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.
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.