People often ask me, “Did Disney lose its magic when you moved here?” I have heard other locals who moved here after years of vacationing give a variety of answers somewhere on the spectrum of yes or no. For me, it is a bit more of a complicated answer and can’t be summed up as a yes or no – because it is very much both. After over a year of now being a local – here’s my take on it.
It lost the magic of planning a trip and getting excited to see and do all of our favorite rides, experiences, and restaurants. The excitement of seeing all the new things that had happened since the last time we were in Disney World, which was probably about six months ago. Along with the drive, we had to vacation to get the absolute most from every day – a lot of great memories were made that way. Nowadays – my last time in the parks probably was yesterday, not six months ago, and I was at my favorite restaurant within the last month. Obviously, this is amazing – but you will take it for granted when it becomes your new normal.
A new type of magic
While it lost some of that magic – a brand new magic grew though – in the form of knowing your favorite place is just down the street. When you work, play, and eat here on a daily basis, you don’t get hit with the same fear of missing out you would get when you came for a five-day vacation. You rarely plan a full weeks park schedule out far in advance either. Normally when we decide to grab dinner at Epcot or Disney Springs, we do that pretty last minute unless it is a specific reservation we are trying to get. When we first started talking about coming down here, one of the things that excited me so much was just “being able to swing into Epcot for dinner,” and we have taken full advantage of that type of lifestyle. So I guess what I’m trying to say is you lose the vacation magic in exchange for an entirely different magic. Both great in their own ways, just different.
How DVC lets me have both
The experiences, however, that make my wife and I feel most like we did when we would vacation here are planning DVC “staycations.” Now again, we do this like locals. We check availability only 2-3 months out and do 1-3 night stays – but once we book a stay, it is just like the old times again. Talking about what breakfast buffets we want to do, what dinner reservations we want to grab, what parks we want to do that day, and what FastPass+ selections we should get.
In the moment during the vacation, I feel fully immersed in the Disney magic, even though I could drive to my apartment at any time and be there in a few minutes. Now even though this brings back that vacation magic – in the back of my mind I still know I live here, which prevents the FOMO (fear of missing out) still. Which I guess you could say is the best of both worlds!