Visiting Disney’s Town of Celebration in Florida

Recently my wife and I spent three weeks in not-so sunny Florida (from December 25th to January 12th). While our friends and family were enjoying record cold temperatures and ice storms back in Canada, we were NOT enjoying unseasonably cold and rainy weather in The Sunshine State!

But we made the most of it, feeling that a change is as good as a cure and so went about exploring parts of Florida and places we hadn’t seen before. And one of those places just happened to be:

These t-shirts were in a shop window and made a nice welcome to the community. Michael Eisner made this his pet project back in the 1990’s and although Disney has long since sold off its interests in the project, you can still feel the Disney Spirit everywhere!

 

 

These are just some of the interesting buildings that Disney had designed for the town. Each one was done by a different and/or famous architect or firm. Here is what Wikipedia has to say:

Subsequent to founding Celebration, Disney followed its plans to divest most of its control of the town. Several Disney business units continue to occupy the town’s office buildings, and two utility companies, Smart City Telecom and Reedy Creek Energy Services, both operated from Walt Disney World, provide services to the town. The town itself remains directly connected to the Walt Disney World resorts via one of its primary streets, World Drive, which begins near the Magic Kingdom.

Downtown Celebration’s post office was designed by Michael Graves, the adjacent Welcome Center is by Philip Johnson and the Celebration Health building by Robert A. M. Stern. Other nearby buildings are designed by well known architects including: Charles Moore (Preview Center), Graham Gund (Bohemian Hotel), Cesar Pelli (movie theatre), Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown (SunTrust Bank).

As you travel down World Drive from The Magic Kingdom you can look for this distinctive water tower that stands on the lot of a large strip mall that also serves as an entrance into the town of Celebration. It’s hard to miss!

But if you want to blend in with the natives, you may wish to buy and drive a NEV (Neighborhood Electric Vehicle) from the local NEVrland store. You’ll find these driving around and parked all over the town! I want one.

I’ve intended to visit this town that Disney built for years but for some reason never got around to it. I’m glad I did during this visit as it was something different to add to my Disney experiences! Remember, Walt wanted Epcot to be a community, not a theme park, and the town of Celebration is meant to be an extension of that dream. Any Disney fan should make a pilgrimage! And if you do, maybe you could stay at this hotel:

I purchased a great book about the town and how it started. I’ll be doing a review at a later time.

So have you ever visited the town of Celebration? If so, what did you think? Here is what Wikipedia says about the different views held by some:

Response to Celebration has been mixed, some feeling it is creepy, one resident even admitting it is “Stepford Wife-like”, to those who see Celebration as an example of new urbanism with its safe, walkable community.

Which view best represents your first impression?