Florida Guide > Shopping

You’ve explored your holiday home and now need some supplies, so you’ll probably head out to the nearest supermarket. There’s never one far away in the Disney area. Your villa owner is sure to have left you information on how to find the nearest one. Publix is the most common but you’ll also find Winn-Dixie, Albertsons and Wal-Mart (Asda), the most familiar to British visitors. Most Wal-Mart stores are open 24 hrs. However although they’re brilliant for non food, their food section is more limited than Wal-Mart stores in the U. K. Pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens also sell basic food items.

Although eating out is cheap, we find supermarket food is on a par with prices at home. Be prepared for some surprises too. We find that U. S brands of tea are very weak compared to U. K brands, so if you want familiar items such as Yorkshire tea or Marmite you’ll find them in the Ethnic Foods section!

American food tends to be heavily processed and loaded with fat, salt and sugar. We’ve yet to find a decent cheese, cheese sections are unrecognisable from their U. K equivalent, with the cheeses mostly looking as thought they’re made of plastic. Look for the health food section for slightly healthier food options. Located in Turkey Lake Road the first Orlando branch of Whole Foods Market is opening in 2008. It will be interesting to see if this does in fact offer healthier alternatives to the usual supermarket fare.

High quality meat and fish, both fresh and frozen are plentiful. You’ll find a lot less fruit and veg than you would at home and the quality is not always great. As an alternative look out for roadside stalls selling citrus and other fruit. We bought a huge box of strawberries for a fraction of the supermarket price. Keep a look out for farmers markets too. On Sundays from October to May there is an excellent one at Celebration.

Although you’ll find a great selection of beer and wine in the supermarkets you won’t find any spirits. Some supermarkets have a separate area outside the main store for this, otherwise look for an ABC liquor store. You mustn’t have opened containers of alcohol in your car and all alcohol must be kept in the trunk (boot). When driving round a supermarket car park, follow the arrows on the road and always stop for pedestrians even if they’re not on a crossing.

You’ll usually have your bag packed for you at the check out. Beware Wal-Mart, where the cashier puts your items into bags on a carousel. With the seemingly American fondness for using as many bags as possible for your purchases, it’s easy to leave something behind. Payment can be made with most U. K credit cards or cash.

Our top tips are read the contents labels but be adventurous and try new foods and brands. A stroll round a supermarket gives you a great insight into how another country lives and eats and is always a highlight of our trip. Happy shopping!

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Page added on: 6 December 2007
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