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Where to live if you want to be close to Disney

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A few weeks ago, we put a poll on our Moving to Orlando Facebook group and asked “Which theme park would you want to live closest to?”. It came as a bit of a surprise to me that Epcot ranked #1, as my immediate assumption was that the Magic Kingdom would have dominated. We received more than 600 responses and have broken them down below. We’ve included information on communities that are closest to each park. This is by no means an exhaustive list but should give you a good idea of what’s available in the area. As always, if you have any questions about moving to the Central Florida area, please feel free to reach out to us!

#1 – Epcot – 45%

Nearly half of the responses listed Epcot as the park they’d want to live closest to. Communities in the area closest to Epcot are also basically the same for Hollywood Studios. Here’s a look at some of them:

Celebration – The town that Disney built! Single-family homes here range from $300k and up. HoA fees here are quite high, averaging $$$ per month. There are no areas of Celebration that are zoned for short term rentals.

Paradise Cay – This subdivision consists mostly of townhomes and condominiums. Home prices here range in the mid-high 100,000s. There is an HoA fee of around $200 a month. This area is zoned for short term rentals and is close to Disney Springs as well. 

Storey Lake- This sub-division is mostly income properties (short term rentals). The area features large townhomes and single-family homes up to 9 bedrooms. Some of these houses even have their own lazy river, themed pools, and gyms! Even though it is primarily an area for short term rentals, there are people who live here full time.

Crystal Cove – Homes here start in the $300k range. This is a nice gated community, and HoA fees are around $150/month. 

Indian Point – This is a cozy subdivision with homes starting in the low $200’s. The HoA fee here is unusually low at $50 a year.

Terra Verde – This community is exclusively for short term rentals. There are no permanent residents permitted here. The area consists of homes that allow occupancy of 6 months or less. Townhomes here start around $175k and single-family homes start around $230k and up. This is a gated community with a check-in center. HoA fees are vary depending on the area, but on average expect to pay about $350 per month. The HoA fee here includes the clubhouse, clubhouse lounge, community pool and sauna, tiki bar, tennis and basketball courts as well as a putt-putt course. Fee also includes cable tv, internet, phone, lawn and landscape service (including irrigation), and exterior pest control.

#2 – Magic Kingdom – 32%

Of course, living near the Magic Kingdom offers a number of perks. Many of the communities in this area have homes where you can see the nightly fireworks from your backyard. Here are some of the communities closest to the Magic Kingdom:

Windermere Trails. – Located just behind the Magic Kingdom, this is one of the closest communities to the park. The HoA fees here run around $100 per month, and homes start in the mid $400’s.

Lakeside Villas – This community is also right behind the Magic Kingdom, and features townhomes that start in the mid $200k range. HoA fees are on the higher side at $350 month, but this includes lawn care and insurance. 

Keenes Point – This neighborhood features homes that are on the higher end of the spectrum. Near Lake Butler, prices here start around $600k and go into the millions. This community is for those who want to be close to the Magic Kingdom, but also don’t want to pay Golden Oak prices.

Summerlake PD – This is right near Lake Hancock and still behind the Magic Kingdom. Homes starting around $375 and up. HoA is about $180 per month.

#3 – Animal Kingdom – 12%

A great way into Animal Kingdom park is to go in on Sherberth Road in Kissimmee. Some communities near there are:

Windsor Palms – This sub-division is zoned for short term rentals. Mostly, 3/4/5 bedroom single-family homes. HoA is in the $300 range per month, but includes lawn care and is in a gated community with a security guard.

Indian Creek – This subdivision is also zoned for short term rentals and homes here start at $279k and up. On the plus side? There’s no HoA fees!

Reunion – This is a very popular area. As with the others, this is also zoned for short term rentals. The homes here tend to be larger and more are more on the luxury end of income properties. The clubhouse membership is currently sold out, so you would need to purchase a home from an existing member and pay a transfer fee, in order to join the clubhouse. 

Margaritaville – A planned resort community that features a high-end vacation resort, as well as cottages for full-time residents and short term rentals. There are two property management companies associated with Margaritaville for managing short term rentals.  You do not have to use these companies, but unless you do, your guests will not have access to any of the resort amenities . Homes start at $275k for a 1 bed/1 bath cottage. 3 bedroom cottages start around $350k. HoA fees are about $370 per month for cottages without a pool and $470 a month for cottages with a private pool. That fee includes things like Cable, high-speed internet, daily trash pickup, 24-hour manned security gate, and weekly pool maintenance among other things. There is an additional $150 per month resort fee (required) for access to the amenities of the resort (three pools, kids club, spa and fitness center, and four restaurants).

#4 – Hollywood Studios – 6%

As you can see, far fewer people were interested in living near Hollywood Studios, but since many of the communities around Epcot (see above) are also close to DHS, you can consider it a ‘two-for-one’.

#5 – Universal Orlando – 4%

Personally, I think Universal is too far down on this list. There’s a lot of great dining and entertainment at Universal, even if you’re not a huge fan of the theme parks. It’s also close to some of the best communities in Central Florida.

Dr. Phillips – One of the most popular communities in the area and has always been on the higher end of pricing. Many of the homes were built in the 1980’s which often means more land than some newer builds. Dr. Phillips is also home to restaurant row and is the hub of Orlando’s theater scene. 

MetroWest – Condos and Townhomes in the high 200’s and low 300s with a center shopping plaza. 

Shadow Bay – Homes in this subdivision were built in the 1980s and may need updating. However, with starting prices in the low $300’s, it’s a good way to get into the Dr. Phillips / Windermere area for a lower price.

Orange Tree Country Club and Surrounding Communities – This area is located about 15 minutes away from Universal Orlando. Homes here start in the high $300k range and go up into the $600k. Like Shadow Bay, this area was also built in the 1980s but many of the homes have been remodeled.  fo

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Pete Werner

I'm an Orlando local and owner of The DIS (wdwinfo.com), DVCfan.com, DCLfan.com, and host of the DIS Unplugged podcast.

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