Each year, millions of people flock to Disney World in Orlando, Florida for a magical vacation. But for those lucky enough to live in the area, a fun day at the parks can be more than just a once-a-year or once-in-a-lifetime experience. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live close enough to Disney World to visit on a regular basis?
If you've dreamed about making the Orlando area home, you've probably been curious as to how much it would cost to live there. According to Zillow, the median home price in the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford Metro area (where Disney World is situated) is $228,700.
Using Zillow's mortgage calculator, with a 30-year-fixed loan at the current interest rate of 4.469 percent and a 10 percent down payment, your mortgage payment would be about $1,445 a month. Based upon the guideline that your mortgage should take up 28 percent of your pre-tax monthly income, you'd need to earn about a household income of $61,928 to afford to live in the area. (And make sure you factor in the season pass, which starts at $439 for Florida residents.)
But what's it like to really live so close to the popular vacation destination? We spoke to some real estate agents in the area to find out, and here's what they had to say.
Tons of Fun... but Lots of Traffic
Some of the advantages of living within a 10-minute drive of Disney World are pretty obvious. Outside of having easy access to the theme parks, some of the perks of living in the area include great weather, lakes, beaches, and sports, such as the Orlando City Soccer MLS team, says Justin Pekarek, a broker-associate at Stockworth Realty Group.
There are some potential downsides to keep in mind, however. For one thing, Orlando is pretty spread out, so significant travel time and traffic are two realities that you may need to contend with.
"We sometimes refer to it as a 'smaller Los Angeles,'" Pekarek explains. "The area itself is booming with growth, including a strong job market along with new construction homes surrounding great schools and road expansions everywhere."
While an area on the rise may appeal to you, remember that all that construction translates to even more traffic. If a little more time spent in the car doesn't bother you, two of the areas in close proximity to Disney World that Pekarek recommends include Windermere and Lake Nona.
Check out this three-bedroom home listed for $213,000 in Windermere. Pekarek notes that residents in this area can usually see the nightly Disney fireworks from their backyard.
The Lake Nona neighborhood to the east side of Orlando offers close proximity to the airport—perfect for picking up all those friends and family that will be clamoring to visit once you live a hop, skip, and a jump from Disney World. However, the median house price in this area is significantly higher—$412,300, meaning you'd need to make at least $110,100 a year.
Check out this three-bedroom home, newly built in 2014, that is listed for $369,000.
A Home Away from Home
If you're more in the market for a vacation home that can be rented out when you're not around, Pekarek says the neighborhoods of Reunion, Championsgate, and Celebration—a planned community originally developed by the Walt Disney Company—are ideal. This two-bedroom unit in Celebration is listed at $214,900 and comes with an attached one-car garage.
Amy Vastardis, a realtor with the Vastardis Team, also cites traffic as a potential downfall of living in the Orlando area, noting that the closer you live to the parks, the more time you'll spend dealing with this problem.
She also notes that living in Osceola County, where many of the area's short-term rental communities are located, means you will not always have full-time neighbors, which can be seen as a positive or a negative, depending on whether you like your privacy or prefer a community feel.
For those looking for a large home that the whole family can enjoy, Vastardis currently has a listing for a six-bedroom, four-bathroom home in Windermere that is priced at $650,000.
Would you consider living in close proximity to "The Most Magical Place on Earth"?