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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Happy Nine!

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)

See above!

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.

50.  DisneyQuest

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.


3 Weeks & Counting…

Today marks the three-week anniversary of our family arriving in Clermont, and we thought we would take the time to just make some observations about what we’ve experienced so far, the good and the not-so-good.

We had certain expectations before we moved here regarding the size of the city.  We knew the population to be roughly 28,000, we knew the area to be hilly, and we knew Clermont was located 22 miles west of Orlando.  In our home in Wisconsin, we lived in a city of approximately 48,000; we were able to travel from one end of the city to the other in ten minutes–everything was very centrally located.  We assumed Clermont would be similar, only smaller.  (Our friends who live in Clermont or know the area–you can stop laughing now.  LOL)

We didn’t realize how encompassing Clermont is!  Wow.  We will say the views are absolutely amazing:

When we were looking at apartments, we knew that Cagans Crossing was further away and not as centrally located.  What we didn’t realize was that Cagans Crossing was thirteen miles and twenty three minutes away!  For our Wisconsin friends, it takes us just as long to drive from our apartment to Cagans Crossing, as it does to travel from Fond du Lac to Oshkosh.  It amazes us that we can travel from our apartment, past houses, businesses, and even a state park, arrive at Cagans Crossing, and STILL be in Clermont!

When we were going to the Disney Parks the first couple of days we were here, we always seemed to lose track of time, and couldn’t understand it, as we estimated our travel time would be around 35 minutes.  When we finally tracked our time last week, we realized that it actually takes us a lot longer:  23 minutes to Cagans Crossing, 28 minutes from CC to the Magic Kingdom parking lot, and for that particular day we took the ferry over, and it was an hour later that we were finally on Main Street USA.   It was an unusually busy day, however, and we’re sure the monorail would have been a lot faster.  But it’s still almost an hour drive to the parking lot, which is a lot more than we estimated.

One observation we’ve noticed is that we use a lot of gas here, because everything is so spread out, and because the traffic lights take absolutely forever to change.    It’s going to be an adjustment in getting used to that.   We are starting to get acclimated to where everything is, but we still use the GPS on occasion.

We picked up a membership at BJs, not so much because the club prices are spectacular, but for the discounted gas.  The gas at BJs is five cents cheaper than anywhere else, and we estimate that we should at least get our money’s worth on the membership fee over the course of the year in gas savings.  And, it’s really not fair for us to comment on the club prices, because everything here in terms of grocery and Walmart type items is more expensive than in Wisconsin, and right now we’re fairly bad judges at what is a good or not-so-good price.  To us it’s all bad….LOL!    One feature that attracted us to BJs is that they send out their store coupons, and you can also apply a manufacturer’s coupon to it as well.

Our apartment is slowly coming together.  We only have a handful of boxes to unpack, and most of those are boxes that contain books, and are just waiting on a bookcase to put them into.  The living room is a lot smaller than we’d like, but we’ll make the best of it.   It really is an exercise in making the best use of what available space there is.  Right now the storage closet is totally unorganized–we’re thinking some shelving units in there will help, so that we don’t need to pull everything out to get to an item in back, but it’s not a priority at the moment.

Would we change anything, if we could go back in time?  We really wished we lived closer to Disney, but we would still choose Clermont as our home city and would still choose not to live at Cagans Crossing.  The only three bedroom apartments in that complex are on the third floor, and we really like the convenience of first floor living.  We love the area we are in, and we love the management team with the apartment complex.  Even though Cagans Crossing is closer to Disney, we would probably use just as much gas (or more) coming back into the main area of Clermont to do shopping or run errands.  We feel the trade-off of having to travel farther to Disney is worth it in exchange for the area we live in.

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How Y’all Doing?

We took a break today from visiting the Parks and worked on the getting the office area set up, and also assembled a bookcase for Ben’s room.  One important consideration to remember if you plan on discarding your furniture is that you don’t have to replace every single piece right away:  focus on what’s important to you to have right away, budget that amount, and then gradually incorporate the rest in the following months.   We are still waiting on our security deposit from our previous landlord and another check due to us, and then we are looking forward to adding more items, but in the meantime we make do.   The important thing is not having a fully furnished house; the important thing is that we are here.   🙂

We have found the furniture stores to be very reasonable.  Two furniture stores in Clermont that we were pleasantly surprised with were Clermont Furniture and Badcock Furniture.  The offerings resemble what we would find back in Wisconsin, but without the huge mark-up in prices.  If you looking to relocate to the Florida area and need an estimation of furniture prices for your budget, we would be more than happy to help you out:  just ask.

We are doing very well!  Tonight we plan to eat an early dinner at home and go to Disney Quest at Downtown Disney, and visit the World of Disney store as well.  We haven’t heard overwhelming positive reviews of Disney Quest overall but who knows?  It may surprise us 🙂

We have blogs in the work regarding our experiences with getting our driver’s license and car plates, enrolling our children in school, Disney, and a lengthy post about Clermont:  what we like, how it’s different, and what’s available in the area.  Be sure to check for those in the coming week.  We’ll also write about our experience with Disney Quest and what we thought of it.

Sending pixie dust to all our readers!