|Disney Area Shopping and Disney Outlets|
First lets discuss the Disney Outlets (other area malls at the bottom):
Belz Factory Outlet World
Web address: http://www.primeoutlets.com/cntrdefault.asp?cntrid=1077
Both stores had pretty much the same stuff at the same prices but they both had a few items the other did not. Most of the prices were pretty decent averaging about 1/2 off the sticker price. Most of the items are from last year or from the previous holiday. Example: most of the clothing had 2004 on them (we are nearly in 2005) and some of other stuff was from Thanksgiving which has just pasted. There was however some other products such as picture frames, coffee mugs and posters etc. that had no bearing on holiday or year.
Getting to this outlet was a bit of nightmare because of traffic on International Drive but we also went in the middle of Christmas shopping buzz but if you intend on going be aware you could spend the better part of the day just getting here, shopping and then returning to WDW. I suggest making this your half day destination especially if you get into Orlando midday on first day. Buy your souvenirs here and save a bundle.
Orlando Premium Outlets
Web address: http://www.premiumoutlets.com/outlets/store_listing.asp?id=17
Bigger than the stores at Belz but less to offer, mostly clothing and the prices are about the same. The big advantage to this store is it's location very near Downtown Disney.
Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores
Web address: http://www.lbvfs.com/Orlando-Character-Outlet.cfm
This location offers a Character Outlet store which is very similar to the other locations. This location seems to also sell very different items as compared to the other stores. Click here for coupon to use at this location!
Now lets discuss the other area malls:
The Mall at Millenia
Web Address: http://www.mallatmillenia.com/html/
Beautiful Mall, large, lots of parking but not worth the trip in my opinion.
Unless your name is Rockefeller, Carnegie or Trump you won't find much interest in the highly over priced stores here. Our first trip to this mall was our first and last. Every store here is either a specialty store or a high end designer store, no kidding! For example there is A Discovery Channel Store and a Sony Style store that are both pricing goods above retail and you can buy many of the same products at the Circuit City or the Super Target across the street for about 1/2 what they are selling it for! We felt terribly uncomfortable in almost every shop we went into... this excursion would be a complete waste of time for many of the users/visitors that use this site, this however may not apply to you so check out their website and decide for yourself.
Traffic was horrible here and it's partially to blame on the ridiculous way the streets were setup and to further aggravate things there was only one right turn lane from the I-4 east bound exit which was backed up for at least a 30 minute wait!
Web Address: http://www.simon.com/mall/default.aspx?ID=139
This mall is more along the lines of a traditional mall, stores that the average American middle income family can afford but not worth a special trip for those of you on vacation.
Winter Garden Village
Web Address: http://www.wintergardenvillage.com/
The all new Winter Garden Village is located only a few minutes from Disney World via the newly constructed 429 toll road. This is probably the best choice when looking for shopping near Disney because it is not part of the typical tourist area and only a few minutes travel time Take Disney's Western Way to a direct access on and off ramp!).
The Orlando area is waste land of theme parks and shopping complexes, yes I realize that I sound a bit scorned or harsh but it's the truth! Every turn will yield another shopping complex and everything is super sized, I have yet to find a regular Target or Wal-Mart and everything shopping complex offers a run down kiosk offering discount tickets, if I have to tell the guy in front of my local 7-Eleven that I don't need tickets one more time I will not be held responsible for my actions!
I hope this information has aided at least one person to avoid some of the shopping pitfalls in the WDW/Orlando area.