I grew up in New England with a life long dream of moving to FL. In 2005 I decided that if I was ever going to do this, it had to be now. Disney was my home away from home. Our family visited every year from the time I was 18 months old. Despite this, I applied for jobs all over the state. I didn't care where in FL I was, I just wanted to be there. Imagine my joy when the best option ended up being in Orlando! I move down and quickly purchased my annual pass. 6 years later I moved back to New England. I think I always knew that I would. I love Florida, but my family is here.
But I had 6 years of going to Disney every chance I got. Family and friends would visit and we'd head to the parks. Bored on a Saturday? Let's go to Disney! Passholder previews of the newest ride are today so of course we're going. I found that Disney did lose some of the magic by being so close. It become a way of life rather than a special time that I had anticipated and planned for months. I started following around my visitors doing whatever they wanted to do because "I can do that ride I love any time. You're only here for a few days." For me, Disney lost something when I wasn't staying in a hotel room, looking for the perfect souvenir, and, most importantly, had to go to work the next morning.
That being said, I miss being so close. I miss having a stressful day at work so heading over for a few margaritas at La Cava del Tequila. I miss the food. I'm been back a few times since I moved and I definitely miss just strolling the parks, seeing what we want to, knowing that we can always come back tomorrow or next weekend. Going commando-style, trying to get everything we love about Disney in in a few days, just isn't desirable anymore. Unfortunately, it's the only way to do it when you go for 1 long weekend once a year.
I found that by living that close you need to make some of the magic yourself. You can't go into the parks like you did when you were on vacation. Take advantage of the many tours that Disney offers (we did some of them more than once). Get an annual pass to the water parks. See La Nouba. Find a favorite hotel bar and get to know the bartenders (ours was the Poly). Basically, do all of the stuff that Disney offers but that no one has the time (or finances) to take advantage of when they only have a few days.
You can definitely keep the magic alive, but it'll be a different type of magic. You will lose the anticipation of an upcoming trip, but you'll have a familiarity that not everyone can boast. You won't have to wait for months to ride that newest ride, but you'll have the excitement of being one of the first people to experience it. You won't have the exhaustion and thrill of trying to see every ride in 2 parks in 1 day, but you'll have the ability to relax and stroll your way around a park, finding things you never knew were there. It's not hard to find the magic at Disney and as a local, you can take the time to find and experience some of the things that other people will never see or do. Enjoy!!!