ORANGE COUNTY, Florida. – When Walt Disney announced in 1965 that he had chosen central Florida for his “Florida Project” which would ultimately be Walt Disney World, the population of Florida was 6.1 million people. Today, it’s over 21 million people.
The population has tripled in size over the past 50 years, and it hasn’t stopped. So much so that News 6 has learned that there are entire real estate companies in Orlando aimed at people moving to Central Florida just to be close to Walt Disney World.
âWelcome to my Disney home,â said Jessica Aribu, welcoming us to her new home in the Meadow Woods area of ââOrlando. âYou are greeted by my Disney rug. “
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Inside his house, although Mickeys are hidden on teapots, Aribu cannot hide his love for Walt Disney World.
âIt’s a way of life. For me it’s a really big deal, we moved here just for that,â said Aribu.
Aribu, her husband David and their son Elias, named after Walt Disney’s middle name, moved to Central Florida just to be closer to Walt Disney World.
âBeing here now, knowing that I’m only 25 minutes from Disney, I’m still in times when I’m in disbelief. Am I really there? No, I am really here.
Previously, the family lived in a tiny house in Miami and traveled to Orlando every month. Aribu’s dream of moving to Orlando was within reach when she and her husband allowed them to work remotely all the time.
âAt first, I’ll be completely honest – I was terrified,â said David Aribu.
The move was, however, facilitated through real estate agent Sean Faulk, a member of the Moving to Orlando team, a YouTube channel believed to be a spin-off of the popular channel, The Dis.
Faulk was working for The Dis when he noticed that interest and demand for people actually moving to Orlando was increasing, even more during the pandemic. So he started making videos for Moving to Orlando.
âHi everyone, I’m Sean Faulk, your expert in helping you relocate to the Orlando area and live your Disney dream,â one can hear it said in a video highlighting a house near Margaritaville. “We’re 8 minutes from Animal Kingdom, about as close as we can get.”
Faulk and his Moving to Orlando partner Pete Warner have started posting more videos giving tours of homes near Disney, at all price ranges, all the way to Davenport and as near as behind Disney parks.
âSome people are Disney fans and want to live within an hour of the parks,â Faulk said. âOther people are like, we have to be able to see the fireworks from our back porch, so if we can’t see the fireworks in the yard, we don’t buy. “
When Faulk started posting the videos, demand instantly increased.
âIn about three weeks,â Faulk added.
Faulk, being the only real estate agent behind the Moving to Orlando team, needed to find a brokerage to partner with. Enter Forever Magic Realty, a renowned real estate company run by Latoya and Nick Cotton. The two have several businesses selling Disney Vacation Club homes, but have also started to see demand from people deciding to move here just for Disney.
âIt was kind of like spraying a little pixie dust,â Nick Cotton said of their rebranded business with a mickey mouse hidden on its key. âOver time, we started to see a trend. We had a real estate company all this time, but we noticed that our business is already associated with people who do just that, so why not maybe rename it.
The teams at Moving to Orlando and Forever Magic Realty both noticed that the pandemic had sped things up, as families like the Aribu family began working remotely. The residential sales departments of both companies have grown from around $ 20 million to $ 40 million since the start of the pandemic, doubling sales for people deliberately relocating to Central Florida, Cotton added.
âIt’s amazing, isn’t it? Said Latoya Cotton. “I mean, what other businesses, do you know where the people are, ‘Yeah, I want to move to be close to Coca-Cola?'”
âIt was great and with our rebranding, with our great partners with Moving to Orlando, and just with everything else, the growth is remarkable,â added Nick Cotton.
And for the Aribu family, it is now home.
âIt doesn’t make me think I’m crazy or alone in this case,â Jessica Aribu said. “I don’t know, it’s literally a dream come true.”
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