Celebration, Florida: Small Town Done Disney - PassPorter.com
Award-winning travel guidebooks

   guidebooks   |   news   |   podcasts   |   boards   |   blog   |   worksheets   |   photos   |   articles   |   updates   |   register   |  

Celebration, Florida: Small Town Done Disney

by Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 11/29/2007

PassPorter.com > Articles > U.S. Travel > Traveling  

Sometimes it's very difficult to drag yourself away from the wonders of Walt Disney World. After all, with four theme parks, two water parks and more restaurants and shops than you could ever visit on one vacation, why would you need to leave this wonderland?

Because our trips to Disney usually last longer than the average stay, we tend to venture off property more than most and one of our favorite stops is very nearby to Disney World and had a huge dose of pixie dust in its development. That's because the Walt Disney Company was the organization responsible for developing the entire town.

Walt himself came up with the original dream of an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow towards the end of his life. He saw it as a way of coming up with new ideas for urban living and made a film, spelling out what he would like to see. That included a monorail system, a city center where the pedestrian took priority over vehicles, apartments, houses and areas of green expanse, known as "green belt," to break up the residential buildings.

As we all know, EPCOT evolved into the second theme park to open at Walt Disney World, but it was far from the vision that Walt had originally spelled out. Yes, it looked at technology of the future and also brought together cultures and nations from around the world, but there was no-one living here, one of Walt's core ideas. But Walt's dream got a second chance when Celebration came along.

The first homes started to appear in 1996 and, since then, the community has continued to grow. It's fair to say that every time we visit the town, more has been added. Celebration is now a sprawling town, complete with its own facilities, including schools, churches, shops, restaurants, cinema and even its own town hall. If you ever need urgent medical treatment while staying at Disney, Celebration has its own hospital, a beautiful facility, which we spent some time at last year. Although it's never nice to have to go to the hospital, particularly when you're on vacation, they do try hard here to make the experience as pleasant as possible. (See our article on First Aid in Walt Disney World below!)

So, you may be wondering, why on earth would I want to visit a town, when there are so many great things to explore at the Walt Disney World resort? Well, although Celebration is a town, it's much more than that. As soon as you enter it, you realize that it's nothing like you've ever seen before. It really is an ideal version of the town you'd love to live in, with white picket fences and immaculately kept gardens, with beautiful houses set back from the road in lovely pastel colors.

Every time we go there, I can't help but compare it to Main Street USA. OK, so it's not the same, but they share the same general idea. This is an idealized version of how towns should be (at least in Walt's vision) and takes you back in time to the turn of the 20th century. That's even more obvious when you understand that Celebration was built with the idea of the pedestrian, rather than the car, being king. It's an odd concept to wrap your head around, particularly as you drive into the town. You'll find that you have to take extra care and slow down more than you normally would, which after you get used to it, is a pleasant change, as the slower speeds allow you to take in the wonderful scenery all around you.

Celebration isn't just somewhere for people to live though. It also recognizes the value of the visitor and that it's going to have an appeal to outsiders, especially with its Disney links and, as a result, the town plans for visitors, with special events throughout the year. If you're there in the spring, you can enjoy festivals of spring art, American Pie or even Posh Pooches. The summer brings 4th of July celebrations, while the fall is the time to enjoy Oktoberfest. In December, snow falls every night without fail with celebrations when they light the tree at the beginning of the month and at the end of the month to see the New Year in.

The shops, cafes and restaurants are also well worth exploring. We've spent many happy mornings or afternoons, just browsing around. Because Celebration has a slower pace of life and is a relatively quiet town, it's a pleasure to visit the shops. You won't find crowds of people here, but what you will find are unique outlets, where you might just pick up something a little bit more unusual.

Some of our favorite spots to head for include Day Dreams. You can't miss this place - just look for the two teddy bear topiaries outside. Inside, you'll find a wonderful assortment of collectibles and gifts. Further down Market Street are the Market Street Gallery, with home decor items and a selection of year round Christmas items, and the Village Mercantile, the place to get Celebration logo merchandise.

Other unusual shops include the wonderfully named Reading Trout Books in Front Street with thousands of new and used books and magazines and the Dog Bark Bakery in Celebration Avenue, the place to get a special treat for your four legged friend.

And if you want to add lunch or dinner to your visit, there are lots of places to try, with some, such as Cafe D'Antonio, the place to head for Italian food, the Columbia Restaurant, serving up Mediterranean food, and the Celebration Town Tavern, boasting wonderful lakeside views.

Perhaps those final words really sum up what Celebration is about. Because this town has been designed by Disney, there are just so many wonderful extra touches everywhere you look. It's clear a lot of thought went into designing this town, from the restaurants overlooking the picturesque lakes to the individual houses, with their beautiful pastel colors, to the lack of domination here by the car. All of these combine to make you feel as if you've stepped back in time and yet, you're only a few minutes away from the hustle and bustle of Walt Disney World itself.

Getting to Celebration from Walt Disney World couldn't be simpler. Take the 192 towards Kissimmee and then follow the signs, turning right on to Celebration Avenue. The town center is well signposted.

About the Author:
Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have made numerous visits to destinations across America and Europe. They recently completed their tour of every Disney theme park around the world, which culminated in their visit to Japan, including the Tokyo Disney Resort. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!

Recent U.S. Travel Articles:
Take a Walk on The Wild Side at Busch Gardens Tampa (Part 3) - An Orlando-Area Attraction Review last updated 10-08-2015
Take a Walk on The Wild Side at Busch Gardens Tampa (Part 2) - An Orlando-Area Attraction Review last updated 10-01-2015
Take a Walk on The Wild Side at Busch Gardens Tampa - An Orlando-Area Attraction Review last updated 09-17-2015
Honolulu and and Waikiki - Things to Do While Visiting Aulani last updated 04-30-2015
The Eastern Coast of Oahu, Hawaii - Things to Do While Visiting Aulani last updated 04-23-2015

More Related Links:

Traveling Carry-On to Walt Disney World - Avoid Those Baggage Fees last updated 3/2/2011
New York City - Something Old, Something New last updated 01/02/2009
On the Road to Walt Disney World - Doing "The Drive" last updated 01/20/2009
Airline Security - 10 Important Tips and Reminders last updated 1/21/2009
Sick at Sea - (But Not Sea Sick!) last updated 5/14/2009

Reader Comments:

View all comments in forum thread

So what do you think? Click here to share your comments, feedback, and experiences on this article and topic!

(Note: You must be a member of our PassPorter Message Board Community to leave comments. Join today for free!)

Updated 11/29/2007 - Article #208 

Read additional articles from PassPorter.com

Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter, PassPorter News, published for more than 58,000 opt-in subscribers worldwide. As an added bonus for subscribing, you will receive a 20% discount coupon for the PassPorter Store -- no catch!

E-mail Address:

First Name:

E-mail Format:
-Text/Don't Know  



We respect your privacy and never sell or rent our subscriber list. Subscribing will not result in more spam! We guarantee it.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Copyright 1999-2015
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.

Learn More With Our Award-Winning Guidebooks


RSS General PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel - Getting There (and Back!): Your Journey to Walt Disney World
PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disn...
By car, plane, or train -- share your tips, plans, and experiences with others! Forum Sponsored by Quicksilver Tours & Transportation

Transportation to Magic Kingdom from Hotel on International Drive
by KathyL
5 Oct 2015 at 7:56pm
I am attending a conference in Orlando in November. Because of the conference I am staying at a hotel on International Drive. My co-worker who is...
(click title above to view replies)

driving through the Carolina's, post Joaquin
by steph steph
5 Oct 2015 at 4:55pm
hi everyone!!! we leave next week and are driving from Pennsylvania, down 95. I saw today that about 70 miles of 95 is damaged due to the storm! oh...
(click title above to view replies)

Spirit Airlines Bag Question [how strict are they about luggage size restrict...
by Geri Alexander
30 Sep 2015 at 10:53am
Has anyone flown Spirit Airlines? We are flying on a direct flight out of DFW here in a week or so. I am interested in any experiences/opinions, as...
(click title above to view replies)

Looking for recommendation - south of ATL hotel
by am03rn
28 Sep 2015 at 10:19pm
Traveling down I-75 to the world, wanting to stay somewhere south of Atlanta, but not too far south. Where would you recommend? Where should we...
(click title above to view replies)

Any experiences renting from Dollar car rental at the Wyndham?
by aliceinwdw
27 Sep 2015 at 5:38pm
DH and I are seriously contemplating renting a car this upcoming trip. We usually use Disney transportation and have been big supporters of it for...
(click title above to view replies)

Total Visits: 5114

PassPorter ~ 1998-2015 ~ 17 Years of Making Dreams Come True!
Publishers of bestselling travel guidebooks and proud recipients of 13 national book awards
About PassPorter
About Us
Site Map
Privacy Policy
Images & Artwork
News & Updates
Message Boards
Concierge Desk
Books & E-Books
Customs Office
Register Books
Book Updates
Help & Info
Finding Answers to Questions
Help Desk
Using Your PassPorter Forum
Store Customer Service
E-Mail Us
Follow Us
PassPorter.com Front Page (Updated Daily!)
PassPorter Newsletter (weekly and free)
Latest Posts
YouTube Channel
Questions? Check our Site Map and visit our Help Desk to learn how to contact us online, by e-mail, and by phone.
Please feel free to link to this page so that other vacationers can find it.