A city built by Disney, very close to Disney World, EPCOT, and the rest of the Reedy Creek Improvement District.

Celebration is carefully planned to bring out the nostalgic best of old-fashioned communities such as might have been seen in black and white movies. That means lots of terms in the covenant designed to prevent anyone from breaking stride with the Stepford-like precision with which the aesthetic and functional requirements have been engineered for maximum happiness. Happiness, damn you, I don't hear enough happiness!

You just can't escape the influence of Mouseschwitz anywhere near Orlando. Even the high-voltage electrical towers near Celebration have been designed in the shape of a huge Mickey Mouse silhouette.

From where I sit, there doesn't seem to be much worth celebrating.

"A futuristic city in which crime, pollution, and deviance would be replaced by community, cleanliness, and uniformity."

Celebration, Osceola County, Florida

Celebration was one of the stops for the Triple Bash. This writeup is part aftermath, part grisly reality. Ben, we'll never forgive you for taking us there. You knew!

The town is a late realisation of Walt Disney's vision, expressed in 1965, of turning the swamp into "a city of tomorrow," and effectively supersedes the EPCOT plan. It's "billed as a 19th-century town for the late 20th century, harking back to a time when lemonade stands, not crime, were on every corner" and opened for business, commodified nostalgia being a quite accurate moniker for the type of business, in 1996. It's built on 4900 acres of land, cost about USD 350,000,000 to build and the 2000 census lists its population as 2736, 94.6% of which is white. There is a book about it called Celebration, U.S.A. (ISBN 0-8050-5561-4), written by a reporter who went to live there for the purpose of reporting on it.

First of all, getting there from Orlando... perhaps fortunately, it is not the easiest place to get to. Take I-4 for about 15 miles to the Celebration/Kissimmee exit and look for the Greenway (SR 417). Miss the little sign that says SR536 to SR417 and you're screwed. Do not turn around immediately, proceed to one of the next exits because there is no exit from that point onwards when heading east on I-4--they're all to the west. So, while everyone had somehow gotten there before our vehicle (using the directions we gave them), they were calling us and we were like "fuck off, we're lost" from somewhere in Kissimmee, and finally got there via SR 192. Celebration lies in the north-west corner of Osceola county, five miles south of Disney and almost in Polk county.

This ain't Everything, KS!

Whichever way you arrive, you will end up on Celebration Avenue. And this is where things turn scary. We drove into the place and saw the white picket fence surrounding a deserted lake with acres of manicured lawn and wire mesh behind the fence. That was our first hint. NinjaPenguin said she was looking for Barbie's convertible and plastic seams on the buildings and cars. They hide them well. "Oh shit," I said, "it's Prep City." I didn't know half the truth. Two minutes later I knew that this is the kind of place to which they lure you, drain your blood for the community feast, and hide your remains in the fake water tower. The restaurant was a ruse.

Celebration is Arcadia Falls in the cheesy X-Files episode (6:15) with the garbage monster.

Celebration is The Burbs built and operated by Disney. With Mickey Mouse as mayor.

Celebration is the Third Rock from the Sun episode in which Sally tries to make them "normal" in a bid to join a conformist condo board.

Celebration is the setting for stories like The Midwich Cuckoos.

"CELEBRATION is a freak show! We read studies about it in urban planning seminars. It scared me!"

I was describing the place to liontamer when filling her in about the happenings at the noder bash. She recognised it from the description and showed the compassion of a true friend for the fact that I had ever been to the place. They use it to scare urban planning students. Every blade of grass is mowed to perfection in a way that would make Wimbledon organisers blush. It's in the middle of Florida and there are NO MOSQUITOS! I think they've outlawed them.

We made jokes about painting houses the right colour, trimming every tree to exact specifications, and everyone having a poodle. Until some guy in a hawaiian shirt walked by with a white poodle in tow. A regulation french poodle if I ever saw one. You know he went home and told everyone about the out of town louts that were sniggering in his general direction. And took his dog for therapy Monday morning.

I'll make a confession here. I'm pretty conscientious about littering but... I dropped my cigarette butts on the ground, stomped on them viciously and left them there. It was probably a capital crime, had they caught me doing it, and I'd have ended up under a concrete slab in the community gym but the place was crying out for a token violation of protocol.

A scary, scary place.

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