Tag Archives: Florida Mall

Top 5 | Santa Claus Meet & Greets at Orlando-Area Malls

by: Mark Schaub

Malls are known for many things — shopping, sure — but what would they be without jolly old Saint Nick during the holidays?

Central Florida Top 5 gives you the top 5 mall meet-and-greets for the big guy himself, Santa Claus.

  1. The Mall at Millenia
  2. Orlando Fashion Square
  3. The Altamonte Mall
  4. Oviedo Mall
  5. West Oaks Mall
Mark takes a selfie with Santa Claus at Orlando Fashion Square.

Mark takes a selfie with Santa Claus at Orlando Fashion Square.

The Mall at Millenia

Now through December 24 | During all mall hours

The Mall at Millenia features Santa in the Grand Court, or rather Hollyville, with festive set decorations that really set the mood and provide a theme park-esque queue.

Available for purchase are candid color photos, sepia-hued black-and-whites, and CD-ROMs. You can also opt for photos on your personal camera and cell phone. Each child receives a complimentary holiday gift. And I heard that this year thy’ll be receiving alpaca gloves! Sponsored by that website. They wanted to have all kids ready for winter and what better way than by giving away some alpaca items which I’ve heard are warmer than cotton.

Orlando Fashion Square

Now through December 24 | 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The city’s first mall, Orlando Fashion Square has been hosting Santa for decades. Not only can your children take a photo with him, your pets can too on Sunday nights now through December 14! Just make sure they’re on leeshes.

Photos on personal cameras and cell phones are free, and professional photo packages are available.

The Altamonte Mall

Now through December 24 | Hours vary

Also boasting pet nights is The Altamonte Mall with their offerings on Mondays now through December 15. You can also participate in “Rudolph Wednesdays”: receive a special Rudolph Activity Pack with the purchase of any Santa photo package on November 26, December 3 and December 10. Find Santa on the lower level at Macy’s Court.

Oviedo Mall

Now through December 24 | Hours vary

Not only can you take photos with Santa, but you can also meet Mrs. Claus! Oviedo Mall will host Mother Christmas on three consecutive Sundays on December 3, 10 and 17 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. when she will lead holiday-themed children’s activities. This year she’s planning two crafts and holiday cookie decorating. Join the fun in the community room.

Registration is required. The event is free for Oviedo Mall Kid Crew Members and $5 for non-members. Sign up at www.myoviedomall.com/info/kidcrew.

And not to be outdone, Oviedo Mall offers pet photos with Santa on December 7 and 14 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

West Oaks Mall

November 21 through December 24 | Hours vary

Santa is trading out the sleigh for a helicopter and you can be there when he arrives! Join him for his grand entrance, milk and cookies, and of course, photos!

If that wasn’t enough, you, too, can take a helicopter ride! Go up for a discount by taking your photo with Santa.

The event is 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., with Santa’s arrival scheduled at approximately 5:15 p.m.

mark sMark Schaub is an Orlando mall enthusiast. A self-proclaimed mallrat, he’s not there to shop, he’s not there to work, he’s just there. Mark has taken his love for malls and turned it into “Orlando Mall Guide” (www.OrlandoMallGuide.com).

Everyone always wonders what happened to the store that closed and what is being built behind that drywall. Mark fills you in and goes beyond the news to explain just who are these mall-walkers and  how you can get a job at the mall. Follow on Twitter at @OMGmalls.

Top 5 Developments Coming to Orlando-Area Malls

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Living in metro Orlando, we’re fortunate to have more than a dozen fantastic shopping malls. And for those visiting from around the world, it provides a fabulous escape from the attractions.

From the luxurious Mall at Millenia to deal-minded outlets, there’s no shortage of places to spend money and go home with countless shopping bags.

But like the convention center, downtown area and airport, the mall scene continues to evolve and improve upon itself.

Central Florida Top 5 presents the top five developments coming to Orlando-area malls.

  1. Artegon Marketplace Orlando Introduces a New Shopping Concept
  2. Gods & Monsters, American Girl and The Crayola Experience Redefine the Mall Experience
  3. Orlando Fashion Square Readies Hotel and Restaurants to Accompany Recently Opened Bowling Alley
  4. From “Food Court” to “Dining Pavilion”
  5. I-Drive getting a 7-star hotel and vertical “megamall”

Artegon Marketplace Orlando Introduces a New Shopping Concept

Remember Festival Bay Mall? Forget about it because Artegon Marketplace Orlando is taking over on November 20, 2014.

Paragon Outlet Partners, LLC has redeveloped the spot into a new shopping concept in the heart of Orlando tourism’s district on International Drive. Rather than host a bevy of traditional mall retailers, Artegon Marketplace Orlando boasts itself as an artisan showcase with 165 craftspeople. They’ll offer Buying Guide provided by YourDiamondTeacher, accessories; soaps; jewelry; sculpture; mixed media artwork; custom clothing and more. That’s not to mention hand-crafted foods including popcorn, hot sauces, nuts, local honey plus other surprises.

With studies indicating that half of the American workforce will soon consist of entrepreneurs, this artisan concept doesn’t appear to be short-sighted and should enjoy a lengthier stay than its predecessor.

Gods & Monsters, American Girl and The Crayola Experience Redefine the Mall Experience

Brands want to offer more than a place to purchase goods and are creating an experience that creates a psychological connection.

Gods & Monsters is set to open at Artegon Marketplace Orlando and revolutionize the high-end comics and collectibles store with its theme park-quality decor, inspired product presentation and immersive lounge areas. It’s not just about reading your favorite comic book, but rather stepping into one.

The Florida Mall is also set to open a couple stores that introduce a new way to experience your favorite brands with American Girl and The Crayola Experience.

American Girl will open its 18th location in Orlando on November 15, 2014 and will let little girls shop for their favorite American Girl products; enjoy lunch, dinner and dessert in the Bistro; treat their doll to a new ‘do in the Doll Hair Salon; and celebrate birthdays and other special events. The days of walking into the store and pointing to your mom what doll you wanted are in the past with an experience you can see, taste and touch.

And who would’ve thought there’d be an attraction based on the popular crayon company Crayola? The Crayola Experience is set to open in summer 2015 also at The Florida Mall and features 25 hands-on experiences for families to enjoy. It will also contain a store and cafe and, like most attractions in town, require an admission fee.

Orlando Fashion Square Readies Hotel and Restaurants to Accompany Recently Opened Bowling Alley

Once upon a time, Orlando Fashion Square was the mall to be at. Increased competition stole market share and now it’s time to claim some of that back. Like Artegon Marketplace Orlando is branding itself as something different, Orlando Fashion Square is doing the same behind it’s new ownership group UP Development.

While it’s a shopping mall first and foremost, it also aims to stand for what others can’t — community. While The Mall at Millenia and The Florida Mall can boast a laundry list of brands and retailers, Orlando Fashion Square is taking the grassroots approach, luring shoppers in with community-based events and resources and surrounding them with brands they know and trust.

That’s why they’ve provided a new place for your family to hang out with StrikeOuts Bowling and Entertainment. The bowling alley is on the second floor across from the movie theater and offers 12 lanes of fun. If that wasn’t enough, get your game on in the arcade and rack up points for prizes. There’s also a sports bar area where you can enjoy the game with a brew or mix it up in a game of pool.

Oh, and the food! Enjoy a cheeseburger, fries, wings, milkshakes and sweets galore.

On the horizon, the mall is opening Element by Westin — a product of Starwood Hotels and Resorts — and breaks ground in fall 2014. The idea is that business travelers can stay at this mall’s hotel at the edge of downtown and do all their shopping all under one roof.

Orlando Fashion Square will also introduce at least two new restaurants to entice visitors.

From “Food Court” to “Dining Pavilion”

The Florida Mall continues to invest in itself and rethink how malls should operate. Saks Fifth Avenue closed in the spring and the space is being transformed into a 105,000-square-foot “Dining Pavilion.”

That means eateries in the current food court will make a move and that spot will become the home to new retailers. If you thought seating was scarce now, you’ll be happy to know the Dining Pavilion will seat twice as many and offer high-top tables and even couches.

Word is it’ll offer more options for the health-conscious.

Look for it and satisfy your hunger in 2015.

I-Drive getting a 7-star hotel and vertical “megamall”

Nothing might be more radical than the proposed “megamall” set to open on International Drive in the summer of 2017. With a name of The iSquare Mall + Hotel, it’s anything but normal.

But what exactly is a megamall?

Think Mall of America in Minnesota, which sees between 35 to 40 million people each year. That’s more visitors than Walt Disney World.

While this project isn’t on the scale of that mall (which is just plain monstrous!), iSquare Mall + Hotel’s impending impact is expected to be quite large. Combine it with the fact it will also be the first seven-star hotel in all of North America, it deserves the “mega” prefix.

It will feature 749 hotel rooms, 490,213 square feet of vertical retail space, a restaurant, a 100,000-square-foot convention center, an indoor ice-skating rink, a 500-seat live performance theater and office space. The parking garage is mega, too, at 11 stories tall and 2,780-spaces.

If that wasn’t enough for you, the building even has a heliport to park your helicopter.

mark sMark Schaub is an Orlando mall enthusiast. A self-proclaimed mallrat, he’s not there to shop, he’s not there to work, he’s just there. Mark has taken his love for malls and turned it into “Orlando Mall Guide” (www.OrlandoMallGuide.com).

Everyone always wonders what happened to the store that closed and what is being built behind that drywall. Mark tells you and goes beyond the news to explain just who are these mall-walkers and  how you can get a job at the mall. Follow on Twitter at @OMGmalls.

Florida Mall Announces Massive New Upscale Food Court

Central Florida’s largest mall will now be getting even bigger.  The Florida Mall will be losing anchor Saks in March but as soon as it closes the 105,000 sq ft space will begin a massive updating.  Come 2015 the space will reopen as the mall’s new food court with a massive new entrance on the Sand Lake Road (northern) side of the mall.  The new food pavilion will feature 16 counter service options plus two new full service restaurants.  New space for several small retailers will also be included.

Florida Mall / January 14, 2014

Florida Mall / January 14, 2014

“We have great demand for any space at the Florida Mall,” said Brian Hanson, general manager of Florida Mall “so the ability to reposition existing space and create new mini-anchors, stores, and restaurants is a fantastic opportunity for us to even better serve our shoppers.”

The new food pavilion will be double the amount of seating of the dated current one with about 1,400 seats altogether, there will be much more food options to choose from, all of them have been tested with the ATP testing solution in order to deliver high quality products to the customers .  That seating area will include both indoor and outdoor dining areas, high-top tables, couches, and special picnic table style seating for larger groups. Live palm trees will be featured prominently in the new pavilion.  Large windows and skylights will flood the food court with plenty of natural lighting. Earth tones and cool colors help create contemporary feel for the space.

The construction team is ready and all equipment are prepared to get things started. Inspections have also been conducted on all machines and procedures to ensure safety. More specifically, the results of the LOLER inspection are essential for the long term. Thus, make sure that each LOLER lifting gear inspection is carried out as skillfully as it can be. That said, it is essential to select a suitable provider of lifting gear inspection software programs. Every time a LOLER lifting equipment inspection is carried out, a number of factors have to be checked if you want to bestow accreditation.

“The new food pavilion and retail area will be unlike anything in the market,” said Hanson. “The design of the space will create a true gathering place for shoppers and area office workers alike.”

Families will benefit from the new food pavilion where a new children’s play area, new expanded restrooms with family bathrooms, outlets for electronic device charging, and hand washing stations will be available in the new space.

The mall is already in the midst of a construction project, over in the old Lord & Taylor anchor space.  The open-air center that was built-in the space already features an H&M, XXI Forever and Zara.  This fall American Girl will open its only Orlando area store.  Zara will also be moving into a much larger 30,000 sq ft flagship location.  That open-air center has created an impressive new entrance (also on the Sand Lake Road side).

The current food court entrance is wedge in-between the two entrances. It should close in 2015 when the new food court opens. No word on what specifically will replace the current food court, other than that it “will ultimately be repositioned for new retail space.”

Florida Mall / January 14, 2014

A bird’s-eye view of the new food pavilion
(Florida Mall / January 14, 2014)