So many people have the pipe dream of moving to and living in Orlando Florida right next to the Mouse! If you don’t believe me just take a look at the Facebook Group Taking the Florida Plunge. I will be first to raise my hand and admit that I was one of those people. Much to the shock of all my friends and family from back in the Northeast, I made the decision to take the plunge and move my whole life just so I could go to Disney World whenever I felt like it over six years ago. Upon hearing the news everyone was quick to put in their two cents on why this was a terrible idea and I would be back home in a year. Of course, these Negative Nacys types couldn’t be further from what ended up being my reality. All of them except one that I can remember had never even lived in the state of Florida. Clearly not a bunch of experts I should take advice from right? So here is some advice from an actual transplant on living in Orlando Florida.
The Worst Things About Living in Orlando
Let’s get the bad things out of the way and end everything on a positive note? Great, here is the not so glamorous part of living in Orlando Florida.
20. The Driving is Wild
Welcome to the land of crazy drivers. Orlando is notorious for its driving habits on the roads. Of course many often hear the horror stories of the traffic nightmare that is known as I4. It is avoidable thankfully but be prepared to have to pay for tolls, a Sunpass for your car is essential. I like to blame all the tourists who come and visit and have no idea where they are navigating to. Too many times I have seen a car suddenly without clearance cross three lanes of traffic to catch the exit they were just about to miss. The moral of the story is to brush up on your defensive driving skills before you move here and depending on what part of the country you currently live in, be prepared for heavy traffic. Also, be prepared for the sticker shock when your insurance premiums go up. When I first moved my rates on insurance nearly doubled.
19. It’s a Jungle out There
Okay, I have to level with you, the critters here are insane. Sometimes they are a little too large. Even with constant pest control and a clean house, be prepared for roaches and spiders! Always be cautious in grassy areas, we have fire ants and snakes.
18. Humidity Takes on a New Level
So really when you look at the thermometer the temperature here doesn’t get insanely hot. In my years here we rarely get days that read over 100 degrees. What does make the great outdoors feel miserably unbear, however, is the humidity. Apparently humid air is harder to heat than dry air, but the real feel can be excessive.
17. Sales Tax on Everything
So about 98% of you reading this are like yeah so what. However, I am over here like hey what is all this extra money you are tacking on to my bill every time I buy something. I mean I have to actually pay attention to when/what a tax-free weekend is? I hail from the “live free or die” state of New Hampshire where we get to have the joy of no sales tax. My friends reading this from New Hampshire, Alaska, Delaware, Montana, or Oregon will understand!
16. From just Tourist Season to Tourist 24/7
So I lived in a ski resort state prior but I didn’t even know what tourism meant until I lived here in Orlando. With our lovely weather, we are a hot spot year-round (in more ways than one). The theme parks have a killer marketing team because they keep the area busy all twelve months. Of course, any holiday guarantees extra madness traffic-wise.
So hurricanes are a very real part of living here. Recently we have had to face Hurricane Irma and this year Hurricane Dorian. Thankfully here in Orlando, we are more inland and the storms are less powerful compared to our coastal neighboring cities. However, this doesn’t mean that we don’t get some serve damage from these big storms that roll through. When Irma hit Orlando I had co-worker who went without power for almost a week. It’s important to take these storm seriously and always have your hurricane supplies on hand.
14. No Such Thing as Fall
So we still get Pumpkin Spice Lattes here at Starbucks but the rest of my favorite fall things seem to be missing. Back home the cool, crisp air and watching the leaves change on the trees were my favorite. Here the leaves stay on the tree and it’s still stinking hot. We do have pumpkin patches but I have yet to find a spot to go apple picking.
13. Goodbye Hills
If Florida wasn’t such a dang swamp I swear we would be a dessert. This state is flat! In fact, when we spot a hill it becomes a novelty since they are such a rare sight. If you are looking for Mountains you will need to travel elsewhere because there aren’t any close by.
12. Love Bugs
What is a love bug you ask? It’s a zombie invasive species… okay no it’s not that. They are really just an annoying harmless fly. Twice a year, aka during their mating season, we get huge swarms of them. So good news they do not pose a health risk to us and they don’t transmit diseases. However, the acid their bodies contain do damage your paint on your car. So expect to wait in some crazy long car wash lines as you will need to make weekly trips!
11. People are a Little Crazy
Ever heard of Florida Man? If not just give a look over this Twitter account. An ode to all the crazy, and yes REAL news stories that happen here in Florida.
My Favorite Thing About Living in Orlando
10. No More Snow
I. Hate. Snow. I spent too many years waking up early dragging my butt outside to turn on the car to heat it up just so I could go back out and scrap it off. And for those of you without this charming experience of welcome to adulthood. Once you started your commute to work and your car was toasty on the inside…. you would melt becoming a cold wet mess. GOOD RIDDANCE I SAY! As you can see I was traumatized for life so that I forgot all the happy memories playing in the snow as a child. Seriously, if we start getting snowstorms here in Central Florida I am going to start looking for jobs in the Bahamas!
9. A Large Job Market
I was relieved to find getting a job in technology was far easier for me here in Central Florida than it ever was in New Hampshire. I guess that shouldn’t have been a shock going from country life to big sprawling urban metropolitan. There are loads of major companies that have headquarters here in the greater Orlando area. EA Games, NBC Universal, Disney, Starwood Hotel, Sea World, Tupperware Corp., Oracle Corporation, Lockheed Martin, Jet Blue and more!
8. No Income Tax
Ah, nice paychecks with no extra sneaky taxes being taken out of my check. I came from a state with no income tax and I am so glad that I kept it that way.
7. The Grocery Store is Always Close
Ah, Publix! This grocery store chain is Florida gold! In hurricanes they always have water and they are of course home of the Publix Chicken Tender Sub! Be sure to try one if you haven’t! But I must say my favorite thing is that the grocery store is never more than 10 minutes away here. No matter where I have lived, and trust me I have bounced around all corners of the greater Orlando area, there has always been a Publix super close! Back home we had to drive for what felt like forever just to get into town and pick stuff up at the store.
6. So Many Theme Parks
Seriously, Orlando Florida isn’t just about Disney World. You also have Universal, Sea World, Busch Gardens, Fun Spot and more! We have Kennedy Space center about an hour away as well!
5. Surrounded by Beaches
The shape of Florida has its perks, we are surrounded by ocean on three of the four sides of the state. Here in the greater Orlando area, we are basically 60 minutes to the east or west coast beaches.
4. Beautiful Sunsets
I don’t know what it is about central Florida but the sky paints a beautiful picture every night when the sunsets. If you have had a chance to experience this you will know what I mean with the intense colors that will make you stop your busy day and enjoy the sights for a moment.
3. Endless Food Spots to Try
There are lots of great local spots here in Orlando in addition to many of chain restaurants too. This means you never run out of places to go for dinner! Of course, this has also greatly helped me work on my challenge of eating at every restaurant in Walt Disney World.
2. No One Else is From Here
I just love meeting people for this reason. Interestingly enough, just about everyone I come across here in Orlando is never actually from here. Everyone has amazing stories to share on where they are from and it does end up being an invaluable resource of information.
1. Trips to Disney World Whenever I Want
I save this for the end because this is my favorite thing about being here. Disney World is my escape, it is my happy place, even well past my childhood. I just love Disney. So the fact that I live just behind the castle at the Magic Kingdom just melts my heart. If I wanted to head off to the parks after work it’s an option. The reality does end up being you don’t go as much as you like (every day) but I still go way more often than I did living many states away. Life, chores, and adulting end up being the top causes of not making it every night but I will settle for my weekly trips to the parks!
I have been visiting the parks annually since my parents first brought me at just a year old. Recently I was able to fulfill my life long dream of being a Florida local and moved from the wintery Northeast to the sunshine and fun of central Florida. Now I am hoping to share my Disney knowledge with you so you can have the best vacation possible!