What are some of your favorite nonDisney spots. We will have a car and for the first time, after 20+ trips I am thinking of venturing offsite.
We like spending a day in Celebration - the town Disney built. The downtown area sits on a lake. Once you park, you can just walk around. Some great dining options from sushi to italian, thai and a very nice Columbia. Easy drive - just head out the main gate, down World Drive and you will run right into the town. They bring in food trucks on some Fridays throughout the year which is really fun. : http://www.celebration.fl.us/town-info/directory/food-and-dining/
During the holidays they have excellent parties too - same fake snow as in the Magic Kingdom, great fireworks for the fourth of july and New Years eve too
Full disclosure I desperately want to move to Celebration. The hotel in Downtown, Grand Bohemian is really nice too if you’re wanting a full offsite experience.
Thanks @Magic looks amazing !
We really liked Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes http://www.souplantation.com/ - we went there on our way back from a UOR side-trip and brought the food back to enjoy at our WDW resort. Sign up for their e-mail list to get discount coupons.
We loved Padrino’s on Village Park Dr. We were determined to find Cuban food, and it was great! They even have a good kids menu.
Texas de Brazil is awesome; it’s all you can eat Brazilian-style - massive “salad bar” (read full buffet) and a dozen or so different meats brough to your table on long spits. Expensive, but excellent. Have to agree with Souplantation. Haven’t been to the Orlando location, but is was a very regular stop for us when we lived in San Diego. I’ve always enjoyed PF Chang’s, and as there is not one very near where we live, we will sometime go there.
thanks everyone your making me hungry
We do a lot of dining out (probably more than we should), but here’s our choices when we’re not heading on property to eat:
Another vote for Sweet Tomatoes. There are two not too far from Disney – one is in Crossroads (ugh) and the other one is out of the back side of property from Sherberth Road on 192. (If you know where the Publix is down there, it is across the street.)
Not too far from Crossroads (just past I-4 on Vineland Ave), there is a shopping area with Bahama Breeze and BJs Brewhouse on one side of the road and Landry’s Seafood on the other. We’ve never had a bad meal at any of those.
If you go the other direction from Crossroads and make a right onto Palm Parkway, there’s a shopping center not too far up that has Sea Dog Brew Pub. If you are a beer person, this is the place to go. The food is awesome, too.
In that same shopping center is also an Indian restaurant called India Palace. If you like Indian food, it is awesome.
If you go the other way on Palm Parkway (so basically make the left to go on CR 535), about 7 miles down, there’s a shopping center with a Publix. Hidden back in there is a place called My French Cafe. If you’re looking for an honest-to-goodness more French than Epcot place to get pastries and simply amazing crepes, that’s a local secret.
Those are the ones that are pretty close to the bubble. If you keep going out on 535, you can eventually wind your way into historic Winter Garden, which has some amazing dining. (It is the authentic type of small town experience that Celebration was made to recreate.) It would take you about 20 minutes to get there from property, though. If you do manage to go up to that area, not too far off the beaten path up there is Douce France Bakery, which is one of the places that supplies bread to WDW. And they have a retail store. With a “day old” section at huge discounts. Before Captain Cook’s reopened at the Poly, we were able to try the pineapple-coconut rolls that they now serve pork sandwich on.
We were really thinking about moving to Celebration when we moved down here, but there’s a lot of things we didn’t care for (and then some things that were absolute deal-breakers once we moved down here), so we ended up going on the other side of property for Windermere. At some point we’ll grit our teeth and drive over to try some of the restaurants there. Any must-dos?
i always recommend Kobe Japanese Steakhouse, one off 535, I-Drive, and 192. Local based chain, always thought it was better than Teppan Edo, and cheaper.
I have to recommend, and so does the UG, Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza on Turkey Lake and Sand Lake. It is my family’s chain, based out of FL, but old family recipes and some of the best crust and chicken wings you’ll ever have.
I would really be interested in what you felt were deal breakers. I know every family is different and we all have opinions. But, maybe you saw / thought through some things that I haven’t come across yet. And, maybe I would think differently. But if you ever had time I would sincerely appreciate a note about your thoughts on Celebration. It’s always better to have more information - it’s a big move.
Things I enjoy are happy hour at the Grand Bohemian. They have excellent drink specials and very good small plates. The bar / lobby is really funky and comfortable and the outdoor terrace on the lake has great seating groups that really lend themselves to groups. I also really like the easy environment of the Town Tavern - being from MN any outdoor patio to watch football on is a joy. I way dig Thai Thani and while Columbia is a chain, I would say the Celebration location is one of my favorites.
There’s really two parts to Celebration at this point – there’s the “town that Disney built” part of it, and then there’s the rest of Celebration that was built (and is currently being built) now that Disney has walked away from it and said “You all figure it out.” We had a pretty generous budget (up to about half a million if we decided to live on ramen noodles), which if you’re looking for a family-sized house, that’s what you’ll need budget-wise. For around $400,000, you’ll get a lot that is about 3,000-4,000 square foot (or, about 0.06-0.09 of an acre). So basically what you’re paying for is a detached townhouse. Because the lots are so narrow the house has to be built up. Houses on those lots are right around 2000 square feet, which is still fairly small compared to surrounding areas.
If you want single-story house, you’ll have a hard time finding it. Ideally, we needed at least four bedrooms (a home office, a guest room, a room for DH and myself, a room for DD). You won’t find any houses larger than four bedrooms in Celebration. Most of the houses are three bedrooms, which would have been sort-of doable if the guest room and home office were the same room, except that the rooms are incredibly small. A typical bedroom is 10x10, which would be really tight to fit everything in. One of those bedrooms needed to be on the first floor (for our aging parents), and so that was also a difficult find. We also noticed that most kitchens in a Celebration home are smaller than our apartment kitchen, which might not be a big deal if you eat out a lot at all those amazing restaurants.
Some people mind the parking situation down there, as most houses have garages in the back of the house, but that wasn’t a big deal for me. The one thing I would have had to learn would be how to parallel park, because that is a must in Celebration.
At one point, the schools were awesome, but they’ve really declined in recent years, so at this point they’re decent, but not the best in the area.
But once we moved down here, the big thing we found is that we don’t like driving around the 192 tourist corridor. People drive incredibly foolishly, it is crowded and tacky and really un-Disney-like. We avoid it whenever we can. If you’re living in Celebration, to get anywhere, you have to go through that mess, and doing something as simple as grocery shopping or buying school supplies at Target means that you’re having to fight (sometimes literally) your way through tourists. No lie…some mom shoved me out of their way when I was buying some school supplies at the Target on 192 because they were mad at their kids for behaving like monsters while she was screaming about how she couldn’t find where this ****ing store didn’t have soda where she could find it. Most tourists are wonderful folks. Some….yeah, not so much.
From our apartment in Windermere, we are able to have a lot of the Disney magic without dealing with that. If the weather is just right, I can walk outside and hear the train whistle from the Fantasyland station, the whistle of the boat sailing over to Ft. Wilderness, and see Wishes every night. From Celebration, depending on where you live, you might see some fireworks, but most of what you’ll see is the big neon stuff from Old Town. Where I live, I get to see CMs headed to work in their costumes, I see Disney vans and occasionally busses driving on the main road. Last week I parked next to a company van from Golden Oak. We just don’t have to deal with the 192 corridor and all its issues, and we get more house and space for our dollar.
Just to compare apples to apples. Here’s comparable houses in Celebration and in Windermere.
On the other hand, living anywhere down here (IMO) beats living anywhere else!
Thank you!!! Buying a small 2 bedroom condo, ideally downtown so I think that’s ok. We are moving with the intention of trying to minimize at least some aspect of our life. There are just two of us, me and my DS10. We had soooooo much STUFF. I gave everything away when we sold the house - right down to the 16 place settings of dishes. It felt so good. Our new family mantra is that if it doesn’t all fit in the minivan, it’s not going.
But, I am very lucky and blessed from my family who established some really great homes and vacation property. We are keeping a great family home in Minneapolis and favorite lake place in northern MN for Christmas and Summers. And also have a place just south of Clearwater on the gulf in Belleair Beach, which is really, really quiet & lovely (mostly because they chase any non-owners out, and have 4 public access parking spaces - really a charming group of folks ) I bought a little mini cooper convertible but prefer to just walk.
I can’t stand the winters and since I work from home there’s no reason to wait for my son to graduate from college before I become a snow bird. Really picked Celebration because it’s not as bad as the other schools, it’s a walking community that feels like our neighborhood in Minnesota. And I don’t want to live on the beach. I know, first world problems.
I think I will need to spend time in the 192 corridor and you make a good point about the tourist corridor. We live in the lakes of Minneapolis and my common rant in the car is "let’s go people, I live here, it’s not really a tour group route. And we get tour buses that stop and view the houses - people get off the buses! (The home from the Mary Tyler Moore show is on my street - who remembers that show?). And I guess the lake place is a SUPER SUPER touristy town in the summer - about the same target experience you detailed, only up there they are also armed with a 45 foot camper pulling a boat pulling a pair of 4 wheelers.
THANK YOU for sharing. As a single parent the one sided discussions in my mind get a little dull.