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Zero!

Three years ago, we chose a placeholder date for our future move. There were about 1,200 days to get through when we started.

Today, the countdown has reached zero!

We never assumed the date we picked would be exact. It just gave us something to aim at for planning purposes. (“Hey, our moving date is in six months, maybe you should start looking for a new job while I start packing up the house!”) Almost as importantly, it gave us something to count down to, which has been very motivational.

So, no, we’re not fully “moved to Disney” yet! But we are very far along. As you know if you’ve been following, my wife has been living down there since late March when she started her new job. And I’m still here in Tennessee preparing to sell the house. Those preparations have kicked into high gear over the last couple of weeks. Here’s a look at what’s been happening… and what our actual moving timeframe might be now that the light at the end of the tunnel is actually in sight.

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This will be this site’s last anniversary with me not living in Florida!

It was four years ago today that I started this blog. The idea of one day moving to be closer to the Disney parks seemed like such a far off fantasy. I still remember sitting down to make that first post. This moment seemed so far away back then. But looking back now it hardly seems possible that so much time has gone by.

I admit to getting a little emotional as I write all this. I’m very happy all our planning is so close to coming to fruition. I’m stressed about all the work I still have to do. I hate being separated from my wife for so long. I’m sad that my son doesn’t want to do this. I miss not getting to see my daughter as often as I’d like now that’s she’s moved out. And I’m just so tired all the time it seems like!

But I know if I can just push through all of this that there’s a great, big, beautiful tomorrow just a dream away.


Odds and endings

There’s been a lot going on around here lately, not just with the the move but with my family in general, and my mind is starting to feel like mush trying to work through and keep up with it all! So while I have some time, I just want to take a break from everything and let my brain offload some of my excess thoughts by writing about a few of them.

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We’re in our fifth year of planning and waiting (…and waiting …and waiting!) for this move. It’s been very discouraging wanting to be down there but knowing we still had years to go. Thank goodness for bloggers! Following their lives in Florida has helped relieve a lot of that frustration. And I truly mean that. I am so thankful to have found several people who I felt like got me, and were in the same boat as me, not only to learn from but to live through!

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The reason I originally started this site was — yes, to have an outlet for my desire to move closer to Disney four years before I would be able to do so! But it was also to share information with others who might want to make the move one day. Until now the site has been a lot more of the former than the latter! But with the move now in progress, we’ll be sharing a lot more of what we’re figuring out.

During our first week at our new apartment, we only had one weekday free before my wife started her new job so we decided to spend part of that day getting her Florida driver’s license. The process was mostly painless… but that’s because we were prepared! Here are some suggestions to make the process as relatively smooth as it was for us.

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After a memorable first week at our apartment in Celebration, I’m now back in Tennessee while my wife starts her new job in Florida. When I was down there, there were so many feelings and thoughts rushing at me that I wanted to memorialize here in the blog. But now that I’m back, it all almost feels like it wasn’t real! I’m very excited to continue getting the work done at our Tennessee home so we can sell it. But having that taste of actually living near Disney then being pulled back to “normal life” was jarring… and disheartening. Maybe taking a look back will help me recapture the feeling!

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I’ll have a lot more to say soon, but didn’t want to let our first night at our home in Celebration go unremarked upon. We had a long and busy day of driving followed by moving in and unpacking. But that — in addition to the four year wait and all the hard work it took to get here that came before it — was all worth it for sunsets like this over Bay Lake becoming our new normal.


Celebration!

Wow! After four years of dreaming about it, we officially have a Florida address! This Saturday we take possession of our new home in Celebration! Other than winning the lottery and getting a place in Golden Oak, having our first home be in “the town that Disney built” is beyond anything we hoped for.

Due to the speed with which my wife found her new job, we’ve been extremely busy over the last few weeks setting things up. Hopefully any of your reading this who might want to make the move one day will have the luxury of time. But all things considered, everything worked out very well for us. Here’s how it went down.

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The countdown date we set three years ago for when we hoped to be moving to Disney has reached 100 days! While we always knew it wasn’t going to be the actual day we moved, we hoped it would at least be in the ballpark since it would be demoralizing if it reached zero and we weren’t even close to ready! So it’s been more of an aspirational goal, and it’s given us hope and some excitement each day that we watched it go down over the past 1,000+ days.

But now that the move is really happening the countdown is less aspirational and more accusatory! “There’s only 100 days left! Why haven’t you done more to get ready!”

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The Magic is Calling…

…and it’s finally time to answer the call!

After what felt like an eternity (but was actually just four years) of talking about it and praying it would eventually happen, we are officially MOVING TO DISNEY!!!

This week my wife was offered a job that’s just five miles away from Disney Springs! She’ll be moving down there to start in 29 days!

Needless to say, we’re extremely excited! Despite talking about it here with you readers all these years, I still can hardly believe it’s happening!

We’re still reeling and a bit flustered since we were expecting the job search to take much longer. So we’re just at the very beginning of figuring out our next steps. But here are a few initial thoughts about all this.

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This is the year!

Has it really been that long since my last post!? I apologize for my absence. And I have plenty of excuses! (A trip to Florida, the holidays, other website obligations, getting ready to move, and… an online feud!) But there is so much other stuff to get to that I don’t want to spend too much time dawdling on those issues. So let’s discuss the last few months so I can move on to all the things coming in what will hopefully be a very big year for us!

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Anyone trying to buy or sell a house over the last year or so knows that the market has been on fire. Whether that’s a good thing or bad thing depends on if you’re buying or selling! After our recent virtual and actual house hunting trips, here’s what we’re thinking all this might mean for us if the market remains the same next year.

The short answer: frustration!

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Life has been very busy since my last post! We’re getting so close to the move and there’s so much to think about before then — I’m glad I have this site as an outlet! Today I’ll just give a quick recap of some of we’ve been up to for the past 90 days. Then I’ll immediately get to work on a more substantial post about something very important (but very aggravating!) that I teased back in June.

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365 days!

12 months!

One year to go!

Back in the spring of 2019, we decided to pencil in a day as our moving date goal to give us something tangible to look forward to. Since then we’ve been counting down to that day — June 15, 2022. And now we’ve reached a hard to believe milestone. One year from today, we hope to be moving to Florida!

What makes this so mind-boggling is realizing that from today forward every birthday, every holiday, and whatever other annual occasion we decide to celebrate is probably going to be our last here in Tennessee!

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Back in business

Today I have just a quick update on something I mentioned in my last post.

We had to cancel a planned research trip back in March after my wife found out she and her co-workers might soon be out of a job. After way too long leaving everyone hanging, the situation has been resolved. Things didn’t end up exactly as we would have hoped, but at least we don’t have to waste any of our time left here in Tennessee looking for a new job.

Now that my wife is back in business, we can get back to the business of planning our move, which is just 406 days away!

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Time keeps marching on and now we’re one year and three months away from our target date! I admit to having continuing panic over the planning that still needs to be done. But the excitement is finally building as well. When the move was four (or even just two!) years away it almost seemed so distant as to be unattainable, like thinking about retirement during your college years. Now, it really is starting to feel like we’re on the cusp of moving to Disney!

As we get closer, we’re starting to reconsider some options and ideas we originally passed on — when it comes to the wife’s job, the type of house we want, and the area we might want to live in.

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The countdown to our move date has now reached 500 days! I remember it hitting 1,000, and the move seemed so far away then. But now that we’ve halved that number, the move seems so terrifyingly close! I will readily admit that I’m starting to freak out a little bit.

I think being all but quarantined due to COVID for most of 2020 made the year fly by. It just seems impossible that it’s been almost a year since last March when the lockdown began. In addition to the year disappearing, COVID also made us reluctant to do house projects that would require us to allow workers into our house. This milestone has really driven home just how much we still have to do and how little time we seem to have. Thus the panic setting in!

So to celebrate 500 days (and fight off the rising fear!) let’s talk about some of the more positive Disney goings-on in our lives recently!

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This week my wife and I are celebrating our 25th anniversary! We were supposed to heading to the port for our first ever Disney cruise right now. Instead, we got a nice dinner to-go and watched a movie at a drive-in theatre. Not as great, comparatively speaking, but that’s 2020 for you.

However, we do have something else we can celebrate: today is the first day we can officially say, “We’re moving to Disney next year!”

Exciting, but a little scary!

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Hopes and changes

Last time I noted that we’re now over halfway to our planned moving date. And, as probably should be expected two years in to a four year plan, circumstances don’t always remain static! Expectations, rationales, and just plain hopes for 2022 are not necessarily going to be the same as what we thought back in 2018.

In other words, when it comes to life, especially with teenage kids, you need to be a bit more flexible.

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Two years to go!

Almost there!

Two years from today the countdown will hit zero and I’ll be on my way… June 15th, 2022 is the provisional date we plan to make our move to Disney!

Wow!

What makes that seem more incredible is that it was June 2018, two years ago, that I started this blog! So this site is halfway through its mission, assuming all goes as anticipated… But I’ve got a dream, I’ve got a plan, so why should I worry?

Because this is 2020 and everything is topsy turvy!

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In my previous post, I recapped our first few days at Disney World earlier this year — doing some neighborhood hunting as part of our second research trip to the area, completing our first ever runDisney race on property, and visiting Magic Kingdom. Today we’ll look back at the rest of that trip.

FRIDAY

Another early wakeup call. While the wife stayed at the hotel to get some more sleep, I again headed to the Epcot parking lot for the runDisney Marathon Weekend 10K — a distance I had not yet attempted to do!

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We did it! One year after we decided we wanted to get healthier, discovered runDisney, and started our journey to get more active, my wife and I took part in our first official event on property! The past year just flew by — it seems like only yesterday we were making our first attempt to walk three miles, which ended with us achy and out of breath as we trudged back to our car. The fact that we actually stuck with it and didn’t give up at any point over the past 12 months is amazing to me! I chalk that up to our planned move. Getting healthy so we can really take advantage of everything Disney World has to offer when we arrive has been a huge motivation, and will continue to be moving forward.

Of course we took the opportunity to take care of some other business while we were in town, both serious (researching more of the area) and less so (first trip to Batuu)! Here’s part one of a rundown of our week.

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Disney bona fides

I was recently decorating our Disney tree for Christmas. And as I pulled out the oldest decoration we have (a Mickey ornament with the year 1980 on it) I thought…

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t a Disney fan.

And that got me reminiscing about Disney memories in my past. As the days dwindle until our eventual move to be closer to the parks (we’re under 900 days now!), I thought it’d be fun to write down a few of them that I can remember off the top of my head. (No doubt there are a ton more!) Think of it as my Disney bona fides — proof that this move isn’t some spur of the moment whim, but something I’ve been building towards for a very long time.

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1,000 days to go

Sometime after making it official that we were going to move to be closer to Disney World, we decided to pick a date to use as a placeholder as we started making plans. Obviously we don’t know the exact date we’re going to move. But in starting to consider things like how far in advance we should put our house on the market or how long it will take us to establish residency for tuition purposes, it became handy to have an actual date to use in those calculations. We chose June 15, 2022. We decided on that date because it would be about one month after our son’s high school graduation. That should give us time to celebrate his milestone properly without having to immediately move out. (Don’t misunderstand — I’m sure we’ll be up to our ears in getting ready to move well before then. But the month leeway means we won’t have to be rushing to get in the car and head south as soon as he gets handed his diploma!)

A side benefit to having a provisional date is we can count down to it! And you better believe we’ve been doing that since we chose it. As of today, we only have 1,000 days until we move to Disney! I can’t describe how exciting that sounds! I’ve put a countdown on the sidebar of the blog, and knowing it’s going down to triple digits tomorrow is almost unbelievable.

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One year down…

One year ago today I made my first post here on the site, publicly announcing… we were a little crazy! Twelve months later that diagnosis has only been confirmed — with maybe the two biggest proofs being us having made our first official research trip to the area without even visiting a single park, and with our apparent willingness to pay Disney while we exercise!

Writing this blog has helped make the idea we’re moving to Disney seem more real since it’s still so far away. But I have to admit, just a year later the move seems scarily soon! Every time I look around the house and think of the things we need to do prepare it for an eventual sale, three years suddenly feels like no time at all!

Thanks for following along with us so far! I know right now this is mostly just a journal of our thoughts. But hopefully one day it will be more useful to others who are considering following us down to the magic!

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Disney World has so many different entertainment options that it’s hard to imagine anyone couldn’t find something that interests them: thrill rides, calm rides, shows, dining, shopping, horseback riding, boating, archery, scuba diving, camping, fishing, gaming, spas, dancing, golfing, swimming, bowling, movies, behind the scenes tours, animal encounters, biking, photography, good old people watching, and so much more. With all those incredible options available to us, I find it hard to believe that one of the ones I’ve been most excited about lately is exercising!

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Research trip #1

Now that we’ve decided we’re actually going to make the move to Disney, it’s time to stop dreaming about it and start making it a reality. So in mid-March we took our first research trip to the Orlando area. As I mentioned in February, we weren’t looking for a house — we’re much too far away from leaving to do that! And we weren’t looking at specific neighborhoods really. Our goal was to start discovering the pro ands cons of the general areas around Disney World. Once we find an area we’re interested in, then we can start drilling down into it.

We spent five days in town (including our arrival and departure days). Overall it was a successful trip. We learned a lot we didn’t know, found some new things we need to look into, and made some time for fun as well!

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“The Decision” made!

The big question behind this site that we’ve been trying to figure out over the last nine months is “do we stay here in Tennessee for the rest of our lives, or uproot and make the move to live near Disney World?” In a previous post, I mentioned the plan we had come up with gave us five years to answer that question.

Way ahead of schedule… we’ve made “the decision”!

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Virtual house hunting

While the idea that one day soon we hope to pack up and head to Disney World for good is exhilarating, the actual waiting until that day can be downright depressing! We’re just not close enough to leaving to where we can do anything useful yet. But we have found a way to scratch the moving itch that is also of some value in our planning — virtual house hunting.

Of course, we’re not actually looking for a house this far out. But through online searching we are starting to get an idea of what we want and where we want to be.

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2018 is coming to an end in a couple of weeks, and it has been an impactful year for my family. Deciding that living near Disney is something we want to move from dream to reality is going to change our lives, even if in the end we stay put — at least we’ll have made the attempt.

To celebrate, this year we decided to start a Disney Christmas tree tradition in our house. We usually put up two trees every year: a big, real tree with all our sentimental family ornaments that goes in front of the picture window; and a second, smaller, fake tree with generic decorations that we put either downstairs in the den or next to a different window. This year the smaller tree is now home to all the Disney ornaments we’ve collected over the years. Compared to “normal” non-Disney people we have a lot! But there aren’t a ton yet since they’ve always had to share space with all our other ornaments. But we’ll now be able to start collecting more — starting with a “2018” ornament we bought to commemorate the start of our five-year plan.

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In my very first post I mentioned some of my inspirations for creating a site to document our plans to move to Disney. I also put those links in my sidebar so they’d be on every page of the site within easy reach of readers. But there is another link I put over there (at the very top!) that I hadn’t mentioned yet. That link leads to an inspiration, not just for this site, but for the entire idea of moving to Disney: WDW Radio. I wanted to wait to mention them until I could do an entire post about what is my favorite podcast of all time! After getting even more excited than usual about the topic of one their recent shows, what better time than now.

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Visiting Disney

For the first time since we decided moving to Disney is something we really want to do, we got to take a quick trip to Orlando! As I mentioned in the previous post, my daughter was going to a hospitality camp at the University of Central Florida. So we decided that on the day after we pick her up we would spend a day at Disney World before heading back to Tennessee. This was not going to be a long, relaxing vacation. It was more of a pitstop. But I knew we would be visiting Disney with a different mindset this time.

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We’ve decided to seriously consider “The Move”. Now we need to come up with “The Plan”. As I mentioned in the previous post, we don’t know how this journey will end. So the plan isn’t explicitly about “how do we move to Disney”? The plan is more about “How can we make the decision on whether to stay in Tennessee or move to Disney easier?”

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Big Disney parks fans probably at some point in their life consider “The Move”. They say, “Disney World is so great, wouldn’t it be cool to live there?” For most, it’s a fun thought but quickly put aside. But for a few adventurous (or maybe just crazy) ones it can become an obsession.

My wife, kids, and parents took our first big family trip to Disney World in 2005, and it was kind of life-changing! Ever since then we’ve toyed with the idea of making The Move but we never really took it too seriously. It was always a maybe-one-day-far-down-the-road idea. Recently, due to some potential changes in our lives we started thinking “why not just do it if we’re going to do it?”

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