Skip to content

Getting our Feet Wet in Orlando

The biggest hurdle of relocating anywhere is getting your feet wet the first week- it’s those moments that start to define what your new residence and area will be like day in and day out.  We are now at day five, and we are just starting to get familiar on how to get out of our suburb and to the main roads- always a work in progress. So today’s blog is about how we shopped yesterday, what we learned, and lots of fun tips and such that I learned on our visit to Epcot last night. So grab your cup of Joe, put the paper down, and enjoy the blog!

Let’s start with the waiting game in relocating- you will wait more than anything you first week of moving in.  We waited for Cable to show, then waited the 3 hours it took them to install it- it may not take you that long, but it did for us.  So when you have no tv, and everything is put away, it gets boring waiting. As as trustworthy as I’m sure they are, we would never leave them alone to install it either, so be prepared to wait.   We didn’t need to deposit anything, and because of the special this month, we got the first month free.   We made our appointment for them before we left home, so they could get us done the 2nd day of living here- so if you have a home or apartment secured, do everything from home before moving- it will save you a lot of headaches later on.

You will also wait if you want things delivered to your home, such as furniture in our case.  We were able to buy our Mattresses at a place called “Original Mattress Factory” off of Hwy 417.  Great deals, the salesman KNEW what he was talking about, and helped us choose all three sets we needed.  Delivery for them is $45 for as much as you buy- and when buying lots of mattresses, that is a steal!  But, we did take home the full and twin for the kids because they fit in the van, and we didn’t want them to have to wait until Wed to have a good night’s sleep- happy kids, happy life.  They also sell the frames, so it’s nice because they are affordable, made by Sealy, and are awesome quality.  We have found there are a plethora of mattress places out here, so you won’t have a hard time finding a place to buy- just watch the delivery cost.

Looking for furniture was a bit of a struggle because when you are in your home town, you know where to go for the deals and what is going to cost and arm and a leg. And even though it may sound like a lot of fun, research places before ever leaving your front door.  Depending on where you live, you could be in a high traffic area which has a ton of stores, or a lesser part with none and you have to travel a ways to find them.  We wound up having to travel about 20 minutes to find “American Signature” furniture store, and they did have a great variety, but nothing there we liked.  We saw a discounted place around the corner of the “Mall of Millenia” so we went there and found a love seat and couch for $600 made by Ashley.   We went with a beige color because our home has that beach color feel, so we didn’t want anything to bold and blaring.  You will discover that unless you really like to shop and have an endless amount of cash, you will buy things as you go, week after week, until its completely done.  I wont have end tables or lamps for awhile, beds and couches took precedence first.

We found we shopped a lot at the local Target up the road- Jessie got a Tangled Bed Set which she was over the moon about, while Kyra went black/white/teal route with bedding and decorating.  Jessie is going to have lanterns hung from her ceiling eventually, and we hope to get their drawing desks in a couple of months.  Target was useful for the bedding and odds and ends- plus it’s a Super Target so we were able to pick up some light groceries.  Having had a Super Walmart near us in WI, it’s nice to have a Super Target, although their prices are a bit more.  We do have a Walmart near, but it’s a bit further.

I highly recommend to find a Dollar Store in your area, after moving, to grab things like dish soap, dust pans, note pads, pens, and odds and ends for anything else.  We were happy to grab some items for cheap in a day of very pricey items being bought.

IKEA- need I say more? First off, before heading to IKEA, look on their website.  If you need to furnish a home, or just a room, getting the idea of what they sell first will help your budget and your train of thought.  We thankfully went there last on our budget, because if we had gone their first, I would have spent a small fortune.   Make time for this place, as it has A LOT to offer, and for people like us who haven’t been through one in many years, it can be a bit overwhelming.   We made a list before we went in, and found things that we didn’t think we would.  Shoe hangers for the closets, hamper, wok, serving bowls, mixing bowls, desk for Carl’s office, lap top desks for Belle and the living room, night light, and so on.    It was a bit odd to write everything down as you went, so you could pick it up later, but I think once we do It more, we will get the hang of it.  Everyone suggested we get the meatballs, so we bought a bag we will have sometime this week.  I loved the little cafeteria, as it was a nice break to sit and have dessert, and I think it’s neat they serve FREE breakfast every morning- now how cool is that?

To get everywhere, we have used our trusty GPS- if you don’t have one, don’t even think of coming here without it.  It has helped us find everything and anything, and you really do need one, at least for your first month here, so you don’t get lost.  We have learned that I4 cuts through the state, and then they have 2 beltways that go around the one side of town, and then the other side of town.  We have learned to not get near I4 between 3-5 p.m. on a week day as it is quite crowded, and have figured out using 192 to get to WDW all the time has been fast and easy.  Again, have I told you how cool it is to see that WDW arch every day?

Tolls- we come from a state where we paid state taxes, so we don’t have them.  You can purchase a SUN PASS online or a smaller version of it at local stores, and load it for what you need. Or, the Petermann method right now is to have a stash of quarters at all time in both cars.  Did you know that if you don’t have the money, grab an envelope that is provided at that station, and you can just mail it in.

We have made it our goal to make Walt Disney World the reward, and not the priority. Life has to go on, even living minutes from the Mouse.  Bills need to be paid, things to be bought, etc.  You need to be responsible with your dreams as well, even though that may sometimes mean that things have to wait.  I would love a house FULL of furniture right now, but we had a budget and that’s what it is.  It is odd knowing I can go to WDW any time I want now, and especially just strolling in without any agenda.  A side note, FL Resident passes are affordable by doing them monthly, but if had to wait for them because of other responsibilities, we would have.  Yes, it would have been tough, but again, you have to be smart about it.  When you are making your budget from home, budget in the WDW passes, along with the monthly cost for you and your family- if you can’t swing it, then wait on moving until you can.  You have to make sure that all the money is in place before ever leaving home or you will wind up broke in a strange place- and to me- that is a scary place to be.

So last night we headed into Epcot to celebrate a full day of getting stuff done.  We were bummed we had to put off Emily’s school tour due to timing, but we hope to do it soon. We have discovered there is only so much time in a day, and when you have to wait for someone to show up ALLLLLL day and then when you finally get out of the house to play, it turns into “Oh we needed this” kind of day.  But, we got to Epcot, and it was so nice out.  There was a warm breeze as we walked under Spaceship Earth, and found some goodies we want to buy in the future at the “Art of Disney.”

I discovered certain things being a local now- one being I don’t feel rushed.  I don’t have to hit everything because I can come back, and I can tolerate others more because I know how rushed they feel on vacation.  I am learning to deal with those who love to stop right in the middle of the crowd flow, and trying to just walk around without saying anything.  We learned that if you want to eat at the Cantina in Mexico outside, don’t order before making sure you will have a table.  We were there at 7 pm and every table was packed- so we didn’t bother ordering there at all.  What’s the point if you don’t have a seat?  So we headed to America and had Chili Cheese Dogs while we chilled out in the outdoor area- gorgeous night.  Always remember that of all the counter service areas in World Showcase, America has the most seats. So if you don’t really care what to eat, you are just hungry and tired, head to the American area and just grab a seat inside or out.

After dinner, we headed to Japan to buy Mango and Kiwi candy, along with Pocky.  Having never eaten at the CS there, I discovered the adorable area of lit up lanterns with several tables.  A word of warning, the bathrooms here only have TWO stalls, so don’t plan on using them when it’s at high crowd capacity.

We decided to stroll around the World Showcase, and found ourselves in the UK for Illuminations. We stood on the left of the Rose and Crown Pub, towards the opposite side of the sidewalk, where we stood on the curb so Emily could see better.  Emily had never seen the show before, so it was a treat to enjoy it with low crowds.  But after it ended, the wind blew the smoke and ash towards our ways, so watch the wind the night you see them or you will be pummeled with it.

We chilled in the UK to let the crowds move out first, then headed to Mousegears to do some light shopping.  Emily bought her Duffy a Pirate outfit, and we each bought our first Vinylmation.  We didn’t know that you get what you get, so It was funny to open all of ours at the same time.  Emily is looking for the JESSIE one, so if anyone has it, let me know if you would sell it, trade it, etc..   Em got Wheezy, I got the Penquin from the Muppets, Craig got a Tron one, and Kyra got Peter Pan.  We played with them in the breezeway outside Mousegears, music playing, wind going, and no one around- it was amazing.

We walked hand in hand out, taking pictures, and smiling as we enjoyed the warm weather in the shadow of “Spaceship Earth.”  THIS is why we moved here, to enjoy these kinds of nights- the four of us, alone, and happy.  We cannot wait to share more magic with you, and thanks again for tagging along on our dream.


  1. I have to say that reading your blog has given us ideas on how and when we should be planning a move to WDW. Glad that you are sharing not only the upside of moving but also the headache inducing ones. Best of luck for all things to come!


  2. Wow! What an amazing first 5 days! I especially enjoyed reading about the trip today Epcot at the end. Welcome home, Petermann’s.


  3. I can’t wait to see how you all settle in. Will you do pictures of all the rooms once it is complete?! I love things like that!!

    We LOVE IKEA!!! The meatballs are fantastic! Such a fun place to go and see what you can do with your space.

    I am so excited for you all! I can’t believe you are really finally there. 🙂


  4. Isn´t Ikea great! It’s like the only furniture store in Sweden! We always go there to buy some of the swedish candy we miss from home. Having those relaxed evenings at the parks are really precious and the best time, so looking forward to that!
    Really interested to see what you buy at Art of Disney in the future, want everything in there!


  5. Great update! I think I mentioned it to you about how different it is walking around Disney now that you are a FL resident. All those people are on vacation and you’re not. No…you live here and can come back. You start to feel sorry for them and find yourself being more tolerent of those who push and shove and run. We stroll. We linger. It’s a whole ‘nother type of feeling. Then we smile that Cheshire Cat kinda grin ’cause it feels like we have a secret. It’s been a year now and we still love, love, love hopping in the car and making what we call a “Ghirardelli run.” You will too!


  6. Love that things are coming together for you guys!! I get the same feeling about Disney when we’re passholders. Thankfully we live close enough that we can come down for a “fix” without having to rush through things not knowing when you’ll be back. I can’t imagine knowing you could be there in a few minutes compared to five hours. I’m so proud of y’all for sticking to your budget, plans and dreams to make them all come true. Amazing work!


  7. I have been reading your blog for a while now, and I want to just say congrats to you guys for making your dream come true. We are also a family of Disney lovers, having taken many trips over the last 6 or 7 years to visit the Happiest Place on Earth. We have talked many times about making the move, but then we start worrying about the economy and being in a new place with no family or friends around. But you guys have shown that if it is something you truly want, then you can and will make it happen. Your blog has also been informative about how and what you needed to do to make the move, so if we do make up our minds that we are going to make our dreams happen too, I will appreciate all you guys have shared.


  8. Congrats on the move, it sounds like things are beginning to fall into place as you guys begin your new journey in FL. My husband and I look forward to learning more great relocation tips and insider FL information from you guys!
    Watch out for the vinylmations, they are extremely addicting, especially when you are looking for a specific one. Luckily you guys can trade with the cast members in the parks and attend trading nights to build a collection of vinylmations you really want.


  9. One of the things we enjoy most is NOT having an agenda when we go to WDW – take our time, do as much or as little as we want and then head home. Granted we live considerably further away, but the drive home gives us a chance to savor and enjoy what we did do.


  10. Holy Smokes! Over the past couple days I have read every entry on your blog! Wow and HUGE congrats!!!! Amazing— your dream has come true!


  11. Reading this so reminds me of when I moved to Orlando. I only lived there from about 1983-1986 but it’s so similar. This was where I had my first apartment after college, so I learned the furniture stores, bought a bed, and a couch.
    My favorite evening was go head over to EPCOT and have dinner at the Yakitori House and sit up on the patio with the lanterns and the waterfall. You’re well on your way to discovering the Floridian’s Disney World!


%d bloggers like this: