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Celebration is a Florida town originally built by Disney. It's mostly residential, but it also has a downtown shopping and restaurant district that hosts many tourist-oriented events throughout the year. Celebration is also a pleasant place to visit if you want to just stroll around and enjoy the atmosphere.
Celebration is a town south of Orlando that started out as a part of the Disney Empire. It was originally built by Disney on land that was formerly part of the Walt Disney World resort. The first lots were in such high demand that they were sold through a lottery, and the first residents moved into Celebration in 1996. Originally it had private homes and apartments, although the apartment buildings have since been converted into condominiums.
Main Village was the first Celebration neighborhood to be completed. Other villages followed, including West Village, Lake Evalyn, North Village, Roseville Corner, East Village, South Village, and Artisan Park. Homes run the gamut from modest condos and town homes to bungalows, village homes, manor homes, and sprawling estate homes. Most of the villages have their own swimming pools for use by Celebration residents, and the town also has expansive park land and reserve areas.
Shopping in Celebration
Disney owned and operated Downtown Celebration, a popular Orlando shopping area, until the mid-2000s, when it sold the downtown to a company called Lexin. Tourists enjoy shopping in Celebration because it has many quaint little stores, like clothing shops and a Hello Kitty store. If you list classic Orlando souvenirs, be sure to visit the Celebration History Center on Market Street, which offers a wide array of merchandise featuring the official Celebration town logo. You can get everything from posters to water globes to t-shirts there.
Downtown Celebration features many special events that draw both locals and tourists. One of the most popular is Now Snowing Nightly, an event that runs between Thanksgiving and New Years. Every night Market Street, the main road in the shopping district, is shut down for an hourly "snowfall" of artificial snow, accompanied by piped-in Christmas carols. Other family friendly activities during this event include ice skating, horse-drawn carriage rides, and visits with Santa Claus. The downtown area also has special events for holidays like Fourth of July and Oktoberfest.
Restaurants in Celebration
There are many restaurants in Celebration, most of which are located in the downtown area. For example, Market Street Cafe serves old-fashioned diner food, while the Celebration Town Tavern, which is a big favorite with locals, offers New England style fare. There is also ethnic cuisine, like the Japanese menu at Seito Sushi and the Spanish and Cuban dishes at the Columbia. Thai Thani serves up Thai food and also has a comedy show on certain nights.
There are other restaurants in Water Tower Place, a shopping area on the edge of Celebration, located at 192 and Celebration Avenue. The most popular eatery there is Joe's Crab Shack, a theme restaurant in Orlando where the servers periodically dance to entertain diners. Chik-fil-A is a fast food restaurant specializing in chicken sandwiches.
Celebration has two hotels in town. The first is the Melia Suite Hotel, which is located on the town's 192 border. The second is the Bohemian Hotel Celebration, a boutique hotel centrally located downtown.
Celebration is mainly a residential community, other than the downtown areas. Non-residents are not allowed to use the swimming pools, but there are many lovely walking and biking paths that wind throughout Celebration. You'll often see wildlife like birds, deer, armadillos, and alligators in the wooded areas and the many lakes throughout the town.
Celebration is located by 192, also known as Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway, the 417 toll road, I-4, and World Drive. It is very close to the Disney parks, particularly Disney's Hollywood Studios, although it's in close enough proximity to Epcot and the Magic Kingdom for residents in some parks of town to hear the fireworks from those parks at night. The fireworks are even visible from some parts of Celebration.
The Lynx mass transit system runs buses between Disney World and Celebration, but it's much easier to drive there. You can also walk to Celebration from some of the hotels on 192.