Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending a blogger event at IKEA Orlando to have a sneak peek at the new catalog, sample new menu options and see how IKEA is making “Living With Children” easier. I have a lot of exciting information to share as well as a chance for YOU to win a $100 IKEA gift card!
IKEA Orlando is one of my favorite stores, it’s a place I escape to for hours (shopping and enjoying an affordable meal with my family)! I have fond memories of browsing the IKEA catalog for inspiration (I used to live several hours from an IKEA store so my husband and I would make a day trip to visit the store, now I am lucky enough to have one in my backyard)! I still look forward to receiving the catalog, but I also enjoy downloading and browsing the catalog online and playing with the apps.
I often meet friends at IKEA for play dates because the place is so family friendly. Oh and I never leave home without my IKEA Family Membership card for monthly product discounts, free coffee or tea, and extra 30 minutes of playtime for my kid in Småland!
As far as Family/Kid friendly goes, did you know…
- Family friendly parking is available near the store entrance.
- Kids are encouraged to test the toys in the children’s department and have fun in the FREE supervised playroom while you shop. Yes, you read that correctly…you can shop WITHOUT your kids and they will be in a supervised, secure play area! Note: Children must be between 37” – 54” and potty trained to enter Småland play area.
- The lobby has a television so children can watch kid friendly movies if they have to wait to enter Småland. Also, televisions are located throughout the store playing children’s movies.
- Play towers are scattered throughout the store so your children can have fun while you shop.
- IKEA has family friendly restrooms which contain FREE diapers.
- The restaurant is kid friendly with bottle warming, FREE baby food, family seating areas, kids combo meals, etc. In celebration of children, kids eat FREE every Tuesday! Also, Wednesday is family night, feed a family for four for only $9.99! There are daily food deals, you can see those here.
- IKEA Orlando KAMP is an educational activity for children on days when school is out (holidays). They will receive a passport and learn about other counties where IKEA is located, a t-shirt to wear AND once their their daily task is complete they will receive a free kid’s meal! You and your child will learn together (you stay with your child, it is not a drop off like Småland).
In addition to showing their love for children with all the amazing family friendly features, IKEA’s goal with their Living with Children priority is making sure that long-term needs are met and relationships are fostered. IKEA has put a lot of research into understanding families, how children impact decisions and family spending, and recognizing how their products can be utilized to help families make all moments count! In addition, IKEA wants to make visits to their stores more enjoyable and relaxed.
After surveying 8,000 people, IKEA learned 71% want to spend more time with their children. IKEA has helped make this possible by allowing families to share everyday tasks with simple solutions (step stools so children can help in the kitchen, sharing creative ideas and sharing time and space with the use of rolling storage bins). Also, 53% of kids want to spend time in kitchen with parents.
I was impressed to learn that IKEA visited 15 local homes to see how people live and what their concerns are. They visited a variety of homes (from small apartments to large 4000+ square foot homes, single parents with children, multi-generational families, to blended families with up to 5 kids). All had a variety of challenges (depending on the age of the children), but overall people need storage solutions and to be organized. They also wanted a living room that is beautiful AND have kids, too (versus toys scattered everywhere). IKEA learned kids are a priority inside the home and they dictate how time and money is spent. Parents need IKEA’s help since they do not know how to solve their in-home furnishing challenges.
IKEA Orlando took the knowledge learned from these 15 home visits and designed relevant solutions around how people use their rooms. IKEA’s starting point is always based on:
- Needs (what the room functions as)
As a result, IKEA created 5 new room settings inside the Orlando showroom addressing the concerns they heard.
Below is the living room solution for families with small children ages 3-4. There is an abundance of storage options as well as color and shapes to encourage creativity.
The next showroom is for families with tweens (ages 8 – 12) who love to watch movies and play games. The modular sofa facing the television can easily be moved to create a full social gathering area.
Lastly, this solution is for large families. There is an open flow concept between the kitchen and living room so everyone can be together regardless of their task (cooking, doing homework, watching tv, playing games, etc.).
IKEA Food and Swedish Food Market
Customers can eat a budget friendly, nutritious meal in the IKEA restaurant. A lot of prep work (and care) went into the menu planning. There are several salmon dishes since salmon is a large staple in the Swedish diet. I am a huge Swedish meatballs fan, so that is usually what I order but I enjoyed sampling the various salmon dishes (lox and wraps). I also love the fact I can purchase a bag of meatballs in the Swedish Food Market to make at home (the market has a huge variety of foods at an affordable price including smoked salmon, sparkling beverages and delicious treats so make sure to check it out)!
Crayfish is another popular Swedish food. There is a Swedish Crayfish Party on Friday, August 16th at IKEA Orlando (yes, I WILL be attending). Make sure to gather your friends to feast on crayfish during one of the most loved and celebrated Swedish festivals! Enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet. Tickets are sold per seating and seating is limited so ask a restaurant co-worker for more information and to purchase your tickets!
Also, IKEA has focused on making the children’s menu more nutritious. They now offer an organic pasta dish (the pasta is shaped like Moose heads which is fun for the children) tossed in a light red sauce. A side of grapes completes the meal.
August is the busiest time at IKEA Orlando since the new catalog was just released (and back to school and college shopping). A great deal of planning goes into the IKEA catalog, it takes 10 months to produce!
Kudos to IKEA shoppers for being so green, 8.5 million users downloaded catalog app last year (I am one of them)!
Core products in the children’s shop have always been baby, storage and play. Later this year, IKEA Orlando will be redesigning the children’s area and adding new products for children ages 8 – 12. I am excited to see the end results, rumor has it the space will be more open for children to play!
New soft toys are also being released in a fairy tale theme. From tents to soft dolls, kids of all ages will have a smile when they see some of their favorite story book characters like the big bad wolf!
Other Aspects Worth Noting!
- IKEA Orlando has increased their service area! Also, they offer a variety of services including furniture assembly.
- IKEA’s soft toy campaign has a goal to donate $1.2 million dollars to UNICEF from proceeds during an 8 week period.
- IKEA Orlando is passionate about helping the community. They recently completed a life improvement project with the Zebra Coalition and have worked with various local charities throughout the year.
- In addition to loving children and making their store family friendly, IKEA also focuses on sustainability and education!
My son was learning at home, he grabbed his IKEA frisbee this morning and used it as a guide to spell “IKEA” out of KEX biscuits (these delicious treats are available in the Swedish market).
Again, a special thanks to the Orlando IKEA team members for the presentation, taste of Sweden and showcase tour! I came away having a greater appreciation for IKEA and the products/services they offer.
To be eligible for the $100 IKEA gift card drawing, make sure to enter the official IKEA Orlando rafflecopter contest below!
*FTC disclosure: I received some amazing IKEA swag in exchange for my time learning more about IKEA and their new catalog. No additional compensation was received. All opinions are my own without influence. I truly LOVE IKEA!