Disney set to unload town of Celebration -- latest dopey utopia?

The perfectly planned town of Celebration, Florida, created and ruled by the Walt Disney Company, will soon find itself part of a different Kingdom. Management of the model residential and small town community, first opened in 1996, will be transferred to an outside firm -- the details are secret, announcement forthcoming. Disney has been looking to cut back on its ventures, and Celebration reached enough projected population and real estate sales milestones to trigger the decision to divest.

The 8,000 residents choosing to live there became part of a living experiment and tourist attraction -- like Biosphere II without the bubble and the admission fee.

After new management takes over, no one knows how much of the Disney touch will be preserved. Celebration has been governed with a strict set of rules that would make most condo associations seem like slum lords -- from edicts about garbage can design and placement to scheduled dispersions of fake leaves and snowflakes on Market Street.

So the Dopey Utopia clock has started to tick. How long before Celebration falls into a sinkhole, or worse, Wal-Mart moves in?

[01/18/2004]
Address:
Celebration Blvd., Celebration, FL
Directions:
SW of Orlando, East of I-4, exit to Celebration Blvd. turn east on Waterside Dr. and wander.
Hours:
Private homes. Be respectful.
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