disney, Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores has over 50 shops, but many are the same as those found in the bigger buildings of north International drive.
If willing to drive farther east on US 192, the Osceola Flea and Farmers Market – open only on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday – has those strange little bargains unique to flea markets. This one claims to have over 900 booths.
Not far away
Two “normal” malls – not outlets – are also within easy driving distance of the tourist attractions:
Tourists with fatter wallets looking for “the best” rather than “the cheapest” have no choice but The Mall at Millenia. Located close to I-4 between Disney and Orlando, it’s an easy drive. Stores include standards such as Neiman Marcus, but also a large number of specialty, designer-label shops.
The Florida Mall is located along the Beachline, between Disney and Orlando International Airport. Stores include standards such as Dillard’s and JC Penney.