Well, it’s that time of year again; time to shop! There are plenty of places to shop in Central Florida.  From area malls to outlet stores, you are sure to find everything on your list.  The stores will have special holiday hours, mostly beginning the day after Thanksgiving, so check the individual websites for specifics.

Many of them will be having special holiday events as well, including visits from Santa Claus and midnight madness sales. Santa will be available for visits and photos at The Florida Mall, Mall at Millenia, West Oaks Mall, Orlando Fashion Square, Altamonte Mall, and Seminole Towne Center. Some facilities are even offering photos of your pets with Santa!  Check our mall shopping and outlet shopping for additional information and links to individual shopping location websites.

Perhaps you are already visiting the area and would like to shop at the theme parks you will be attending. Have no fear! There are plenty of shopping avenues located within the theme parks as well as non-ticketed areas. Downtown Disney is not only a tourist favorite but a favorite for locals too! With shuttle service to properties located within the Disney resort, there is no need to worry with local traffic. You may also want to check out Universal’s CityWalk that is host to dozens of shops and restaurants. Nightlife here is some of the best in the area!

Shopping Safety Tips:
Shopping during the holiday season can present unique danger; people are busy and can become careless and vulnerable to theft and other holiday crime.  Taking a few prevention measures can help keep your holiday season joyous:

  • Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member.
  • Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.
  • Dress casually and comfortably.
  • Do not carry a purse or wallet, if possible.
  • Even though you are rushed and thinking about a thousand things, stay alert to your surroundings.
  • Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost, stolen or misused.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Pay for purchases with checks, credit, charge or debit cards. Carry cash and wallets in a front pocket to reduce your chances of having your pocket picked.
  • Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.
  • Be extra careful if you do carry a wallet or purse. They are the prime targets of criminals in crowded shopping areas, transportation terminals, bus stops, on buses and other rapid transit.
  • Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.
  • Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, “con-artists” may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.
  • Remember where you parked your car. While this may sound elementary, many shopping areas are spread out over large areas. Being unable to locate a car can cause you undue confusion and stress that may present you as a better target to a criminal.
  • If shopping late in the day or after dark, park in an area that is well lighted. Keep in mind, if you are shopping at a mall, the time the store closes from which you enter the mall, as some stores close earlier than others. This may keep you from having to walk unnecessary distances to you car if you find the store has closed earlier than you expected.
  • As you return to your car, make sure to keep your car key in your hand.
  • Don’t leave car phones, purses, CD cases, or any other item of value in your parked car where they can be seen. Always conceal these items.
  • Don’t leave purchased merchandise in your parked car where it can be seen. Conceal these items also.

When shopping with children:

  • Children should never be left alone in a car – not even for a minute.
  • Inside the mall, keep your family with you at all times. If you plan to separate, arrange a meeting place and time.
  • Instruct your children never to talk to strangers.
  • Parents should never leave children unattended. Educate your children never to go off with strangers. Your children should never roam the center or a store unsupervised.
  • Children’s names should not be displayed on clothing, jewelry, T-shirts or school bags. Knowing a child’s name invites unwanted conversation with your child.
  • If you lose sight of your child, immediately contact Security, requesting their help in the search. Be prepared to quickly describe your child in detail – age, height, weight, hair color and description of clothing.
  • Teach your child to go to either of the mall’s Guest Services locations, a mall Security officer in uniform or a store salesperson to ask for help.

While these steps don’t guarantee you will not become the victim of crime, they will hopefully reduce your chances of falling prey to a criminal.


Sources: LAPD Crime Prevention Section/Simon Malls