How would you like to live in the heart of an idyllic, Epcot-inspired community that’s practically right next door to Walt Disney World Resort? How about one that was actually built by the Disney Company, no less? That’s what it’s like for the more than 8,000 or so residents who call Celebration, Florida their home. Though it was founded more than two decades ago and continues to grow in popularity, Celebration still remains one of the best-kept secrets—a neighborhood designation right in the heart of the immediate surrounding Disney World Area locale. Discover for yourself the many great things worth celebrating in Celebration!
A history to celebrate
Conceptual plans for the community of Celebration first emerged in the early 1990s with the Disney Development Company looking to incorporate an approximate 4,900 acres of land south of the Reedy Creek Improvement District for community development. In all, the project’s estimated cost was around $2.5 billion. With groundbreaking for the new community underway, the first phase of residential development came back in 1996 with the establishment of Celebration Village, Lake Evalyn, and West Village. Later developments added Aquila Reserve, North Village, South Village, and East Village into the community mix. While owned by the Walt Disney Company until 2004, Celebration has since become its own unique, independent entity as part of Kissimmee in Osceola County. And while not overtly noticeable, the Disney footprint can still be seen to an extent through the handful of Disney-affiliated businesses that still have company operations located within the limits of the community.
The foundational theme for the community of Celebration, as referenced earlier, takes inspiration from the same ideals Walt Disney originally proposed in his designs for an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. Though there are arguable differences between the initial ideas versus actual reality and outcomes, the conceptual model for all the fundamentals (Epcot Park, the community of Celebration, and Walt’s vision) all came from the same rooted inspiration—the imagination of Walt Disney and the example of an idealistic utopian community. In fact, while Epcot carries a futuristic connotation in a sense, Celebration gives off a more nostalgic and quaint small town Americana vibe.
You can see echoes of this in the simplistic architectural format of the houses and cleanly lined neighborhood streets, as well as in the community initiative to remain more selective in zoning, as not to build too many structures and congested overcrowding in available areas of residence. Despite the feeling of traveling back to simpler days, Celebration is still thoroughly modern with all the latest innovations. Then again, Walt Disney’s vision for the future did still explore these same styles and designs of small town American life along with modern progress in the way it was presented back in the earlier part of the 20th century. So when it comes right down to it, Celebration is a modern depiction of the good old suburban “better times” of the 20th century and still remains technically and innovatively up-to-date with the 21st century.
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Businesses and commerce
In addition to residential homes, Celebration is comprised of numerous businesses. These include everything from offices to shops, restaurants to schools, small businesses, services, and commercial operations, in addition to so much more. The Celebration Town Center, located along Sycamore Street, is a major representation of the community’s diversified interests within the previously stated categories. Celebration is also home to six churches, one Jewish congregation, as well as other fellowship groups that hold meetings within the community limits in addition.
Schools and other educational facilities located in Celebration include Celebration School, for grades K to 8; Celebration High School, for grades 9 through 12; The Montessori Academy—a private education provider, for grades K through 8, as well as Stetson University Center’s regional campus location. There’s also the Celebration Learning Center for Pre-K and Creation Kids Village—a private Christian preparatory and childcare-based option. Other community and local service interests include a regional branch for the Osceola County Public Library and a community post office.
Life in the villages
In referring to Celebration residences, neighborhood districts are distinctly divided into what are known as “villages.” In total, Celebration boasts 10 such villages, each with its own identity and home designs/style offerings in conjunction to what its nearby in the way of community amenities and attributes. Celebration’s villages include the following: North Village, South Village, East Village, West Village, Lake Evalyn, Roseville Corner, Artisan Park, Aquila Reserve, Spring Lake at Celebration, and the community’s namesake Celebration Village—the original and most primary of all the villages. Profuse home styles range from smaller condo offerings to more elaborate estate houses, and everything in between. Condos are conveniently smaller yet surprisingly spacious dwellings, often spanning two or even three stories tall and can be found in such locations as North Village, South Village, East Village, and Artisan Park. Townhouses can be located in most of the villages, ranging in two and three story offerings, with some even offering a separate-entry apartment unit feature over the garage. Smaller family homes are referred to as “bungalows.”
The term typically applies to single-family dwellings offered in the Classical, Colonial, Coastal, Victorian, Craftsman, or French style, but there are also triplex and duplex houses in Celebration that have been coined “attached bungalows” and, as the name implies, come in two and three-set blocks. While bungalows in general are featured in all of the villages, attached bungalows are more exclusive to Roseville Corner and East Village. Garden Homes can span up to a spacious 2,180 square feet and are offered in all the same aforementioned styles as those of the bungalow category. While Lake Evalyn is almost entirely comprised of Garden Homes, this style can also be located in various other villages as well. Cottage homes are a little bigger, at 3,000 square feet and also come in the same designated design patterns as mentioned previously. From here, home styles get even larger, with such dwellings as what are called “Village Homes” as well as Manor Homes and Estates.
As floor plans and home designs may be a deciding factor on where to reside in Celebration, location to community-wide amenities is often equally if not more vital when considering where to live. For instance, if you want to be closer to downtown shopping, commerce, public recreation, and the community elementary school, then you can’t go wrong with Celebration Village. For those seeking a more woodsy, tree-lined experience then Aquila Reserve may be more your style. In general, Celebration offers plenty of unique community-wide amenities, like public pools and facilities, a golf course, and so much more.
Additionally, the community is in close proximity to big name Orlando-area attractions. As previously owned by the Disney Company, it should come as no surprise to learn that Celebration is located just south of Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Park, with World Drive as one of its main roads still directly serving to connect residents to this destination and others within Walt Disney World Resort in general. In addition to Disney, Celebration is just 10 miles from Seaworld, 13 miles or less to Universal Resort , circa 20 miles or less from the Orlando International Airport, around 17 miles from the Florida Mall and Mall of Millenia, and only 25 miles from Downtown Orlando. Chosen driving routes and traffic flow patterns may impact these estimates slightly, but not significantly.
Celebrations in Celebration
There are a number of special events that take place in Celebration. These include reoccurring weekly and monthly happenings along with highly anticipated annual events and traditions. Two such examples for the former include Sunday morning Farmers Markets and Food Truck Fridays (the second Friday of each month). Seasonal highlights to look forward to in the community each year include Oktoberfest and “synchronized “falling leaves” every October, the Founder’s Day town-wide celebrations every November, synchronized nightly “snow fall” in December, an annual Exotic Car Festival every June, July’s Independence Day festivities, annual arts and crafts shows, and a plethora of other fun gatherings. Please note that Celebration’s celebrations are open to the public, and one does not need to be a community member to attend. You can learn more about all the latest happenings on the community’s main events calendar here: https://celebration.fl.us/celebration-events/.
Ever since its establishment back in the 1990s, living in Celebration has been just that—a reason for celebration. It was even named “New Community of the Year” by the Urban Land Institute back on 2001. All in all, Celebration is everything you could ever want in a community. You’re in Florida, you’re in a Disney-founded and inspired community, and most of all, you’re practically in the backyard of Walt Disney World Resort property. It doesn’t get much better than that!