Thursday, September 11, 2008

Blog Around The World...Welcome to Central Florida!!

Welcome BATW travellers!!!






I'm so excited to have extra visitors today!! You've picked a wonderful time of year to come visit. The weather is cooling off (a little) and there are no hurricanes this week (BONUS!) I live in Central Florida...which encompasses a large area:



Since I have limited knowledge of ALL of Central Florida and there are many more Florida bloggers to come, I am going to concentrate on the Orlando area. And no, my post will not be all about this guy:


or this place:
or this place:





I'm not a Florida native (native?! what's a Florida native?!...they seem to be far and few between), I'm originally from Delaware. I moved here via Washington state via Delaware via Virginia via Delaware...it seems a little unsettled, but I've been here since 1996. I was quickly informed by authentic southerns (i.e. those not from Florida) that Florida is not really the south (primarily because most of the people residing in Florida are from up north). In my mind, however, I am living in the south and there are many things I enjoy about the south...warm weather in the fall and winter, sweet tea, manners (though with all the northerners here, that is sometimes lacking) and friendliness. Things I miss from where I'm originally from...leaves changing in the fall, snow (okay, so I can see pictures to handle that craving), being so close to other states (it took 15 minutes from my home in Delaware to be in PA, MD, or NJ!). I'm not looking to leave anytime soon, I've acclimated quite nicely to life in central Florida flaws and all...(read: hurricanes, 2000 election). One of the nice things of living in Florida is that people love to visit...see the 3 pictures above for the reasons...



On the attractions: Before I moved here, I thought I would be at the theme parks every weekend and would have season passes to all of them. The truth is, I might go down to the attractions 4 times a year - tops. I rarely venture past downtown Orlando...there's just no need (plus who needs that tourist traffic - no offense visitors, but it's hard to keep your eyes on the road when there's so many attractions to see!!). I did splurge this year and got season passes for Disney and Sea World (I still don't use them like I should!). Florida residents do get a slight discount at Disney (not much!), a better one at Universal (notice I wasn't the bargain hunter in this scenario), Sea World is the most expensive daily ticket price, but they do have a deal that you pay for one day and come back for the rest of the year free (they also allow you to breakdown the cost into monthly payments). Hint to visitors...best time of year to visit: September and October...weather is good and little to no lines. Worst time of the year to visit, Christmas followed by Easter and Thanksgiving.



On the hurricanes: Hurricane season begins June 1st and ends November 30th; though it doesn't seem to affect us until around August. In BC times (before Charley), I paid no heed to the hurricane warnings or preparation guidelines. Then the 2004 hurricane season hit:




Now, I'm not necessary a Nervous Nelly, but I am much more aware of what's going on in the Atlantic!! I know what the reliable weather websites are and when to get out of Dodge!!



More on the Weather: Summers can be quite intense...the hot weather starts in April and goes until the end of September. There is high humidity and thunder storms most afternoons...you get used to it and you spend most of the time in air conditioning or in a pool!! The rest of the year is GORGEOUS!!! It's warm with low humidity...we do have about 7-10 days a year when it gets a bit chilly 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit on average. There are always a couple nights with freeze warnings, but that's about it for our winter.



On the creatures: Lizards, lizards everywhere...you step outside and they scatter. Most of the time I forget they're around until an out-of-towner freaks out, makes a comment about them, or my middle child Emmy begs for the umpteenth time to have one as a pet. Our lovely insect population is THRIVING; everyone in Florida has a bug guy 'cause if you don't, you'll soon have new, 6-legged roommates...can everyone say "Cockroaches" ?! Florida insects love to come in and visit especially after a lot of rain (see above for weather...rains.everyday.in.the.summer!!!). Again, you get desensitized, you put the poor creature out of it's misery and put a call into the bug guy. Oh, and we got some leg-challenged creatures...SNAKES! Click here to read about the many varieties. We usually just see these guys, Black Racers...harmless, abundant and loooonnnng!!



and our most famous creature...the ALLIGATOR. They say that there are alligators in every body of water in Florida...is this true? I don't know and I don't want to find out! One little piece of trivia I picked up from a recent trip to the Everglades is Gators like marshmallows...honest!



On the cost of living: When I moved to Florida in the mid-nineties, we always heard that it was such a bargain to live in Central Florida. You could buy a nice "starter home" or whatever you wish to call them for about $100,000 or under. Which sounds like a great bargain, however, the pay scales are much less down here than up north so it's all relative. What really hurt was the real estate boom a few years ago hit us just like the rest of the country and house prices skyrocketed (unfortunately, salaries did not). We had a bunch of companies buying apartment complexes and upgrading them into Condos...pretty soon there were no rentals for people. It was getting very difficult for families starting off to get into one of the starter homes for less than $275,000. The real estate slump has now hit here also...I now live in a house that is worth $70,000 less than when we bought it in 2006...again, it's all relative because we're not planning on moving anytime soon.


On the Beach: If you head toward the East, you hit the Atlantic in about 45 minutes...New Smyrna Beach, Ormond Beach, Daytona Beach...lots of choices! If you head West, you'd hit the gulf coast in about 2 hours. Also, off toward the East, there's Cape Canaveral near Cocoa Beach and you know what that means...no not Jeannie...NASA. It's a neat experience to be able to actually see the space shuttle go up...during the day or at night. On the flip slide, I'm not a big fan of shuttle landings...the Sonic Booms always make me jump and a lot of times there are early morning landings scheduled...Sonic boom+dead sleep = horrific way to wake up!!


There are a lot of smaller cities surrounding Orlando and many different choices of communities in which to raise your family. We really enjoy the community that we have chosen for our family; there are lots of things to do, lots of places to see and visit. When I was trying to figure out how to end this post, I verbalized to my husband and my eldest daughter the block I was having. My daughter said, "Central Florida is great to live in because it's Cool!" When I asked her why it was so cool, she said, "I don't know, it's because it is..." There you have it, my sentiments exactly, I can't pinpoint one specific reason that I enjoy where we are, it's just a compilation of things that makes it right for us.



Well, thanks for traveling down to see us today...come back and visit anytime!!!











67 comments:

Lynda said...

Wow! You hosted a really nice tour! My mom lives in Destin, so that's about all the FL experience I have - thanks for sharing. Oh, and I am here via BATW and Texas - excellent job!

Shannon said...

Great job, Kelly!

Ooo... I could do with out the snakes! Lizards I can handle... but not the snakes! YIKES!

HeathahLee said...

That was a great post! I loved the picture of the 2004 hurricane season. I had three aunts living in central Florida at the time and they got so sick of dodging hurricanes they packed up and moved back to Mississippi!

BTW, thanks for your comment on my BATW post!

chellekay said...

thanks for the tour it made me miss living there for a minute.

Gramma 2 Many said...

Nice tour, I really enjoyed it. Lived in Georgia for four years. Can't say I miss the humidity or the bugs. Georgians also say that Florida is not Southern, because all of the Northeners have moved down and displaced the true Floridians.
Have a happy BATW day.

Andrea said...

Ok, now see, this is just too weird. Your from Wa State? Me too (Spokane) You lived in Delaware? Me too (Newark/Bear) That's just kind of freaky.

Nice to learn about Florida (having only been there once). It did reconfirm I have no desire to live there -beautiful as the place and weather may be! Snakes, alligators and hurricanes - No Thanks!

Frizzy and Bird said...

Thanks for sharing. Florida is a wonderful and beautiful state filled with God's abundance of creatures and beauty. Enjoy your BATW day! It goes by fast.

American in Norway said...

I keep BEGGING Bjørn to let us buy a house or condo in Fl... just think... I could be over at your house All...the .... time.... (watch bill cringe..)

Super post...I want a trip to FL anyway...but this just makes it that much worse!

DYSFUNCTIONAL MOM said...

(1) I'm a native Floridian, and Florida IS the South. The only people who say it isn't, are non-Floridians!
(2) Yes, there really can be alligators in ANY body of fresh water around here....so watch out!

Keeper of the Skies Wife said...

Hi from Arkansas.
You guys and those creatures. I can only visit...I' be too freaked to live there. Thanks for the great tour!

Brenda Jean said...

Alligators...shiver. Being from Michigan I'm not used to exotic critters. Sandhill cranes in my yard is about as crazy as it gets for me. Snakes don't bother me, unless they are poisonous. OUCH!

Patti said...

Great tour of Florida!!

Missy said...

Wow! Wonderful job - I felt like I was on a tour bus! As frequent Florida visitor - you had everything down! But next - warn us before you post a snake pic! Scary!!!!!!!!!!

Becky Welch said...

Great job of giving us a tour of Florida!! Hope you had a great birthday and have a wonderful BATW day!

Melissa B. said...

Hey there, Bloggy Friend! Coming at ya from BATW. Thanks so much for the tour. I really love your state--even the gigendous Palmetto Bugs!

Debbie said...

Wow Kelly that was a great tour! The Florida Dept of Tourism owes you big...because all those bugs and critters would keep me home...until you mention the fabulous weather and all the things you can do down there! Enjoy!

Leslie said...

I used to be a Floridian, over 20 years worth. And I did take one of the natives with me when I left. (My mother) She followed me to AZ, and then I left her there. (meanie huh?) Anyway, enjoyed your post. Don't miss the bugs. ;)

Jennifer said...

That was a great write-up Kelly! i have been to Florida many times and enjoy it. I like the idea of all the lizards--but not so much the bugs--or the snakes!!

lynn said...

Hello from Wisconsin! Hope you are enjoying your BATW day! I love visiting FL but not sure I could handle living there with all those creatures! Heading down in November for a cruise, can't wait!

Kat said...

I was born in Florida - Central Florida - in Winter Park, just outside of Orlando. And my husband tells me all the time that he married a yankee, not a southerner. :-)

And we just got an email from Disney yesterday trying to entice us back for a visit. It might be working...

Melissa Lester said...

We love Florida! Living in Alabama, it's a pretty easy drive to get to Joe's parents beachside condo in Panama City, so we go several times a year. And right before school started, we surprised our children by leaving the beach and heading south for five days at Disney World! It was a great trip and we hope to make it back there someday.

Jen said...

Oh I am so glad that you get your turn in the spot light. Everyone should know you. Great post. I could never live in Florida, see all those reptiles would kill me. I can't even stand the little frogs that Hayden gets. God help me when he finds a snake.
Enjoy all the new people and comments. :)

Katy Lin :) said...

thank you for the lovely tour! hope you have a great day!

Hippie Family... said...

FLA is one of my favorite places... but i am not so sure about the aligators and snakes now... Ewww

Susie said...

Greetings from the Great White North (Wisconsin). Congratulations on your BATW feature. I hope that you are enjoying your day in the sun. Thanks for all the interesting facts about Florida. I love BATW!! I am learning so much!

Elena said...

Hi from Idaho. I had never thought about Florida not being considered the South. But it's kind of true isn't it? When one thinks of the South, Florida isn't the top of the list. The alligators would scare me to death, but your winter weather sounds lovely! Thanks for sharing today.

Lori said...

Wow, you talked about the alligators but I can't believe you didn't mention The Gators! ha ha ha ha ha...

I hope to be driving down to the Keys next month. If I do I'll wave at you when I go by! :)

Veggie Mom said...

Thanks for the tour. I love almost everything about the Sunshine State, except for the hurricanes!

Tamie said...

happy belated birthday....you should have known better than to think that you wouldn't get a million wishes for you from us at BATW!
wow! flroida seems infested, i wonder how the first settlers survived! especially those british and french women! wow!
i guess if you can get desensitized, you're all good!
thanks for sharing!

Kelley said...

Can I tell you how the picture of the snake sent chills completely down my spine? Totally freaky. We had one in our front yard once, in South Georgia. I was a kid and TOTALLY freaked out and refused to go in the front yard until my dad killed it. He then thought it would be funny to tell me that it had probably already had babies. I think that's when my fear of snakes began.

Thanks for letting us visit your blog! I love the post your husband wrote, mostly because I know if I ask my husband something while he's really into sports, he does the same thing. Happy Belated Birthday!!!

Jo-Jo said...

I always tell my hubby that I want to be one of those old people that retire to Flordia in the winter and come back to good ole WV for the rest of the time. I sware it would be the best life!

Steph said...

hey kelly!
thanks for visiting my blog today too! you covered all the things about Florida that I missed! I agree with you about the theme parks...we've been to Disney once in 5 months but the Busch Gardens seasons pass can't be beat!

CaraBee said...

What a great tour of Florida! I don't think I could deal with the snakes though, yikes! I've never been to Disney or any of the entertainment parks and can't wait for my daughter to be old enough to go. Really, I want to go FOR her. Really.

Rela Pantaleon-Manigsaca said...

Hi Kelly!

I've been to Florida a couple of times already and we plan to bring my visiting in-laws anytime soon. The tips on the best months to go are very helpful!

Also being a native of the Philippines, I noticed that the hurricane season of June to Nov is the same as our typhoon (that's what we call them!) season. Cool!

And yeeewwww... the snake! It's long yuck yuck yuck!!! I posted about snakes in my blog too but had to revise it to "hide" the snake pictures because it was freaking me out every time I scroll by it!

Anyhow, great post!!! Great job!

justjuli said...

Two of my college girlfriends live in Davenport. They both work for Disney and I used to go down and visit them often (and got into the parks for free!)

Every afternoon it rained between 3-4pm. Then was fine afterwards. :) Crazy Florida weather.

Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

Sheila said...

Well done, Kel. You gave an accurate picture in the day in the life of a Floridian. I think the only thing you left out was the fact that in Florida we LOVE horses! It's the third largest equine state in the country! Next to (1) Texas & (2) California.

Now you know I had to throw the horse thing in there!

Great post!

Shell said...

Happy BATW day to you. I have fond memories of going to Florida when I was a kid. Wow, lizards, snakes and bugs that is intense. Also, Happy Belated Birthday to you. I hope you had a wonderful birthday.

Tara said...

What a great tour! Thanks for letting us stop by!! It sounds like you really like your area... my best friend is moving there soon. I can't wait to visit! Oh, and happy late birthday!!

Jill said...

Great info about Florida Kelly! I've only been there once... to Miami... and frankly, with my brief first impression, I could do without it. Humidity... humidity ... humidity.... oh, I so look forward to one day living w/o it!

:)

Ronnica said...

I've been to Orlando twice, once in high school and once last year. I really liked getting to ride all the rides over and over again when I was there in high school (it was November)!

Tracy P. said...

Hi Kelly!

Now it's my turn to come and visit you! My dad and his wife live in Ocala, so I have been to your neck of the woods (or would that be swamp?) several times.

Bummer that Christmas is the worst time to visit, since that's when we are coming next! (But we have known all along it's not the warmest time of the year, and not planning on any big attractions this time.)

Have a fun day!

JourneytoFamily said...

I was born and raised in Orlando (Altamonte Springs) and I must say that yes, it's true, there are gators in every body of water. And as I spent my life explaining... Florida (especially central Florida and lower) don't count at "The South". I married into Southern culture and the Southern culture was completely new to me. (though my husband's Louisiana Grandma refused to believe I wasn't Southern)

Aubrey said...

Colorado Here!!
Thanks for the tour. I have always wanted to visit Florida. We have some really great family friends that live there. They have invited my son to go and he can't wait!

Enjoy all your visitors!

Ashley said...

Thanks for the great Orland overview! I went to Orlando with my parents when I was about 13 and this is the phrase we still quote today that we gained from that trip: "You can see it. But you can't get there from here." I don't know if it was the driving or roads or maybe it was us, the tourists, but traffic was awful! Congrats on your feature and Happy Belated Birthday!

Lady Dorothy said...

Greetings from California!

Uh, that was some post your husband wrote! Happy Belated Birthday!

Jennifer said...

Thanks for the very informative post on Florida!

Kendra said...

Visiting from BATW...

I had to chuckle a bit about your hurricane section. My grandparents moved from Kentucky to Florida (Jacksonville) in early 2004. Later that year, I remember my Granddaddy made a comment about how they could have done without the visits from all the hurricanes that year. Thankfully they didn't have any major damage...a few limbs down, some shingles off. But what a great introduction to Florida!

Mamasphere said...

Great post! Thanks for the tour. I live an hour from Disneyland and thought a pass would be nice, but it's so expensive! We opted for Sea World instead.

Brian and Staci said...

Greetings from Ms. Oklahoma! We love visiting Florida---in May or after September :) Great post! Makes me want to plan a Disney trip :) And if I ever find myself close enough to an alligator...I hope I have marshmallows :) Nice to meet ya!
(Happy belated birthday!)

Bobbie said...

Very informative! I love Florida and have some of the same concerns that you have with hurricanes and lizards but thank goodness... no snakes!!

~Trish~ said...

Saying hi from Kansas!!! Ohhh I could SO do without the snakes UGH!!!

Mrs. X said...

Happy belated birthday! Thanks for the exciting/informative/creepy/fun tour!

greedygrace said...

What a great tour! Happy BATW Day!

morewineplease said...

HOLY SMOKES!! Great tour!

~~tonya~~ said...

Stopping in from Louisiana via BATW. We love love love Florida---esp DisneyWorld!! Thanks for the tour.

Kathi said...

Love your post!!! Sorry I'm stopping by a little late. Just now catching up!!

Can I just tell you that when I saw the snake picture..it freaked me out just a little. Yikes!!

Be safe during this Hurricane season!

Karen said...

Here via BATW.

Nice tour :-) Not sure about the snake thing though. I've been in the US for close to 13 years now and snakes still freak me out...

Hot Tub Lizzy said...

Thanks for the fun FL info...

I think it's a great place to visit!

Breanne said...

Great post - however I am jealous you are close to disnet land and seaworld!

Urban School Teacher said...

Congrats on your BATW day! This is a very intersting and informative post.

Dawn said...

Great post! Thanks for the tour!

Briana said...

Wow, waking up to a sonic boom would be scary! My gf just moved to Florida and her son loves the lizards. Thanks for the view from FL and thanks for visiting me at BATW!

Sooz said...

Visiting from BATW...thanks for the FL tour! I'm from Washington State (Renton) and haven't been to FL yet, but would love to visit there someday. Even if there ARE alligators in every body of water ;).

Sooz said...

Visiting from BATW...thanks for the FL tour! I'm from Washington State (Renton) and haven't been to FL yet, but would love to visit there someday. Even if there ARE alligators in every body of water ;).

Vicki said...

I love Florida, considering I was born there. I only spent four years there though. We got to really experience the touristy side of Central Florida this past FEb. We saw a shuttle launch (my favorite part of the trip) and visited the Kenedy Space Center, one of the most expensive daily ticket out there. Then we headed to Orlando to do all that touristy stuff. We had so much fun!

Tammy said...

Hi there - I'm visiting from BATW and Nebraska! I've been to Orlando and to Cocoa Beach, but we didn't get to see a single alligator anwhere. Enjoyed your tour!

Angie's Spot said...

What a great tour! We're coming to Disney in December and I cannot wait. It's a challenge as to who's more excited: the kids or me. LOL!