If any one of you have ever lived in a popular vacation destination you will know what I mean! I moved down to Orlando, Florida just over one year ago, for an internship. At that time I was not considering living in Orlando, after all, I’d always had the dream of living on the East Coast. Of course, things rarely go as you expect them to go, and sometimes you are happier with the results. In the end, I would say moving down to Orlando has been one of the best things for me. While I am not near family, it seems every few months I get visitors, and it’s wonderful! Some expected, some unexpected. So why do I love living in the vacation hotspot that is Orlando?
One, there’s always something to do. I was born and raised for 23 years of my life in the state of Michigan. Summer was a short 3 month affair, as was outdoor swimming. I grew up having a pool at my house, but we would only be able to use it for 3, maybe 4 or 5 months if we were pushing it. Snow, rain, and cold temperatures dominate the existence of a Michigander. If you want to go outside, you better be bundled up, it might rain on you, it might be sunny, or there might be a blizzard, and if you’re extremely (un)lucky, all of those things might happen in the same week. (It may seem like I am exaggerating, but it’s true, in Michigan we’ve been known to go from 60F temperatures to snow in the span of a week. It’s insane, but it’s Michigan). When I moved down to Florida, suddenly I had a whole new activities calendar to consult with. Sure there’s a rainy season, but rain doesn’t typically last all day long. I can go rollerblading, play flag football, find a pickup game of kickball, or play touch rugby with ease year around. Orlando is like a melting pot of culture and interests. There’s a group or an interest for seemingly anything you can consider. If you want to get involved in a vegan social club, there’s a group for that!
Another great thing to do in Orlando are the theme parks. We have Disney, Universal, Sea World, Lego Land, and Busch Gardens. When I was growing up, my family took biannual vacations down to Orlando, we would visit the theme parks, but having two younger brothers for the first few years, and later three younger brothers when another sibling was born made for a very harried visit. It seemed there was never enough time to explore everything; instead we were merely skimming the surface of what was possible. Now as a Florida resident, I get discounts, and special offers just to visit. Rather than rushing through Disney or Universal, as an annual pass holder I can do a leisurely stroll (being careful to avoid tourist hot-spots during the busy season). If theme parks are not something that interests you, there are beaches, parks, the space coast, all within easy driving distance. Just be careful when you drive, because Florida drivers are notoriously accident prone, especially when it rains, just imagine someone from a warm climate trying to drive in snow and you get the picture!
Secondly, travel to and from Orlando is extremely cheap. The lovely thing about the travel industry is that most airlines will make deals with businesses in cities where they travel. Orlando is located near theme parks, beaches, Daytona International Speedway, Cape Canaveral, and the Kennedy Space Center. All of these attractions make airfare to and from Orlando very affordable. They do not want you to spend all your money getting to Orlando, they’d rather have you spend your money doing things in Orlando, so they’ll give airlines some kickback to provide affordable deals. I am able to fly out to visit my family at a relatively inexpensive price and they’re also able to visit me at a cheap rate.
Thirdly, as was briefly touched upon earlier, and in the previous point, Orlando is a vacation hotspot. It attracts visitors from inside and outside the United States. Even though Florida is far away from Michigan, the distance is not near as extreme as it would be if I lived in another, less popular location. Orlando is consistently listed as a top travel location, and whenever you go to a theme park you will recognize accents from all over the world. Just this week I was able to have friends stay over that I had not seen for a few years. They were down in Orlando for a convention with their family. That’s the Orlando effect, which is a huge benefit behind living in a major hub.
Now, I will not lie, there are negatives. Orlando can be overcrowded, tourist season can be annoying, traffic can be insufferable, but at the end of the day, I enjoy living in a city where there’s always something to do. Where I can go outside to rollerblade, play football, or take a walk without bundling up in my parka. The best thing to do if you’re new to Orlando, or considering moving to Orlando is get ready to have guests. You’re going to have them, family, friends, people who want to visit you and Orlando. Be open, and appreciate the time you can share. Get involved, go out and find things to do. If you’re new to Orlando or any city, visit Meetup.com where you can find groups based on your interests. From sports to board games to cooking, there are numerous adventures to be had and people to meet. Make new friends! When I moved down to Orlando, I knew a few people who lived down here from my High School and College days, but I also needed to make new friends. This is a great way to become acclimated to your new home. I enjoy being open for business and living in a vacation hotspot.
Enjoy! If you have not yet visited Orlando, I hope you get the chance! Thanks for reading and feel free to reply!