Snowbird Sabbatical

Discussion in 'Disney Trip Reports' started by szymcl, Oct 7, 2018.

  1. szymcl

    szymcl Mouseketeer

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    Snowbird Sabbatical

    Hello! Here is the start of my retirement experiment. I am in my fifties and work full time. Retirement may be a few years away, but I have listened to some sage advice of friends and family and have gleaned that a successful retirement needs a plan.

    After a few crazy busy years of family weddings, baby showers, work projects, illnesses and my own surgery (I donated one of my kidneys to a friend) I am ready to ease on, out, toward, a retirement plan that is hopefully heavy on fitness, friends and fulfillment! I like alliteration…

    So, to make a long story short, I am renting an apartment for 7 months (at least) in the Lake Buena Vista area to avoid the 2018-19 winter doldrums. I find at my age, every winter is a little harder recover from. I am a fair weather person, and I tend to hibernate in the winter, and even though I try to stay faithful to the gym, it is just too easy to fall into a bad habit of putting my pajamas on at 6:30 pm December-March! And who wouldn’t want to see this more often?


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    I have a bit of a history with a certain apartment complex in the 34787 zip code, as my daughter lived in Orlando from 2012-2015 working for Walt Disney World. I spent quite a bit of time there so it seems like home to me, and frankly, I just want to get the whole central Florida thing out of my system! This sabbatical experiment will either make me sick of the tourists and the heat or it will set me up for a nice routine of springs and summers in Indiana followed by falls and winters in Florida. So, fingers crossed that my apartment is available when I want it!

    When I came up with my plan, I thought I would cut back to a part time schedule for the 7 months, but I have been given approval for working remotely for this period. Since I am involved in several community groups and committees as well, I will be commuting from Florida to Indiana. My plan is to spend the last two weeks of each month in Indiana, as that is when most of my meetings tend to fall. I wonder if you can take a computer into the Animal Kingdom, I have vision of myself processing payroll in Pandora?

    [​IMG]Dare I hope there are more Dapper Days with my daughter in my future? (My daughter and me at the Dapper Day, April 30, on our way from Poly to Epcot.)
     
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  2. heaven2dc

    heaven2dc DIS Veteran

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    What a fun way to spend a few months away from the cold and experience Disney as well! Love your Dapper Day pic! Can't wait to read all about your experiment!
     
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  4. szymcl

    szymcl Mouseketeer

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    Thanks! I am excited and super busy trying to keep up with work before I leave.
     
  5. szymcl

    szymcl Mouseketeer

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    OK, 56 days until my lease starts!!!

    I am all set and approved with my apartment, it will be a two bedroom in the same complex that my daughter was in 3 years ago! I did want a 3 bedroom, but they are hard to find, so I will happily take the 2 bedroom and if I get too much company company at any one time, , supplement with hotels. I need to get my Duke energy set up, my rental insurance and then pay my first month’s rent and then move! I am normally a pretty big traveler, I have hiked the Camino de Santiago in Spain, spent time in quite a few other European countries, and generally spend at least 6 weeks NOT at my own house. Two of my adult children live 8 hours away, so I visit them, and we also have a lake house. So budgeting wise, this apartment will be my vacation home for the next 7 months, I will not do much other traveling until I figure out how this experiment will affect my cash flow. (At least after my Appalachian Trail hike in August!)


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    Yes, that is a bear in the above photo! A yearling we were told, on the hunt for a new home.


    So now the fun is planning what to take on my first trip down. I will check in to Saratoga Springs on October 1, then pick up keys on October 2, let my queen size mattress in a box out to adjust to its new home, and move in for real on October 3. I am a DVC owner, so I might as well sneak in a little Disney time right?
     
  6. szymcl

    szymcl Mouseketeer

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    What to take, what to take? My first inclination was to try to outfit a whole apartment from a minivan. I am silly, I have taken 2 camp chairs, thrown blankets over them and used them for a bedroom loveseat for a long time!!!!With a cooler as an ottoman. Now I am rethinking that a bit and so far, I have an 8’ queen mattress I gone on Amazon prime day, for $127, and a frame from amazon for about $100, so I will at least have a queen bed to start. Starting to pack my van!

    [​IMG] I have given myself a $1000 decor challenge, so some things will come from by attic, home and an assortment of resale arenas once I get there. I have a cool pull out ottoman that I bought at Tuesday morning years ago, so that will go in my first trip as well. I bought a Cosco dolly that opens to a cart, so my plan is to be able to get things out of my van, onto said cart, and to apartment via the elevator. An elevator was key to my apartment hunt. In Orange County, if you are 4 or more floors, you have to have an elevator. Hence, there were some gorgeous 3 floor apartments that I passed on. I love stairs for exercise, but an elevator for move in and out is essential for me!
    OH, and here is the most fun, I have signed up for volunteering at the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon on November 4! My shift will be at the Animal Kingdom, beginning at 3:30 am. I picked that hoping for easy parking...Can't wait to pick up credentials!
    I ran in the Disney Princess Marathon several years ago, it was so fun, can't wait to see another side of the operation!
     
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  7. szymcl

    szymcl Mouseketeer

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    Move in week!

    I am here in Florida! My husband and I had a friends’ weekend in southern Indiana, so after a wonderful weekend on riding ATVs, cooking and playing cards, and a bit of the French Lick Casino


    [​IMG]eating out and a bit of gambling at the French Lick Casino, (see (cabin above) I began my trip on Sunday around noon. My plan was to stop and spend the night in Calhoun, Georgia at my brother’s house. He and my sister in law and niece have a beautiful house just about 4 miles from I-75, the perfect stop for a family catch up.

    On Monday, I started for Florida about 6 am hoping to meet my daughter, who was flying in from Maryland, at Saratoga Springs for our 2 night stay before moving in to apartment. Here is another shot of my packed car!


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    Made it to the Florida Welcome Center! This is what success looks like…

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    I picked grapefruit juice by the way!!!!!
     
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  8. szymcl

    szymcl Mouseketeer

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    Does anyone else LOVE seeing this finally after hours of driving?

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    I had confirmation from my daughter that she had checked in to Saratoga Springs. She is the daughter who moved to Florida after graduating from college and worked at Disney for 3 years. She got married last year and moved to Maryland, where her husband works. She has had a tough year since the wedding, as her husband was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease after a long bout of “what is wrong with me!” He ended up in the hospital for a month, emergency surgery to remove a lot of his colon and being very seriously ill. He is doing much better but facing more surgery in the future.

    Anyway, she flew down, took Magical Express and was now roaming around Disney Springs. We had a room in Congress Park, and even though the Front Desk Cast Member gave her detailed instructions about how to get to the room, she did have a hard time finding it, walking and wheeling luggage!

    Best thing about the Saratoga stay was...



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    SUNRISE YOGA

    This was my first time, and we got to watch the sunrise

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    It was a 30 minute session, attended by about 20 people. We had not signed up, just walked up at about 6:45. Mats were provided, along with little towels and water. Very nice!

    We also spent some time at Disney Springs, found the top floor of the Coca Cola building and found this flight, cubre libre, white russian, jack and coke and something else with orange mango juice...it’s a fun view from up there!


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  9. KsGiGi

    KsGiGi Earning My Ears

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    What a great idea, a retirement experiment. Can't wait to read all about it.
     
  10. NH-to-FL

    NH-to-FL DIS Veteran

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    What a wonderful experiment!

    One word of caution, it is easy to get addicted to Florida winters.

    DW and I have been Disney snowbirds for three winters, looking forward to our fourth. We also started with a bit of an experiment. With my retirement on the horizon, a fondness for Disney, and a growing dislike of New Hampshire winters we took advantage of the real estate crash and bought a vacation villa for a ridiculously low price. DW and her sisters put in a couple of weeks cleaning it up and decorating and we put it into the vacation rental market for a couple of years.

    Our "retirement experiments" consisted of 2 week visits during the winter months practicing being snowbirds. Needless to say we loved it. So four years ago I retired and come late fall we we packed up the minivan with some of our "stuff" and headed south for our first snowbird season.

    Now we enjoy winter walks enhanced by Disney, do some volunteering at Give Kids the World Village, and just relax in the winter sunshine.

    I look forward to following along on your retirement sabbatical.
    Wishing you a pixiedust: winter!
     
  11. Ensusieasm

    Ensusieasm DIS Veteran

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    I love your experiment! Can’t wait to read more.
     
  12. szymcl

    szymcl Mouseketeer

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    That sounds fabulous! I love the idea of volunteering at Give Kids the World Village! I will research that a bit!
     
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  13. szymcl

    szymcl Mouseketeer

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    OK, well after some total playing around in the kingdoms, I got my apartment keys and my daughter and I started unloading the car. I had put a cosco rolling dolly that opens out to a wheeled cart in my car to make the process easier. The plan for the first day was to just unload and open up the mattresses in boxes to let them expand for the 24-48 hours suggested on the boxes.

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    Then we left the apartment and headed for Hollywood studios! Just in time for a 5 minute wait on Star Tours, then this nice reward at Baseline Tap

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    And then we went to Toy Story Land for dinner and got in line for our first experience on Slinky Dog-I don’t know why I didn’t take any photos! We had about a 45 minute wait, then got out just in time for the Star Wars show and fireworks.
     
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  14. Gr8t Fan

    Gr8t Fan DIS Veteran

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    Following along on your adventure and loving your report so far!
     
  15. NH-to-FL

    NH-to-FL DIS Veteran

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    I am jealous! But I just booked our first 30 day out FPs for Epcot. We like to get at least one visit in before the holiday crowd shows up. It is starting to get cold here so we are ready to migrate.

    Your apartment complex looks nice. Good luck with your decor challenge.

    Also just noticed your are a BWV member. We made many vacation visits to the BWI before we became snowbirds. Fond memories!

    Best wishes on your experiment.
     
  16. szymcl

    szymcl Mouseketeer

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    Thanks! It seems a bit crazy, had to return for work early, can't wait to get back!
     
  17. szymcl

    szymcl Mouseketeer

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    Thanks!
    I did make sure I went in to Epcot 4 times to get my free Annual Pass Cutting board! I'll post photo later!
     
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  18. NH-to-FL

    NH-to-FL DIS Veteran

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    We are going to miss F&W by a couple of days this year. We are not big foodies but we will miss seeing the Big Bad Voodoo Daddy concert. If you get a chance stop over and see them, they put on a good show.
     
  19. szymcl

    szymcl Mouseketeer

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    Thanks! Good to know! I have seen Jim Belushi, Mark Wills and Air Supply so far!
     
  20. szymcl

    szymcl Mouseketeer

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    Now that we have basic needs, it’s time to shop and decorate! For decorations, and to stick to my $1000 budget, I have visited 4 different thrift stores in the Orlando area. Lamps, wall hangings, tables, etc, are all in the $5 range, so I got great stuff! The sofa was my splurge, from Big Lots, $350. We put it in the van, drove it home, and then introduced ourselves to our new neighbors by getting it stuck in the elevator! One of our wonderful new neighbors helped us out and we got it in the apartment! (They had recently moved to Florida to escape winters as well!)

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    And for working…

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    In my free time, I was able to stop in Epcot 4 times, to get this sweet cutting board as a freebie for Annual Pass holders on your 4th visit to the Food and Wine Festival. I saw Jim Belushi, Mark Wills and Air Supply at the Eat to the Beat Concerts and a great demonstration of Joffrey’s coffee with free samples.

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    Time to go back north for a bit, but I’ll be back!!!!
     
  21. szymcl

    szymcl Mouseketeer

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    I returned to FL about a week ago after returning north to work in my real office for a few weeks. I was able to catch a ride with 2 cousins, one age 94 and the other around my age. It was so fun to catch up with them! We talked the whole way.

    The alarm went off in our Macon hotel But, they never stop at the Florida Welcome Center???!!!!

    Well, I convinced them there was always a first time![​IMG]

    I had another cousin come stay with me a while, so I am have definitely not been lonely.

    Decorating is still going on, still within my budget of $1000, thinking I might get some more beds, since I seem to have company often! This is thrift store meets plastic walmart 4 drawer cabinet.

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    Now I have a date with Dole Whip![​IMG]

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    I have an annual pass (free parking) so after my cousin left and I finished my work for the day, I parked in the Magic Kingdom lot, rode the parking lot trolley and strolled over to Polynesian to soak up the atmosphere, grab a dole whip and walk the grounds to Grand Floridian and back. I thought about running into the Magic Kingdom but it was closing early for the Halloween party, and besides, I don’t have to do it all in one day anymore!


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