Wishes And Pixie Dust

Follow the journey of a Wisconsin family of 4 who relocated to the Walt Disney World area in July 2011


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A place to live

After years of living in rental housing, we have decided that our first choice in housing once we move to Florida is an apartment complex.  We don’t want the responsibility of lawn care, and we have discovered that some apartment complexes do included utilities in the rent.  One thing that has surprised us is that the asking deposit is a lot less than expected: most only require $200-$300.  (Our current security deposit is equal to one month’s rent). Mark is the guru behind our apartment searching.  He has done all the research in finding different apartment complexes, through craigslist postings and internet searches.  We have narrowed our search down to three different apartment complexes, all located in Clermont:

Cagan Crossings

Cagan Crossings is an apartment community located four miles west of Walt Disney World in Clermont.  It offers a “town within a town” setting, including a library, restaurants, and even an old-fashioned ice cream parlor.  Everything is within walking distance of your apartment.  Utlities are not included; however currently they do offer either a flat screen TV or $500 off rent upon move-in.   A washer/dryer is not included but can be rented for $35 per month.

Village at East Lake

The Village at East Lake offers 3 bedroom apartments within walking distance of favorite stores and restaurants.  No utilities are provided here as well, but they do offer move-in specials.   Water and trash was estimated to be approximately $35 per month, which is a pleasant surprise:  we are currently paying $130 per month, and no we do not use an excessive amount of water!    The water rates here in Fond du Lac are outrageous.  Washer and dryers are included in every unit, and the website makes the claim that the laundry rooms for the 3 bedrooms are larger than in most homes.

The Gardens at Citrus Tower

The Gardens at Citrus Tower offer ceramic tiled floors, gourmet kitchens and valet trash Monday-Friday.   Washer and dryers are included in every unit, and their website offers a fun feature where you can virtually place your furniture into their floor plan to make sure everything fits.

All places state that we need to wait until mid-May before submitting an application.  We are waiting to hear back from The Gardens of Citrus Tower, but have talked with the other two property managers.  Both Cagan Crossings and The Village at East Lake do confirm that we will be able to move in early, before August 1.

We would love to hear feedback if you have personal experiences with these complexes, or know of one that we should consider.  We are not totally ruling out renting a home from a private party; we are keeping our options open, but we’re leaning towards one of these three complexes at the moment.


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Itinerary

As I listen to the freezing rain hitting against our house, it feels weird knowing that this is our last winter in Wisconsin.  While this is one of the awesome things about our move (no more brutal winters), it also hits home that we are leaving everything we know.  The second half of Ben’s IEP meeting was today, and as team members left, individuals I have known for years, it occurred to me that I would probably never see them again.   It’s a bittersweet feeling knowing that we are achieving our dream, but with it comes the cost of familiarity of our surroundings, in both material possessions as well as friendships.

We have set our itinerary for our trip down and wanted to share it here.  When we drove down to Walt Disney World in 2009, we had three drivers and looking back, we pushed ourselves by driving far more miles in a day than we should have.  In July we will be at two drivers, and because we are looking at this as an adventure and not a marathon driving experience, we will be taking three days to arrive in Clermont. All of our hotel reservations (except the arrival day in Orlando) have been secured, using our AAA discount.

Thursday, July 21 :   As the movers will arrive by 8am on Friday, July 22nd,  we decided the best option is to spend the evening in a hotel in Fond du Lac.  Today will be spend finalizing any last minute details.

Friday, July 22 :  Our goal is to leave Fond du Lac by 5:00 pm and spend the night in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin.  Our original thought was to spend a second night in Fond du Lac and leave early Saturday morning, but decided that this at least gets us to the Illinois border and a jump start on our travels.  We estimate the movers will be completed by 1:00 pm, and a 5:00 departure time allows us to make sure the house is in check-out condition, with still time to deposit the security deposit check in the bank (that we’ll get back from our landlord).

Saturday, July 23 : We will leave Wisconsin by 9am, travel through Indianapolis by approximately 2pm, and stay the night in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Sunday, July 24 :  We plan to leave Kentucky and enter Tennessee by 8:30am.  We hope to be able to stop along the way and take scenic pictures of the landscape.  We were awed by the beauty of the mountains, and are looking forward to this part of our journey again.  We will spend the night in Lake Park, Georgia.

Monday, July 25 :  Our goal is to arrive in Orlando by 2:30pm.  We have not yet booked the hotel reservations for this night.  Our original intent was to stay at an extended-stay hotel for a week while we finalize our housing plans.  However, Mark and I have narrowed down three apartment complexes that we really like, and one in particular we may be able to move into before August 1st.  If so, this would affect how many nights we need to stay in a hotel, so we are waiting before securing those reservations.

We are really looking forward to the drive down to Florida.  As a family, we love taking road trips:  just driving to a new city within the state that we haven’t been to before with no expectations of what might be there.   We hope to be able to do a little more of it this summer before we leave Wisconsin, but we also have to be mindful of rising gas prices, and the upcoming expenses we will have for the trip down to Florida.

Thanks for following along!

~Jen