Monday, December 5, 2011

Celebration, Florida: The Town That Disney Built

Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of strip malls and traffic, Celebration, FL is always a delight to discover. White picket fences greet every visitor, and lush oak trees line the walkways. Celebration, Florida looks like a movie set come to life, and it should because it was envisioned by the engineers of Walt Disney World.

The planning of Celebration started long before it was built. It was meant to be a community for cast members who worked for the Disney World Resort, and to this day, many Disney cast members reside in Celebration, although it is open to everyone. Celebration is divided into little villages, and has a beautiful brick laden downtown that overlooks a green park and lake. The downtown area has restaurants and shops, and is the central part of the whole community.

Travelling around Celebration, most visitors will notice NEVs, or Neighborhood Electric Vehicles, driven by the residents. These slow going, battery-operated vehicles set the pace of life in the town, and you'll notice that many residents enjoy getting around by walking or biking. Meandering through the quiet streets, you will see different types of architecture and tiny parks dotting the different villages.

There are several restaurants in the downtown area, from a diner, to a tavern, an Italian restaurant, and more. Celebration loves to celebrate and there are often festivals, like New Year's Eve countdown with fireworks, the Great American Pie Festival, the Fourth of July Parade and fireworks, and everyone's favorite, the Holiday Festival where it even snows in the middle of a hot Florida evening. Craft fairs, family camp out nights, and chili-cook offs are other things that occur in Celebration. Every Sunday, the downtown is converted into a Farmer's Market and craft area, where local artisans sell their ware. Another fun thing to do in Celebration is to take a Segway Tour of the town. A personal guide will show beginners how to ride a Segway, and then lead a guided tour of the villages, shops, and other spots in Celebration.

Although it is not owned by Disney, there are a few Disney businesses and buildings located around Celebration. Also, anyone can reach the Walt Disney World Resort in a short 10 minute drive. Other theme parks in Orlando are about a 20 minute drive away. Celebration does have its own hotel, the Bohemian Hotel, located in the downtown area, and nestled against the lake, however visitors can stay in any of the numerous hotels just outside of the town, or even rent a home within the many villages.

There is a state-of-the-art hospital within Celebration called Celebration Health, where visitors can go if they want to be a part of a gym while on holiday. Temporary gym memberships include use of a pool, the latest exercise equipment, and any of the classes that are being conducted. There is also a beautiful golf course open to visitors and guests, and several salons and spas around town.

Celebration is a quaint and inviting community where everyone says hello. Laid back and warm, you may end up extending your visit there just to be part of town for a little longer. Experience Florida through the eyes of locals, and spend time in the beautiful little town of Celebration, Florida.

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