If you live in Celebration, Florida, your zip code is 34747—the same is true if you live in Kissimmee, Florida. That’s because Celebration is an unincorporated entity, but whether it’s incorporated or not, it’s the community that Disney developed, and it has some quasi-utopian characteristics that make it not only a beautiful place to live but a wonderful place to experience the beauty of every day. Here are eight interesting things to know about this unincorporated gem that had its beginnings in the mind of Walt himself.
9. It was originally developed by the Walt Disney Company.
Walt Disney’s purchase of thousands and thousands of acres of swampland in the years before his death would pave the way for the development of Celebration, Florida. Ground was broken in 1994, and the first residents moved to Celebration in the summer of 1996. From its inception, Celebration was the work of Walt and the Walt Disney Company.
8. Famous architects played major roles.
Disney sought architectural genius in the building and development of Celebration. In doing so, it called on some of the most famous architects in the country to play a part in designing what many of Celebration’s buildings and structures would look like. Urban planners and designers Robert A. M. Stern and Jaquelin T. Robertson worked on the master plan for Celebration, modeling it after small American towns and neighborhoods from the early 1900s. Architect and product designer Michael Graves designed the USPS Post Office, which is reminiscent of a silo with whimsical portholes. Architect Philip Johnson designed the old Town Hall with classical columns—but not in a symmetrical row of round columns. Instead, Johnson designed the building with 52 thin pillars crowded together under a pyramid-shaped roof. Deamer + Phillips designed the Stetson University Center, and the SunTrust Bank building was created by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown. Celebration’s cinema was designed by Cesar Pelli, and the 115-room inn on Town Center Lake was designed by architect Graham Gund. The three-story Celebration Health building was designed by Robert A. M. Stern.
7. There are several styles of housing.
Deciding to move to Celebration might be an easy task, but the real decision-making comes in choosing which type of house in which to live. In Celebration, you’ll find lots of styles from which to choose, including Neo-Victorian, Neo-Folk Victorian, Neo-Revival Style, Mediterranean-inspired homes, French-inspired homes, bungalows, Coastal architecture, Greek Revival-inspired cottages and farmhouses.
6. It’s not E.P.C.O.T.
If you know much about Walt Disney, you know that he had long talked about a utopian community—his plan for an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT). And while Celebration is a beautiful place with beautiful buildings and a palpable sense of community, it is not Walt’s utopian community. The two differ greatly. First, Walt saw his EPCOT as a futuristic utopia of about 20,000 residents, and fewer than 10,000 reside in Celebration. Walt also had the idea of housing his EPCOT in a huge dome so that weather could be regulated. Clearly, Celebration is left to the elements, as no visible dome envelopes the community. Next, Walt’s plan for his EPCOT included renting properties at modest prices, but no home ownership. Tell that to the thousands of homeowners in Celebration. Also, Walt wanted heavy traffic in his EPCOT to flow on two underground levels—one level for cars and one for trucks. Luckily, there is no heavy traffic in Celebration, and even on congested days, no one is driving underground. Oh, and one more thing—Walt’s EPCOT had no room for retirees; Walt believed everyone would still want to be working. But Celebration is home to many retirees who live every day, basking in the freedom of their respective retirements.
5. Don’t call it a “town.”
Though Celebration has a zip code, and people who live there write “Celebration, Florida” in their return addresses, Celebration is technically a census-designated place, which means it is an unincorporated community. The people that live in beautiful Celebration, Florida, see themselves and their fair “town” as more of a community than anything else, and they work together to ensure that vibe is felt by residents and visitors alike.
4. Residents enjoy a myriad of activities and events.
Celebration isn’t just a place to live. It’s a place where residents can make the most of every day. There are activities for all ages including movie nights on the Great Lawn and Music on Market—concerts and music presentation on Market Street. There’s also an Art and Wine Stroll, a Father/Daughter Dance, Posh Pooch events (for you and your fur babies), Food Truck Fridays, Kids’ Night Out, a dog park and a program called “Celebration Lifelong”—an adult learning and continuing education program for residents in the community.
3. You can take your pick of parks.
Within the borders of Celebration, there are several different parks. Lakeside Park has a basketball court, picnic pavilions, a heated swimming pool and tennis courts. Longmeadow Park has a large grassy area and a playground where little ones can run and play to their hearts’ content. Spring Park has a playground, pool and sports field, and Artisan Park is home to a fitness center, pool and summer kitchen. Roseville Corner has a lovely memorial garden with places to sit and reflect, and West Village has banquet and meeting rooms, as well as a large catering kitchen.
2. There’s a local farmers’ market every Sunday.
Every Sunday, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., residents and visitors alike can enjoy Celebration’s Farmers’ Market. Unlike some other towns, the farmers’ market in Celebration does not double as a flea market or a resale market. The weekly event hosts vendors selling produce, plants and flowers, food and food products and handmade items. To learn more or to inquire about being a vendor, visit www.celebrationfarmersmarket.com.
1. It’s just a hop, skip and a jump from the parks.
Celebration might actually only be a hop and a skip from the parks. Exit 62 on Interstate Highway 4 takes travelers to Celebration and to Walt Disney World. Just follow the signs to the destination of your choice. We think they’re both pretty spectacular!