When considering central Florida, people often immediately think of theme parks. After all, millions of visitors descend upon Orlando and the surrounding areas every year. But what’s life like for the people who actually live near Disney World? And what are some of the best places to live within a short drive of the parks? Let’s take a look now.

Life close to Disney World is magical. 

Pun intended, the communities that surround Disney World are indeed magical! And it’s not just because of their proximity to the parks. Windermere, the community immediately to the north of the Magic Kingdom, is one of the most prestigious neighborhoods in Orlando. Brick paved roads, mature oaks, and varied landscapes characterize the charm of downtown Windermere, and the fabulous real estate surrounding Main Street is extremely varied from charming bungalows to multi-million dollar properties home to famous athletes and celebrities.

Another great option close to Orlando’s theme parks is Winter Garden [not to be confused with Winter Park]. Straddling Lake Apopka, the Oakland Park neighborhood of Winter Garden is particularly spectacular, with cycling and walking trails well suited to lovers of the great outdoors. I love Winter Garden’s historic downtown, too. It’s listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and is lined with shops, boutiques, and restaurants. Winter Garden is busier than Windermere, but you can still experience that small-town American charm, a key characteristic of many central Florida communities.

Chain lakes and outdoor spaces abound. 

Windermere sits on The Butler Chain of Lakes, which comprises thirteen bodies of water, which are connected by 32 navigable canals. The largest is Lake Butler, a favorite of water sports enthusiasts and big bass fishing fans. The communities that sit on the lakeside, including Windermere and Winter Garden, have beautiful vistas and various dining and land-based recreation activities like cycling and golf. The chain lakes are yet another reason why properties in this part of central Florida are so highly sought after.

These are tight-knit communities with a twist. 

Previous clients have regularly asked me whether living so close to the theme parks is a good thing. And in some respects, it’s down to personal preference. People are sometimes worried that the high volume of international visitors and the undeniable focus on the parks may have damaged the community spirit of the nearby areas. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Windermere and Winter Garden, in particular, are incredibly tight-knit communities, yet are open and welcome to visitors and new residents. The people who live near the theme parks enjoy an extremely high quality of life, thanks mainly to the year-round Florida sunshine and the incredible outdoor opportunities at their disposal. But do you want to know one of the best things about living close to the theme parks? You get to watch the Disney firework display every night! Imagine being able to enjoy something that people travel from all around the world to see, from the comfort of your backyard. It’s a pretty amazing benefit of living next to the parks.

So, if you’re hoping to find a property close to the theme parks in central Florida, I’d love to help you out. Although I’ve focused on Windermere and Winter Garden here, there are several other communities close to downtown Orlando worth your consideration, and I can advise on them too. If you’re at the beginning of your search for your Florida home close to the theme parks, I’d be thrilled to introduce you to your magic kingdom!