Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live so close to the most magical place on Earth? It’s a dream that many of us share, yet far fewer ever get to experience. But what if the objective is more obtainable than any of us ever realized? There are, after all, many who call that seemingly flawless state of Florida home, right? And more and more in recent years, the number of those making the move here permanently has been climbing.
It’s true that the state of Florida is pretty big and offers plenty in the way of other attractions aside from Walt Disney World Resort alone. But you’d be amazed by just how many navigable areas there are to live in such close range to the heart of that aforementioned magical destination we all love so much. Here are our top 13 picks for places to live close to the Disney bubble.
13. Winter Park
As one of Orange County’s most optimal suburban setups, living in Winter Park is among the most premium places to move to if close proximity to Orlando theme parks is what you’re after. Admittedly, the cost of living here doesn’t come cheap but being barely more than a half hour away from Walt Disney World Resort more than compensates for that. And in addition to Disney magic being just within your reach, the community itself has a wide range of credits to stand by, including various art festivals and seasonal event happenings that bring in visitors throughout the year, sensational shopping, and delicious dining options. It is also where you will find the well-known Morse Museum and Rollins College—the oldest college in the state of Florida.
12. Haines City
Opportunities to live in close range to the magic of Disney aside, one of the most important factors to consider when relocating your family to a new area is safety. And Haines City just happens to hold the title of being one of the safest cities to live in within the whole state of Florida. What’s more, with its excellent location just between Tampa and Orlando, living in this quaint small town puts you right in the heart of accessible area attractions at both destinations. So, for a Disney enthusiast, that means taking a quick ride over to the Parks can easily be done in just over a half hour (on a good day).
In summary, you have safety, close proximity to Disney World, access to Tampa’s many tantalizations, and a quaint small-town feel. What could be more perfect? The cost of living, that’s what! Even many of the newer, higher-end homes in the area have a starting price somewhere in the ballpark of the upper $200s. If that’s not the ultimate dream come true, especially these days!
11. Lake Alfred
Here is another little community to love, right within a half hour’s navigation to the Walt Disney World Resort Area. Despite its still small size, it has been steadily emerging in residential numbers for a couple of years now and is even known as one of the fastest growing small towns in the country. Here you have a varied range of rural areas as well as suburban shopping and conveniences right at your disposal. As for community stats, they too boast an extremely low crime rate along with exceptional accolades in education and the overall cost of living. It’s the perfect setup—a remote, seemingly removed little haven to live at, away from bustling tourism to an extent yet easy to drive to if planning to take in such pursuits.
10. St. Cloud
Here’s another exceptional area that’s only a half-hour’s drive to Walt Disney World Resort. And given its proximity to the magic, it’s fairly affordable in comparison to some of the other suggestions in the greater Orlando area. In fact, the median home price range hovers around the $230,000 range—all this and plenty of scenic acreage, land, and a quaint and quiet calm about it. It was founded in the 1880s with the objective of serving as a place where Civil War Union Army veterans could retire to. Now it’s still the perfect place to consider turning over the next page of your life’s journey and is perfect for families and singles alike.
If you’re seeking a kissable community that’s just 20-some minutes from Walt Disney World, then Kissimmee may very well be the perfect place to move to. What’s more, it too happens to be fairly affordable considering all that they have to offer in the way of dining, shopping, and socializing. Kissimmee has loads of fun for both out-of-town visitors and residents alike. It also happens to be one of the highest-ranking places for homeownership within the greater Orlando region. So, what’s stopping you from checking those listings and making plans to move in?
8. Winter Garden
This almost sounds like the name of a place you’d expect Olaf from Disney’s Frozen to be living at. And given the fact that it’s only about a 20-minute drive to Disney World, it would indeed be a most befitting place for the summer-loving snowman to reside in, especially given his jovial nature. For Winter Garden is a very happy haunt, to say the least. It’s somewhat hindered within an unassuming area of Central Florida, close enough yet still far removed from the bustling theme parks and social scenes that often characterize the Orlando area. At Winter Gardens, you’ll find a charming setup of beautiful community parks, nature trails, locally owned small businesses, and simplistic socializations, such as farmers’ markets, community live music events, holiday happenings, and more.
7. Lake Nona
Lake Nona is only around 20 minutes or so from Disney World. But that is by no means the community’s only claim to fame. For it has a reputation for being “a community of and for the future” as well as one that is hailed for playing host to several elite hospitals and research facilities. So, it’s safe to say that you’ll be in good hands when you decide to make the move here as a permanent resident. It’s all about achieving a better life in general, whether you are old or young, single, or a family unit.
Lake Nona also happens to be the place to find the United States Tennis Association’s National Campus, in addition to the official training facility for Orlando City Soccer (SC). And if you were wondering where the “Lake” in its name comes from, Lake Nona is vastly known for housing what is one of the largest crystal water lagoons in the United States, spanning an impressive 15 acres in all! It was created by none other than the well-known Crystal Lagoons Company.
With its northern location to Walt Disney World Resort, this lakeside community is only about 15 to 20 minutes away from all the magic and has plenty of its own enchantment as a premium place to reside permanently at. We will admit that some of the home prices can run pretty high, but when you do your homework, you’ll uncover a diverse makeup comprising of townhomes, apartments, and even single-family houses, making optimal living well within your reach.
Windermere is so close to Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park, in fact, that some Disney Cast Members even park their vehicles right off the community’s Reams Road location and walk the rest of the way to work. It should be noted, however, that this route is longer for non-Cast Members yet is still in the convenient range.
Any adamant lover of all things Disney is sure to feel like a champion after achieving the feat of living just 10 to 12 minutes or so away from Walt Disney World Resort. And because the ChampionGate community is renowned for offering up the largest selections of short-term property leases and rentals in the greater surrounding area, it may be the perfect solution for those still exploring just where to settle on a more permanent basis.
Are you an avid golfing enthusiast? You may want to take note of the famed ChampionsGate Golf Club, recipient of various prestigious awards and accolades and serving as home to two notable golf courses—the National and International Courses. This is also the place to find the David Leadbetter Academy World Headquarters.
4. Horizon West
Here’s another circa 10-minute locale from Walt Disney World Resort. Emanating a true suburban feel that readily escapes all the hustle and bustle of the more commercialized touristy trends of the Orlando area, this is a charming, quieter getaway location to consider. It’s a way to feel remote without actually being remote, as you are still in such close range to shopping, dining, and theme parks when you so choose to pursue such endeavors. But with all this, pricing does admittedly trend on the high side of the spectrum, which is entirely worth it, to say the least.
3. Doctor Phillips
The name of this community may at first leave you scratching your head if you are not up to par in your knowledge of Central Florida history. But those who have heard about the local legend Dr. Philip Phillips know that he was a renowned philanthropist and citrus entrepreneur who had a hand in helping to revolutionize the packaging and processing methods of orange juice during the earlier part of the 20th century. He also happened to own thousands of acres of land that were once used as his legendary orange groves. And it is this area that now makes up the community of Doctor Phillips. Still a place of supreme beauty, now as a quaint suburban community as opposed to an expansive orange grove, Doctor Phillips sits right in the heart of the Orlando area’s top-rated theme parks. The commute from Walt Disney World specifically is can be made in 10 to 15 minutes!
You’ll undoubtedly be celebrating every day when you make the move to Celebration Florida. The community is, after all, the perfect paradigm of what was Walt Disney’s original vision of idyllic American living in manifest form. The concept of the overall setup incorporates those very standards used in the construction of EPCOT, including pristine streetscapes, friendly smiling citizens, and regional highlights in the way of shops and businesses. It’s also a fairly recreational place to be, rightfully situated directly in the Disney hub, just eight minutes or so away from the Parks.
1. Disney Golden Oak
Another optimal living situation that is literally right in the center of Disney Magic is taking up residency in none other than Disney Golden Oak. Make no mistake about it; this is the ultimate dream come true for a diehard Disney fanatic, with its location literally minutes from Walt Disney World Resort. In fact, you’re already practically living at a Disney Resort by making the move here. What’s more, the community itself was in fact designed by actual Disney Imagineers and even has some Hidden Mickeys stowed away throughout various homes, all of which start at around two million dollars or more, if we are being candid.
Living here comes with a plethora of perks and amenities, challenging even the most elite of Club Level services at any Disney Resort. Residents in the community also enjoy exclusive shuttle services to the Parks in addition to special membership passes that are even reportedly better than Annual Park Passes. Other esoteric offerings reserved solely for citizens here include community clubhouse access, pools, gyms, and even dining.
Living at Disney Golden Oak is, hands down, the crème de la crème of a Disney fairy tale lifestyle actualized. And it’s just five minutes away at that!
While some of the more elite examples we’ve given you may be a little impractical based on what you are looking for in price range, we do hope that we’ve inspired you to consider some of those surprisingly doable options that may very well still be on the table. I’m just about ready to pack my bags and move it on over to Disney now. How about you?