Life near Disney

We didn’t know it at the time, but on June 1st, 2018, when I made the first post on this site, my wife and I were about to start a new chapter in our lives. We had just started thinking it might be cool to move to Orlando from our home in Tennessee so we could be closer to the magic of Walt Disney World all the time. It didn’t take a lot of discussion for us to move from “might” to “definitely”!

Now it’s June 1st, 2024, and we’ve been living four miles away from Disney for almost a year and a half. It took us some time to get settled in, merging the magic with real life. But we’re finally at a point where it feels like this is our life now, that we’re really here to stay, that we’re not just long-term tourists but life-time locals.

With that change in mindset, the move seems officially complete, and it’s time for us to focus on our life near Disney. And what better way to mark that shift here on the site than with a new theme! The previous look was inspired by the interstate road signs we passed on the ten hour drive it used to take us to get to the parks. The new scheme is based on the classic Disney road signs that signaled you’d finally arrived on property.

While I’m not going to promise this next chapter of the site will include more frequent updates, I personally hope that it will. I’ve already got several ideas for posts in mind, and I’m excited to share with you all.

But maybe not today. Instead I’m going to go get Tonga Toast for breakfast at the Polynesian, just because I can!

Six years ago this week, I started creating what would become this website. Back then the idea of one day moving to Orlando was an exciting new idea we were just considering. Today, I’m writing this while sitting on a lanai surrounded by palm trees while my wife swims in our pool on another beautiful sunny day four miles away from Walt Disney World. This is what all the work was for!

However, as longtime readers know, getting settled in our new reality was a bit rougher than we had hoped. That caused some anxiety and worry that made enjoying being here harder. Writing for this site had always been a pleasure before the move. Afterwards… not so much! Trying to put a happy face on for the blog felt inauthentic, and being honest felt like a chore.

I’m going to admit something I don’t think I’ve said before. For the first year we were here, I wondered if we had made a mistake. I thought maybe we should think about moving back. Don’t get me wrong, I loved being in Florida! That wasn’t the problem at all. It was a great decision, but the timing just ended up being terrible. If we’d moved three years earlier (when the kids would have moved with us) or three years later (when the kids would have been more settled after leaving the nest) I’d probably have had absolutely no complaints. As it was though, it was so hard being away from family, especially when they needed so much help. I felt selfish. And the money we were spending to live here seemed like it could be “better” spent there. Having that mentality — that moving back was an option — made it more difficult to fully commit to our life here.

But since my last post in March, after our kids finally made a long anticipated visit and after we decided to be more intentional about making our own magic, I’ve begun getting excited again about sharing our experiences. That’s a big change. And, probably no surprise, it tracks with an overall feeling of contentment I’ve started having about our life here. I can finally say it feels like this really is our forever home, and that we’re not just here for a very long visit!

With that in mind, I think it’d be helpful for me to bring this chapter of the site to an end.

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In my last post of 2023, I wrote: “We’re going to be more proactive in making our own magic when we might not otherwise be feeling it. Hopefully things will actually be much better, but I think focusing more on the good, even when things aren’t so good, will do us a world of good.”

Well, things have not been much better in 2024! I really don’t want to bog down this blog with our personal problems, but just as an example of one of the things we’ve been dealing with: my son’s car broke down in September; the one we replaced it with caught on fire in November; the one we replaced it with crashed in February; and the one we replaced it with died in March! He’s on his fifth car in a year. Our nerves are frazzled and our wallet weighs a lot less! And that’s just one of several items on our plate.

It’s been hard to come here and write about our life at Disney when our life hasn’t been something I want to dwell too much on and not something anybody would want to read about.

But, I made a pretty good point in that last post. If our life needs a little more pixie dust, instead of waiting for a fairy to fly by, we need to make our own magic.

And that’s what we did last week.

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Great Expectations

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. OK, that’s not from the novel in the headline, but that would have been cool! Because both the headline and the quote fit our lives at this first year anniversary at our home here in Florida! I’m not going to lie, it’s been a rough year for us! We had high hopes when we moved here. And we still do. But I am not sorry to see 2023 go!

When I made my previous post the first week of October, the year to date had been tough, but I assumed the worst was behind us. However, the last three months really packed a wallop! I’m not in the mood to recap it all in depth while it still feels so fresh but we’ve dealt with: my “part-time” job hours unexpectedly more than doubling, me spending Thanksgiving alone, a close family member’s cancer diagnosis, a car fire, my parents cancelling their first trip to visit us here due to medical issues, my son cancelling his visit to see us because of job issues, and the wife getting COVID for Christmas. We literally have not stepped foot in a park in the past two months due to us either being too busy, too tired, or just too grumpy!

If we still lived in Tennessee and had the year we had in 2023, I would have felt like it was one of our worst years ever. But the fact that we got to spend it here in Orlando has been the biggest bright spot in a dreary twelve months.

I’m going to make it a point to get this blog back into what I really was hoping and expecting it would be after my first year in Florida. I was so excited to share our initial impressions of life here. But I hope you’ll understand that the last thing I’ve been in the mood to do is dwell even more on how unlucky we’ve had it in many ways lately.

I’ve very much looking forward to 2024, and I have even greater expectations for the coming year. We’re going to be more proactive in making our own magic when we might not otherwise be feeling it. Hopefully things will actually be much better, but I think focusing more on the good, even when things aren’t so good, will do us a world of good.

Thanks for your understanding in 2023. And have a great beginning to your new year!

I’m not sure where to begin! This is supposed to be my first big post about what it’s been like for us living the dream as we set up a home near Disney over the last six nine months. I also want to finally discuss where we ended up buying a house, what we got, and where we had to compromise. But I’ve also been ridiculously quiet over the past 15 weeks or so, and I should probably explain that too because a lot happened!

Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to split this piece up into several parts and try to get them all posted over the next month. Today I’ll finally talk about the house we ended up in. Then I’ll do a piece about the reality of life here after all the dreaming. Later I’ll write up something about what we’ve been dealing with recently and what’s coming next. (Long story short version: as of last week we are officially empty-nesters!)

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You may have noticed a bit of a gap between my last post and this one. There have been a couple of understandable reasons for that. I got my first job in two decades, for one. And, after three years, COVID finally caught me. But there is also an embarrassingly bad reason for the delay. I decided I wanted my next post on the site to be a big “six months living near Disney post” where I also finally talk about the house we bought and the neighborhood it’s in.

Last week when I finally started outlining the article I realized… my math was off! The six month anniversary was last month in June, not July!

It was so frustrating because I’ve been planning this piece almost since we moved in, and had specifically delayed writing anything last month knowing this was coming. So at this point, with the six month milestone long gone, I’m just going to write up the article at my leisure and title it whatever the anniversary happens to be when it’s ready to go!

While we were still in the early planning stages for our eventual move to Disney, one of our hopes was that we’d live within 30 minutes of the parks. So when it came time to actually house hunt, that’s where we looked… with one exception.

A beautiful house with so much of what we wanted appeared in the search listings one day and we had to decide “what’s really most important”. What we decided may surprise you!

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Setting up a new house in a different state after having spent over a decade in your previous home is such a huge hassle! We still have so many boxes to go through. It’s hard to figure out where the things we have unpacked should go with so much less space than we had before. And we don’t really have a place for those things to go because we haven’t bought proper furniture yet after spending most of our savings on the down payment!

But… we moved to Disney! So finding ways to procrastinate on taking care of those worries has been easy! Here are a few of things we like to do when we just want to say “Hakuna Matata” for a few hours and take a break from sitting on our way too small futon amongst our unopened boxes and mismatched spare furniture!

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Thanks for sticking around! I’m doing a lot better since my last post. I’m taking care of the things I have control over, working on what still needs to be done, making time to enjoy life here, and not stewing over the rest so much! Just those changes in mindset have helped so much. And I’m excited to get back to sharing more here on the blog.

I’m really looking forward to talking about the neighborhood and house we ended up choosing! But I’d like to continue discussing some of the other areas we looked at first. Next up are Buenaventura Lakes and Meadow Woods.

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Candle on the pool deck

Wow. It’s been about six weeks since we moved in to our new home and I’ve barely written anything! I hinted at a reason in my last post when I said I felt “unsettled and out of sorts”. And that is still very true. Don’t get me wrong. I am fully enjoying the beautiful weather, sitting next to the pool under our lanai, the proximity to Disney Springs, my new annual pass, and other things the area has to offer. But at home, I feel a bit lost and drifting.

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I had assumed that my first real post after moving into our home here in Orlando would be some kind of recap of our first few weeks. But everything still feels so new that I think I need some perspective before I can reflect on it properly. I can honestly say it has been wonderful! But I also feel unsettled and out of sorts not being in a daily routine yet. So instead, let’s look at some of the neighborhoods we considered during our house hunting process.

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Back on June 1, 2018, I made the first post on this website wondering if we were adventurous or just crazy for considering a move away from our friends and family in Tennessee so we could be closer to the Most Magical Place on Earth.

Now, 1,672 days later, with barely any time to spare before missing our 2022 goal, we closed on a house today. I’m currently sitting in the lanai of our new home here in Orlando, just four miles away from Disney! I’m still having trouble believing this is real!

A lot has changed in our family (and in the world!) over the past several years. The last 12 months have been some of the hardest and most stressful of my life. And going forward there is still so much to do in this empty house!

But we did it. We’re here. And I’m happy… and hopeful for the future.

Thanks to those of you who have followed us on this journey.

But don’t go anywhere yet! Stay tuned into 2023, because I have so much to say about our house-hunting experience. I’m going to give my thoughts on the specific neighborhoods we considered, talk about exactly what we liked and didn’t like in the homes we saw, and discuss the house buying process itself. And, of course, I’ll share info about the whole reason we moved here! (Speaking of which, time to go look into Florida resident annual passes!)

But for today, I’m going to sit back… relax… and enjoy the fruits of all our efforts since that first post so long ago.

They accepted!

At long last, someone finally accepted one of our offers! Which means (after a few hopefully pro forma things like inspections, financing paperwork, and an appraisal) we will finally have a home near Disney! And while we won’t be in by Christmas (barring the process getting done faster than expected), at least we will be in before the end of the year.

It’s crazy to think back to 2018. This whole thing was a wild idea we were considering. Now four years later, here I am sitting in a hotel in Orlando with a signed contract on a house!

The journey is not quite over. And I have a lot more I’m looking forward to sharing that might help future fans make this move. But for today, I’m just grateful to be here in this moment… and less than a month from having a home near Disney!

Third time’s the charm?

Not going to lie. Losing out on the home we made our second offer on stung. Due to its distance from the parks, we wouldn’t have been able to go as often as we might have wanted. But the house and grounds themselves were so amazing that we wouldn’t have cared! However, once again, the day we made an offer, someone else did too. And they got it. I almost wish the seller’s agent hadn’t mentioned this but apparently we were extremely close to getting it. Ouch. When the offer we made on that first house was rejected, I wrote here that we couldn’t mope too long because there was work to be done. But I admit I moped for this house!

After taking time to give thanks (and despite the tough year it’s been and the trouble we’re having finding a house, we do have a lot to be thankful for just in finally making it here) we continued the search. And later today we’ll be attempting offer #3.

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Offer #2

As you can tell by the title, our first offer fell through. It was a bit surprising to us. The home had been sitting on the market for over two months, and the day before we made an offer, we were told they had had no other offers. So we assumed this would be a slam dunk. But our bad luck with timing came through again. We waited to make this move until house prices skyrocketed a few years ago. We started our in-person search when interest rates climbed to their highest level in decades over the last few months. And we made an offer on a house that had had no nibbles for two months on the exact same day someone else made an offer too. Long story short, they went with the other offer.

But we couldn’t mope too long. If we wanted to be in a house by the end of this year we had to keep moving forward.

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The first offer

Weather, illnesses, and just having too much fun kind of got in the way of my plan to post at least every two weeks. But that delay means this post will hopefully be a lot more interesting than hearing about… weather, illness, and fun.

Instead I get to talk about making our first (and hopefully only) offer on a house!

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I can’t believe I’m actually here! It’s been a week, and I feel like I’m smiling like an idiot everywhere I go! Palm trees, water fountains, that big beautiful sky, the wonderful weather, and Disney stuff all over the place… this has been the dream for the past four years and now it’s reality!

But reality also includes things like traffic, car problems, house hunting, and noisy hotel neighbors. Does it negate all the good things? Not even close! But I guess it’s good not have your Mickey-tinted glasses blinding you too much when you move here.

Here’s how my first week finally living in Orlando has gone.

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Tomorrow morning I finally make, what I called in my very first post, “The Move”! That makes today my last full day living here in Tennessee.

Leaving here is a little more bittersweet than I expected.

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That title may be ominous when the Haunted Mansion’s Ghost Host says it. But today it’s all about excited anticipation. Because today we officially closed on selling our house!

I have to admit that even after four years of talking about this, it’s still shocking to me every time we take a major step forward! And signing the paperwork to sell the house we’ve happily raised our kids in for the past thirteen years is the biggest and most irreversible move yet.

Before finally heading down to Florida on Tuesday, I’ll be staying with my parents for a few days to finish up some things here in Tennessee. They’ve very graciously agreed to take in my son and two pets for what will be an indeterminate amount of time while we look for and eventually close on a house of our own. Thanks mom and dad!

I’m looking forward to a few stress-free days after what has been some of the most physically and mentally taxing months of my life! Then it will be time to start the process all over again… but from the buyers side. Fortunately, that seems like it will be a lot less work than selling a house!

I said things were about to crazy, and crazy they got! The past four weeks have been filled with aches and pains, ups and downs, and backs and forths. But with every bit of good news, every annoyance, every sigh of relief, and every headache, it’s at least been clear that we are finally and unrelentingly moving forward in moving to Disney.

Here’s a weekly blow by blow since my last post.

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2022 has been so busy. After 23 posts over the first four years of this site, I’m already on my 15th post this year alone. Now that the house is up for sale and we’re just waiting for things to get official, things have slowed down a bit… for the time being. So before things get crazy again, now (almost a year late!) might be a good time to finally take a look back at our trip to Disney World last October 1st for its 50th Anniversary.

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For sale

Tomorrow is the next big milestone in our moving to Disney adventure: our house will officially be open for viewing by potential buyers. The past five weeks have been the most exhausting of my life. I’m drained physically and mentally. But thankfully that phase is basically over. This next step may be less tiring, but it could be more stressful: waiting for someone to buy the house so we can finally leave.

But before that, let me recap the last several weeks so those considering the move can see what I went through and decide for yourself whether you might want to do something different.

The second week of July the kids and I went to Florida to visit my wife and spend a day at Epcot for my birthday. It was such a great trip… and if I had known what I was in for when I got home I would have spent a lot more time enjoying it!

I returned home late Friday night, and the next day got straight to work.

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A spoonful of murder

At the end of my last post I mentioned that things might be about to get busy with our moving preparations. That was an understatement! I have spent the last several weeks trying to get our home ready to put on the market, with a goal of being done by August 1st. That date came and went. Now the plan is to just be done ASAP. I’m working morning until night to get everything finished. I’m very tired and achy. And no matter how much I do, it always feels like there is still so much more left!

According to Disney dwarfs and their housemates, mice, magical nannies, and cartoon princesses come to life, work goes better with a song. I have not found that to be the case! However, true crime podcasts have helped make the time seem to go faster though!

I’m hoping that sometime next week we’ll be ready to start showing the house. So updates here will continue to be light until I reach that point and get a chance to slow down!

With luck the next time you hear from me I’ll be rested and relaxing in a very clean, spruced up, and mostly empty home with nothing to do but wait for a buyer, listen to more audio shows about murder, and write more interesting updates than this one!

I’ve mentioned several times the debt I owe to other bloggers who made this journey before us and went on to document it online. Not only were they inspirations that convinced us a move wasn’t a crazy thing to do, they’ve also helped us not go crazy during the moving process with their experience and tips.

I always hoped to interview one of the bloggers I’ve long followed as we closed in on our own move. But with a global pandemic suddenly striking and real estate prices skyrocketing, I started thinking they might not be the best people to talk to as they wouldn’t be well-versed on the current conditions we will be facing, that are so different from what they faced when they moved several years ago.

Thankfully there are always other people moving to Orlando! I recently discovered a couple who made the move and have been posting some great content about it — and they agreed to talk to me about their experience and answer some questions: Dan and Leslie Lowry from Addicted to the Mouse.

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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 apartment 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.


Wow! After four years of dreaming about it, we officially have a Florida address! This Saturday we take possession of our apartment 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!


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.


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 it 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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