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Florida Guide > Other Activities

If you are travelling with younger (or indeed not so young) members of your family/group, boys or girls, a visit to the Build-a-Bear-Workshop in the Florida Mall is an absolute must! Although already franchised in the UK I must admit I had never heard of this company before (I have now discovered we have a similar type of franchise in our nearest city - but it's nowhere near the same).

Before we went on holiday this summer my friend had told me that her granddaughter’s best friend had raved about the Build a Bear Workshop in the Florida Mall and although I thought myself to be pretty knowledgeable when it came to the Florida Mall (we’ve been there enough!) I just couldn’t place this particular store. Not having grandchildren (yet) toy stores are not the first stores we head for to buy gifts, it’s more likely to be Billabong or the fashion shops for our grown up girls!

Truthfully, I inwardly groaned when my friend asked if we could go there for her granddaughter to 'build a bear' - visions of hoards of kids stuffing scraggy teddy bears flew through my mind but as it was her birthday I agreed, resigned to watching precious shopping hours disappear.

When we arrived the immediate impression is FUN! The colours are bright and the staff even more helpful than we have come to accept as the norm in Florida. They take the child and show them exactly what they need to do. Time is not an issue, well not with the staff - parents maybe!

Children are encouraged to take time to choose their new best friend. After they choose the bear they want the 'skin' is then taken to the stuffing machine. After he/she is the right cuddly consistency the child is given a heart and asked to make a wish before the heart is put inside. It is possible to add a message and there are a number to choose from (heart and message optional extras). The ‘skin’ is then stitched and taken to the ‘fluffing’ area. While the fluffing is taking place the children are asked to choose an outfit (or several). Then comes the dressing – on the shelves are every type of outfits from dainty Disney Snow White to leather biking jackets and jeans. Every accessory from baseball caps to skateboards - there’s even accessories for possible bear pets!

After filling in details on the child friendly computer a 'birth' certificate is printed and presented to the new owner - it's great if happens to fall on the child’s birthday.

The finished product is a delight and just to see the faces of the kids it made me remember how much I loved my own teddy.

The price is not cheap but I think pretty reasonable for what the children get out of it. More than anything else for our girl it made a wonderful holiday just perfect!

In truth I can't wait to return - this time just 2 grown ups who have volunteered to go to the Florida Mall just to buy accessories for this bear - already been on the website how sad is that!!!

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Page added on: 25 January 2005
Viewed 6830 times since 1 September 2008.

The following photos have been submitted by our villa owners for this article.

Build a Beaver Bear

Build a Huggy Bear

Build a Big Pink Ear Bear
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