Orlando, Florida is one of the top vacation destinations in the world. Millions of tourists flock to the area each year to visit Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, and the other area theme parks and attractions. The tropical weather and the proximity to the beaches makes Central Florida a perfect place to vacation all year long. There are thousands of hotel rooms and countless restaurants and souvenir shops not far from Walt Disney World. What might surprise some people is that there is also a picturesque small town just a few miles away. Celebration, Florida offers a step back in time to the type of town that Walt Disney himself grew up in. It is an oasis in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the tourist district.
Celebration is technically a “census-designated place”. It has a Kissimmee zip code. The word “town” still fits. The first residents moved into Celebration in 1996.
If you think that Celebration looks like it belongs in the middle of Main Street, U.S.A., there’s a reason for that. The town was designed by Disney Imagineers. Walt Disney’s original ideas for an Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow were also taken into consideration during the design. While Celebration is more of a step back in time than it is a city of the future, the Disney magic is there. If you’re driving on I-4 near Route 417 look for one of the most obvious Disney touches. Most towns do not have telephone poles shaped like Mickey!
Even though Celebration is a popular place for tourists to spend a day off from the parks, the town does not feel touristy. The houses are a throwback to yesteryear; many of them have large front porches. If you’re wondering where the residents park their cars, the garages are behind the homes.
While there is a Publix grocery store at the town’s entrance, once you drive down Celebration Avenue you’ll feel like you’ve left the modern world behind. The center of the town does not have a “Main Street” because there is one in Kissimmee. Instead, it’s known as Market Street. There you’ll find small shops and restaurants, many with outdoor dining. Celebration also has miles of sidewalks and paved walking trails, so it’s a good place to take a stroll. The kids will love the large interactive fountain. They can play in the water, while you sit nearby and enjoy an ice cream cone.
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Celebration is a living community, with several churches, banks, a post office, a golf course, and schools. There is even a hospital. There are food trucks, farmer’s markets, and community yard sales. Many of the residents are concerned about the environment, which is why electric cars are popular.
The residents of the town of Celebration love to celebrate, with special events taking place throughout the year. There are fireworks on Independence Day that rival the local theme parks, a community party for New Year’s Eve, and Oktoberfest is also celebrated. Celebration is also “the place” to take the kids for Trick or Treating on Halloween. The largest special event of the year is known as Now Snowing. Each evening from just after Thanksgiving to New Year’s, Market Street is turned into a winter wonderland. There is a skating rink, and it will “snow” on the hour. The snow is of course really snoap, but the kids still love it. There are also carriage and train rides throughout the town. The tree lighting is a special occasion, and there will also at one point during the holiday season be a free outdoor concert featuring a nationally known act.
If you’re looking for a way to relax for a few hours while you’re in Central Florida, consider stopping by Celebration. Enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants, browse in the shops, or take a walk by the water. You’ll be surprised that such a peaceful, beautiful town exists right in the heart of the tourist district. Celebration, Florida is a place that you will never forget.