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Old 01-01-2014, 11:58 PM   #106
enigmaticorange
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How's it going down there??

I was searching for some people who have already made the move that we are planning... and your adventure sounds very familiar! My husband and I are looking into moving down to either Windermere or Winter Park area next summer from MD. People have always told me that my husband and I would love living in Seattle- but I can't handle the year round grayness. We are planning on giving the Orlando area two years and move home if we really hate it. I have been especially neurotic about the schools. It looks like school ratings swing wildly from one area to the next! How has life been since your move? What do you like the most and least?
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Old 01-27-2014, 12:32 PM   #107
ethanwa
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OK so I figured I should post an update since we've been living in Florida for the last 5 months....

So far we LOVE it for the most part. I'll break it down:

LIKE:

- Weather. So far it's been great. January has been cold, but it's passing now. We're supposed to be in the low 80's all this week. Sunny ALL the time. We haven't yet lived daily in the humidity, so we'll see how I feel about this in June. I get to wear shorts almost every day. Today I went on a 30 minute walk with my wife Liz at 9:30AM and it was 65 degrees out. We had shorts and t-shirts on. Perfect.

- Windermere. It's a beautiful little city. We don't live in the main part of town, but we live in a new community on the outside edge of it. Great shopping is nearby in Winter Garden and lots of malls and outlet malls are within 20 minutes.

- Disney. Of course. We go 2-3 times per week. We have done a ton already but there is still a lot left. We get to do things like the tours, and just take our time, and it nice not to be on a schedule! We did a one-night stay at Art of Animation with a pass discount and got our MagicBands (so us local pass holders can have them). Love seeing all of the resorts. We use FP+ ALL of the time and we LOVE LOVE LOVE it.

- Stuff to do.... beaches, zoos, Space Center, Legoland, SeaWorld, Universal, Miami, cruises, bike riding, more more more.... we have BARELY scratched the surface here.

- We don't miss our friends/family as much as I'd thought we would. Skype/FaceTime really help with this, and we went back to Seattle for 3 weeks for Christmas. We have family coming in March and we are going back to the Pacific Northwest in July. So having things planned makes it a LOT easier than we expected.

- Schools: My kids are in a good school and getting good education. Windermere has great schools so far.

- Cost of living: A LOT cheaper than Seattle/Bellevue area. Saves me a lot of money living here. Enough said.

- Tons of new places to eat out. This is mainly due to the fact that we now live in a tourist area.

- Everyone in the surrounding area is really nice. The people in our neighborhood are great, but also the people in the shops and stores. No one knows if you are a tourist or not, so they treat you like you are and are really nice to you. There are licenses plates on cars from all over the USA and Canada, and people are wearing sports gear from everywhere, so you just don't know! I am wearing my Seattle Mariners shirt today... so if I go out today people probably will think I'm just visiting from Seattle!

- Central Florida is not the "south" that many people on the West Coast think of. There are no twang accents, crawfish, swaps, and hillbillies.... maybe in north Florida and the panhandle but not really in Central FL on down. Most people here have the "TV accent" or "Hollywood accent" that Seattle has, so the culture shock is minimal to none so far. My wife's parents had this impression of it being something that it isn't.

- We live DIRECTLY behind the Magic Kingdom. We can hear the train whistle, the boat horn, and watch (and feel) the big fireworks daily. At night we can see the glow of the Magic Kingdom on the horizon. Also, we can see rocket launches to the eat right from our front lawn.... we can see the fire from the rocket and watch it fly into space. We saw the SpaceX rocket and a satellite so far. VERY COOL!


DISLIKE:

- The first 3 days on the drive here were HARD. Me and my wife and kids were REALLY homesick. We all cried. At one point I got so scared of the future that I just wanted to turn around. Then when we finally got here, we went to the Magic Kingdom that night hoping it would get us all happy, and I didn't even want to be there. I just wanted to go "home". But after a month, it really started to feel like home. But it's very hard for the first few weeks.... harder than even I expected. But that is all over with now!

- Orlando and the surrounding area: Seattle is much nicer of a city... in terms of city-life, geography and topography, and wealth (I guess that is the right way to say it). Outside of our area in Windermere and Dr. Phillips, a lot of the area just seems trashy. Lots of low income areas and places I don't feel safe like I did in Seattle. Maybe I just don't know the good/bad parts of town yet, but Orlando just doesn't rub me the right way. It's kind of like Portland, Oregon but low class. I hope I don't offend anyone by saying that. We have quickly learned that Orlando the city is NOT the main attrition of the area like Seattle is.... it's the theme parks, beaches, and tourist type activities that gets all the draw.

- Schools: Yes, is in LIKE and DISLIKE. The main problem is that this area is such high growth that the schools are very overcrowded... not in the classroom, but in the SCHOOL. My kids elementary school currently has 1200 kids going to it! That's like a high school! They are trying to fix it, but it takes a bit of time to build new schools.

- Central Florida's location: I love that we are in the middle of everything: Miami, Gulf Cost, Atlantic, North Florida, Disney.... BUT I wish we lived near water. Like 10-15 minutes at most from a beach. It takes an hour to drive to Cocoa Beach (closest beach) and it kind sucks. We live in a tropical place yet we don't quite get that feeling 100% of the time. I think if we decide to stay, when my kids are grown and out of the house, we will move to the beach and be an hour away from Disney instead.

- It's hard to make new friends. My wife has one or two, but I still haven't found a guy friend that matches up to me quite yet. I know these things just take time.

- Horrible horrible drivers. Old people, tourists, snowbirds, and just morons. I thought where I was from was bad. I get very frustrated sometimes! But then I remember they are most likely just tourists and it helps me be more patient.

- The water (unfiltered) taste like garbage. It's very mineral. If a place has unfiltered water with their soda fountain Coke (like at our local McDonalds here, or at many places in Disney) then it just doesn't taste right. We have to filter all water in the house and it gives a funky smell when you run it unfiltered. Just not something I'm used to where you can drink the tap water like in Seattle. But I guess Seattle is uncommon... as I remember I had the same issue when I lived in the Detroit area for 6 months back in 1999.


VERDICT:

As of right now, my wife and I talk about staying here and raising our kids here. We are thinking of buying a house in a year or so and settling down. We still want to get through a summer to see if the heat/humidity bother us too much first though.... but other than that, I can see us staying.

I'll post another update on this in another 6 months to see where we feel at that point.
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Old 01-27-2014, 02:18 PM   #108
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Thanks for the very thorough update. Your likes and dislikes are about what I would expect from living in central FL. I can't wait to read your end of summer humidity update.
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Old 01-27-2014, 02:25 PM   #109
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I love reading your update! I lived in Florida for 10 years and my husband and I just bought our "forever home" in Washington (Anacortes). There are pros and cons to both for sure. Glad you're loving it!
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Old 01-27-2014, 04:52 PM   #110
frostedpink
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Great update!!! I'm also looking forward to the post-summer update. We went to Disney in August - NEVER AGAIN! But that was being forced to be in a crowded theme park for several days...it might be a lot more tolerable in the pool or in an air conditioned house!!!
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Old 01-27-2014, 06:13 PM   #111
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I think it's wonderful and you are smart to rent first, Good Luck.
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Old 01-27-2014, 06:30 PM   #112
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enigmaticorange View Post
I was searching for some people who have already made the move that we are planning... and your adventure sounds very familiar! My husband and I are looking into moving down to either Windermere or Winter Park area next summer from MD. People have always told me that my husband and I would love living in Seattle- but I can't handle the year round grayness. We are planning on giving the Orlando area two years and move home if we really hate it. I have been especially neurotic about the schools. It looks like school ratings swing wildly from one area to the next! How has life been since your move? What do you like the most and least?
I like living in WP and could not imagine living in another area, have been here a long time. It just seems to stay nice in this area.
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Old 01-27-2014, 06:55 PM   #113
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Thanks for the update.

It is my dream to move UP to Orlando when we retire (dh is about ready). We are currently living in South Florida in Boca Raton (200 miles south of the mouse). We have been in Florida for 20 years but I am originally from New Orleans. One thing you might have hit on in your post is that there is no feeling of any type of family tradition/history in Florida - everyone is from some place else!

Another thing about where we live now, we are 2 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. But, we NEVER go to the beach! Too hot and sticky and who wants to lug all your stuff there?! I guess the grass is always greener!
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Old 01-27-2014, 07:02 PM   #114
ethanwa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonnyjane View Post
I love reading your update! I lived in Florida for 10 years and my husband and I just bought our "forever home" in Washington (Anacortes). There are pros and cons to both for sure. Glad you're loving it!
Can I ask why you moved from FL to WA?
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Old 01-27-2014, 07:23 PM   #115
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Interesting that after almost 3 months (work transfer) our likes / dislikes are similar. I also moved from the north (loving the weather) but I'm not thrilled with my current location. Have heard your area / Winter Park can be very nice. A good tip for anyone thinking of moving is to lease until you figure out where you want to be - very glad that is what I did :-)
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Old 01-27-2014, 07:39 PM   #116
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Thank you so much for your update and for your honesty. I hope the likes add up more than the dislikes more and more. Come back again and let us know how the "summer" is
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Old 01-27-2014, 07:40 PM   #117
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Moved down from Newark, Delaware to Winter Park during the middle of September. Company needed help in the Orlando office and I've always wanted to live in Florida. I too have not made any friends outside of new acquaintances at the office. The area I live and work in is very close to the University of Central Florida so there is a lot of traffic, but other then that I love Winter Park, it is so close to everything that I could ever need.
Over time I will meet people that have similar interests. But I must say after living almost 38 years in the philadelphia/Delaware/Maryland area I am pleasantly surprised with the friendliness of all the people I've come across.
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Old 01-27-2014, 07:48 PM   #118
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Have you both tried getting involved in your community, church, kid's school, after school activities, sports and meet other parents, people from the area?
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