My Side of Town

I had a request to write up a blog post about my area of town, so here is a peak into my life on this end of Orlando. Enjoy!

My address is Kissimmee, but why it is, I will never understand. I am sandwiched between Celebration, Reunion, and Champions Gate.  The actual city of Kissimmee isn’t found for another 17 miles down the road. Now we have been told we are on the farthest end of Orlando you can get, which I LOVE, because for the most part, we are actually not in the heart of the tourist area.  Between Disney World and Universal ironically is the highest point of traffic, for good reason, and then it just gets crazier and busier once you get closer to the downtown area.  We are South of WDW, so I feel we live on the quieter side, if there is such a thing.

I also feel that as much of a pain the toll roads are to pay for, they are peaceful and easy to drive.  We live a stones throw away from 429, and 417 is just up the road on Interstate 4.  429 gets me to and from Interstate 4 quickly, the Florida Turnpike on the other side, but it does NOT connect.  Yeah, they made 417 and 429 TO connect, as they both circle around Orlando, yet the engineers dropped the ball on this one.  I know from my end, it’s not that far from 429 to 417, but I’m not sure about the other side.  Now we use 417 all the time to get to MCO (Airport), John Young Parkway, Orange Blossom Trail, and to the Airport in Sanford.  It is also my quickest route to a Kohl’s store, but the now $4.00 in tolls it will cost me one way to just go shopping has me driving the other way to a different Kohl’s in Clermont.

We love that we are on this end also because we are closer to the more calmer cities that we find shopping to be delightful in, most of the time.   Highway 27 is where I frequent the Wal-Mart for my grocery needs, and further down I shop at Kohl’s and several outlet Malls. It also now home to a good friend, so it’s great to have several close friends near our house now. Mom and I found several small thrift shops on 27 going towards Interstate 4, nothing to write home about, but they were there. I also found that I enjoyed going to the quieter cities to shop and not have to worry about the craziness that the tourist areas can bring, it is nice once and awhile.  The area we LIVE in is quiet, the shopping areas on 192 aren’t.

Ronald Reagan Expressway is how I get to and from the small string of stores behind me.  I was thrilled beyond belief when I was showed the back way to get to this area and not have to touch a highway. ANY TIME a local can avoid 192 or 4, we will do it!  Back here I have my Target, Book Store, Dollar Store, Pet Store, and Michaels.  Michaels is critical for my crocheting needs and the kids love it for their art projects. Now this area never is really busy, which is what I LOVE about it. In this same area of town I found my first real Post Office, one not run in a strip mall, but the real deal.

Osceola Polk Line Road takes us around 192 on the other side, which turns into John Young Parkway. It is our version of a short-cut to avoid going from stop light to stop light on 192, and the speed limit back here is 55.  This is what we take to get to downtown Kissimmee, where I went for Jury Duty. It is also the same route to get to the Virtual School Administration Building and the Arena that Kyra graduated in. Ultimately, in some way, they call connect or find each other… I just haven’t found all of the easy routes yet.

I don’t really use Interstate 4 for anything longer than hopping on and off to and from school and Disney. We don’t have to  be on it for either one, but it’s faster and we avoid the Disney traffic on 192. And the only real time I am on 192 is if I am meeting up with someone, or we are heading to Disney World, which again, I am on for less the 2 minutes before I am driving under that beloved “Welcome to WDW” archway.  The longest we are on 4 for is Universal, Sea World, Outlet Malls, and my beloved IKEA. Yes, IKEA is worth the torture of Interstate 4.  Trust me- thems some good meatballs!

Schools- it took me a good 10 minutes to get the girls to school in Celebration this past year, and it will take me a bit longer for Kyra going to College.  Westside is the other choice in this area, but it is just as far, if not farther than Celebration. We had to school choice Emily in because Westside is her ZONED school, whereas Kyra was zoned for Celebration High School.  I know, it’s wonky.  You have the lovely option of 4 or 192 to get to Celebration, or 192 and Funie Steed Road for Westside.  P.S. I LOVE Funie Steed Road- it is now my official short cut to Wal-Mart on 27.

The biggest thing I found when you relocate is that you want to be as close as possible to a grocery store, gas station, and fast food place. You may laugh about the last one, but when you have been shopping all day for your new home, or looking for a job and no one wants to cook, it is VITAL to have a Mickey D’s somewhere nearby.  We were blessed to have all three located right behind us in Reunion.  When we first got here, we ran to the gas station on 192 all the time, and it was packed with tourists. We knew that wasn’t going to last, so then Craig found the entire area behind us and it was like Heaven had opened its gates.  It’s quiet, open, and beautiful back there.   We even have found a favorite tradition of grabbing Dunkin Donuts on pay day as a way to start of the day – (We didn’t have them in Appleton.)

All of the major Malls are a good 30 minutes from us, which is ok because I don’t need to be there all the time. You need to be near things you will use on a daily and weekly basis- don’t bank somewhere that is across town because when you need to get there fast for an issue, you now have to deal with the time and traffic.  Same thing goes for looking for a job, healthcare facility, school and so on.  We are fortunate to be near pretty much everything we need, and a couple things that will take some time and patience to get to. I used to sulk that I missed just driving over to my Mall in Appleton, but then I had a reality check and I don’t have the money, time, or need to go there as much anymore. It is truly a gift from God when you can get clarity on something that is bothering you that really has no merit in the true scheme of life. Besdies, I live near Disney World… who needs the Mall?

I live in a quiet suburb where I walk with Craig and the kids all the time. I love the big yards and nice neighbors. I love the fact that we can swim whenever we want in the privacy of our own pool, and a patio we can cook out on whenever we darn well please.  I enjoy this area because nothing is cooler than hearing Wishes and Illuminations at night, and seeing hot air balloons in the morning.  So if you ask me, do you like your side of town? Heck yeah I do!

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12 thoughts on “My Side of Town

  • I love my side of town too! I’m west of Orlando, literally in Cinderella’s backyard. We are in a nice quiet area like you and we watch Wishes from our front yard every night. I simply cannot imagine living anywhere else. I’m VERY glad we made the move and you inspired me to just do it. So thank you!! Thank you very much.

    ~Cindy

    • Let’s!
      I’ll PM my cell # to you on facebook and you can let me know a time that works for you. I’m busy with an out-of-state guest and school registration this week, but hoping life slows down a bit after that. 🙂

      BTW, my formal name is Lucinda but I go by Cindy.

  • Great post as usual, Amy!!! When we moved to Florida in 2003, we had 2 requirements for relocation 1) Be near water and 2) Be near enough to Disney to do day trips. Bradenton, for us, was the answer. While we don’t have the tourist traffic that the center of the state has, we have snow bird traffic in the winter (October to April), spring break traffic (March and April) and vacationers (May – August). We are 10 minutes from the gulf and an easy drive (about 1-3/4 hours) from Disney. We also love the weather over here – it is about 5-10 degrees cooler than the middle of the state and there is ALWAYS a breeze off the gulf. If someone is contemplating a move to Paradise, it is important to sit down and list exactly what is important to you and what you are looking for in the move.

    • Wow Marilyn isnt Bradenton nice. When I lived in Sarasota I used to install boatdocks along the Bradenton river. My brother still lives in Sarasota (since 89) we moved back to Indiana in 93. I long to return, so after the kids are out of school I will be back to live there and enjoy my Disney passion..Dizneydad Paul,Indiana
      Great post Amy, it is what you make it………

  • Amy, I live close to you (up 192 near 4 corners) and didnt know we had a bookstore anywhere around here, or a Michaels. That was nice to see. Would love for you to message me and let me know where they are and name of bookstore. I could use some craft items from Michaels too as I am not really impressed with the JoAnns down on 192 other direction.

  • OH I wish !! Sounds wonderful and what a great thing to have the joy of hot air balloons in the morning and fireworks at night ! We are in Staten Island in NYC so it can be a loud place I am lucky to live on a nice quiet block but I would love to wake up and be able to run to WDW !! … Told hubby if I ever hit the big lotto I am going to buy one of those Golden Oak houses by Disney ! A girl can dream right !!

  • It is funny to realize just how big the Orlando area is. I lived in Celebration for about 6 months and the area you’re describing doesn’t sound familiar at all — I must have never made my way over there! Celebration does have a very cute, non-strip mall post office with good hours if you are over that way — love the Michael Graves-designed building!

    It was almost a game for me to get around town without getting on I-4. It really isn’t a bad road, but I am a city girl and hadn’t driven in a long time before I ended up in FL. Even on my trips to IKEA, I always took the “scenic” route 😉 Unfortunately, most of my driving was done on 192. I was heading down to Give Kids The World daily, so no other way to do it (though there is a little short cut by turning onto Poinciana).

    I miss hearing Disney fireworks at night….very special 🙂

  • We just came back from staying at the Reunion resort. Couldn’t believe the size of the grasshoppers! My wife couldn’t wait to check out Publix LOL. Great area. Close to all.

  • Here’s a little point for those contemplating a move (Marilyn’s post brought it to mind when she mentioned being near water as an important factor in choosing a location). There is no location in Florida that is more than 70 miles from the coast — but “coast” does not necessarily mean “beach.”

  • I cannot say anough about where I live. I live in Indiana south of Ft Wayne about 45 miles. I have 5 acres, a huge backyard and nothing behind me for 1/2 mile. I grew up just a mile away and returned after the military. I lived in Florida for about 2 years but the wife was missing family so we moved back. I just love Florida, the weather, and DISNEY. You are living a dream Amy, most only dream and some are doers. Thanks for the great times and info. Hope to meet up on one of our trips down there. I will be a future return resident in about 10 years.
    Dizneydad Paul, Indiana

  • We have about 10 more months until we move. I think we’re narrowing down the area we want to focus on to the Champions gate/four corners/Davenport area. I’m glad you love the area you live in and I hope we have the same luck!!!