During our first week in Florida the weather was so cold we couldn’t go outside and do anything around where we were staying, so we decided to go check out the outlet shopping. I don’t hate shopping, but it’s not my favorite thing to do either. My version of shopping is going to a specific store for a specific item, buying said item then going home. That’s assuming I don’t just buy it online. Since we’re on vacation I decided to ease up on my expectations and enjoy walking around the various shops. I figured it would be a good way to get a bit of exercise (Christmas + Vacation = A desperate need to lose some weight) and find some deals.
The first place we went was Pointe Orlando. It was in a busy part of town, but the actual shopping area wasn’t too busy. In fact some areas seemed a little deserted. My three favorite places were Tommy Bahama (geek alert! – I really only went in there in hopes of a Scott Bourne siting as he has mentioned several times on MacBreak Weekly that he shops there and is currently in Florida), Johnny Rockets, which was a fun restaurant similar to the Chicken Burger at home, and B.B. King’s Blues Club. We only went into the gift shop at the blues club, but the best part was the interesting paintings outside on the walls. There were all kinds of Blues legends on the walls, so I had to get my picture next to the best of the best, Stevie Ray Vaughan.
The second place we went was called Orlando Premium Outlets. From the road it sort of looked like a decent sized shopping mall. As soon as we entered the doors we realized it was a massive, sprawling, shopping paradise. All the area between shops is open to the elements, which was nice. As we browsed store after store, we quickly realized that our definitions of “deal” and “cheap” are very different than some people’s. Everything was incredibly expensive, even though it was all marked down. Even though it was all a little too rich for our blood, it was still fun to walk around and see everything.
We shopped all day. We bought nothing. Normally I would consider this a colossal failure, but I decided to look at things differently. It’s kind of fun to look at what rich people spend their money on. It’s not every day that we go into a sunglasses shop and try on pairs worth a few hundred dollars. The high prices kept us from actually buying anything so it made for a cheap day out. I got to see a new place, people watch, browse some ridiculously expensive shops, and hang out with Susan. All in all it was a good day.
I’m not the biggest shopper in the world, but when Florida hits record low temperatures, it’s a nice alternative to sitting on the couch next to an electric heater. I had never really visited any big outlet shopping areas so I was excited to see what all the buzz was about. I’m still not sure what all the buzz is about.
Pointe Orlando didn’t have a whole lot to offer in my opinion. There didn’t seem to be a whole lot of shops, but what it did have was Johnny Rockets, my new favourite retro restaurant. The moment you walk through the doors it feels as though you have stepped back into the 50’s with checkered flooring, red vinyl booths and jukeboxes. The menu is very American with a huge burger selection, but that’s expected in a restaurant of this type. We heard from a good source that their milkshakes are delicious and they truly are the best I’ve ever had. They come complete in an old fashioned style milkshake glass and metal holder. If the friendly waitresses with their cute little ribbon tied pony tails and white aprons aren’t enough, surely the jukeboxes at every booth will satisfy for just 5 cents a song.
As the cold weather persisted, we went to Orlando Premium Outlets, the huge shopping centre with over 100 stores, which I don’t think we even covered half of. It was HUGE. I strolled in thinking I would surely walk away with armfuls of shopping bags, but left with zip. I always thought the big appeal of outlet shopping was the great deals you could get, but I didn’t find very many pricetags with deal like numbers on them. Regardless, it was still nice to browse through stores we don’t have at home and take it all in. Apparently the Orlando Prime Outlets have better prices, but we got shoppped out and headed home for the hot tub instead.
If you love to shop and have money burning a hole in your pocket, you will love outlet shopping. However, if the thought of shopping causes your feet to ache instantly, you’re probably better off ordering a milkshake at Johnny Rockets and watching the crowds buzz by.