Am I Glad I Moved to Orlando? Three Years of Living by Disney

It’s been three years since I uploaded the “I have a Dream” gif (below) into my first ever blog post and we officially moved to Orlando. Early on I used to write articles about how the transition was going since the move. But over time my blog became less about my move and more about what the latest happenings were at Disney. (I still have those old articles about the move and the research I did beforehand if you are interested in the topic. Check that out here and scroll down to see the post list in order.)

I hear from many of you who are like I was. You dream of making a change, maybe even of moving down to Orlando. Whether it’s to get away from the winter weather or to be closer to your happy place, Orlando seems to be the place of “fresh starts” for many people.

I thought I’d take a few minutes and talk about how I feel about the move now that I’ve had a little time to get some perspective on living here.

First off, to catch you up if you’re not familiar, I was a Disney fan who lived in Virginia all my life until three years ago when my husband and I packed up our two teens and headed to Florida.

Everything we own in a truck headed to Florida

It was not an easy decision to make, and those months of agonizing over whether to pull the trigger were some of the most stressful of my entire life. Just going back and looking at those early posts about deciding to move makes my stomach churn with anxiety.

This picture below used to be the background on my phone in an effort to calm me down during that time. Not sure if it worked but I still have an entire Pinterest board full of these types of quotes that I made back then. So I guess I thought they helped.

So, am I glad I moved to Orlando?

Overall YES.

It’s been a good move for me in many ways. But as you know, life is complicated, and things are never all good or all bad. Especially once you have a family. Now your choices affect their happiness and you have to weigh all of those factors.

There are many areas of life that got an upgrade. And there are a few things that went down. I’ve learned that saying Yes to some things means saying No to others by default. You can’t have it all no matter what people try to tell you, and the only way to be happy is to make peace with that fact.

Change is hard. There’s no getting around that. But change also creates a lot of opportunity for personal growth. And sometimes leads to amazing opportunities you never could have anticipated.

If you currently live in an area where you have lots of family and friends close by like we did, moving away can make you realize what an amazing blessing that was and how much you took it for granted. To leave all that comfort and security behind isn’t easy. At the end of the day, the hardest part of moving was the people we left behind.

However, I do not miss Virginia (as a place) at all. Living there wasn’t the best fit for me.

I always felt like I was just too much for most people. (That may sound vague but I think many of you will totally get this)

I was nearing 40 and realizing that I was just tired of it. And there was so much stuff I wanted to do and I kept putting it all off. And I was done with that.

My husband and I are “go-do-stuff” people. I realized a while back that we prioritize having fun higher than many of our other more adult-ish friends. Maybe it’s just my perception, but I feel like the people I’ve met in Orlando, as a whole, also like to go do stuff and have fun. We live in the vacation capital of the world, and there is literally a never-ending list of fun things to go do around here.

Since many of the people in Orlando are also transplants from other places, I find they tend to also be attracted to that perk of living here and that means I don’t feel like the square peg in the round hole anymore.

I feel like I fit here. And that’s huge.

If you can relate to that, then maybe where you’re currently living isn’t the place you fit the best. Do you ever come home from vacation and feel so super depressed to be arriving back in your home city? I used to always feel that way. Now when we come home from vacation and land in Orlando, I feel so excited to back home. I look at all the people arriving for their vacations and feel so incredibly grateful to live here.

This quote above hit me hard when I first read it. I honestly remember thinking, is that even possible? To feel like you can have a “vacation” mentality to your everyday life?

But you know what? It really is.

I feel like I have built a new life here that is as close to that as possible. But the first step of this is figuring out what kind of life feels free and fun to you. What feels like “vacation”. And that will be different for everyone. There are some people that would hate my life. But I love it.

When I moved here I thought, “Wouldn’t it be amazing to get paid to go to Disney? I want that to be my job.” That was my goal all though I wasn’t exactly sure how to make it happen. And somehow it has. I took quite a circular route to get to this point, as I had no clue what I was doing. But being able to do something I love and watch it grow over time has been so incredibly rewarding.

And it never would have happened if I hadn’t moved here. Moving out of our comfort zone can create space for amazing and unexpected things to happen to you.

Life will never be perfect. And no matter where you live you’ll have problems and struggles and loneliness and difficult times. But surrounding yourself with things that make you happy can have an amazing impact on your quality of life. For me, those things are:

  • My husband
  • My two kids
  • Palm trees
  • Sunshine
  • Positive minded people
  • Disney

These things make me happy. They aren’t the only things. But they are the ones that seem to have the biggest day-to-day impact on my mood. And having access to them all the time means I’m happier. Simple as that.

Maybe your place isn’t Orlando. But wherever it is, I feel like you owe it to yourself to give some thought to whether you’re living the life you want.

But what about if you just can’t. Sometimes moving or making a big change just isn’t an option for you right now. It took me almost ten years from when I first wanted to move here to when it actually happened. The timing just never worked out. And if that’s true for you, it doesn’t mean you’re doomed to be unhappy. We can still make any place work if we need to, and we can find happiness in it. I know I did. I was happy in Virginia but I always suspected that it could be better. So when we finally got a chance to try it out, I was ready to give it a shot. And I’m so glad I did.

But it’s not all sunshine and pixie dust. The biggest challenge for me in moving to Orlando hasn’t been the heat or the gators (which people think is a much bigger deal than it ends up being honestly). The biggest downside has been missing the people we left. You don’t have those roots with people anymore. And you’ll miss seeing your loved ones as often. Facetime, phone calls, and visits are nice but they’re not the same.

When my dad passed away recently, there’s a measure of guilt to be felt in missing some of that time with him.  And that’s something that may be tough to live with. Still not saying I regret moving, but just being honest about the mixed emotions it can bring. If you’re considering doing something similar, it’s worth giving some thought to.

After publishing this is my weekly newsletter (which you should really sign up for if you like keeping up with WDW news) I heard from many readers who could really relate to all of this. I know it won’t apply to everyone who follows me for Disney updates, but for those that do, even if it only helps a few of you, it’s worth it to write this all down. And if you ever want to talk with me more, particularly if you’re thinking of moving to Orlando, feel free to email me.

Overall, Orlando has a lot to offer. I decided to also make a little pro/con list for you. So if you’re curious about moving to Orlando, you can check that out here.

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