For anyone in the Clermont/South Lake area, or who wants to come visit December 5-7 for this great annual event!
One of the biggest questions facing us when we decided to make the move was where we wanted to live. We had narrowed down the city, but needed to decide between renting a house and an apartment. We selected the apartment, and this post will talk about where we are with that.
One of our readers had commented that it doesn’t matter where you live, as long as you are near Walt Disney World. Well, not quite. There are a lot of areas we would never move to, even if it meant being close to the Mouse. We wanted to live in a similar community setting as we had in Wisconsin, and while Clermont doesn’t quite fit the bill with that, it is a very nice area to live in.
Overall we have been satisfied with our apartment: the office and maintenance staff are wonderful to work with, and it is nice to live in a place where we don’t need to worry about lawn care, or pool care or pest preventative treatments. Over the past few months, however, we have been contemplating moving into a rental home due to a few different reasons. We are hesitant, however, because we have heard horror stories regarding a few rentals here, and we don’t want to move from a good situation into a bad one. It would also need to make financial sense; ie, we might pay lower rent, but we may have other expenses that we don’t here that would mean an increase in monies paid out.
So right now we’re kind of on the fence about it. We currently have bad neighbor issues, but we’ve also had that experience when living in a house in Wisconsin, so moving doesn’t necessarily erase that issue. We also would love more living space, as we lost approximately 700 square feet when we moved here. We would love to find a four bedroom home here to rent, with the extra bedroom being designated as a guest bedroom/den area/craft room. We don’t believe the electricity bill would rise significantly with more living space, as we need to run the air conditioner here more often than normal, as all our windows face only one direction, and unless its a fairly cool day, it doesn’t cool off the house significantly with no cross ventilation.
We have no regrets for moving into the apartments, as it provided security for us knowing that we had a relatively nice place to live. Once we left our house in Wisconsin, we were technically homeless until we arrived in Florida, and that is an unsettling feeling to have, even though we knew it to be temporary. Even if we do not make the move in 2014, we both feel that it be a change that will eventually occur, as we don’t anticipate apartment living for the rest of our lives in Florida.
On April 13 2011, at our 100 day mark, we put out a list of 100 things that we wanted to do as Florida residents. See the original post here . We thought it would be interesting to see what we’ve done so far- our comments will be in blue. We’ll cover #1-50 today, and #51-100 tomorrow.
1. Resort hop. We have only ever stayed at POR-Riverside as a family, and we really want to experience each resort on property. So even though our current goal is to live 20 minutes away from Walt Disney World, we plan to do weekend stays at each resort, over the course of a year or two, and really take in the charm and uniqueness each resort has to offer. Nope not yet. This is something we still want to do.
2. Enjoy a Dole Whip 🙂 We’ve enjoyed them at Magic Kingdom but we still want to experience them at the Polynesian where you can disperse your own.
3. Attend Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Our first time next year
4. Attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party No, we haven’t, but between the two parties we’d prefer to do the Halloween party first, as you can experience most everything the Christmas party offers on the week leading up to Christmas on a regular day in the Magic Kingdom- well except for maybe the hot cocoa and cookies!
5. Go on a Disney Cruise! Right now with living in Wisconsin, the price of getting to the cruise has been a huge obstacle for us. We’re of the mindset that if we’re going to spend that much money, we’d rather spend it at WDW! Cruises are really very reasonable as long as you don’t have to travel over a thousand miles to get to one. Nope, not yet but still in the works!
6. Explore Animal Kingdom Park. There are so many areas of AK that we have not discovered simply due to the intense Florida heat, or lack of time available to us. We have done the basics, such as Expedition Everest, Kali River Rapids, Festival of the Lion King, Nemo & Friends and Kilimanjaro Safari, just to name a few. (There are more). But it seems that there is so much more to Animal Kingdom to take in, and we are looking forward to being able to do that in the cooler Florida months, when we have the time to dedicate to it. We have not explored all that Animal Kingdom has to offer, but we have done more. We find the cooler months are the best times to visit Animal Kingdom, and we tend not to even go in the hot, summer months. Jen will be touring the backstage areas on Thursday through a special promotion with Disney Parks Blog, so check back later in the week for a special post detailing that.
7. Go to Magic Kingdom in the evening just for the parades We have not done this, primarily because although we only live 25 miles from the Magic Kingdom, it takes us approximately 45 minutes to reach the parking lot, and another 15 minutes or so for monorail/bag check time. With the cost of gas prices, it is not cost efficient to travel two hours just to attend a parade.
8. Have brunch at Chef Mickey’s 🙂 One of Ben’s favorite spots to see his buddy Mickey!
9. Ride the monorails, just for the fun of it We do so once in awhile
10. Start a new tradition of celebrating birthdays at Walt Disney World This a wonderful perk of living so close to Walt Disney World.
11. Ride Splash Mountain at night during Wishes We haven’t since moving to Florida- used to be a favorite thing to do while on vacation
12. Ride Big Thunder at night during Wishes See #11
13. Listen to Lou Mongello’s audio guides while on Main Street/Adventureland/Fantasyland/Liberty Square and take the time to absorb all the details No we haven’t but we should 🙂
14. Have lunch at Le Cellier Yes, one of our favorite places to eat in Epcot.
15. Watch Illuminations on a winter’s night, enjoying the fact that it is warm & there is no snow on the ground Yes & we enjoy the no snow fact not just at Illuminations but every month from November to May 🙂
16. Go to Universal Catie has been to Universal on a school trip but the rest of the family has not made it yet
17. Go to Sea World A few times- we especially love the new Antarctica attraction.
18. Explore the beaches of Florida–kids have never been to the ocean before. We plan to go to both sides of Florida: The Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean Yes and yes. We’ve been to Anna Maria Island and Treasure Island on the Gulf side, and Cocoa Beach on the Atlantic side.
19. Dinner with Amy and Craig Petermann No, it never worked out.
20. Being able to meet Facebook friends who do not live in Florida but come to Walt Disney World on vacation. Shelley Urick Jones , we look forward to meeting you! This is another awesome benefit of living so close to Walt Disney World, the ability to meet up with our Facebook friends! There are too many to mention here, but we love meeting up with you all!
21. Lou Mongello’s WDW Radio Meets of the Month We have been to some!
22. Exploring the city of Clermont and getting to know our new home city Yes we know our way around fairly easily. We really like the area and enjoy living here.
23. Spending time in the Parks with Stephen and Judy Demeritt We always enjoy spending time in the Parks with our friends.
24. Meeting Marilyn Johnson in person! Marilyn and her husband Dan were extremely gracious and made us feel very welcome after we first moved to Florida. We’re blessed to have met them.
25. Go to Gatorland Still on the bucket list!
26. Enjoy the Osborne lights at the Studios as many times as possible These are incredibly awesome and guaranteed to instill the Christmas spirit in you! We do try to go as many times as possible during the season.
27. Enjoy making new friendships with all our Facebook friends who live in Florida Absolutely!
28. Walking through the World Showcase at Epcot while our kids are in school. We have not been able to explore all the countries because of the kids not wanting to spend time there. Exploring the countries is still on our bucket list. We pulled our children from the public schools and homeschool them. Can we say field trip! 🙂
29. The various shopping opportunities, not only at Walt Disney World, but at the many outlet malls in Orlando and the surrounding areas. Ikea! Yes, IKEA rocks, and we love being able to visit any store we want to within a short driving distance. We have discovered a few Disney Outlet Stores in the Orlando Area, which can be hit or miss on the merchandise available, but definitely worth checking into it.
30. Just enjoying the whole adventure of relocating to a new state! 🙂 🙂
31. Day trips to explore Florida: cities in particular that pop into our heads for no particular reason are Tampa, Naples, St. Augustine, and Jacksonville. We have not yet had any day trips, but two that may happen in the next year are St. Augustine for the historical aspect of it (another field trip!) and Naples…..can we say Culver’s! Ok, that is not the only reason to visit Naples, but it’s definitely an incentive!
32. Shelling at Sanibel Island We have not done this yet; we have heard it’s not as good as it was in years past, but we would still like to visit.
33. Chuckling to ourselves in February when the temperature is 80 and sunny, knowing that back in Wisconsin it is probably blowing and snowing and bitterly cold. Will we miss snow? No we will not! We apologize to all our Wisconsin friends, but yes we do chuckle 🙂
34. Taking in Bob Jackson’s show at the Port Orleans Riverside resort! We haven’t, but the main reason is the noise level is just too unbearable for Ben. He has noise sensitivities and he can’t tolerate it.
35. Staying at the Port Orleans Riverside resort for old times sake! Definitely on the want-to-do-list SOON! We have eaten in the food court a few times.
36. Christmas shopping at Downtown Disney Every year- we love the atmosphere at Downtown Disney!
37. Riding down the Sassagoula River from Port Orleans Riverside to Downtown Disney (and vice versa) No not yet.
38. Exploring the cities of Lake County Yes, we’ve visited Leesburg, Fruitland Park, The Villages, Mt Dora, Eustis, Astatula, Tavares, Lady Lake, Minneola, & Groveland
39. Visiting Celebration for leaf drop (to replace the Fall we will be missing in Wisconsin) No not yet
40. Being there for opening day of the new Fantasyland No, but we were for opening weekend 🙂
41. Resort hopping at Christmas to see all the different Christmas decorations This is in the plans for this year. We have been to the Grand Floridian, to view the Gingerbread House and the Christmas decorations, which are incredible.
42. Counting garbage cans to make sure the Demeritts caught them all 😉 No.
43. Trying on every hat that is sold on Disney property We’ve given up the practice of trying on hats, after a cast member friend of ours mentioned how everybody tries on hats and do you really want to put something on your head after hundreds of people have put it on their head? Um, no.
44. Food and Wine Festival 🙂
45. Enjoy a carrot cake cookie No, but we have enjoyed a Butterfinger cupcake. Actually it was too rich for our tastes, would not buy it again.
46. Visit Star Wars weekend Yes
47. Dinner, lunch and/or breakfast with Lou Mongello Not yet, hoping to one day!
48. Movie at the Downtown Disney AMC theatre We saw Wreck It Ralph there before it was released, courtesy of a special meet-up with Disney Parks Blog.
49. Trying all 500 flavors in the Coke Freestyle Dispenser Not all the flavors- that would take gobs of money & tons of time.
50. DisneyQuest We love DisneyQuest. It was the main reason we renewed our premium passes this year.
To kick off our new ‘Getting To Know’ series on the places you can look at moving to in Florida, today we have information from Greg Pabst. Greg and his family moved to Clermont in 2012 and I am glad to have his extra take on Clermont to add to what Jen and I can provide.
I thought I would share reasons why we picked Clermont since you already know everything else about the Clermont area. Orlando is very spread out and not compacted. It was important for us to find an area that would be as centrally located to potential work locations as well as Disney. Also our proximity to shopping, dining and area conveniences was important too. We don’t like living in the sticks, but we don’t like to be in the city either. Clermont offered this to us. Initially we were looking at Winter Garden, since it was closer to Disney but the housing cost more there and yards were very small with you practically looking into your neighbor’s window out your own. For the same price as Winter Garden we got a much larger house with nice extras like granite counter tops and large tile floors. Clermont did push my comfort factor regarding how far we were from Downtown etc, as a lot of tech and office jobs are in that vicinity or north of there (Maitland and Altamonte Springs etc). But, in the end it was worth the extra drive for the deal we got in Clermont. Since we are in southern Clermont (proper), near Hammock Ridge and 27, Disney is about 30 mins drive for us. We also heard of the growth that Clermont has recently undergone. We like areas that are growing and new. I was impressed by the road infrastructure improvements. I can’t wait to see new things popping up (ie. Like the new Hobby Lobby). Schools and crime rates were important to us as well. Clermont is much safer than other areas in Orlando. We were a little scared of the schools in Clermont as they aren’t as good as Winter Garden, but we have been happy so far with Pine Ridge Elementary. If you have any specific questions for me, I’d be happy to help out more.
For more information on Clermont, please visit the links below.
Clermont Area School Info
http://lake.k12.fl.us/lakeschools/site/default.asp (Lake County School District)
http://lake.k12.fl.us/Page/1542 (School Directory)
http://lake.k12.fl.us/site/Default.aspx?PageID=272 (School Zone Address Look-up)
2012 School Grades
School Types: 1 = elementary; 2 = middle; 3 = high; 4 = combination
|School Name||2012 Points||Scale||Grade 2012||School Type|
|CLERMONT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL||495||800||B||01|
|SAWGRASS BAY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL||525||800||A||01|
|EAST RIDGE MIDDLE SCHOOL||635||900||A||02|
|MINNEOLA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL||512||800||B||01|
|LOST LAKE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL||576||800||A||01|
|CLERMONT MIDDLE SCHOOL||600||900||A||02|
|WINDY HILL MIDDLE SCHOOL||573||900||B||02|
|PINE RIDGE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL||533||800||A||01|
|CYPRESS RIDGE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL||634||800||A||01|
|SOUTH LAKE HIGH SCHOOL||998||1600||B||03|
|EAST RIDGE HIGH SCHOOL||1075||1600||A||03|
|LAKE MINNEOLA HIGH SCHOOL||552||800||A||03|
|IMAGINE SCHOOLS AT SOUTH LAKE||606||900||A||04|
Today we are celebrating our ninth month anniversary of arriving in Florida as residents! The interesting thing about a moving blog is that it gives you an opportunity to look back at your thoughts prior to the move. On April 13, 2011 we wrote this blog: 100 days and we thought it would be fun one year later to take a look at a few of the items on our “Top 100” List to see how we feel about them now.
10. Start a new tradition of celebrating birthdays at Walt Disney World
This is an awesome tradition that we have started and will continue. In February we purchased the Tables in Wonderland card and we anticipate that we will not only receive back the membership fee, but also extra savings above and beyond the initial cost. We purchased our card from Guest Services at the Magic Kingdom, and received our card immediately.
14. Have lunch at Le Cellier
Reservations are set for August 8!
18. Explore the beaches of Florida–kids have never been to the ocean before. We plan to go to both sides of Florida: The Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.
Done and done! We have been to Anna Maria Island and Treasure Island on the Gulf side and Cocoa Beach on the Atlantic side. We definitely intend to schedule in more beach days this summer.
22. Exploring the city of Clermont and getting to know our new home city.
We haven’t done this as much as we expected to. We even missed the annual festival Pig on the Pond due to inclement weather, something that we had been looking forward to ever since we made the decision to move to Clermont.
26. Enjoy the Osborne lights at the Studios as many times as possible.
We never tire of this.
27. Enjoy making new friendships with all our Facebook friends who live in Florida.
We really have enjoyed meeting y’all and we feel blessed that we are able to spend time with two different couples who we consider good friends of ours. Facebook is a really great way to connect with people to begin that friendship.
33. Chuckling to ourselves in February when the temperature is 80 and sunny, knowing that back in Wisconsin it is probably blowing and snowing and bitterly cold. Will we miss snow? No we will not!
Yea, we’ve done that 🙂 Although we feel it is ironic that Wisconsin had a mild winter this year.
34. Taking in Bob Jackson’s show at the Port Orleans Riverside resort!
35. Staying at the Port Orleans Riverside resort for old times sake!
We have not done either one of these yet, but it is definitely in the works. We’d like to stay in one of the new Princess rooms.
37. Riding down the Sassagoula River from Port Orleans Riverside to Downtown Disney (and vice versa)
40. Being there for opening day of the new Fantasyland.
We were not there for the soft opening of Storybook Circus. The crowds were absolutely packed in, and we’ve discovered as residents, it’s simply not worth it. We went a couple of days later when it was not as busy.
Yes, we’ve done this a few times, and thoroughly enjoy ourselves every time we go. It’s a great alternative to a rainy day. Our philosophy is that we do not go to the parks when it rains- it’s simply not worth the hassle of dealing with the ponchos. We have been a couple of times, and it does detract from the magic of the parks.
54. Flower and Garden Festival
We are not garden people by any means, but walking around Epcot looking at the various topiaries and displays was enjoyable.
66. Take a family Christmas picture at WDW
Hmmm. We did not do this at Christmas; may be a new tradition we need to start.
69. Move in to our new apartment in Clermont
It was quite exciting to have that newness of being able to discover everything and experience many “firsts” but it was also overwhelming to not have the basic necessities with us those first weeks. While it is fun to buy all new items, it can be scary to walk into Target knowing that you need to buy “everything”. Nine months later there are still a couple of pieces of furniture that we need to purchase, and a few assorted kitchen items, but we want to let our readers know that everything does not need to be purchased right away. To do so requires gobs of money or extending yourself on credit, the latter being something we would never advise.
70. Find the best pizza places in the area.
We have found two good pizzerias, and this is a goal we are still working on!
71. Our first Saturday library visit to our new “home” library.
We still regularly visit the library every Saturday. The kids are currently into the ‘Harry Potter’ series, and we pick up other books as well. It is not as nice, nor as big, as our library back in Wisconsin. There are no tables and chairs to sit at, and the kids used to enjoy doing that. So consequently, our visits are shorter.
88. Swim with the manatees.
We have not swum with the manatees, but Ben has become a huge lover of manatees, loves to visit them at Epcot, and we all are looking forward to visiting Sea World for the first time.
89. Explore Florida’s state parks.
Between the poisonous snakes, alligators, bears and black panthers, this is not something we are so eager to do anymore. 🙂
96. Enjoying the scenery of Florida, knowing that it will stay green year round, and not become brown and dead for six months out of the year.
This is still huge for us. Love, love, love seeing all the palm trees, and it is so nice to see flowers in bloom in January! Yesterday and today it was cool enough to open our lanai doors and let the fresh breezes blow in.
99. Take a yearly family picture in front of Cinderella Castle.
We have not done this yet, but will need to do soon! Another new family tradition!
We had heard prior to our move that it may take as long as one or two years after relocation to adjust fully to our new environment. We still feel that we are in the adjustment process, but that it gets better every month. We couldn’t have picked a better apartment complex to move into, for which we are very grateful. The cost of living is higher here than in Wisconsin; but we knew it coming in. The only negative thing to report is the school situation for Ben, but we know God is in control with it and he will lead to us to the right school or option for Ben.