Finding the Florida keys to Orlando Airport retail

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.
Martin Moodie

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While I fear I am about to be incarcerated in the South Florida version of Alcatraz every time I encounter the security staff at Orlando International Airport, I can’t say the same about the retail employees whom I found consistently friendly during a brief sojourn there last week en route to London.

The airport offers a diverse mix of stores, concepts and food & beverage outlets and certainly lives up to the state’s reputation as a family destination.

Here’s five things I picked out from that offer:

1) Harry Potter (Universal Orlando Resort store):  Given the space constraints of airports, such themed stores tend to suffer badly in comparison with the real thing but the retailer here has done a really nice job with the Harry Potter offer. There’s been a real effort to recreate the quirky, eccentric and dark magic of the books and films and there’s a very good range of products and price-points. Bogdan, the sales assistant, was as friendly as any I have ever encountered in a travel retail store.

2) Hudson News: Everything a good newsagents should be. Look at the fantastic openness of the store and the easy accessibility of product. A role model for the genre.

3) Kennedy Space Center: There’s something for everyone in this brilliant little store, which offers a preview (or review) in microcosm of one of Florida’s great tourist attractions. There’s a nice range of memorabilia and the staff even wear blue space suits. Snoopy in a NASA suit was a big hit with my 11 year-old son.

4) XpresSpa: A concept that has worked very well in US airports and is now gaining traction internationally. A great way to while away some waiting time and relieve pre-flight stress. Fellow travellers could do without the sight of the ‘builder’s bum’ though…

5) Alpha duty and tax free: A really nice store that works its relatively tight space well. Bright, accessible and with a strong and attractive Clinique offer at the front of the shop during my visit.

Tobacco, key to the British traveller, is neatly albeit oddly sectioned off at the back of the store via a glass entrance. The store branding will soon be a collector’s item as the recent tender was won by rival The Nuance Group (in association with DFASS).


[Disney’s EarPort: Nice name and a a great chance to grab last-minute gifts you might have forgotten at Disney World]

[Sea World: Yet another holiday attraction in miniature and once again nicely done]

[Outback Steakhouse: This HMSHost-run outlet offers a nice, relaxed atmosphere and a good range of grilled steaks, salads, chicken and seafood. The perfect place to chill after a frenzied holilday (or IAADFS show) week.]

[Stellar News: Another good example of a news, books and gifts store. I love the way the American airports open such shops right up, a sharp contrast to many of their British counterparts.]

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