Celebration is a master-planned community in Osceola County, Florida, United States, located near Walt Disney World Resort and originally developed by The Walt Disney Company. As part of the Orlando–Kissimmee Metropolitan Statistical Area, Celebration's population was 7,427 at the 2010 census.
Subsequent to founding Celebration, Disney followed its plans to divest most of its control of the town. Several Disney business units continue to occupy the town's office buildings, and two utility companies, Smart City Telecom and Reedy Creek Energy Services, both operated from Walt Disney World, provide services to the town. The town itself remains directly connected to the Walt Disney World resorts via one of its primary streets, World Drive, which begins near the Magic Kingdom.
Response to Celebration has ranged from an early visitor who said it resembled the too-perfect town of The Stepford Wives, to those who see Celebration as a return to small-town values with walkable and safe communities.
In the early 1990s, the Disney Development Company (DDC) established the Celebration Company to spearhead its development within approximately 4,900 acres (20 km2) of land in the southern portion of the Reedy Creek Improvement District. Total investment for the project is estimated at $2.5 billion.
Celebration is planned in an early 20th-century architectural style and is not zoned for high-density residences. Celebration was named the "New Community of the Year" in 2001 by the Urban Land Institute. The extensive landscape, parks, trails and pathways were designed by the San Francisco firm.
The first phase of residential development occurred in the summer of 1996 with Celebration Village, West Village and Lake Evalyn; this was followed by the North Village, South Village, East Village and Aquila Reserve and the final Artisan Park phases. Disney CEO Michael Eisner took an especially keen interest in the development of the new town in the early days, encouraging the executives at Disney Development Company to "make history" and develop a town worthy of the Disney brand and legacy that extended to Walt Disney's vision of an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT). DDC executives collaborated extensively with leaders in education, health and technology in addition to planners and architects to create the vision and operating policies for the town.