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Old 05-29-2011, 07:02 PM
 
Location: Orlando, FL
17 posts, read 37,522 times
Reputation: 48

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I just wanted to offer my feedback as a new Orlando resident. We moved here in January 2011 after 3 years of careful investigation and MUCH research and consideration about where to live. Thank you City-Data

My husband works from home, I stay at home with our 4 small children, and we had the entire country open to us. We love Florida, we love the Orlando metro area, and we love Oviedo. Here are some more specifics:

The last place we lived was a Johnson County, KS, specifically in Shawnee, KS right outside Kansas City. Prior to that we lived in Orange County, CA in a beautiful community called Foothill Ranch. Right before deciding on Orlando, our “runner-up” city was Raleigh, NC. We visited there, and even put an offer on a house there. That is a beautiful area too, but fortunately, everything worked out and we are in the Orlando area.

Here is what we find most appealing to us about our new neighborhood / city / State:

1. The weather. My husband and I both love warmer weather. We know it will get hot and humid here, but we are fine with the hot weather. January – May weather has been amazing. We loved watching the kids ride bikes in Feburary. We loved smiling at each other as the Midwest (and NC) was pounded with cold weather and storms in March this year. We love this weather, humidity and all.

2. The beaches. We are 45 minutes from Cocoa Beach. We have been several times, and we love the convenience of making a day trip to the beach. Jetty Park is our favorite beach so far, because with the logistics of 4 little kids, having a nearby bathroom and playground pretty much trumps everything else.

3. Disney. Yes, we do enjoy Disney. Living in Oviedo, we are about 50 minutes from Disney. Far enough away to not feel like we are in the middle of tourist-ville, but close enough we go for half day visits frequently. We took advantage of the yearly Disney passes for Florida residents, and we have definitely already gotten our money’s worth.

4. Money. The fact we pay no state income tax, the fact that when we do purchase a home, property tax is CHEAPER than what we were paying in KC, the fact that the sales tax is CHEAPER than what we were paying in KC, the fact that the cost of living is exponentially cheaper than California (where we thought we wanted to move). All of these financial considerations have been icing on the cake for us.

5. Education - college. As soon as we came to Florida I started thinking about going back to school. I was able to quickly navigate the school choices and I am very pleased with the college options local to the Orlando metro. I am enrolled at Seminole State for a few pre-requisites, and I will be finishing up at another school. There are plenty of higher educational options around to fit my needs.

6. Education – children. We lucked out in a very big way, and our children are all attending a part-time preschool which I LOVE. I made the phone calls to nearby preschools while still in KC. We did not even have confirmation on our rental home when I felt such a connection with the preschool. The director is wonderful, it is close by, everything about it is great for our family. The best thing has been the total surprise that Pre-K classes for 4/5 year olds are paid for by the state of Florida – no matter what a family’s income! That was a huge bonus for us, because our twins attended preschool for free since arriving in Florida in January. Who knew? . Also, I enrolled my twins in Kindergarten at a Seminole County public school, and every interaction with the school seems to be very pleasant and promising.

7. Neighborhood – Again, we were fortunate, and we landed into a GREAT neighborhood, a great cul-de-sac, and great neighbors. There seem to be many nice neighborhoods in our immediate area, and we feel like we are in a great area. We are 2 miles away from UCF, which is just across the county line into Orange County. There are so many restaurants, ice cream places, services that the college kids support, University Blvd has everything we could ever think of as far as restaurants.

8. House – We are renting a great house for our family. The best part is the screened in pool. We use the pool 4 or more times a week. My 5 year old twins were completely scared when we arrived in January, they are already swimming like fish! I love this house, I love this pool. Our rental house was available because the owners were relocated and did not even try selling their house in this market. I love the Florida palm tree in the front yard, the landscaping, even the little lizards that scurry around.

9. We are undecided about where we will actually purchase our home. We are considering a move to the Lake Nona area when we are ready to purchase a home. Oviedo is wonderful, but we are sometimes drawn to the amenities and new home features that are currently being built in that area. Also Lake Nona is closer to the airport for my husband’s frequent trips, and it is 2 miles from “Medical City” which will be great when I return to work (as a nurse).

10. And finally, the best part about Orlando to us is the people we have met. We have been so fortunate that we have made fast friends here. Our neighbors, the preschool director, a few people I am in class with. We really love Florida, and our happy attitude perhaps makes it easier to build positive relationships. We love the people we have met, and as we build our support and social network here, I feel so blessed with the people who I have already come to know.

The bad:

1. There are plenty of critters around. I have come to enjoy the lizards (they eat bugs, right?) which run around outside in our yard. We have our house treated for bugs, and I can’t imagine the quantities of bugs that would inhabiting our home if we did not have that bug spray service.

2. Utilities. The electric is about 30% higher than what we were paying in Kansas City. We keep our A/C at 75 degrees, which was a big adjustment from our former comfort temperature of 72 degrees. The WATER in our particular area is so high. Our water bills for our 2500 sq foot home, is $300 a month. I called Seminole County Water, where we pay our bill, and they said up to 80% of that is probably the irrigation system for the grass outside. We had the irrigation system evaluated, it was NOT working properly, and our water bills have gone down to about $220 a month. Our water bills in Kansas City (with irrigation) were $100 a month.

3. The grass. Oh my. I don’t know where to begin. Sod is expensive, watering the Sod is so expensive. Getting letters from an HOA for non-compliance is expensive. This is a pain. One more reason we are considering a neighborhood in Lake Nona where all the lawn care and irrigation is included.

4. Work-out / Lap swimming. I have not yet been able to find a health club that compares to the nicer ones I have seen in other areas. Also, I cannot find outdoor lap swimming that offers year round Masters swim team. Maybe these things are located more near downtown Orlando? I don’t know, but it is a source of slight frustration.

5. Car Insurance. Is so expensive! We are paying 30% higher here, and we dropped our coverage limits considerably. Other threads discuss this more in length, so I will leave it at that.

6. The Orlando airport (which we use frequently) is always very busy. Tons of tourists and very cranky kids. I sometimes have cranky kids too, but even still, it is a rough place to be.

7. I am sure there is more, but overall I am overwhelmed with how much we love it here. The day we left Kansas City, I would have done almost anything to undo our entire Florida plan. I was sick with worry and I didn’t think I could go through with it. Once we got here, we have just enjoyed one great thing after another. We haven’t looked back!

Please feel free to send me a message if you have any questions I may be able to answer. We feel like we are so fortunate to be here. Our hearts were set on California for so long, but with a family of 6 the California housing cost was just too prohibitive. Now that we are in Florida, I feel like we are exactly where we were meant to be.

Last edited by 4kidsWow; 05-29-2011 at 07:14 PM.. Reason: typos
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Old 05-30-2011, 08:43 AM
 
Location: Louisiana
73 posts, read 144,897 times
Reputation: 33
As a future Orlando area resident, thank you for the feedback.
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Old 05-30-2011, 08:43 AM
 
157 posts, read 310,640 times
Reputation: 88
Can't help on others but the LA Fitness off Mitchell Hammock is really nice with a pool and its about $35 a month after taxes. I drive the extra 3 miles to go there just for the facilities alone. Not sure about car insurance but mine went down 50% when I switched from CA to FL
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Old 05-30-2011, 09:08 AM
 
165 posts, read 374,671 times
Reputation: 105
You think the MCO airport is bad? It's rated as one of the best in the country. Yes it's busy, but it is very user friendly. Most airports weren't designed with 911/TSA in mind so that's what is slowing everything down. Not the airport designs themselves.
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Old 05-30-2011, 09:28 AM
 
Location: Orlando, FL
17 posts, read 37,522 times
Reputation: 48
Learflyer,

I think what bothers me about the Orlando airport is that it always feels heavy on family travel. I have been surprised at the crowds on a Tuesday afternoon (when other airports are typically light in crowds) and the noise level from crying kids can sometimes be very loud. I know the irony of that statement coming from a mother of 4 small children.

I traveled every week on business for 5 years, I think I became accostomed to the efficienct way business travlers flow through the airport and it has been difficult for me to find this efficient flow in the Orlando airport.

I can't believe I mentioned the airport bothered me actually. I told myself when moving to Florida that I better embrace the tourists. It contributes so much to what makes this area great, and it helps the area financially so much. I don't pay state income tax because of the tourists, and I am so grateful for that. And I have an endless supply of choices of fun things to do because of all the tourists (cranky kids at airports and all)
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Old 05-30-2011, 12:59 PM
 
Location: Asheville, NC
12,342 posts, read 28,831,789 times
Reputation: 5112
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4kidsWow View Post
I just wanted to offer my feedback as a new Orlando resident. We moved here in January 2011 after 3 years of careful investigation and MUCH research and consideration about where to live. Thank you City-Data

My husband works from home, I stay at home with our 4 small children, and we had the entire country open to us. We love Florida, we love the Orlando metro area, and we love Oviedo. Here are some more specifics:

The last place we lived was a Johnson County, KS, specifically in Shawnee, KS right outside Kansas City. Prior to that we lived in Orange County, CA in a beautiful community called Foothill Ranch. Right before deciding on Orlando, our “runner-up” city was Raleigh, NC. We visited there, and even put an offer on a house there. That is a beautiful area too, but fortunately, everything worked out and we are in the Orlando area.

Here is what we find most appealing to us about our new neighborhood / city / State:

1. The weather. My husband and I both love warmer weather. We know it will get hot and humid here, but we are fine with the hot weather. January – May weather has been amazing. We loved watching the kids ride bikes in Feburary. We loved smiling at each other as the Midwest (and NC) was pounded with cold weather and storms in March this year. We love this weather, humidity and all.

2. The beaches. We are 45 minutes from Cocoa Beach. We have been several times, and we love the convenience of making a day trip to the beach. Jetty Park is our favorite beach so far, because with the logistics of 4 little kids, having a nearby bathroom and playground pretty much trumps everything else.

3. Disney. Yes, we do enjoy Disney. Living in Oviedo, we are about 50 minutes from Disney. Far enough away to not feel like we are in the middle of tourist-ville, but close enough we go for half day visits frequently. We took advantage of the yearly Disney passes for Florida residents, and we have definitely already gotten our money’s worth.

4. Money. The fact we pay no state income tax, the fact that when we do purchase a home, property tax is CHEAPER than what we were paying in KC, the fact that the sales tax is CHEAPER than what we were paying in KC, the fact that the cost of living is exponentially cheaper than California (where we thought we wanted to move). All of these financial considerations have been icing on the cake for us.

5. Education - college. As soon as we came to Florida I started thinking about going back to school. I was able to quickly navigate the school choices and I am very pleased with the college options local to the Orlando metro. I am enrolled at Seminole State for a few pre-requisites, and I will be finishing up at another school. There are plenty of higher educational options around to fit my needs.

6. Education – children. We lucked out in a very big way, and our children are all attending a part-time preschool which I LOVE. I made the phone calls to nearby preschools while still in KC. We did not even have confirmation on our rental home when I felt such a connection with the preschool. The director is wonderful, it is close by, everything about it is great for our family. The best thing has been the total surprise that Pre-K classes for 4/5 year olds are paid for by the state of Florida – no matter what a family’s income! That was a huge bonus for us, because our twins attended preschool for free since arriving in Florida in January. Who knew? . Also, I enrolled my twins in Kindergarten at a Seminole County public school, and every interaction with the school seems to be very pleasant and promising.

7. Neighborhood – Again, we were fortunate, and we landed into a GREAT neighborhood, a great cul-de-sac, and great neighbors. There seem to be many nice neighborhoods in our immediate area, and we feel like we are in a great area. We are 2 miles away from UCF, which is just across the county line into Orange County. There are so many restaurants, ice cream places, services that the college kids support, University Blvd has everything we could ever think of as far as restaurants.

8. House – We are renting a great house for our family. The best part is the screened in pool. We use the pool 4 or more times a week. My 5 year old twins were completely scared when we arrived in January, they are already swimming like fish! I love this house, I love this pool. Our rental house was available because the owners were relocated and did not even try selling their house in this market. I love the Florida palm tree in the front yard, the landscaping, even the little lizards that scurry around.

9. We are undecided about where we will actually purchase our home. We are considering a move to the Lake Nona area when we are ready to purchase a home. Oviedo is wonderful, but we are sometimes drawn to the amenities and new home features that are currently being built in that area. Also Lake Nona is closer to the airport for my husband’s frequent trips, and it is 2 miles from “Medical City” which will be great when I return to work (as a nurse).

10. And finally, the best part about Orlando to us is the people we have met. We have been so fortunate that we have made fast friends here. Our neighbors, the preschool director, a few people I am in class with. We really love Florida, and our happy attitude perhaps makes it easier to build positive relationships. We love the people we have met, and as we build our support and social network here, I feel so blessed with the people who I have already come to know.

The bad:

1. There are plenty of critters around. I have come to enjoy the lizards (they eat bugs, right?) which run around outside in our yard. We have our house treated for bugs, and I can’t imagine the quantities of bugs that would inhabiting our home if we did not have that bug spray service.

2. Utilities. The electric is about 30% higher than what we were paying in Kansas City. We keep our A/C at 75 degrees, which was a big adjustment from our former comfort temperature of 72 degrees. The WATER in our particular area is so high. Our water bills for our 2500 sq foot home, is $300 a month. I called Seminole County Water, where we pay our bill, and they said up to 80% of that is probably the irrigation system for the grass outside. We had the irrigation system evaluated, it was NOT working properly, and our water bills have gone down to about $220 a month. Our water bills in Kansas City (with irrigation) were $100 a month.

3. The grass. Oh my. I don’t know where to begin. Sod is expensive, watering the Sod is so expensive. Getting letters from an HOA for non-compliance is expensive. This is a pain. One more reason we are considering a neighborhood in Lake Nona where all the lawn care and irrigation is included.

4. Work-out / Lap swimming. I have not yet been able to find a health club that compares to the nicer ones I have seen in other areas. Also, I cannot find outdoor lap swimming that offers year round Masters swim team. Maybe these things are located more near downtown Orlando? I don’t know, but it is a source of slight frustration.

5. Car Insurance. Is so expensive! We are paying 30% higher here, and we dropped our coverage limits considerably. Other threads discuss this more in length, so I will leave it at that.

6. The Orlando airport (which we use frequently) is always very busy. Tons of tourists and very cranky kids. I sometimes have cranky kids too, but even still, it is a rough place to be.

7. I am sure there is more, but overall I am overwhelmed with how much we love it here. The day we left Kansas City, I would have done almost anything to undo our entire Florida plan. I was sick with worry and I didn’t think I could go through with it. Once we got here, we have just enjoyed one great thing after another. We haven’t looked back!

Please feel free to send me a message if you have any questions I may be able to answer. We feel like we are so fortunate to be here. Our hearts were set on California for so long, but with a family of 6 the California housing cost was just too prohibitive. Now that we are in Florida, I feel like we are exactly where we were meant to be.
Glad you're enjoying it here and great post
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Old 05-30-2011, 01:27 PM
 
Location: Orlando, FL
17 posts, read 37,522 times
Reputation: 48
Quick update: I visited the Oviedo Aquatic Center on Oviedo Blvd today. Where have I been? A great splash zone / zero-deth entry pool for kids. And a separate competitive size lap pool with 22! lap lanes open all year round!! It is kind of pricey, especially because we are not within the Oviedo "city" limits (although our postal address is Oviedo). But it the pricing is consistent with other places (YMCA, etc). Yay!!
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Old 05-30-2011, 01:36 PM
 
165 posts, read 374,671 times
Reputation: 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4kidsWow View Post
Learflyer,

I think what bothers me about the Orlando airport is that it always feels heavy on family travel. I have been surprised at the crowds on a Tuesday afternoon (when other airports are typically light in crowds) and the noise level from crying kids can sometimes be very loud. I know the irony of that statement coming from a mother of 4 small children.

I traveled every week on business for 5 years, I think I became accostomed to the efficienct way business travlers flow through the airport and it has been difficult for me to find this efficient flow in the Orlando airport.

I can't believe I mentioned the airport bothered me actually. I told myself when moving to Florida that I better embrace the tourists. It contributes so much to what makes this area great, and it helps the area financially so much. I don't pay state income tax because of the tourists, and I am so grateful for that. And I have an endless supply of choices of fun things to do because of all the tourists (cranky kids at airports and all)
Gotcha. No worries. I can definitely agree with the amount of children at MCO. When i'm at other airports and looking for my gate to fly back to MCO, I don't even have to look for the gate number because it's always the most crowded gate full of kids!
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Old 05-30-2011, 02:59 PM
 
55 posts, read 96,372 times
Reputation: 27
Really appreciate the post, especially as a hopeful Orlando resident this year or the next.

The water bills especially are shocking to me though, never had water bills that high in my life! but then again I won't be paying for a family of 6 so hopefully things will be a bit more sane in that regard. would be more concerned about the AC bill please keep this thread updated especially when it starts to get humid apparently around August

By the way, Raleigh NC was also next on my list to consider, how come you chose Orlando instead?

Last edited by fathamburger; 05-30-2011 at 03:07 PM..
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Old 06-01-2011, 10:41 AM
 
71 posts, read 200,902 times
Reputation: 22
Thank you so very much for your post! We are hoping to move to central Florida in the summer of 2013 and we have 3 kids! We too long for NO SNOW in the winter and already deal with high heat and humidity where we live now and it doesn't bother me! I'd reather be hot and take a dip in the pool then have frozen hands and feet from Nov.- March!
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