Retire to Orlando?

wrlippert

Earning My Ears
Joined
Aug 27, 2006
My partner and I are approaching 64 years of age are starting to think about our retirement. I am a huge WDW fan and try to visit at least twice a year. Lately, I have ventured off the property to get a feel for the area. I realize that vacationing at WDW and living in the Orlando area are probably very different realities. We like the arts, gardening, cooking, and travel as one might expect. We have lived our entire lives in Ohio but are ready to move on - we think. We have few family ties and few close friends outside of our volunteer and work circles.

This month we got out and toured some new homes in Winter Garden, Windermere, and Ocoee. Everything seems to be gated. I am a bit concerned about crime. I am also concerned that I will find myself in the midst of a hostile social-political culture (like the Villages.) I have thought about some part-time or seasonal work at WDW just to have some structure and contact with civilization.

Any thoughts? Neighborhoods to consider? Places to avoid. General advice?
 

OKW Lover

Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle.
DIS Lifetime Sponsor
Joined
Apr 29, 2004
We retired to FL almost 3 years ago and now live in Winter Garden, just 2 miles from the castle in the MK. Our development is not a gated community and there are also several other developments being built within a 2-mile radius of our home that aren't gated.

Some things we looked for when searching for a house:
  • Away from the tourist areas (i.e., not on 192)
  • No short term rentals (don't want new neighbors every week)
  • Short drive to WDW, which narrows your search radius (we limited ourselves to 30 minute drive)
  • Avoid having to take I-4 to the parks (or at least the stretch from WDW eastward)
  • Quiet, residential neighborhood but with supermarkets and shopping nearby.
Some of these may apply to you. The neighborhood we chose is called Summerlake.
 

OKW Lover

Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle.
DIS Lifetime Sponsor
Joined
Apr 29, 2004
Forgot to mention in my post above, you also need to think about wanting house or condo-type dwelling. Lots of choices either way. Condo's tend to be more affordable, but mostly smaller.

As you age you may also want to consider access to health care facilities. That's one thing that could be better about our area, but new facilities are being built all the time around here.
 
  • wrlippert

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Aug 27, 2006
    Forgot to mention in my post above, you also need to think about wanting house or condo-type dwelling. Lots of choices either way. Condo's tend to be more affordable, but mostly smaller.

    As you age you may also want to consider access to health care facilities. That's one thing that could be better about our area, but new facilities are being built all the time around here.

    Thanks for the thoughtful reply. Your list of priorities matched mine, except for the excellent advice about I4! Right now, we are thinking about a single family home instead of a condo. We are sort of torn between going all-out and making a full-time move or just getting a very small place that we can use for the winter and an occasional get a way. In the latter case, we would be looking at a condo. We definitely don't want to rent it out or live in a development that permits short-term vacation rentals. Outside of the questions about logistics and affordability, we are a bit concerned about how we would integrate into the neighborhood being older gay guys. I don't expect to become best friends with the neighbors, although that would be nice, I just don't want to find myself in the midst of a very conservative and hostile environment.
     

    piccolopat

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 25, 2014
    We're considering renting for a short while so we can see what real life outside of the parks will be like. DH wants to move but after living in NY all of our lives, I'm not sure the FL lifestyle will be a good match for us in retirement. I'd rather rent first before selling the house in NY, buying in FL and then deciding it was a mistake.
     

    OKW Lover

    Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle.
    DIS Lifetime Sponsor
    Joined
    Apr 29, 2004
    Outside of the questions about logistics and affordability, we are a bit concerned about how we would integrate into the neighborhood being older gay guys. I don't expect to become best friends with the neighbors, although that would be nice, I just don't want to find myself in the midst of a very conservative and hostile environment.
    I understand your concern. Although I'm not gay, several of our good friends are as is Val's Daughter so we are very gay friendly. I haven't seen any indication that this area is a conservative and hostile environment. There are a lot of Disney CM's around here and they are known for being very accepting.
    We're considering renting for a short while so we can see what real life outside of the parks will be like. DH wants to move but after living in NY all of our lives, I'm not sure the FL lifestyle will be a good match for us in retirement. I'd rather rent first before selling the house in NY, buying in FL and then deciding it was a mistake.
    Renting is certainly a good option while you get the lay of the land. Perhaps come down for a couple of months in the winter? Not sure what you mean about the "FL lifestyle".
     

    piccolopat

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 25, 2014
    Not sure what you mean about the "FL lifestyle".
    The FL lifestyle seems to be a lot more laid back than what we have in NY. Although I live 60 miles north of Manhattan, I work there and DH and I will come down occasionally on the weekends to enjoy the museums, restaurants, theater, etc. The variety of things to do in FL is not the same but I know there are things in FL that we don't have in NY. Whether there will be enough for us to do of the new FL things to offset what we lose leaving NY is what I am concerned about since retirement will mean a lot more free time to fill up with activities.
     
  • OKW Lover

    Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle.
    DIS Lifetime Sponsor
    Joined
    Apr 29, 2004
    OK, I understand. Amazingly enough, there is life outside the theme parks in the Orlando area. Certainly not anything up to NY standards, but there is a lot to explore around the area. I'd suggest you look at the Orlando Sentinel website regularly. Ignore the politics and focus on the activities that get reported about. You'll get a better feel for the leisure time options.
     
    Joined
    Feb 11, 2013
    For part-time/getting acclimated, you two could always consider a condo downtown. There are very nice areas near Lake Eola with great proximity to downtown activities, and a growing network of free public buses (Lymmo, run by the highly regarded local transit provider, Lynx) that knits downtown neighborhoods together. Not gated and a good central base for exploring.
     

    Maistre Gracey

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2002
    We live in Orlando. We love our area.
    But, as you alluded to, go three miles in the wrong direction = not good.
    Most of the central Florida area is that way.
    That said, if you're not into drug dealing or prostitution, you're not a target so you'll be fine.

    MG
     
  • jfk4

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 8, 2011
    My parents live in Celebration, and they (and I, a forty-something gay man who enjoys theme parks and visits regularly) love it there. They had very similar requirements to you. They wanted something that felt like a real town, not a gated community. They were looking for convenient access to health care facilities. They wanted a single family house, but they didn't want to deal with a lot of upkeep. They wanted to live in a thriving, active community with lots of activities. They wanted to live somewhere safe. And they wanted convenient access to Disney.

    It is an expensive option, but it really satisfied all of their criteria. At the risk of generalizing from anecdotal evidence, they seem to live in a fairly diverse neighborhood and I've met a number of members of the LGBTQ community. I suspect that it probably leans more towards the conservative side of the political spectrum (it is in Florida, after all), but I've never felt uncomfortable there.
     

    OKW Lover

    Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle.
    DIS Lifetime Sponsor
    Joined
    Apr 29, 2004
    They were looking for convenient access to health care facilities.
    Just wanted to add my recommendation for the health care facilities and people at Celebration Florida Hospital. Since moving to the area 3 years ago we've been going to several doctors in that complex and my wife has had a couple of procedures done in the hospital. Very, very caring people.
     

    wrlippert

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Aug 27, 2006
    Wow. Thanks, the advice has been very good and has helped me look at real-estate listings in a more informed way. One thing I have noticed is that there are a lot of houses in the Lake Toho area of Kissimmee that seem pretty nice and are at a good price. I wonder if there is something about the area that is suppressing the prices.
     

    OKW Lover

    Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle.
    DIS Lifetime Sponsor
    Joined
    Apr 29, 2004
    Not familiar with that area, but Kissimmee in general has a lot of sections that are more vacation home weekly rental units. That's something we wanted to avoid.
     

    wrlippert

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Aug 27, 2006
    The homes that I am getting in my searches don't seem to be vacation rental homes. Some are at the Kissimmee Bay County Club. I try to look that the HOA homepages and look at the restrictions to make sure that rentals/leases are limited to 6 months or more. There have been some homes that are obvious rentals, like Windsor Palms, where the garage is full of game equipment and/or the pools have rules posted!
     

    OKW Lover

    Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle.
    DIS Lifetime Sponsor
    Joined
    Apr 29, 2004
    Sounds like you have it covered. Perhaps on your next visit to the area you'll find time to drive around to the various neighborhoods.
     

    TLPL

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 24, 2005
    I want to move to Florida when I retire... 20 years from now. I am thinking about getting a condo and get a mortgage so it will be paid off by the time I retire. Is it a good time to start looking? Or should I wait?
     

    MetalMasterC

    Aura of Misfortune
    Joined
    Mar 5, 2003
    Moving to another state is like a culture shock to many. I'm originally from NY, even after over 15 years, I still can't get used to the Florida lifestyle. Not to mention hating the humidity.

    If you do plan to retire to Orlando (or surrounding areas), try looking into other outskirt towns or villages near Orlando, keeping in Central Florida. Clermont and Davenport are some decent choices. Many new homes are opening up there and those areas are booming.
     

    ConnecticutFlea

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 18, 2016
    Moving to another state is like a culture shock to many. I'm originally from NY, even after over 15 years, I still can't get used to the Florida lifestyle. Not to mention hating the humidity.

    If you do plan to retire to Orlando (or surrounding areas), try looking into other outskirt towns or villages near Orlando, keeping in Central Florida. Clermont and Davenport are some decent choices. Many new homes are opening up there and those areas are booming.
    Please tell me more about the Florida lifestyle. I'm from CT. What should I expect? What is different about the lifestyle?

    I have read that one should rent first to learn about different communities. The communities seem to be different housing developments. Everywhere seems to have HOA fees. That's very different than CT. Can you help me understand how different communities in the same town can be that different?
     


    Connect

    Disney News and Updates

    Get Daily Email Updates


    Top