May 4, 2023
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!
In my first story looking at some of the neighborhoods we considered, I listed and discussed the various criteria we had in mind as we were out with our realtor. It might be worth looking at that if you missed it originally.
Unlike that first piece and the followup, this article isn’t really going to focus on the neighborhood itself, but the idea of living a bit farther away from Disney. But for comparison with those first two parts, this is the area we were looking at.
As you can see, it’s not ridiculously far away, and for most non-Disney people (and even many Disney fans) it would probably be considered “close to the parks”. But despite seeing many nice places in this area, the 40-60 minute drive (depending on where on property you were going specifically, and with traffic conditions possibly making it even longer) was too much for us.
That was until we saw that house! It was huge! It was absolutely beautiful! It had enough room for three couples to live comfortably without hardly seeing each other except for meals in a gorgeous kitchen. It had parking for at least ten cars. It had plenty of space for the home theatre of my dreams. In fact, it had room for anything we wanted to do. It had only one nearby neighbor and they weren’t that close! And it had a wonderful backyard that literally backed up on a nature preserve.
The downsides were no pool (though the neighborhood pool was across the street), distance to Disney, and, while it was technically in our range, it was at the top end of our price range.
This was a house you’d be proud to show off. It was perfect for company and we could easily accommodate visitors any time with no hassle about where to put them. It was a house I could see us growing old in.
But the reason we moved here was for Disney. Sure, 45 minutes isn’t that far away when you’ve been living 10 hours away. But were we willing to give up quick access to the parks for this house?
So it was time to think. What was important to us about this move?
Well, Disney, obviously! It’s in the name of the blog! Being close enough to the parks so we could go on a moment’s notice was part of the dream. An almost two hour drive takes a little of the luster off the magic.
But the more we thought about it, the more I could just envision our future in this house. I could see my wife, who’s the head of the department at her job, hosting parties for co-workers. I could see long time friends whom we haven’t seen in a long time spending a week with us. I could imagine my parents, who aren’t getting any younger, coming down for even longer and just appreciating time with them without ever stepping foot in a park. And most vividly I could picture our kids visiting for Thanksgiving or Christmas with their future spouses and children, all comfortably enjoying being together under the same roof and making new traditions and memories.
That last picture really got to me and made me realize I wanted that more than I wanted a short drive to Disney Springs.
We made an offer on the house.
And as I said at the time, I was devastated when we lost out on it. Especially when I learned we and the other buyer had offered the exact same amount. We were so close! It felt like I’d lost a bit of our future. It took me a couple of days to recover and get back into the house hunting groove. (And as I’ll conclude in a later piece, it was after losing this house we finally found the one we now call home!)
The moral of this story for you potential future movers is don’t be too afraid to look outside the Disney bubble. Figure out what’s really important in making your own personal “Happily Ever After”. If you can get it all, great! But maybe sometimes being a bit farther away could be the best way to keep the ones you care about closer.