Orlando, love it, lived lots of places, friendly
I do not understand why all the negative press on Orlando??? Maybe some of the people have only lived in Orlando area, or FL... I have lived in 8 states and Spain... I have lived in mostly metro areas on the east coast and mid west. My last move (just me, no one is with me) was from Boston to Orlando, I was done with the snow, the high cost of EVERYTHING (food, taxes, drinks, housing insane, utilities, etc... I could go on and on), the traffic of Boston (noon in Boston inner loop heading into Boston 10 miles is 1 hour, to give people perspective), etc... The only thing I am missing is the deep history of Boston/New England and my friends up there...
Compared to other parts of the country Orlando is very friendly, I have no problem making friends, meeting people (Meetup), and finding things to do (meetup, events boards, etc...). Like many people have said on this blog Orlando metro area is very international, people from all over the world are here... just as much as the Boston metro area, they have specialty markets for several different nationalities here, festivals very low cost or free (much better than Boston). You can go to most places and hear different languages especially in the theme parks area.
If you are a FL resident you can get FL resident annual passes to all the parks that would be paid for itself you went to any disney park 6 times (not all 6 times each, just 6 times), universal studios 2 times, etc... Epcot has concerts after 4pm, festivals, 20% off food, etc... all the other theme parks, 1 hour to 1.5 hour to the or Atlantic or Gulf coast, Tampa 1 hour to 1.5 hour, Daytona 1.5 hours, Miami 3 hours, lots of state parks that are cheap.
Housing compared to comparable size metro areas on the East Coast this is one of the cheaper renting or buying. To give perspective in Boston I have friends that rent a room (not in Boston 15 miles out) for $1000 a month... with only bathroom privileges (no kitchen sharing). Apartment studio old, beat 15 miles out $1600+utilities... buying LOL... you need about $150k+ income to buy or drive 1.5 hours each way to work. Where I lived buying ranged from $500k (total knock down) to $2M+, again not in Boston... in Boston not in the ritzy area Studio basement condo $800k to start.
There is NO STATE INCOME TAX in FL, you save 5-8% year just on that. Whether you rent or own a place you are going to have access to a pool (you are going to want this in the summer definitely).
Is it hot in the summer, yes... but it is hot up north too in the summer, but I can were shorts, sandals, dresses, capri's all year round. Golf cheap unless you are in a private club, lots of rivers, lakes for boating/fishing... shopping tons of it if that is your thing...
Cheap state colleges that are good, private secondary education is reasonable compared to other similar sized metro areas.
I could go on and on... if you are the type of person that does not go out and explore and find your way in a new place, be open to meet new people and adventures you won't be happy in any move... you have to put out the effort to make new friends, connections, people.... if you are not more of an extrovert and outgoing you might have a hard time meeting people. I have had conversation with strangers at restaurants, department stores, etc... long conversations that ended into a friendship and do things together.
I have lived here officially 7 month, I lived here for 2 years as a kid.
Karlene | Celebration, FL