I have a serious affinity for Florida kitsch. Large shops or small selling classic Florida souvenirs – beach towels, flip flops, keychains – I love it all. I adore browsing through shelves of tiny plastic flamingos and handicrafts covered in seashells. It makes my heart sing. On our first trip to Orlando together, Michael and I visited Eli’s Orange World, an Irlo Bronson landmark since 1973.
Eli’s Orange World has been shipping delicious Florida Oranges and Ruby Red Grapefruits across Canada and the United States since the early 1970’s. Decades ago the entire backlot was made up of lush and fragrant orange groves. Inside the giant half orange you’ll find classic and kitschy Florida souvenirs, Orange World merchandise and some Disney t-shirts and toys. There should be cool retro-look tees for sale to pay tribute to Orange World’s amazing history – but alas, there are not.
Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway was once a bustling area for tourists. Today it’s quiet and a little sparse as most of the shops have disappeared. On a recent visit I was heartbroken to discover that my beloved Shell World had closed its doors forever. If you find yourself in the area, be sure to experience a slice of local history and visit Eli’s Orange World – it’s delicious, kitschy Florida goodness!