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what are some nice, safe areas around Disney World to move to


Jeannie in NJ
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We are considering moving to Florida in about 2 years.  We are huge Disney people so would like that area.  Dd will be finishing her nursing school and would like to re-locate to that area and my youngest will be thru with school and will be living with dh and I for the long term as he is special needs.  Good chance that dd will also be living with us which is just fine with us.  We currently have a 3,000 sq. ft. house with 4 bedrooms, we just bought it Dec. 2013 for $306,000 so something about the same is what we would be looking for.  We would want to be very close to Disney, so give me some ideas for good, safe towns so I can slowly start researching.  Of course, we would have to make trips down there to check out the various areas and housing market.

We have made many trips to Florida over the past 30+ years but always as tourists so never really checked out any of the surrounding areas near Disney.

 

Dh is a college professor and is moving more and more to distance learning.  This semester he has to only go on compus for one class and there is a very good possibility that he will soon become 100% distance learning so he could keep his job here while living in Florida and I have an online etsy business so that is not affected by where I would be living.

 

I am orginally from Texas so used to HEAT.  Lived in the Texas A & M area.

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I'd have to know a little more about your definition of "safe" in order to be really helpful. For example, the Orlando area in general is not great for pedestrians and bicyclists. There are exceptions, but if "safe" to you means being able to walk or bike around town, that will limit your options.

 

Off the top of my head, though, some nice areas within a reasonable (30 minutes or so) drive of WDW include:

 

- Hunter's Creek (zip code 32837, in case that's helpful while searching online). We lived in the area for several years before moving downtown to be closer to the kids' activities and are considering a move back in the next several months. It's typical suburban Florida, plenty of grocery stores and other shopping, restaurants, not much else. WDW is easily accessible, and the houses tend to be newer and nice but reasonably priced.

 

- Dr. Phillips (primary zip code 32812, although there are others). A bit more expensive than Hunter's Creek. The schools are supposed to be quite good, and lots of folks move into the area just to be zoned for that. It's close to I-4, the major highway running through Orlando, which is a mixed blessing. It makes it easy to get around, but also leads to some nasty traffic at certain times of day. It's a quick commute to WDW as well as the other theme parks and the touristy part of International Drive.

 

- Celebration (included in zip code 34747). Known as "the town that Disney built," it's the most expensive of the three areas I've mentioned. It's very pretty. They have lots of seasonal events that draw not only residents but folks from surrounding areas. It has grown quite a bit since the first phase of housing was finished, but there's still not an awful lot of normal, everyday life stuff in the town, proper. Lots of amenities, though, and very close to the WDW property.

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We spent a fabulous fortnight in Melbourne Beach area.  The zoo in Melbourne was amazing; we fed the giraffes whenever we could.  You can rent kayaks at the zoo, and paddle down the “river†by the exhibits.  The town also has weekly market/fun evening events.  We were right on the beach, and that was incredible.  There is a place where manatees come to swim in the afternoon just down the coast, and we visited there daily.  Sea turtles nest on the beach, and you can see them, too.  Swimming was great.  It was far enough from Disneyworld to be not over run by tourists, but close enough for a day trip.  Ditto the Cape, which we did every day until the blessed rocket finally launched.  If I were moving, that’s where I would go!  I would even do beachside property, with the caveat that it will disappear at some point in the not so distant future… ie.  Now is the time!

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Celebration is near Disney.

 

Celebration is nice.  I have relatves that have lived there for years.  But you're looking at a lot more than $300,000 for a 3000 square foot single family home there.  That amount puts you maybe into a town house or condo in that area. 

 

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There's also university of central Florida there, and a new technical university not far away.

 

The UCF main campus is about 45 minutes northeast of WDW on a good day with light traffic. 

 

Florida Polytechnic University is in Lakeland, FL, south of Orlando. It's about 35-40 minutes from WDW. The two universities are a good hour or more apart.

 

Something of which to be aware: They have just started a project to improve the portion of I-4, the highway that runs through most of Orlando, that is expected to last six years and will necessarily create a lot of detours and delays along the way. I-4 is the bane of my existence, and I am genuinely hopeful that things will be better once this project is done, but the next few years could be uglier than usual while they are doing construction.

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Celebration is lovely, but a little overpriced.  It is right next door.

 

Kissimmee is far cheaper, but the schools are badly rated which can affect resell value.  You get more house for your money there.

 

Lake Nona is nice, and not too bad distance-wise...but some homes can be expensive.  

 

Gotha and Windermere are two newish areas, which have nice homes and good rated schools.  

 

Winter Park is nice, but older homes (usually).  You'd be about 20-30 minutes from Disney.  (Rollins is nearby).  You could also try Oviedo which is a good/easy commute to UCF or Rollins...and wouldn't be too bad going to Disney on the Greenway/417 Itoll road).

 

Further out, you have Lake Mary/Heathrow, but that would be at least 50-60 minutes to Disney.  Stetson is a nice university out in DeLand...but that would be a much further commute, but you'd get a lot more for your money.  

 

 

Somebody mentioned Hunter's Creek....it's a nice area, but it's surrounded by scariness iMHO.  We looked at homes there, and the proximity to OBT, etc. was just not good.   There are also some newer neighborhoods near the Medical City off of 417, but I'm not sure of all of their names.  Zillow will allow you to look and also specify school ratings.  If the local schools are above an 8, then the area is (in general) pretty good/safe.  

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My brother-in-law and his wife and children live in Celebration and they adore it.  Her parents live there half the year and half the year in Devon England (they are British).  She also has a sister and husband, all British, who moved to Celebration.  It's a little Truman Show-ish to me, but still aesthetically pleasing and quiet. 

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Something of which to be aware: They have just started a project to improve the portion of I-4, the highway that runs through most of Orlando, that is expected to last six years and will necessarily create a lot of detours and delays along the way. I-4 is the bane of my existence, and I am genuinely hopeful that things will be better once this project is done, but the next few years could be uglier than usual while they are doing construction.

 

In the last 2 weeks, we have driven down to Orlando 3 times and that construction on I-4 was absolutely the bane of our existence. The first time we hit it, it added an hour to our normally 2 hour drive. So that construction would definitely be a factor in where I would move to in the Orlando area, which is sad because I would have recommended choosing something closer to the beach so you could have the best of both worlds.

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