Monday, April 29, 2019 / by Peter + Traci Prantner
When we were looking to move to a different state and city, the world was our oyster. We just had to pick a city. Of course, as Christians, we wanted to be in God’s will, so we did not take this process lightly. We spent a lot of time in prayer to determine if we should move and then where. There were a few things we knew… we didn’t want to move to the west and we didn’t want to move north. We liked the mix of seasons that we had in Virginia and didn’t want more snow. If anything we wanted less of it. Peter, in particular, wanted to be within driving distance of the beach. Over the next several months Traci talked about places in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. All along Peter wanted to move to Florida. It just took Traci longer to come to the same realization. In this process we also knew that we did not want to have to deal with hurricanes, at least not direct hits along coastlines, so that knocked out actual beach areas. Ultimately, we decided that if we were going to move anywhere, we should move near Disney. That way we had a chance at seeing our dear friends and family when they came to Disney on vacation. With Traci’s family from central Florida, she knew that was inland enough to not take too many direct hurricane hits. We had also monitored Disney and their hurricane closures over the last couple of years. We figured if Disney was still open, the weather couldn’t be that bad. So now that it was settled, we were moving to central Florida the question was where. At the time, Traci’s job required her to travel monthly, if not every other week, so she wanted to be within 30 minutes of the Orlando airport. That immediately made our radar smaller. We also knew what a bear I-4 and Orlando can be sometimes, so while there were some beautiful areas on the west and north side of Orlando, we knew that wasn’t the place for us. Traci wanted a predictable travel time to the airport. So we knew we were looking at the southeast side of Orlando. This meant areas like Hunter’s Creek, Lake Nona, southeast Orlando, Kissimmee, and Saint Cloud. These were all within the time constraints of the airport and also kept us pretty close to Disney. Once the budget was overlaid with the time constraints, it was determined that Kissimmee and Saint Cloud met both the budget and time needs. We also knew that we were moving to Florida with the plan of buying a home. While we could have rented, we would most likely buy. This also meant that we had planned on staying in that home for at least five to ten years. Now that we had an area, we started looking at houses in our price range. While this may not be true of every neighborhood, we did notice one thing. Kissimmee had a ton of short-term rentals (VRBO, Airbnb, etc.) while Saint Cloud didn’t have any. Moving our family almost 800 miles from our prior home, we knew that we wanted neighbors that we could get to know and share life with. Saint Cloud offered that more than Kissimmee did. Now that we have moved here, there is more that we have grown to love about Saint Cloud. Their motto is “City Celebrating Small Town Living” and while people who grew up here might disagree, we still find it to be true. We go to the grocery store and see someone that we know. Saint Cloud offers parks for sports and recreation… some within walking distance of homes. The schools are similar to what we experienced as kids. While many school districts are cutting recess and arts, Osceola County is celebrating it. My elementary-aged daughter still has recess every day, PE and Music every week, and even has a weekly STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) activity. There are two quaint water towers that are visible from most of the city. There is a Christmas parade downtown. So many sweet little characters of smaller towns. To us, Saint Cloud offers the best of both worlds. Because in addition to all of these cute quaint treats, within thirty minutes you are where the city action is with parts of Orlando and Disney. We never thought that we could have the best of both worlds in Florida, but we truly feel like we have hit the jackpot.