Back in June of 2021, I published an article titled It’s Okay to Move for Disney. You can find the original here and I’ll also share it below. I wrote those words prior to moving to the Central Florida area. It was something I felt strongly about at the time but was almost afraid to put out there into the world. Plus, what if we moved and I was wrong?
I nearly held my breath when I hit that publish button and looking back on it, I’m so glad I did. That article has led us to meet others who felt the same way and truthfully has brought us some of the best friends we could have found in Florida. It’s been nearly a year since I assured our community that it was perfectly okay to pack up your life and move far away because you fell in love with a theme park. And living close to Disney has taught me many things. First and foremost, moving for Disney isn’t about moving for a theme park. It’s about moving for happiness. And aside from the magic and wonder that we still find when we step onto Disney property as locals, we have discovered many other joys of living here.
So what have the last seven months of living in Central Florida looked like for us?
- Regular trips to the parks
- Overnight stays at our favorite resorts
- Never missing special Disney events
- Beach days
- Easy access to cruise ports
- New friends who share the same interest
- Exploring other theme parks and activities in the area
- Lots of good food, especially seafood
- Plenty of video chats with family back home
- Visits with family and friends
- Loads of sunshine and the end of my winter blues
- Concerts, shows, and festivals all year long
- Grilling out even in the winter
- Baseball spring training
- Happy dogs who don’t miss snow and ice
- Lots of swimming
- Less pain and aches brought on by the cold
- So much more time spent outdoors
Obviously, I highlighted the best aspects and left out things like the fact that it can get really hot or that traffic can sometimes be a pain. But it feels worth it for all that we have gained. And yes, of course, we aren’t running around having fun 24/7. We still work, but there has been plenty of time left to enjoy ourselves. It’s been seven months and feels like we haven’t even scratched the surface of all there is to do. While I admit that moving to Florida isn’t for everyone, if it feels like it’s for you, you owe it to yourself to give it a chance.
And if you are like me and have felt guilty about your desire to move near Disney, I’ll leave you with my original sentiments prior to moving.
It’s Okay to Move for Disney
Published June 25, 2021
You’ve opened this article, so I assume you’re considering moving to Orlando or have already made it happen. I’ve noticed a common theme from the Moving to Orlando Facebook group, and it’s not surprising. A primary reason for moving is to live near Walt Disney World. With that in mind, something else I’ve observed (and experienced myself) is guilt. The guilt you feel about moving away from your hometown (away from family and friends) to be closer to Disney is real.
Being a Disney fan is something a lot of people don’t get. “You’re going to Disney again?” is a phrase we are used to hearing. Even though Paul and I have been fortunate to find friends who share the same Disney love, visit as often as we do, and aspire to live close to the magic, our family at home doesn’t understand. Despite prepping them for two years, it felt like we dropped a bomb on them the day we officially said we were moving to Florida.
I tried to think of the easiest way to cushion the blow. “We are moving for jobs,” I would say, “And for better opportunities.” Let’s face it. There isn’t a lot going on in Wheeling, West Virginia. I was a public school teacher for 11 years and wanted to leave the profession. Paul worked as a financial director for a medical practice with a soon-to-retire owner/doctor. We needed a career change, and we weren’t going to find it at home. “We are moving because we hate winter” sounded like another good option. I do hate the cold. “We want to be near more things to do like theme parks, beaches, cruise ports, etc.” We already have to drive an hour to Pittsburgh for better entertainment options.
All those reasons have truth to them. However, the indisputable fact was that we wanted to be close to Disney. We wanted Disney World and our interest and expertise in Disney to become an even bigger part of who we are. We wanted to live close enough to the magic to stop missing out on Disney events, festivals, and holidays. It took me a long time to admit that to myself. Once I got past the idea that it was wrong to feel that way, I realized it was actually okay.
It’s okay to move because you love Disney and want to spend your free time somewhere that brings you joy.
It’s okay to move because it’s your dream to work for or do work related to Disney.
It’s okay to move so you can visit Disney after work.
It’s okay to move so you can go to Disney Springs for date nights.
It’s okay to move so you don’t miss another holiday celebration at Disney.
It’s okay to move so you can see the fireworks regularly.
It’s okay to move so your children can grow up experiencing the Disney magic week after week.
It’s okay to move somewhere that makes you truly happy.
It’s okay to move for Disney.
Your family will still be your family, and you can always travel home to visit them. They can also visit you. I’m willing to bet they will have a lot more fun visiting you. You can still call, text, use FaceTime, and Zoom. Your love for each other won’t change just because the distance between you has.
I had a poster that hung in my classroom when I taught. I would make my students read it, think about it, live by it. It dawned on me one day the words were something I needed to apply to myself as well.
You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
If moving near Disney is something you truly want, take that chance. See how it goes. It’s okay to move for Disney. You are not alone, and you have no reason to feel guilty.
If you’re ready to take that shot and speak with one of our Moving to Orlando real estate professionals about purchasing a home in the Central Florida area, you can fill out our contact form here and someone will be in contact with you.