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What Does A Dream Look Like?

Having just got my internet up and running today, I am happy to be able to bring you a blog post this evening.   I will do my best to remember details and such, as it has been a whirlwind of emotions, moments, and minutes spent just smiling.  Grab a Dole Whip, sit back, and let me take you into what a dream looks like achieved.

So picture this… Sunday morning, we awake in Macon, Georgia and we are just over the moon with excitement.  The sun is rising, as we are all trying to get it together at the crack of 7 a.m.  We grabbed a muffin on the go and then made our trek to the FL border.FL1

We knew it was coming… that FL border… we watched the mile markers tick away.  We called each other on the cells to have the cameras ready,  and the music ready.  Emily was going to take our pic in the car, and Kyra was going to video tape it.  Well, that didn’t work since we whizzed by it at 70 mph, but were happy to pull over that the official Welcome Center.  We were floating on air as we looked at the palm trees while walking up to the WELCOME TO FLORIDA sign- lots of smiles.  We took a bunch and then headed in for free OJ and laughed at the Star Wars Weekends cutouts of Vader and a Storm Trooper.  The irony is that among all the brochures, there was one for the Appleton Art Museum in Orlando- (Hears “It’s a Small World playing in her head).FL2

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It would be 3 more hours later (and playing “This is Home” while bawling) that we would start to see the Walt Disney World, Sea World, and Universal billboards.  As we took our exit for the first time, you could feel the excitement just building. What would our home look like? Would it be what we had in our heads?  Would it be terrible?  You just never know.  We pulled into our suburb and drove past house after house… every time we would pass one, I would hope that ours was like that one or like that one.

As we pulled into our street, I knew this was it.  I knew that if this house wasn’t to our expectations, that it would be a hard hit to take for all of us.  As we pulled into the driveway, we just knew it was home.  We got out into the heat, happy to be done driving, and happy to be home.  Our landlords were here to greet us, show us around, and then left us to live out our lives here.FL5

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The door shut, and I think Craig and I almost broke down into tears.  The living room is 2x the size of the one in WI, the master bedroom is HUGE with a walk in closet, a bathroom, AND a vanity area.  The bathroom we have in the master bedroom also has a door to….. OUR POOL!! We have our very own pool, with a covered screen, and patio area for all sorts of outside fun.  The kitchen has many entrances from the garage, the living room, and the main hallway- again, it’s huge.  The counters and cupboards are like a pale tan, almost peach, but not.  The other side of the house has the kids bedrooms, with their own bathroom, closets, and hallway.  We call it the “kids wing” of the house- Emily likes that.  The living room has a huge patio door that goes out to the pool area and patio- we have no one directly behind us, just on the other side of the ravine.  The yard has grass, but lots of patches of sand- they are planting more once it rains more.  The driveway is huge, and we have a basketball hoop for the kids to play with.  The most important part of our yard are palm trees IN the front yard and INSIDE our pool area!! PALM TREES!!FL7

We had this amazing moment when we all came down from cloud 9 where we all took our shoes and socks off and put just our feet in the pool.  The four of us sat around the pool and just looked stunned… do you have ANY idea how terrifying it is to have a dream come true? Don’t get me wrong, it is AMAZING… but when it happens, it is JUST like in “Tangled”… you feel like “now what?”  If you know the movie, you know you need to find a NEW dream- we didn’t need to do that, because we are riding THIS dream out!!FL8

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We decided we would head to All-Star Movies for dinner, and I know some of you might not “get that.”  So here is the deal, our family has spent a lot of time at that Disney Resort, and especially the Food Court there.  The lobby smell when you walk in, the excitement on the people’s faces, and the energy of the place is just so much fun to us. We walked from each food station, trying to decide, and honestly trying to understand that we were now RESIDENTS and not TOURISTS anymore.  No more grabbing the refillable mug, or using the dining deal… it was sort of sad and sort of exciting.  We could eat here anytime we wanted, and that just hasn’t sunk in yet.   We got the back booth and I watched Craig’s eyes well up with tears- we had done it.  WE HAD DONE IT!!! We were here- all the planning, the packing, the hardships and the heart breaks- we did them all and came out OK.  Do you know how many things in our lives have gone wrong? That have been planned so right and then just went to junk for us?  I guess we never thought it would happen so nicely because we were “those” people who seemed to have that rain cloud overhead at all times.  We ate in silence through the tears, happy tears.FL11

We walked though the Resort, saying hello to old friends like Woody, Buzz, and the Dalmatians.  We got Cast Members to take our family picture there, and they were so kind and welcoming- love the Cast Members!!FL12

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We bumped into Brent Dodge later, and I was so happy to meet not only the winner of the D23 Scavenger Hunt, but also a great person and friend of the blog and Disney Community- we can’t wait to see you again Brent!!FL17

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We hugged our friends goodbye for now, and headed to Target to do some late night shopping.  We did it as fast as possible before we all collapsed on the floor of our living room for the night.

Monday morning came early, as the floor is a hard place to sleep. I was up at 6 to just take a moment to have a bit of peace before the craziness of the day.  I read the comments on the blog and my FB page, tearing up and smiling, and trying to grasp to any sanity I had left.

We were out of the house by 8:30 to head to the DMV.  We got there in about 15 minutes and thankfully had made our appointments.  We will have a blog ALL ABOUT the DMV and what is required later this week, so look for that if you are relocating down here.   We were in and out in about an hour, and we even had to go back because they misspelled our names, yeah, again, it will be in a different post.

We smiled from ear to ear as we were “OFFICIAL” FL Residents now, and it was almost sad to see our WI licenses taken away.  We drove past a Mattress store, so we checked it out and found great deals for all of our beds, so we came back later in the day and took home Emily and Kyra’s- ours gets delivered tomorrow- YAY- no more floor! As soon as we got home, we promised Emily we would let her swim in our pool, so I took her out in it for awhile.  After a bit of rest, we were all geared up to go get our WDW Annual Passes, so we hopped into our van and timed how long it takes us to get to Epcot from our home-  it was 5 minutes.  We were so happy to be there, and laughed as we had to pay for parking for the first time. (We will get it reimbursed now that we are AP holders).FL19

The first glimpse of “Spaceship Earth” was incredible… we all screamed to see it peek over the trees.  We parked, rode our first tram, and then headed to a ticket window to sign ourselves up.  If you didn’t know, you can do this as FL Residents right at any ticket window, as we didn’t have internet yet, so we had no way of signing up online. Our CM was awesome and welcomed us home, we couldn’t stop smiling!  We signed up for the Premium APs, which will get us into the WDW Water Parks and Disneyquest as well (which we haven’t done yet, ever) so we are excited to try something new!

We walked through the turnstiles, and I was looking around for one of our friends and readers, Barbara.  She said she would be there, but I thought she may have ended her shift already, so I didn’t look as hard as I should have.  We all put our tickets in and wanted to cheer the minute we got into Epcot, and of course had to mark the event and found a Photopass person right away.  She did something special for us and had us walk through the turnstiles again, one at a time, and took our pics doing it- then a family one in front of Spaceship Earth- magical.  Her name was “Bee” and she was great if you get the chance to meet her at the Water Parks where she will be from now on.  As we wound up pics with her, I heard someone say “Hey Amy” and I turned to see a reader and friend, Barb, and I hugged her and was so happy to meet a reader and now WDW friend. I can’t wait to see you more hun!FL20

Our first ride would be “Soarin” and there were no fastpasses left, so we waited the 70 minutes in line.  I was fine with the wait, it built the excitement we all were feeling.  We attempted the games in line, but the crowds weren’t in it yesterday.   Once we got in line, with row 1 MIDDLE section, and Patrick Warburton came on… Craig and I started to shake with excitement.FL21

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We walked into the ride, sitting in our row, and getting a pic quick before it started.  As the lights dimmed and we started to rise, the humming of the song starting, the tears fell- and fell hard.  I couldn’t’ believe I was here, in this moment, with my family all safe, and we were going to be able to do this anytime we wanted.  I couldn’t squeeze Craig’s hand hard enough, and I knew his emotions had got the best of him as well.  Our scene is the surf towards the end- and when that played, I just exhaled like I had been holding my breath for years- it felt so good to let it all go.FL25

As we exited off the ride, we all just kept smiling because we knew we were eating at “Sunshine Seasons” next.  I love this entire Pavilion, and to ride our favorite ride and eat our favorite things here, it just makes it the most perfect place to reflect and enjoy our rewards.  As we walked into the food court area, I turned and saw a Club Scrap Member and friend, Debra, and I screamed and hugged her- again, what are the odds to see someone I knew THIS week of all times?!?!?  We chatted and then I got to eat my Mongolian Beef with the family as we talked a mile a minute about what to do next.  We did “Journey into Imagination” then “Nemo”, topping the night at Epcot with a ride on “Spaceship Earth.”FL26

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Since it was only 7, we knew we had time to head to MK as well.  Why not, right? So we headed there, parked, took the monorail for the first time, and walked into MK- meeting a CM at the turnstile from… WI!!!! He was so kind and nice to us, it made our night.  We headed to “Pirates” for the first ride, and took the left line to get on it quicker.  (Yes- a LINE on Pirates!! LOL)  We sang along, got to see the new effect, and then bee lined it to Fantasyland for a soda at Pinnochios Village Haus.   We headed for the TTA in Tomorrowland, which was INCREDIBLE at night, then rode Carousel of Progress for old times sake.Fl30

As we lined up for the “Memory” show on the Castle, it was a moment of “Wow its crowded.” Now, as a local, I wont do a crowded night again if I don’t have too- it was crazy!!  Humid and crowded doesn’t mix well, but we wanted to see the show so bad and Wishes, so we stayed.  We LOVED the show and Wishes of course made us cry- no shocker there.  As we left with the hoardes of people, we ducked into the Emporium to buy a 2011 magnet to mark our first WDW day and chocolate coins because they are our tradition.FL31

After a long wait for the ferry, the ferry ride, the wait for the tram, the tram ride, then the car ride home… we all collapsed last night with Mickey dreams.

Today was a just a busy day of shopping, more shopping, cable being hooked up, cleaning the pool, and trying to get our rooms in order.  We got our bank in order in Celebration, and decided to stop at the girls schools. Emily’s was huge, and we have a tour for it tomorrow. Kyra’s had their last day today, and we unfortunately ran into a rude woman at the front desk area who refused to give us a tour, not today, but EVER.  Kyra got in the van and wept… my heart broke.  What can or could I do?  I tried to tell her we would work something out, but if you have a child at Celebration High School, I would love any help or advice- thanks!!FL32

So the day went better with cable being turned on, Kyra got to see her boyfriend on our IPhones, and she got to plan out his trip for next month.  I want both kids to be happy, and I am scared they won’t be with the school thing- any prayers or advice helps us greatly.

Tomorrow is tomorrow, no idea what we are doing but Em’s school tour and the bed is showing up.  Stay tuned for more adventures and THANK YOU to each and every one of you for caring and loving us- God bless.

28 Comments »

  1. Amy – I am soooo incredibly happy for you guys…you dared to dream big and look at you! You did it!!! Seriously, I was almost in tears reading your post and feeling your excitement and emotions. Loving all the updates and you taking the time to keep us posted. I am enjoying all the photos you’re posting too, but especially loving the ones of your huge smiles on your faces – warms my heart! Enjoy your new home and may God continue to bless you guys!!! Sending hugs!

  2. Congrats on all you accomplished, I think you did a fabulous job! I’m so sorry for Kyra and the school situation. Nothing like a rude person to pull you back and remind you that not everyone has our Mouse outlook. Oh if only they did, it would make everything go so much smoother. Don’t let that lady ruin it for Kyra, she is just one person. Try again. They won’t all be like her. Call and talk to a counselor or such and schedule something. I’m sure there is a helpful person there! Keep your chin up, afterall you are living your dream!!!

  3. What an amazing journey!
    I’ve followed from the start, haven’t posted much but took in every word.
    Sharing the same dream, I got all emotional when I read about you pulling into the driveway and knowing that you were HOME.
    I am truly happy for all of you and so grateful that you shared your dream with all of us.
    Here’s to making new memories and a lifetime of happiness!

  4. Well thanks for that blog post Amy, I’m now sitting crying at my desk at work!! I’m so happy for you and can hardly believe that a family could be brave enough to make this change to their lives. Congrats again!!
    BTW, have you visited the Celebration History Center? We spent a wonderful day in Celebration last December and the history center is run by some lovely volunteers….they might have some ‘locals’ tips for the Celebration High School ‘issue’ xx

  5. Amy, please tell Kyra not to loose hope. I have put 4 boys through school here in FL from Elementary to High School. Every school does touring differently. Elementary is more open to individual tours and some Middle Schools too, but High Schools are less open for security reasons. But I’ve never seen a school who doesn’t have an official Open House the week before school starts for all students to get their schedules, meet their teachers, and get their school supply lists. Don’t worry, all will be well and progress smoothly. Just ask Kyra to please be patient and she will get her tour. 🙂

  6. OMG! I can’t believe this journey is done! At least the hard part, anyway!! I’m crying as I read this! I’m so happy for you guys! I can’t believe you’re only 5 minutes from Epcot!! That is so cool!!

    I know you’ll have so much fun shopping for all new stuff for your house! I’m kinda nuts but I love moving and decorating a new place! Have fun and keep us posted!!

  7. Wow, just wow! I have been following you along your journey all these months and months and you’re finally here. I am just truly happy and excited for you! I look forward to reading about what’s next for you as you settle in as new FL residents.

  8. Best post EVER!!! Thank you for opening up and sharing your lives with us! It is so fascinating to read your posts and the amazing perspective you have on this entire experience. I can’t wait until our next Disney vacation… we WILL be meeting up!

  9. Love this blog and it really makes it hard to wait another 44 days. 🙂

    As for the school, being the last day it was possible someone was having a bad day and you were “in the wrong place at the wrong time” as far as she was concerned. I’d try scheduling something through the Prinicipal’s office during the time only admin will be in the school. For security reasons many schools now won’t do tours until the school year is over and many also schedule “Open House” days as well. I’m sure all will work out for the best and we will keep you and the family in our prayers.

    Mark.

  10. Tears of course! I’m so happy for you Amy! You definitely deserve profound happiness! I also pray that the school situation gets better! Poor Kyra! I would cry too!

  11. that makes me really sad about the lady at the HS that wouldn’t give a tour to you all. what a welcome there. I am sure it will get better though. But agree with Disneymark above being that it was the last day of school and all but sheesh, you are new to the area and to the school take a few minutes and make people feel welcome. =/

  12. I began reading your post this morning and couldn’t wait to get into my office to finish it! I had been waiting for your cable hook-up. Wow! What a great first day! That is is type of first day I would love to have, when and if my dream to relocate ever comes true. I have so enjoyed your journey and look forward to “The Continuing Adventures of…” Keep all the great advice coming! There are some of us who are chasing dreams. All the best as you continue to settle in and may God bless your home!

  13. Congrats and I’m so jealous. Looking for the info on how you did DMV so quickly. Good for you. You’re going to meet neighbors very soon who will have details on the High school and it’s probably a good school and all will be fine. I’ll bet they’ll walk youthrough when things wind down a bit. I”d give a call to the principal after the last day of their classes.

  14. So thrilled to hear everything went so well!!! Y’all are so blessed and I know you’ll have another dream so very soon. You don’t seem like the type to quit 😉 I’m so happy that things are falling into place and going so well for you guys. I hope the beds and school tour goes well. I can’t begin to imagine what it feels like to be a “local”. How exciting!! We’ll simply have to get together next time I’m down there to say hello 🙂

  15. Well now you’ve got me crying…. 🙂

    Not to state the obvious, but I am so happy your family made it home safely and has enjoyed (most) of your first moments in Florida. We can certainly relate to the “black cloud syndrome,” and I only hope that, should the day come for us to make the move (that’s the plan), it goes so smoothly.

    Now y’all go play — you’ve got a mighty awesome playground to do it in!

  16. I cried as I read your blog today! Our dream of moving to the Orlando, Florida, area is still four years away. I hope my husband and I have as much courage, faith, and perseverance, as you and your beautiful family. I’ll be looking forward to your blog posts about the DMV and anything else that will help us when we become relocated tourists. Love, hugs, and pixie dust!

  17. What an adventure! Hopefully things will get easier. I think for me it would take a long time to get over the fact that I live there not just on vacation. Cant wait to see how you make the house your HOME!!!!!! Hope to see you soon!

  18. I hope everything works out for you all! I have been reading your posts for a while now, and I think you all deserve all of the happiness that you can get. As for the school, at the end of the year, sometimes people can get a little touchy. I am a high school teacher, and it is completely unacceptable for a representative of a school to be so rude to you. Anyway, things will work out, and you can solace yourself with a trip to the Magic Kingdom and some ice cream. My husband and I want to move to Florida too, and reading your posts gives us the courage to keep moving forward to pursue our dreams. Good luck!

  19. Oh, absolutely fabulous hearing about your first days as Floridians! You will love, love, love being here! Congratulations on turning your dreams into reality and may God bless you and your family always. Hope to see you someday at DTD as we routinely make what we lovingly call a “Ghirardelli run.” :o)

  20. Awww lovely post, I’ve been trying to read it all day on my phone between jobs, but enjoyed it so much more in full tonight! Glad ur having a fab time, hope Belle feels better about school soon xx

  21. I cried all the way through this post!! I am so thrilled for you guys and excited to live vicariously through this process with you!!! I hope you have a great week!

  22. Awesome first Florida blog!!!!!! Your house look just like the villas we rent while on vacation there.
    I always told my husband that I wouldn’t mind getting a house in Windsor Hills, or Terra Verde to live in my whole life 🙂

    Can’t wait to see the pictures when you are done decorating.

    Will keep the girls in my prayers and I am sure they both will love their school once they made friends there.

    Can you believe that even people living in the happiest place on earth can be rude??? :))))

  23. Hi!
    I just recently found your blog when looking for some inspiration for my own move to Disney World. Reading about your story, your dream has made me and my husband so excited about doing the same thing. Our story is a little bit different as we are currently international students from Sweden living in Las Vegas and we have tried for a couple of years now to apply to a college in Orlando but something always goes wrong. I can totally relate to that rain cloud feeling. But we continue trying and are right now in the process of getting all of our admission papers approved for the school. Unfortunately today we had a setback with some of the papers and reading about your experience just made me so happy after being depressed the whole day!
    Disney to me stands for happiness, dreams and reaching your goals and every time anything Disney happens I feel that way. I now can include your blog into that category because it makes me feel the same way. It makes me happy, makes me dream and inspires me to reach toward my goals! Thank you and your whole family for that!
    Looking forward to the next post!

  24. wow Amy,

    I can say I am so overwhelmed with emotions reading this, I just not explain to you how moved I am everytime I read a post. You are so real & transparent and I so love you for that. You share so much of your excitedment and joy but at the same time you have a way of keeping it so grounded!

    Love you guys!
    Shelley

  25. One word comes to mind: Bravo! Bravo for making it. Bravo for having dinner at your family’s favorite resort on your first night. Bravo for not wasting any time getting those AP’s and putting them to good use.

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