Disney’s “Perfect Town” Faces Problems, Residents Speak Out

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Celebration Town Center

Credit: Celebration Town Center

If you have ever been to Orlando, you may have stumbled across Celebration, a town just minutes from Disney World, and all of its Parks, including Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. For those who have been there, you know that it is one of the most picturesque towns that Orlando has to offer, with everything always looking Instagram-ready from the clean streets, to the freshly cut grass, the houses’ architecture and color schemes – it truly seems like the All-American dream.

Credit: Disney

It’s been said that Walt Disney wanted to create a town near Disney World that would house 20,000 residents, and would be the perfect utopian city. Originally, this was meant to be EPCOT, but that never ended up coming to fruition, but the idea of a perfect Disney town still lingered. During the reign of Michael Eisner, Walt’s dream would come to life, but in a new way in which he may have never imagined. Celebration was built by Disney, and Eisner wanted it to have the twist of New Urbanism. This would mean pairing townhomes with apartments and free-standing homes, adding in shopping and dining, and creating a pedestrian-filled town that could be maneuvered by foot.

walt disney world railroad
Credit: Disney

The Orlando Sentinel spoke with residents of the town and said longtime resident Jim Siegel reflected on what it was like when Celebration came to be:

“Life revolved around what was going on in this community,” . “As people were walking around in the day … they’d see people sitting on their porches and stop and chat. The pace of life at that time was pretty slow.”

Reading this, Disney fans may almost imagine Celebration as a realization of the Carousel of Progress at Magic Kingdom! Siegel even noted that the first time he walked into town, he felt he was on a movie set. Disney is no longer associated with Celebration in terms of owning the town, but they did found it in 1996.

Now, Celebration has grown to pull in a huge amount of tourism. The town has tons of food options, parks, walking paths, shopping, and more. During Christmas and Halloween, homes are decorated to the nines and crowds gather to look at the spectacle. With all of this, the town’s adorable waterfront aesthetic, and proximity to Disney, some residents feel the town is becoming overrun.

Credit: Celebration Town Center

Siegel stated:

“There’s not as much neighborhood kind of involvement or cohesiveness anymore,” he said. “If I can put it bluntly, the town is overrun by tourists … and by people in the surrounding area looking for something to do. As a consequence, the traffic is awful at the beginning of the day and when parents come to pick up their kids,” he said. “I don’t think they’ve figured out a way to deal with that.”

mickey mouse

That being said, Siegel also noted that tourism in Orlando is how the city is able to survive. Living in Celebration will also come at a cost, as the homes are all much higher in cost due to the desirability of the town, and the proximity to Disney. Other popular areas near Disney are Windermere, Winter Park, Winter Garden, Davenport, Champion’s Gate, Four Corners, Kissimmee, and Doctor Philips. Lake Nona is also up and coming as Disney has opened their new offices there as well. Of course, the most expensive Disney community continues to remain in the Disney bubble with Golden Oak.  Check out a house tour of one of the Golden Oak properties here!

magic kingdom monorail with cinderella castle and space mountain
Credit: Disney

If you are ever visiting Disney and want to check out the town of Celebration, it is something that I, personally, would highly recommend doing!

Have you ever been to, or heard of Celebration? Let us know in the comments below!

Let the expert team at Academy Travel help you plan your next magical vacation to Walt Disney World Resort’s four theme parks — Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios — and the Disney Springs shopping and dining district!

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