“ Address: International Dr 4951 / International Drive Orlando / FL 32819 / USA „
I recently went on holiday to Florida, and I was told by the hotel/holiday rep to try out the Orlando Premium Shopping Outlets, as I mentioned that I love shopping. There are actually two of these Premium Outlets, one located at each end of International Drive, Orlando.
I was staying on International Drive, so it was quite simple to get to the outlets, and there is actually a bus called the I-Ride which takes you to both Outlets and is only $1.25 a ride, or you can buy passes from your hotel.
I was expecting the Outlets to be a smallish place, but it was amazingly huge and it did take a little while to work out where everything was. It is an outdoor mall, with some parts under cover, and the food court is located inside. There were quite a few signs and maps around to help you find the stores you wanted, or just to help you find the way out!!
As well as stores there were stalls located all around the outlets too, which sold all kinds of things ranging from phone covers to kids toys. There is also a massive array of outlet stores, and you can find pretty much anything you need here.
The stores include Ed Hardy, Bath and Body Works, Fuzzywigs Candy Store, Claires, Starbucks, Victoria's Secret, Juicy Couture, Dickies and DKNY. There is a massive collection of other stores, where you can buy clothes, gifts, shopping, cookery items, shoes, accessories and home furnishings.
Weekdays the outlets are open from 10am until 11pm, and on Sunday's they are open from 10am until 9pm. These times may vary throughout seasons and holidays so please try to check before you go.
I had a great time shopping at the Outlets, and I spent a fair few hours there and good few dollars. I got everything at amazingly great prices and I was really pleased with how much I got for the money I spent.
All the stores were tidy and well presented, and all of the staff in each store were polite, helpful and friendly. I can not say anything bad about this shopping trip at all.
If you were to drive to the Outlets there is a massive car park, which is free to park in whilst you are shopping in the Outlets. There are plenty of spaces, including disabled access spaces and spaces for larger vehicles, like mini-vans etc. There is a bus stop directly outside for Lynx buses and the I-Ride bus, so transport is not a problem, no matter where you are staying or how much shopping you have.
If you get the chance to visit International Drive, I would say that The Premium Outlets is a must go-to place, especially for those who love to shop. You really can get some brilliant deals on amazing items and it is a very pleasant and relaxed shopping experience.
I give the Orlando Premium Shopping Outlets a 5 out of 5 stars and I totally recommend this mall to everyone.
*this review is also on Ciao under the user name of Hailee*
Orlando's Premium Outlets is a large shopping outlet, located at 4951 International Drive (I-Drive), Orlando, Florida. I visited the Outlets during May 2012, and this review is based on my experience.
* HOW TO GET THERE *
Getting to the Outlets by car looked to be fairly easy, with them being located nearby to the Universal Exit (75A) on the I-4 road. There is ample car parking available at the centre.
The Outlets are well served by public transport however, with a Lynx bus running to and from the Centre daily. The Outlets are also served by the well-known "I-Ride" Trolleys that run up and down International Drive, and this is how we travelled to the Outlets.
Paying only $1.25 each for our fare, the Trolley took around 15 minutes to travel from our stop (Trolley stop number 15) to the stop at the Outlets (stop number 1). There is no fear of getting off at the wrong stop, as you have to tell the Trolley driver where you are going and there is a sort of loudspeaker playing in the Trolley to tell you which stop is coming up. In addition, Stop number 1 is the end of the line, so you don't need to worry about missing your stop for the Outlets as this is where the service terminates. The Trolley service runs every 15 minutes, so you shouldn't need to wait too long for your Trolley to arrive at your chosen stop on I-Drive.
It is worth noting that there are two branches of Orlando's Premium Outlets located in Orlando. There is the branch on International Drive that I am reviewing here, with the second being found at Vineland Avenue, which is towards the opposite end of International Drive. We were advised that the Outlets at Trolley stop number 1 were the best of the two and they were closer to our hotel than the second branch, making them the most convenient choice for us.
* THE OUTLETS *
The Outlets are mostly outdoor, with some sections between the selection of stores being under cover. If you imagine a sort of outdoor 'retail park' that you can find in just about every town in the UK, the Orlando Premium Outlets are along the same lines, but on a much larger scale.
The stores are mostly designer, and I will admit that a lot of them weren't of any interest to me. I enjoyed window shopping however, and the selection of stores that I did venture into were nicely presented for the most part.
The stores are presented in 'blocks' that are situated opposite each other, to form a little sort of paved 'street' which has a covered 'roof' area on top. There are several of these 'blocks'(perhaps 16 or so), some which contain only a couple of large shops whilst others have several smaller shops in a sort of 'row.' This is all rather difficult to describe but hopefully you get the idea.
On the day that we visited, it was a beautiful sunny day and we found the covered areas between some of the 'blocks' of shops offered a little shaded respite from the blazing sun. One thing that I thought was slightly disappointing however was the distinct lack of seats available in these covered areas. I suffer from some mobility problems and need to sit down often whilst out and about. There was a small bench of seats to be found in most - if not all - of the covered 'street' areas, but this was usually fully occupied when I reached it and I had to look around elsewhere. Most of the time we had to sit in the blazing heat (on the only other seating to be found) just so that I could rest for a while. I would have much preferred a seat in the cool shade but I think I only managed to find one free seat in these areas during the whole time we were there. To be fair though, I often find that retail parks and shopping malls in the UK have insufficient communal seating areas provided too, so this problem is something that I am more than used to having to deal with.
* SHOP TILL YOU DROP! *
There were far too many shops at the Premium Outlets to list in a review, but I will give you an idea of the type of stores that can be found at the Outlets, together with a selection of examples for each type.
Firstly, there were a selection of Gift & Cosmetics shops. I am listing these first not because they were the stores with the highest quantity, but because they were my favourite and I visited several of these stores at the Outlets. One of my favourites within the whole of the Shopping Outlets was the Yankee Candle Store, a must-see for any fan of the well-known Yankee range of products. Not only was I able to snap up a whole selection of fantastic bargains for myself, but I was able to purchase several USA-exclusive scented products and I thoroughly enjoyed my time shopping in there. Other stores in this genre include Crabtree & Evelyn (a beautiful shop with gorgeous products), Perfumania, Elizabeth Arden, and Fuzziwig's Candy Factory. The latter is quite over-priced for some items but both my husband and myself had a good time in the store looking at the assorted candies and chocolates.
There was a generous selection of shoe shops available to choose from, with big brands such as Converse, Sketchers, Foot Locker, Adidas, Nike, Puma and Timberland. Some of these shops looked to be absolutely huge, but I wasn't in many of them.
A selection of clothes shops for children were available to choose from, such as Gap Kids and Tommy Hilfiger Kids. There wasn't much in the way of toy shops or other entertainment to amuse youngsters in my opinion, although we did stop by Disney's Character Warehouse for a look. I was quite impressed with the ranges of discounted Disney-themed clothing and accessories such as mugs and tableware, but I thought the selection of soft toys was severely lacking. I think this was a ploy to get me to purchase my Mickey Mouse toys and paraphernalia at FULL PRICE from the Disney Parks perhaps? Either way, I though the selection of Disney toys in this store was disappointing, although I did buy a T-shirt and a few Mickey Candies for souvenirs.
There was a huge variety of fashion stores, although I didn't venture into many of them myself, as I had a limited time at the outlets and there were too many other stores such as Yankee Candle that I wanted to visit. I thought there was an impressive range of stores however, ranging from Top Designers such as Juicy Couture, Calvin Klein and Lacoste to slightly more 'casual' stores such as Levis Outlet Store, Banana Republic and Gap Outlet, so plenty to choose from, whatever your style, budget and taste.
Jewellery & Accessories stores are always going to be a popular choice for yours truly, as I absolutely love browsing for these items when in America, finding them to be of excellent quality and usually of a much lower price than in the UK. A favourite American designer store of mine, namely Kate Spade New York have a branch within the Premium Outlets, and it was the first store I visited on my shopping trip. Whilst the items on sale are expensive, the quality is second to none in my opinion, and I thoroughly enjoyed browsing through the attractive store at my leisure. Another popular choice within this category for me was the Fossil shop, which I was only in for a short time but I thought it was beautifully presented, with some gorgeous items on display.
A full list of all 170 or so 'Outlet Stores' that can be found with the Orlando Premium Outlets can be found at www.premiumoutlets.com, together with a downloadable "Center Map" and some other information that may be helpful before you visit.
* OTHER FACILITIES *
There are ample restrooms provided throughout the Premium Outlets, with the main restrooms being located in the food court and another three toilets being found at additional locations throughout the outlets. We found that they were well signposted and we had no trouble with locating them, however they weren't particularly well maintained, especially given the overall high impression the Outlets are trying to achieve, in my opinion. The hand dryer didn't work, and I found the floor was a bit wet and slippy, which posed a rather dangerous hazard in my opinion. The second lot of toilets that I used only had toilet paper in one of the stalls and no soap. The overall impression was just rather sloppy and reminiscent of a run-down UK service station or similar. Surprising, considering the rather high-end stores and immaculate appearance of the Outlets elsewhere.
There are public telephones at four separate locations throughout the Outlets, as well as a good choice of vending machines which offer a selection of cold bottled water, candy and fizzy drinks. These were a valuable find to us on the day that we visited as the temperature was so high and we ran out of water. There are three ATM machines located at various points throughout the outlets.
As I have already mentioned, I suffer from mobility problems, so prior to visiting the Premium Outlets I had researched online and found that there was a Wheelchair Hire facility within the Management Office at the Outlets which can be found near the Lynx Bus Stop, next to the information office. This gave me peace of mind as I have needed to use a wheelchair at various shopping malls and centres in the UK. It turned out that we only visited the Premium Outlets in Orlando for a half day, and as I was able to locate a seat and take regular rests (albeit in the blazing sunshine!) the wheelchair wasn't needed for my own needs, but it may benefit other readers to know that the facility is there. I am unsure of rental prices (or the chairs may well be free to use) as I didn't use one myself. In terms of walking around the outlets with limited mobility, I had no problems as the Outlets are completely flat, with little or no steps except for perhaps the odd kerb, and of course there is (somewhat limited) seating provided throughout. One thing to bear in mind however is that the Outlets are really huge, much bigger than your average shopping Retail Park in the UK. This is America of course, and most things can be found on a much larger scale than in the UK. Shopping Malls are no exception to this rule. If you need to use a walking stick some of the time whilst at home (like myself) then my advice would be to bring it with you when you visit the Outlets.
There is a "Stroller Rental" facility that can be found near the Management Office at the same location already listed. Lockers are available for hire, and are also to be found near the Management Office. There is an 'Information' booth/office as well as a Foreign Currency Exchange booth/office to be found near the Management Office, although I didn't need to use either of these so cannot comment on their efficiency.
There are dining options available within the Premium Outlets, although I had limited time available on the day I visited so we didn't eat within the Outlets. There is a large food court to be found near the centre of the Outlets, which was inside and offered several options such as Haagen Dazs, Subway, Chicken Now and Jack's Steakery. There was a couple of 'carts' offering drinks and beverages and I think a couple of snack options that were located opposite the food court area, but I didn't investigate these so can't comment too much.
* FINAL WORD *
In conclusion, I felt the Orlando Premium Outlets offered an excellent shopping experience whilst visiting Orlando. I thought the choice and selection of stores within the Outlets was fantastic, with something to suit most tastes and budgets. The clothing and shoes for sale were of the same quality as I am used to seeing in the UK, but of course are available for a much lower price, and in some cases this looked to be up to 30% cheaper than UK prices. As I have already stated, my shopping time at the Outlets was rather limited, but I did manage to make some excellent purchases with my favourites being from the Yankee Candle Shop, where I purchased a massive bag of assorted Wax Tarts and Small Glass Jars for around $40. The same - or similar - products in the UK would have cost me at least three times this price, so hopefully this will give you an idea of the type of savings to be found in the Outlets.
I felt catered for whilst shopping at the Outlets, and the fact that there were wheelchairs available offered me additional peace of mind before I arrived. I thought the Outlets were EXTREMELY easy to find, particularly if travelling via the I-Ride trolley, which was a pleasure to use. The trolley stops being situated so close to the Outlets made this a highly convenient way to travel to them.
I think the Outlets deserve a four star rating. I feel it necessary to deduct one star for the insufficient seating that is provided throughout. Considering we visited on a quiet weekday morning, the shops were very busy and there were many tourists and shoppers visiting. The lack of seating was something that I noticed almost immediately, and I feel that the limited seating would have been even scarcer if we had chosen to visit on a weekend day. I was also disappointed at the condition of the public restrooms and felt that they did not live up to the high standard that could be found elsewhere throughout the Outlets. Other than these points however, I thoroughly enjoyed my shopping spree and would highly recommend visiting the Outlets if you are looking to bag some bargains from quality fashion retailers and American gift shops.