Thoughts on the “No Smoking” Ban and Stroller Restrictions starting Tomorrow

rsz_1img_0715When Disney announced a couple of weeks ago that they would be banning all smoking from it’s Parks and restricting it to the outside of the Park entrances only, I was THRILLED.   I am one of many that gets sick from the smell, and yes, I try to avoid the Cancer corners as much as possible. Going into effect tomorrow, this should be interesting since I have yet to meet a smoker who was happy to be asked to move or smoke elsewhere.  No, really. I have seen them, like all of you have, randomly lighting up anywhere in the Parks. Now I understand that many of our friends are from other Countries where they may be permitted to smoke anywhere they want. But that being said, I have never understood why someone’s bad habit needs to be in my lungs and affect my health. Not ok.  I bite my nails on occasion, it’s my bad habit, it doesn’t affect you. Now if I ran up and started to bite YOUR nails, you may not be to happy either.  Besides with all of the children around, we can do better and give them a healthier environment.  (Cue everything else unhealthy in the Parks comments now).

Speaking of kids…the strollers. This one I know is touchy with many tourists and I GET IT. I had babies brought to Disney World, helped friends with theirs, I KNOW that the stroller is LIFE in those Parks in which everything you need lives in.  BUT as the other side of that coin, the traveler who is by herself and is minding her own business, I have watched the strollers get bigger and bigger and bigger.  I can’t even begin to tell you what my brain tries to process when I see these large wagons getting onto a packed monorail…I actually feel bad for the parents.  They are trying to contain their little humans in an occupied and comfortable space, but when they practically take up the floor space of one Monorail cab…me thinks it may be time to downsize the limo.  I think the one that actually took me off guard was the mini Cinderella Coach model in MK one night.  All I kept thinking was “HOW IN THE WORLD DID THEY TRANSPORT THIS BACK AND FORTH TO THE HOTEL??” I know that these companies move some of them, but I am sure that Disney has wrestled with this gator for awhile.  I hear all the time “Disney was made for families” – well yes and no. It’s made for everyone, family or not.  And I know that EVERYONE should be able to enjoy it, but I feel like at the end of the day it’s more work for those parents to be pushing or pulling a larger model.  I guess we are going to find out.

I feel that I can predict a lot of “I smoked here yesterday” or “I did last trip here” conversations or even possibly angry shouting. I mean are they seriously going to make them walk from let’s say from near Norway to the front or the back entrance of Epcot? Who are these BRAVE Cast Members? Can we give them a hug or medal tomorrow? I can’t even imagine Guest Relations tomorrow…it’s going to be like the “Upside-Down” in “Stranger Things.”

Strollers? I am curious how they are going to police this one. Maybe at Security? Someone has a measuring tape? That won’t hold up the lines AT ALL…… Maybe they will get smart and have a large strollers line so that they can check them, kind of like luggage at the airport.  Resorts would be smart to stop them there first, save the parents the “What do we do now” when they are denied the stroller they brought with them.  I could see them comping people with a nice hard plastic Disney stroller- complimentary love bugs included. (Yep, they’re heeeeeeeere). Between the Studios Anniversary tomorrow and all these rules starting, should make for some interesting daytime fireworks.

Stay tuned and let me know your thoughts on this in the comments below or on the Facebook page.

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Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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Keep the Memories, Ditch the Rest

Back in 2011, those who followed us from the beginning know we had an “Epic Garage Sale” which you can read and see here.  https://relocatedtourist.com/2011/05/21/our-epic-garage-sale/

First move, we had decided to get rid of a good 85% of our belongings so we didn’t have to move it all to Florida. Now in hindsight, I will say taking everything we had in just two vehicles was definitely a sense of freedom I had never felt before.  Things tie you down more than you realize, so having little to move was awesome. So that was the good part. The bad part was that when we arrived to our new sunny state home, we had nothing to start with out the gate.  I think we unpacked in under an hour, it was a wall full of bins.  We had to start from scratch, which we had saved for, but the downside was that it was a pain to spend so much time traveling and shopping.  We didn’t know the area at all, so it was a lot of trial and error with different stores. We found a furniture place near the FL Mall that we bought our couches from that TO THIS DAY we think was a con, scam, something shady since they were literally gone the Monday after we had shopped there. So yeah, beware of the “too good to be true” deals. My sofa probably “fell of a truck.”

Second move, back to WI, we tried out “PODS.” Again we cleaned out our home, purged about 50% of our stuff this time so that everything fit into their largest model.  Going back we knew where the furniture stores were and what was available- it wasn’t this question like it was coming to Florida.  I knew I could hit up the garage sales and thrift stores for the smaller stuff and pay much less than to move it. Besides, I like change.

Third move, back to Florida, we purged my apartment and a house full of stuff about 50%. We used “PODS” again (Which I would NEVER USE AGAIN) and packed it full to the point we couldn’t fit our sectional- BUT we got the recliner in.  Mattresses, dining set, bins, clothes, scrapbooks, electronics, kitchen appliances, washer and dryer, these were things that went back and forth with us every time.

What I learned is that you have to be reasonable with yourself on what you will NEED the minute you land in your new pad.  You should have a bin filled with toilet paper, paper towels, kleenex, cleaning wipes, paper plates, silverware, cups, your coffee maker, one frying pan and sauce pan, garbage bags, scissors, tablecloth, snacks, a plug-in (in case it smells off), and any other essential you can think of. With every move, we were exhausted from the drive.  It is so much easier to open the ONE bin that has the necessary stuff right away so you can take a breath before you unpack than digging into the nightmare that is the car, truck, or POD.

Of course it cost us money to move every time, but I think we broke even with move two and three. If we had rented another unit, it would have cost us more than the price of the sectional. We took our chances and got an affordable couch here which has worked out fine. Trust me, we have gotten really good at moving. We see a move as a chance to clean out our home, get rid of the clutter and noise that we don’t use and just move on.  We may buy it back down the road, we may never again- that’s the beauty of it.

Keep the memories, ditch the rest.

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Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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When is Enough, Enough?

rsz_img_0385So on our family vacations, we had a shopping rule. As we all know, kids, heck adults as well (ya’ll can put your hands down now) go crazy over the merchandise.  There is something about that T-Shirt that has your favorite ride, that bag that has your favorite character, or the allure of just “having” that exclusive item.  We would tell the kids that we would make them a deal- they can window shop all they wanted during the course of our vacation, but they couldn’t buy anything until the last day. Then we would hit Springs (Downtown Disney/Disney Marketplace then) for a fun and deserved shopping spree.  What we found, trip after trip, was the disappearance of the impulse buy and more thought out purchases.  It would be discussed during that week “that if you got this, you wouldn’t be able to afford that.”  We wanted the kids to think about what they really wanted. And honestly it was fun to see what we brought back and what has stood the test of time since moving here.

One of the biggest challenges I have had living near the Theme Parks is just that, the merch.  I do pretty well on avoiding looking as much as possible because I just know that I will want it.  Problem is, is that after awhile you have hundreds of t-shirts, bags, vinylmations, pins, collectibles, prints, popcorn buckets, and so on.  I have noticed that it happens around the Festivals and Anniversaries the most.  I would buy a couple things at RunDisney events, and ride openings are always a fun one, but again, I found myself wondering where it ends.  The lines were time spent, the merch was money spent, and the stress of getting some of them in the first place was sanity spent.  And you all know what I’m talking about if you have ever been to the first hour of the first day of an event/festival/etc- it’s usually chaos.

Now I wear the heck out of my Disney shirts, and if you have followed my journey since 2009, you know that I wore them whether I lived in WI or in FL.  I just own so many now since living here that I think I’m at a point that I could wear one each day for the entire summer and never have to do the wash until Fall. That being said, as I have gotten older, I am trying to purge what I don’t need and give more thought to my purchases.  I have been on board with this “Minimalize your life” movement where less is more.  I have relatives who are hoarders, and I can’t stand it- I don’t want temporary joy for permanent stress. And if people like it, so be it, not here to tell anyone not too, it’s just something I am trying to move away from for my sanity.  Going out to eat, adventures on the road, a walk in the Parks, etc- the challenge is to spend money on activities, experiences, and connections OR save it for the next journey. To come away with nothing in your pocket, but be filled with a happy heart and soul. And maybe a few hundred pics on your phone…hey, I’m human.

The Reality of Living Near the Fantasy… Part Nine

The Weather

One of the biggest selling points on living in Florida, is of course, the weather. Sunny skies and warm temperatures seem like an amazing deal. I was one of the many who left the cold weather climates because I was sick of the nail biting cold and dismal, grey days.  I didn’t mind the snow, until a blizzard hit and it would take hours to dig out and get anywhere.  It was just part of life in the Midwest.

But what I wasn’t ready for here was the lightning, the downpours, the hurricanes, and the headache inducing humidity.  Let me start with the lightning- it actually scares me. I watched a story on “Dateline” where a woman was just watching tv in her home and was struck by lightning through her roof.  Couple that with living in the lightening capital of the World, it makes for some anxiety filled moments when a storms passes over.

The downpours are honestly more scary while driving on I4 or 27 because they come on fast and when you have a mixture of tourists and yourself driving-  some have the knee jerk reaction to hit the brakes instead of just slowing down.  Out and about in the Parks, basically April through September, I carry an umbrella on me. Showers come quick and go through just as fast, so at least they don’t linger a majority of the time.

The hurricanes.  I survived my first official one which was Hurricane “Irma” back in 2017.  I knew eventually we would deal with one, and I saw first hand the chaos in the stores, the panic as it got closer, getting our survival kits together, and then we just sat and waited.  By far the worst part was just sitting in our home and waiting for it to finally get there.  It had turned at one point and the eye came right over the top of us, the wind slammed our home hard, the shingles sounded like they were being pulled off one by one, and we just prayed.  Clearly my family and I made it through…still scary. Now compared to tornadoes that I have been through in WI? Tornadoes come up on you pretty quickly there, and it’s about basements and radios at that point.  Here there are no basements, which honestly I hate. The whole “Jump in the bath tub” never makes me feel safe or secure.  The irony is that even as I write this, WE ARE UNDER A TORNADO WATCH. The news has been telling us all week that bad storms are to hit today, and they tell you in weeks, almost months, for the hurricanes to watch for. So I will give it to the News here, they are on it. Now, if they could install a tornado siren in my neighborhood, that would be great. They don’t have many in FL, if at all in my area.

The humidity seems to affect me only when it has slowed down or ramped up. During the winter months it’s still there, but usually on the low side. Once it kicks in again with full steam, my head feels like it’s going to explode.  It’s a weird headache that no Excederin will get rid of for me, completely frustrating and life interrupting. And of course doing anything outside the home for long periods of time during the summers has to be done early morning or evening so you don’t get heatstroke. I’m sure people get used to living in the tropics here, but I definitely miss the change and excitement of the Seasons.  It’s just felt like one really, really long summer here. If you have any health issues that heat and humidity will agitate more, I would avoid living here at all costs.  Again, just my two cents.

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Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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The Reality of Living Near the Fantasy…Part Eight

The Cost of Living.

I think the scariest thing when you first graduate High School and College is getting your first place. My first place I got a roommate in which I think I kicked in $200 for my share of the rent in an upper apartment, affordable right? Craig and I marry and we rent our first place which was around $350 for a 2 bedroom lower floor apartment.  As time grew, as well as our family, we would bounce to duplexes and then land on buying our first home. One income, one baby, and we were able to afford out first 3 bedroom home for around $80,000 which came to be like a $750 house payment including our taxes.  THAT is Wisconsin prices for you… allowing many to have the dream of having a home at all.

Now as the years have piled up, we sold, we rented again and have just kept renting because we enjoy changing it up. When we headed to Florida in 2011, our first home rental was for $1175 which was 3 bedrooms with a pool and fairly decent yard- no utilities or lawn/pool care included.  It was affordable for our start here.  We would move to a nicer suburb where our rent jumped another $700 for an additional bedroom and more square footage.  The extra space was great, but with more space, comes more too cool.  Our electric bill was ungodly during the summer months- we found ourselves with more rent, electric bills that were out of control, and a water bill that we had to make peace with since we now ran a hot tub that came with our pool. Yes, we barely run the heat here, but it does happen on occasion.  Even with budget billing, we were on the high end. It’s stuff you don’t really think about until you get the bill.

Just some numbers….the cost of living in Central Florida is 112% of the National average, cost of housing is 122%, cost of transportation is 128% and utilities is 102%.  (According to bestplaces.net)

I honestly don’t know how the younger ones can afford a life here. I know for a fact that my kids can’t afford to live on their own, and even if they did together, they would probably need at least 2 more roommates.  There aren’t a huge amount of apartments here that are in the affordable range- the oldest ones are usually taken or in a really rough area, which means you are left with the brand news ones being built. Brand new 2 bedroom apartments out by me will cost you $1500 and higher.  People are flocking to live here, so they don’t need to keep the prices cheap.

Several of my kid’s friends have two or more jobs to just afford their bills. Can you imagine? To live in this area filled with non-stop fun and action just to work yourself to the bone and be teased by things you can never do?   Jobs don’t pay high here, the median income in most areas is around $40,000 for each household.  So keep that in mind if you want to come here, then find work, then a home, and so on and still be able to afford the extras of park passes and merchandise, festivals and fairs, concerts, gas to get too all the fun stuff, and so on. It CAN be done, it’s just not cheap.

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Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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The Reality of Living Near the Fantasy… Part Six

The Crime.

Let me preface this by saying I am fully aware that crime can happen, and does happen, everywhere you live. But let’s not kid ourselves, this State is literally known for the infamous “Florida Man.” If you don’t know who or what that means, it’s basically a reference point to every stupid, idiotic thing you can think of in the crime circuit committed by a man, or I suppose woman, in the lovely sunny state of FL. I don’t know if it’s the heat that get’s to people, the tourists, or just where our World is headed, but it feels like we got the best of the best down here.  I mean right before writing this I read a story this morning about a man who was going around shooting a water gun filled with his own urine at passing strangers. WHAT??? Honestly as this point, if it isn’t committed by Florida Man, I am shocked.

I was raised by a strong father who didn’t want me to ever get caught off guard. He taught me to always be aware of my surroundings, to have my keys ready in my hand, and if something didn’t feel right to get out or away from the situations as quickly as possible.   So several months ago, I was driving down 27 and heading to Wal-Mart.  It was a typical Fl day, lots of traffic, and I saw that this car kept trying to cut me off as I made my way to the Store.   Once I parked, he parked very close to me, which I was good and ready to tell him or her off on their driving. I get out of the car and it was a man, who approaches me and feeds me some bs line like “I saw you in traffic, you are so pretty.” Not only did he catch me off guard, but my blood that was boiling at this driver turned cold as ice as I felt like something bad was going to happen.  I smiled and started to slowly jog past several rows of cars while calling my husband, in fear this guy would be waiting for me when I came back out.  What I think was about to happen was that I was being vetted for human trafikking, and it’s a very serious issue right now in Florida. This didn’t feel like a friendly encounter, and I made sure to watch my back as I left with my items that day. He wasn’t there, but now I feel like I am being watched constantly any time I go to that parking lot.

I know that people are thinking “Why would anyone want to live in FL?” For the most part, you don’t know what you don’t know. Our first time around didn’t have near the amount of traffic, over development, and clearly over population. And most can’t just pick up and move, so you make the best of it. I think everyone here thinks “Please let it not be me” and goes about their day as best they can. Of course I get nervous when the bank down the road gets robbed, or I hear ambulances non-stop during the day.  I do my best, I drive as careful as I can, and I try to make good choices on when I do things outside the home. I can tell you that I rarely head out on my own at night, and I am in constant contact with my family when I am out during the day.

Recently I had been running my favorite area… alone in my thoughts and trying not to die as usual. A White, unmarked van passed me, turned around about a half mile from me, and came past me again, this time slowing down.  I reached in and grabbed my mace so he knew I wasn’t playing around. He sped off, just to turn around AGAIN in which I watched him as he drove by again- this time I was on the phone with my hubby. Craig came over and sat in his car and watched me while I ran until I was done.  The pic I took to get the plate was blurry, so I didn’t have much to tell the cops even if I had called. I didn’t see him again, but I knew it was trouble since where I was running has nothing but farms around. I know of runners who have been killed in the Orlando area…its honestly a sick and sad day when you can’t just relax and go for a run.

My advice is to take it very seriously while living here, heck while you are on vacation as well. I can only imagine that Orlando as a whole is a thief’s paradise…just the stuff left alone in strollers in the Parks make me cringe. Also watch when you are in vacation mode and shopping here…so many in that carefree space that it can make you a prime target to be approached. Please be safe everyone.

Donations for Content

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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The Reality of Living Near the Fantasy…Part Four

The Over-development Syndrome.

When we moved here in 2011, the suburb we had found was already built, really no room to add on too. Large front lawns and long driveways, it was a nice lot size you had to yourself. But as we found out, you can find a nice suburb already built, but that doesn’t mean the surrounding area can’t be.  In our first area, a large water park, vacation home mega-plex was born…and it made a two lane road a living nightmare.

It seems to be a sickness here that they can’t build more enough, fast enough, high enough, and you can forget about leaving a tree here or there to actually enjoy. No they bulldoze them all and then bring back different ones to plant….I mean, what??? Condos, townhomes, and vacation homes seem to find their way to every nook and cranny of space that we had left in our area.  I don’t care if they want to build, kudos to knowing the market. Why it’s annoying is that we don’t have the infrastructure to support it not only here in my area, but most of Central Florida.  For every new occupied unit and home, you are looking at an average of 2 or more cars to each of them. When I see a development going up, I get incredibly triggered because I know there are probably 300 or more new cars that will be coming on the already congested highways and toll roads. Commuting here is already a living nightmare…it will only get worse.

It seems a lot of the problem is that these developers come in from other Countries, buy up a piece of land, choose their house, hotel, whatever to land on it (Kind of like Monopoly) and then collect the checks without ever living here. Why that is a problem is that they aren’t seeing the stress of the roads that surround their new structures, or the traffic flow problems…they don’t have to deal with it so why would they bother caring.

More housing brings more people, which brings more traffic, which brings more road rage and accidents, which brings everyone stress, which then inevitably creates a hostile and overpopulated daily life. Not “magical” at all.

Let me end with this, I KNOW there are some of you who have dreamed of living here, currently moving here, etc.. and I am here just telling you my side of things, my story.  I think it is critically important to hear the good with the bad so that you can have a clear perspective… no one likes a blindside, unless you are on “Survivor.”

Donations for Content

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

$5.00