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ORLANDO SHOPPING

Now we know not everyone wants to shop on their sunshine holiday, but many of us do; and if the sun’s gone behind a cloud it’s the perfect excuse to head for Florida’s malls, outlets, factory stores and chic boutiques. Even better, your chances of finding a designer label for less are irresistibly high. But no matter what your budget or style preferences you will undoubtedly be in luck, because the choice and range on offer is huge.

The ‘daddy’ of the malls, with over 25 million annual visitors, is The Florida Mall: almost 2 million square feet of shopping heaven with a vast selection of retail stores, restaurants and cafes. And it promises to become even more spectacular with a 2014 makeover that will see new shops and a redeveloped food pavilion with 16 different eateries, several offering healthy fare options and including state-of-the-art customer amenities, with free Wi-Fi throughout, introduced for Spring 2015.

Dillards, jcpenney, Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Michael Kors and The Disney Store are just some of the internationally recognised names found here. The Florida Mall is open 10am to 10pm Mon-Sat and 12pm to 8pm on Sundays and is an easy 20 mile ride from CLC Encantada.

At the Mall at Millenia, fashionistas will feast on a line-up of top designer name boutiques that include Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Armani, Chanel, Jimmy Choo, Cartier and Rolex. The stunning architectural design of this centre is a visual treat, with illuminated palms sentinel outside the main entrance, fabulous glass walls and feature ceiling. The Mall also offers a US Post Office, valet parking and a full-service concierge.

Situated on Conroy Road, the Mall at Millenia is open 10am to 9pm Mon-Sat and 11am-7pm on Sundays.

Bargain hunters who want their holiday money to stretch further, should head to Orlando’s Premium Outlets where fashion design labels are sold for less. At Vineland Avenue, 9 miles from CLC Encantada, there are 160 designer and luxury brand outlet stores featuring such names as Diesel, Lacoste, Prada, Tommy Hilfiger, Armani, Hugo Boss and Barneys New York. Another Premier Outlets is located on Orlando’s iconic International Drive (14 miles from CLC Encantada) and has 180 stores offering similar great savings. Hours of opening are Mon-Sat 10am-11pm and Sun 10am-9pm.

Pointe Orlando is an entertainment complex also on International Drive and with over 40 stores including specialty shops, haute cuisine to casual dining restaurants, cinema, live events and music. Landscaped walkways and squares with fountains create an enjoyable shopping experience with a focus on variety with brands such as Armani Exchange and Tommy Bahama alongside Bath & Body Works, Seaside Gifts, and Design by U.

Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores, two miles south of I-4 on SR 535, also offer discounted designer wear from the likes of Calvin Klein, Fossil, Nike, Timberland and Samsonite… useful if you need extra luggage for all your shopping!