I moved back to Orlando after leaving for a year. Here are 5 reasons I couldn't stay away.

·3 min read
kayleigh posing in front of the welcome to florida sign
I moved back to Orlando, Florida.Kayleigh Price
  • I lived in Orlando after college when I worked at Disney World, but I moved when I quit the job.

  • After living in the suburbs of Chicago for a year, I was drawn back to Florida.

  • I missed all the friends I made, the Florida weather, and being close to Disney World.

I lived in Orlando for a little over two years fresh out of college.

I always imagined my time in Florida would be a short pit stop — I was going to fulfill my dream of working for Disney World and then go back to normal life in my hometown near Chicago.

But when I ended up back in Illinois at the height of the pandemic, I started to get homesick for Orlando.

Here's why I decided to move back.

I grew a lot as a person the first time I was in Orlando

If you've ever moved out of your hometown, you know how difficult it can be. It's such a terrifying and anxiety-inducing yet exhilarating experience.

I had to learn how to navigate a completely new environment without my support system, which forced me to become independent and self-sufficient.

I had to go outside my comfort zone to make new friends, live with strangers, work at a company that's unlike anything I've ever experienced, survive the Florida humidity, and build a completely new routine.

As time went on, I realized that I built a life that was better than I could've imagined.

I made friends who turned into a found family

group of people posing for a photo in front of the castle at disney world
I made a lot of really close friends the first time I lived in Florida.Kayleigh Price

While creating a new support system in Orlando throughout my two years there, I found a new makeshift family.

I love my blood family, but there's nothing like the bond of a bunch of broke, clueless 20-somethings trying to figure out life together.

After my year in the Chicago suburbs, I wanted to reunite with my found family in Orlando.

I missed the mild, snowless Florida winters

After living in the suburbs of Chicago for the greater part of my life, I've realized snow isn't as magical as the Hallmark Christmas movies make it out to be.

Snow makes life so much harder. It makes your shoes wet, which in turn gets your feet cold, and sometimes it gets so cold and windy that I'm physically in pain. Plus, you have to shovel your car out to get anywhere.

The only benefit of living in the Northern US for winter is having the occasional snow day. But after shifting to virtual school and work, those have essentially become extinct.

After two "winters" in Florida, I've realized I prefer a cold season that stays around 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Living in Orlando makes it much easier for me to go back to Disney World

kayleigh posing in front of the castle at disney world
I missed being able to go to the parks.Kayleigh Price

As someone who grew up around Disney lovers and former employees, I've always had a huge appreciation for the parks. My family went down to Orlando every year, and it's always been my favorite place.

Living in Orlando, Disney is at your fingertips. It turns your favorite vacation must-dos into your weekly hobbies.

Instead of visiting once a year, I can hop right into Magic Kingdom just to see the fireworks on a random Wednesday.

I also have more room to explore other vacation destinations instead of prioritizing Disney trips.

Being near the beach is life-changing

kayleigh price posing for a photo on the beach in florida
I love being close to the beach.Kayleigh Price

Being landlocked in Illinois, I never had any access to gorgeous beaches. The best I could do in Illinois was green-watered lakes in the middle of nowhere.

Going to the beach was such a rare occasion, but there's nothing better than hearing the water crash and feeling the sunbeams.

Luckily, Florida is surrounded by hundreds of beaches to choose from.

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