Living at Disney
Written by: Amy Jean Ham
We are “Moving” to Disney –
This announcement created a lot of confusion among our friends and family.
For us the answer was simple, Disney World is the “Most Magical Place on Earth” and frankly, up until our departure – 2020 had been less than Magical. We had a decent vacation budget available to us (thanks to lots of cancelled trips) and we had the money to pay for an extended stay.
This would be an exploration trip – we had decided as a family we loved the ocean and wanted to live somewhere affordable that we could be closer to it. While Orlando, won’t be our permanent home, it was a great opportunity to spend a few months (11 weeks to be exact) explore the area and be able to escape to the magic regularly.
Some logistics – we rented a VRBO villa, our budget allows for frequent Disney Resort weekend stays, but our “home base” needed to be much less expensive, and since tourism was down, we were able to rent a great condo at a huge discount for the 11 weeks. I would not recommend staying off property for a vacation trip to Disney, as it doesn’t feel nearly as magical, but it is practical and meets our daily needs.
Everyone is working virtually, while both my husband and I work “in the field”, at this time we were not able to go onsite, and so we moved our monitors, laptops, and set up workstations. My son’s school is completely virtual as well. The hours take a little adjusting to – since we start at 8:30 am PST, that means we don’t have to be at our desks until 11:30 am EST – giving us plenty of time for a quick morning run to Disney (and yes, we do this!) the downside is we don’t wrap up until 8:00 pm and on Friday nights, when we want to be at Epcot – this can be a big bummer.
The next question we get is, “aren’t you tired of Disney”? The answer is clearly no.
The one thing we were missing at home was our “active” lifestyle, we aren’t a family who sat at home on the weekends. We had activities for my son, and we would regularly travel, go out to eat and see friends. Being at Disney allows us to still get out of the house, in a safe environment. With social distancing, and mask requirements, we feel safe at Disney we are able to go out to dinner, go shopping and just have some silly fun.
However, our trips are different now. We don’t go to the parks open-to-close. We don’t feel rushed or pressure to see/do thing, so we take things slower and explore things we wouldn’t usually have time for. We spent one day at Magic Kingdom just focused on playing the in-park game, Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom; another morning at Animal Kingdom we ate Dole Whips for breakfast and shopped. We go over just for dinner at our favorite countries in Epcot. We are able to enjoy our hotel stays more as well. For our anniversary, we chose to stay at the Contemporary resort, so we could easily dine at California Grill. That day ended up being hot and busy at the parks – so we shifted gears, and spent the day back at the resort swimming, relaxing by the pool and just taking a quiet break, knowing that our favorite rides would be waiting for us another (less crowed) day. Later this month we have a stay at the Yacht Club, and our last day we have a Cabana booked by the pool, no plans to go to the park, but just the opportunity to enjoy the amazing pool and waterslide.
As the time passes, we all are sad that we know this will eventually come to an end, and at least once a week someone comes up with a plan on how we could stay forever. We feel so thankful that in this challenging time, we really were able to make things magical. I hope my son learns to take advantage of opportunities, no matter how crazy they sound. We will be returning “home” for the holidays, but we will never forget the time we “moved” to Disney.