Demoliton: Future Arrives Without Xanadu
The last Xanadu, foam bubble "Computerized Home of the Future" in Kissimmee, Florida, has been totally demolished. Starting October 6, tipsters reported that a bulldozer had arrived at the former tourist attraction and was poised to reduce the Xanadu structures to rubble. By October 10th, styrofoam debris was scooped up into trucks and it was all over.
For over twenty years, Xanadu's novel approach to home-building stood along busy highway 192 outside Disney World. Looking like a combo lunar base and melted vanilla sundae, Xanadu was one of three erected in the US to serve as both commerical attractions and construction marketing tools. The other two stood in tourist hubs Gatlinburg and Wisconsin Dells -- those buildings were demolished years ago.
We first visited in 1985 two years after it first opened, when the Xanadu was powered by early PCs and a dodgy wireless audio system. The self-guided tour attempted to transport visitors into the sleek, automated world of 2001. The attraction's demise lured us down into our video vaults to resurrect some fuzzy VHS clips recorded back in Xanadu's glory years. [7 mb Quicktime Movie]
Kissimee's House of the Future never quite got in sync with the rapid advance of technology, and closed in 1996. It was subsequently sold, used for storage, then fell into further decline. In recent years it became the unauthorized home of squatters, though adventurous travelers were still stopping by to explore the delapidated bubble rooms.
We have no word yet on what establishment will replace Xanadu, but our bet is it won't be another "House of the Future." Additional photos of Xanadu demolished. [Thanks for the leads from Darin, George, and John]
Update - a condomium will be built on the Xanadu tract.[10/12/2005]
- 2005: Demolished.