Moving to the Magic – Orlando Traffic
Welcome back to NotClub33.com, your home for the Disney Cynic!
Speaking of, the Cynics are almost completely moved into our new home in Central Florida. Our new home is about 30 minutes from Disney Springs. To say we’re excited about our new adventure in life is an understatement, but obviously I’m just as excited to be an Orlando local. This will hopefully allow us to take the site to the next level. We’re already looking at different ways to bring you fresh content.
This part of town is amazingly beautiful. We’re near a lake, but apparently one where few of my mascots call it home. Just look at the picture – that’s the dog park. We’re minutes from downtown, so close in fact that my wife’s commute in the morning takes her through downtown – who the hell goes THROUGH downtown to avoid traffic? Not once has it dropped below 65° during the day, and I’ve worn nothing but shorts. It’s been fantastic, and I couldn’t be happier to be here.
Though I’ve been a local less than a week, I’ve already learned a couple of tricks to the city. First off, Wawa is the king of all gas stations. Yes, it’s just like RaceTrac and QuickTrip in some ways, but Wawa produces some decent meals and offers delivery service, along with curbside pickup. I’m not saying you need to go out of your way to go to a Wawa if you’re low on gas, but given the option, I’m hitting up the Wawa every time.
Second, if you too are considering moving here, don’t be shy on pulling the trigger. The real estate market is such that if your perfect house is available, it won’t be in 20 minutes. That said, you need to look at it in person. Real estate photographers are greater magicians than Houdini when it comes to making homes look good. Couple that with every house looking the same here, and you can’t get a feel of the area unless you see it yourself.
Third, and sadly I’m not joking about this, you don’t cross the Turnpike on I-4 as a local unless you’re going to Tampa or the parks. There is the exception of those who live in Dr. Phillips or Windermere, but most of us live north and east of the entire tourist corridor. It’s because of all of you people coming here that I even encounter traffic at all.
It’s an odd thing to drive around the city. For instance, you can’t really just wander around because of tolls. You need to know where you’re going, otherwise you’ll end up costing yourself $20 to just drive past the impressive Lake Nona area. For another, coming from Atlanta, there is no traffic to speak of. My former daily commute was ripe with stop & go areas. In Orlando, you tap on the brakes near the toll stations just in case there’s a cop nearby, but I have yet to encounter a slowdown other than on I-4.
It’s because of this that I have a handful of recommendations for you invaders:
- Bite the bullet on the tolls. This libertarian is not the biggest fan giving any government any additional funding, but if you’re looking to get around quickly or easily, don’t waste your time trying to literally save a dollar. Buy a SunPass from Publix and just don’t think anything of it.
- Avoid exits not for your destination if at all possible. If you get off on the wrong exit, it’s a trap. There was no convenient way to return to the interstate or the Turnpike. I literally had to drive in all eight cardinal directions for 10 minutes to get back on the highway a few weeks ago.
- Just because there’s palm trees and well cut grass does not make it a safe area. Everyone here mows their lawn. Everyone here has a palm tree in their yard somewhere. I’ve stopped at a couple of gas stations not realizing I’m in a shitty part of town.
- Avoid International Drive unless you’ve specifically got business there. This is where all of the tacky tourist shit is that isn’t Disney. It’s cool to look at from afar, but much like getting off on the wrong exit, it’s a trap. Before you know it, you’ll have dropped $200 on mini-golf and Ripley’s Believe It or Not.
- Don’t bother with driving around looking at houses. Like I said, with few exceptions, everything looks exactly the same. If you’ve seen one area, you’ve seen almost all of them. The area exploded in housing in the 1980’s, and all bear a resemblance to The Golden Girls homes. Plus, if you actually go to a ritzy neighborhood, you’ll just piss the locals off and they will release the hounds on you.
This weekend is the first that I have planned on crossing that Turnpike threshold and visiting Disney Springs. The wife and I haven’t had a “date night” since our move, and it’s about time we embrace our Disney fandom. I’m looking at Enzo’s and Gideon’s for dessert. Then again, I’m also open to suggestions. Just not Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’. That’s our go-to and I’m in the mood for something new. Feel free to comment below or tweet me @CynicalDisney with your suggestions or general hatred. Until next time!
-The Disney Cynic
“I’m all beers!”