Florida Guide > Disney General
We first discovered Celebration 8 years ago purely by accident as we drove along the 192 one day. I had seen an article in a British newspaper about it being the model that Walt Disney had really had for Epcot (he died before Epcot got out off the ground). It is believed he had wanted to provide housing for the workers at Disney but as he wasn’t around to ask-Epcot as it stands today is what they came up with and several years later Celebration became the dream concept.
So, fascinated by it’s origins we turned in to have a look. Celebration then was about a quarter of the size it is today. It was built mainly around the lovely lake, with the Celebration Hotel and the small shopping and commercial centre. You could easily park your car then and have a stroll in the warm sunshine, children could play in the fountains or eat in the little lakeside restaurants. It all seemed very sleepy, calm and peaceful-a modern day Utopia. Although it has grown in size with a hospital, offices, schools and many many more houses it still has managed to remain it’s small town charm. Residents still have to adhere to a 3 inch thick rule book and woe betide if you try to leave your trash anywhere but the allotted place at the allotted time, or don’t cut your grass or trim your trees and shrubs you will face a hefty fine. Also forget painting your house vivid pink-only the recommended colours are allowed and the same goes for white or cream blinds at your front windows.
No visit to Orlando is complete for us without a visit to Celebration. Several of the shops have changed hands-but you can still eat in the Market St Café and have a beer in the Market St Tavern. Starbucks replaced Barneys last year and Kelvins ice cream parlour replaced Herman’s, but thankfully not much else has changed. I can still order an ice cream float while waiting for my cornflake encrusted chicken tenders with blue cheese dip at the Market St Café while watching the world go by with beautiful lake view in the background. We don’t care how hot and sweltering it is-we always sit outside-mad dogs and Englishmen etc!!!!
Afterwards –it’s time to watch our grandchildren play in the fountains and look for the alligator in the lake. Then we have a browse around the shops. Downeast is a particular favourite of mime. They sell gorgeous Vera Bradley bags. Then it’s make your mind up time, a coffee in Starbucks, an ice cream at Kelvins or coffee and cake at Sherlocks before moving on.
On an evening there’s a little cinema with two screens, and the lovely Café D’Antonio to eat in. They do a lovely lasagne or just round the corner is Columbia restaurant as well as a Japanese restaurant which we haven’t tried yet.
Celebration is great on a Sunday morning when you just want to take it easy. There’s a lovely church if you wish to attend a service. You will be made most welcome-we attended Christams Eve mass there one year and we felt very much at home. There’s often a little craft or farmer’s market. There are two free Celebration newspapers which you can pick up at Starbucks and they will tell you if there is anything on. During your stay.
We absolutely love it there and imagine ourselves in our pipe dreams owning one of the beautiful clapper board houses living a peaceful and idyllic existence.
Well-we can all dream.
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