Give Me All the Sunshine: Our Time in Clermont, Florida

Jessica Swanda
5 min readJan 16, 2019

We just wrapped up a month-long stay in Clermont, Florida for our ninth Chick-fil-A opening. (Clermont is a residential area 30 or so minutes from Disney World. It’s a surprisingly calm and non-touristy place for being so close to a major tourist destination.)

Sometimes, travel day (when we move from one assignment to the next) is a relief. This time, it was a little sad.

It’s always a little sad to leave a place where we know all the street names and can finally get around without a GPS. It’s also sad to leave behind a place where we’ve found favorite spots that we frequent often. In this case, I was sad to leave an assignment that Kaleb flourished in, one that made him feel so empowered, respected, and appreciated. And I was sad to leave behind such a great Chick-fil-A team filled with friendly people and supportive leaders.

But the one things that never changes about this program is that everything always changes.

My go-to place in Clermont has been Waterfont Park beside Lake Minneola. (The number of lakes in that area surprised me!) I like to find a go-to place at each assignment — somewhere I’m always happy to go anytime I’m bored or going stir-crazy in the hotel. The criteria for this go-to place: peaceful, free, and a place where I can spend as much time as I want.

When you pull to the four-way stop in front of Waterfront park, all you see in the distance to your right is water — that view seems to makes me reflexively take a deep, deep breath and relax.

This place was my oasis from any stress, brain fog, or anxiety. But I found several other neat places in the area too.

Since we aren’t in Florida often, we jumped at the chance to hit Disney for a few days with Kaleb’s family. Since I’m not a big animal person, I wasn’t too excited about Animal Kingdom, but I ended up absolutely loving it. (Avatar ride, anyone?) Hollywood Studio’s new Toy Story Land was extremely detailed and creative. And the Magic Kingdom’s Christmas fireworks show at Cinderella’s Castle was — of course — magical. I even conquered my fear of roller coasters! — the small ones at least.

Jessica Swanda

Freelance writer. Travels the USA full time with her husband. Writes about travel, faith, books, and business. More about me: