This chain of supermarkets are a great place to buy all of your everyday food, drinks and other household things that you would usually buy from a traditional supermarket. These stores do not sell ‘everything’ like a Wal-Mart or Super Target store so you won’t be able to come out with a TV or gas barbecue.
Because they specialise in mainly food and drink there is a wider range of food to choose from compared with the mega-stores named above. Like our supermarkets back home there are always special offers on and sometimes the prices are so low, you end up coming out with 4 punnets of strawberries or something else you have no possible way of finishing. If you are a bit of a cake lover you may want to stay away from Publix because their cake section would tempt anyone into taking home a selection of these nasty tempting things.
To check out how great the prices are at these stores, visit their website below
Walgreens are everywhere in America so you will not have to drive long before you find a store. I have even drove down streets in Orlando where there has been 3 stores within 300 yards of each other!!!
Walgreens was the first ever Orlando store that I visited and I couldn’t believe how cheap everything was. I have since been to the Wal-Marts and similar stores and Walgreens are actually more expensive but a great local store nonetheless.
As you can see by the photo these stores were established as pharmacies so they are a great place to go if you have a bit of a sniffle or your little Brit has a belly ache because there will be a pharmacist on hand. You will need to see a pharmacist for medicines and treatments because you will not find the brands that you are used to back home and it is really hard knowing what to buy.
Walgreens also sell many other every day items like crisps, drinks, chocolate, coffee, toys etc. so if you are looking for a snack or a few treats, just keep driving for a few minutes and I bet you come across a Walgreens. As with all stores, restaurants and attractions, locations can be found in Mr Brits GPS Guide but as I say, Walgreens are everywhere and I couldn’t possibly list them all so check the Walgreens store locator to find your closest store.
To find out more about these stores, visit their website below
Wal-Mart & Super Target Stores
Arguably the best places to buy all of your everyday things and gifts is at Americas large super stores such as a Wal-Mart Supercenter or a Super Target store (the larger version of Target stores) of which you can find the locations of in my GPS Guide in the Getting Around section. The Orlando area Wal-Marts sell a lot of Disney merchandise and the prices are hard to beat.
When we land in Orlando we always plan the same routine – get the suitcases, get the car, check into the hotel and go straight to Wal-Mart for essentials such as Budweiser and sweets. We usually say we will pop into Wal-Mart for half an hour to get some supplies and end up staying in there for about 3 hours. I always end up uttering the same words over and over again, usually something like “Mrs Brit, have you seen how cheap these are” because the prices are shown as what you would expect in pounds but the cost is in Dollars so you are looking at half price for most things.
I spotted an adults mountain bike for $65 recently and on our last trip we bought a pushchair (stroller) for just $14 from Wal-Mart. We also bought a really good quality child seat for under $29 because we had left our child car seat back in the car park of Manchester Airport but whatever you forget, it’s never as bad as it seems when you go to Wal-Mart for a new one.
Food, drinks and snacks are great buys in Wal-Marts and Super Targets but try not to buy small quantities like a pack of six cans of Coke because this might cost you $3 as an example but if you find the 20 pack of Coke it might be priced at $5.89 so it pays dividends to buy bigger packs of everything.
Everything is bigger in America
While shopping in Walmart and Super Target stores you will notice that most products seem to come in ‘catering size’ portions. If you buy bottles of beer or lager then you will be buying larger bottles than in the uk. The same applies for almost everything from crisps (chips in the USA) to bottles of water.
As an example of the large sizes and great value that you get from a Walmart store, here is a comparison of a drink I buy in the UK. I buy a 500ml bottle of Powerade for £1 from my local co-op in Northamptonshire. When I visited the Walmart store in Orlando recently I bought a 960ml bottle of Powerade for just 78 cents. This bottle is almost twice the size of the English drink but half the price so in reality the same amount of drink costs a quarter of the price.
Try and put aside a few hours for a visit to a Wal-Mart Supercenter because they are much larger than the stores back in Britain and you can fill your trolley with goodies and gifts without breaking the holiday bank.
One last thing, when you are at the checkout, take notice of how many carrier bags the checkout assistant uses for your shopping. They like to put 2 or 3 items in each bag so you come out with something like 10 carrier bags for a small shopping spree. I know America is enormous but at this rate there will be more landfill sites than housing estates (that’s the end of my shopping bag rant)
The checkout assistant will pop your items in the carrier bags and then spin this triangle shaped carousel around to fill more bags and this system is a great way to help shoppers forget to take home some of their shopping. I have left bags on the bag carousel twice and I have also seen many shoppers coming back to the checkout from the car park because they left bags on the carousel so check all sides of the bag carousel before you leave.
What to buy from supermarkets
One of the main food problems you will find in Orlando is trying to find brands that you are used to back home. Most of the popular supermarkets will have a small ‘British’ section similar to the ‘Polish’ sections that you find in our UK supermarkets. Products such as Branston pickle $6, Heinz soup $2.60 and Cadburys chocolate $4 are on offer but all of the UK brands cost an absolute fortune compared with UK prices so you will want to buy the American products.
Below I have listed a selection of products that Mrs Brit and I have bought from stores in Orlando that were similar to British foods/drink. Each year I will add more products to the guide when I find them but if you know of any other food/drink that is similar to a British product, please get in touch at the MrBrit.co.uk website and let me know….
Lays chips are the closest thing you will get to Walkers crisps. Again these bags are around 5 times the size of a Walkers bag of crisps but they do taste quite similar. Most other ‘chips’ in America do not taste anything like our crisps and they are usually quite tough to eat but these Lays are almost as good as the real thing. The only bad thing about Lays crisps is the limited choice on offer. The only flavour options you have with Lays are Barbecue, Salt & Vinegar, Original and Sour Cream & Onion but if you are a Walkers fan, you will love all of them.
If you are a regular Walkers crisps eater at home you may notice that the logo on the chips looks strikingly similar to the Walkers logo so I think Lays and Walkers could be the same company because they look similar and taste similar.
You may see ‘Milky Ways’ in many Orlando stores and these are packaged in brown packets and not blue like our Milky Ways. The American Milky Ways are actually the same as our UK Mars Bars so if you are a Mars Bar lover, grab a Milky Way.
Baked beans – If you are looking for baked beans in and Orlando supermarket, you will probably make the same mistake as we did and just buy a tin of baked beans. The thing is with the Americans is that they like to add meat to everything so if you just buy a tin of beans, it will probably also have chunks of bacon in it as well. You need to look for vegetarian baked beans and these will be the closest thing to UK beans as you are likely to find. Most of the soups also contain meat so you will need to read all packaging carefully before just popping it into your trolley.
These Ball Park hot dog sausages taste exactly the same as a Rollover hot dog from the UK. You may or may not be too familiar with a Rollover hot dog in the UK but they are very popular at places like Butlins, Alton Towers and many other UK attractions so you may have eaten them in the past.
Even if you are staying in a hotel and you are planning to eat out, you will save a few quid by buying a pack of these along with some hot dog rolls and an onion and microwave them in your hotel room. Some of the Orlando theme parks have ‘Ball Park Hot Dogs’ named on the menu so these dogs must be a reputable ‘Brand’ in Florida.
If like me, you drink Soya milk instead of cows milk, a good milk to go for is this milk called Silk. I buy this in America and it doesn’t have the horrible taste that some Soya milks have and I can recommend it. Walmart and Publix sell this milk so you should be able to find at at most grocery stores. One drawback is that most of the US milk comes in enormous portions like everything in America so you may struggle to use it all.
Are you a dunker???
If you love nothing more than to dunk your biscuits in your tea or coffee then you may struggle to find UK style biscuits in the Florida supermarkets. Take a trip down the biscuit aisle (or cookie aisle as the Americans call it) in Wal-Mart or Super Target and you will notice that it is almost completely full of different styles of cookies – millions of them!
Americans seem to like one biscuit and only one biscuit – the Cookie. They even call all other types of biscuits a Cookie!!! If they had custard creams, they would probably call it a custard cookie! I do love the Americans but they don’t half get things upside down sometimes. They even call our scones a biscuit but that is another story. Anyway back to the topic in hand, I have done a little bit of biscuit research and have found a few biscuits that are quite similar to some of our British dunkers. If you like a good old Rich Tea biscuit, look out for these Goya Maria Cookies (above) because they taste and look really similar. As with our Rich Tea biscuits, these are also true ‘one dips’ and as Peter Kay says, you have to be really quick with a Rich Tea or you will lose it and be shouting for a spoon.
Although these next biscuits don’t look or taste like a coconut ring, they are a good dunking biscuit and there aren’t many options to choose from in the USA so I was glad to find these. There isn’t much of a coconut flavour to the biscuit but these Shirley Coconut Biscuits are really nice and they are very dunkable. This pack we bought for 89c were really small and I could easily polish off one pack myself with one cup of tea but they are a good option if you are desperate for a dunk.
One last dunking legend – the good old Ginger Snap.
We bought a bag of these biscuits on a recent trip to Wal-Mart and the bag was really big and took quite a few days to get through.
In taste and texture they are exactly like a UK Ginger Snap, the only difference is that they are a little smaller (so you are allowed to eat more of them) On the bag it states one pound so that must be the bag weight but you do get plenty of them for around $2 so good value as well.
Key lime Pie – the official Florida Pie
Key Lime Pie is the official dessert Pie of Florida and it is absolutely lovely. It sometimes comes looking like a lemon meringue pie but usually it has a single squirt of cream around the outer edge of the pie like the photo shows. The base is usually described as a cookie base and this is a good description because the base tastes like broken cookies. You can order Key Lime Pie from a lot of restaurants and cafes in Florida and even a lot of dinner shows such as Sleuths offer the local favourite as a dessert after your entree.
Wal-Mart sell a 2 portion pie for $2.25 or a 10 portion pie for $5 and we buy one of these between 6 of us on our first night in Orlando each year. It is another American product that you will struggle to get back home so it is always one of our ‘starters’ to the holiday. It is really hard to finish a large one so if you are not sure about it, try the 2 portion size because you may absolutely love it and it’s well under £2.