Drive around to the BACK of Florida Mall and park near Macy's. This is the newer, more upscale side of the mall. It's also home to the nicer stores and the best attractions.
First and foremost, don't miss the M & M Store! Kids love this. They will talk about it for weeks!
Then walk to Adrenalina to see locals surfing in the surf tank. Really, an actual surf tank in a store in the Florida Mall. It's a great surf store, too, with a huge selection.
Looking for adorable all-American mini-prep clothes? Hit the large Abercrombie & Fitch Kids store. Make sure you go to the right one.... Florida Mall is so huge that there is a separate A & F store for teens too!
For young children and pre-teen girls, Build-A-Bear is a must see. There you can watch or participate in building a personalized stuffed bear or dog or rabbit or... whatever. They are all adorable and a great keepsake from Orlando. You can build a cheerleading bear or a Yankees fan bear or... you get the idea. They have tons of accessories, too. My fave is the mini-cell phone. Every bear needs one.
A highlight for the teenage girls (and their Moms) is Sephora. Make-up heaven with great cult brands like MakeUp Forever and Nars, plus upscale standbys like Dior and Chanel. Makeovers are FREE. It is located is right next to the M & M Store in the new part of Florida Mall.
Hungry yet? Or just need caffeine? Head to the middle of the mall for the Florida Mall food court. It's international and fun with lots of great food choices, but- warning- it is noisy. Perfect for kids, awful for a date or a serious convo.
Near the food court, teen boys can check out Gamestop for the latest video games.
Now for that latte, there is a Starbucks by the Florida Mall food court. Even better, there is a wonderful little Euro-cafe-stand attached to Nordstrom. Yummy, they have snacks and a few sandwiches too. There are also cute white tables in the mall there, so if your baby is sleeping quietly, you can relax in a quiet sunny spot in the AC. Or you can just let the tribe run around for a while, since there is plenty of space and it's a relatively quiet part of the mall.
For a sit-down lunch or dinner, try Buca de Beppo between Macys and Nordstrom. Famed for huge portions, it's very casual and fun for large groups. Not a date spot, but a fun time with good food.
Nordstrom also has a lovely undiscovered cafe on the second floor. Food quality and service are very good. Children are welcome. You can even get a nice glass of wine.
Have fun in Florida Mall!