The Walt Disney Company searched the country for a new location to expand upon the restricted area in Anaheim, California, where Disneyland resides. By May of 1965, Walt Disney acquired over 27,000 acres through dummy corporations to keep his new project under wraps.
Disney Came to Florida
Announcement Date: December 15, 1966
After much speculation over who purchased the vast amount of land in Central Florida, Walt Disney revealed the 400 million project that at the time was known as the Disney Florida Project. Roughly one-fourth of the recently purchased land was set aside as a conservation area to keep the ecological impact to a minimum. Surrounding land began selling for over 1000% more once the announcement was made about the project. Unfortunately Walt never got to see these projects through, as he died of lung cancer on December 15, 1966.
Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Opens
Announcement Date: October 1, 1971
Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom becomes the first park to open on October 1, 1971. Admission prices were a little different at the start as ticket prices ranged from $3.50 for adults, $2.50 for juniors under 18 and just one dollar for children under 12. In addition to the park the Contemporary Resort Hotel and Polynesian Villages opened their doors to the public.
Walt Disney World Village
Announcement Date: August 1, 1975
Walt Disney World Village opened, later known as Downtown Disney and now Disney Springs, to offer guests an all encompassing shopping and dining experience.
Announcement Date: October 1, 1981
Eleven years after Magic Kingdom’s opening, Epcot became the second park to open in the Orlando area. The acronym Epcot was derived from Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.
Announcement Date: March 1, 1984
In 1984, Michael Eisner and Peter Rummel took over as the head developers to expand on Walt’s idea of a New Urbanism community.
Announcement Date: January 1, 1986
The Disney group surveyed the country in search for the most integral aspects to develop a successful New Urbanism community.
First Architectural Competition
Announcement Date: June 1, 1987
The first architectural competition for the town of Celebration in 1987 led to the development of the new town’s master plan. Winners Robert A.M. Stem and Cooper, Robertson and Partners worked on the development of the town, while EDAW aided with landscape, parks and surrounding trails.
Announcement Date: July 1, 1989
The Florida Project further expanded with the opening of its third theme park (Disney-MGM Studios), first water park(Typhoon Lagoon), and an entertainment district adjacent to Downtown Disney (Pleasure Island).
Announcement Date: August 1, 1991
The Walt Disney Company announced its plan to build a community neighboring the heart of its Orlando Parks and Resorts. The community was to be named Celebration.
Announcement Date: March 4, 1994
The official groundbreaking in Celebration took place March 4, 1994.
Announcement Date: November 18, 1995
Roughly 5,000 people arrive in Celebration on November 18, 1995, with hopes of being part of the lucky first residents. 1,200 deposits of $1,000 were submitted to enter the lottery for an opportunity to own a home in the new community.
Announcement Date: January 1, 1996
The Rotary Club of Celebration was established in January 1996, as a positive influence on the Celebration community and Osceola County. The Rotary Club funds local charities and sustainable programs, such as the Pancake Breakfast Run held at the fire station each year.
First Family Moves In
Announcement Date: June 18, 1996
The first family moved into their new residence on June 18, 1996.
Celebration Teaching Academy
Announcement Date: August 1, 1996
The Celebration Teaching Academy opened in August to serve as the starting point for the education system to grow in future years.
Announcement Date: September 30, 1996
On September 30, 1996 the Celebration Golf Club opened its doors to the public.
Announcement Date: November 12, 1996
The first Founders Day was celebrated November 12 as Downtown Celebration officially opened home to various restaurants, shops and entertainment.
Announcement Date: March 1, 1997
The town expanded as West Village, North Village and Lake Evelyn welcomed new residents moving in to the community.
Wide World of Sports
Announcement Date: March 3, 1997
Wide World of Sports opened its gates to athletes and spectators in March 1997. At 220 acres, this athletic complex hosts competitions in cheerleading, basketball, soccer, baseball, wrestling, volleyball and more.
Announcement Date: April 1, 1997
The Garden Club of Celebration was founded in April 1997, and has met on the third Wednesday of each month from September to May ever since. Membership encompasses men and women of all ages with a wide variety off topics covered.
Announcement Date: October 1, 1997
In October, Florida Hospital opened its Celebration branch- Celebration Health. It is now part of the eight-facility Florida Hospital network, and serves visitors to the Walt Disney World Resort.
Announcement Date: April 22, 1998
Animal Kingdom opened on Earth Day- April 22, 1998. The park is dedicated and themed around natural environment and animal conservation. Built as Disney’s fourth theme park, Animal Kingdom is measured to be the largest theme park in the world, covering 580 acres.
Announcement Date: June 1, 1998
The office space at Celebration Place opened housing various offices including Disney Cruise Line and other communication offices.
Announcement Date: June 19, 1998
Disney Quest opened on June 19, 1998, as part of Downtown Disney’s first major expansion. The indoor interactive theme park was built as the first of a planned chain, designed to reach families in large cities and urban areas. The second Disney Quest opened in Chicago but was short lived, ending the planned chain.
Extra! Extra! Read All About It!
Announcement Date: February 15, 1999
On February 15, the Celebration Independent Newspaper began publication.
Announcement Date: June 1, 1999
The Montessori School of Celebration was established in 1997 but did not open its doors to the first class of students till 1999. The first class took place during the summer session, with two classrooms for 3-6 year old children.
A New Village
Announcement Date: January 21, 2000
In 2000, Celebration expanded as South Village made way for hundreds of new residents as well as a new park and pool for the community.
Announcement Date: April 1, 2001
In 2001, East Village became the towns newest village in the bustling community.
Announcement Date: May 1, 2003
In 2003, Artisan Park opened and offered residents an exclusive club house that included a pool, gym and lounge area.
Celebration High School
Announcement Date: August 14, 2003
Celebration k-12 could no longer support all the students of the community so a high school opened its doors and the original school became exclusively K-8.
Announcement Date: June 23, 2005
The Community Presbyterian Church became the first Church to serve the community in the heart of Celebration.
Celebration Little League
Announcement Date: August 21, 2005
Celebration founded an official little league organization giving the town its first organized sports league thanks to the help of many parents in the community.
Announcement Date: December 24, 2009
After years of holding services in both the K-8 and high school cafeterias, Corpus Christi opened the doors to a beautiful church in the heart of Celebration.
Nicholson Center at Celebration Health
The Nicholson Center at Celebration Health is a new addition to Celebration. They have labs, surgical centers, training, and more.
Spring Lake at Celebration
In 2012, David Weekley Homes built Spring Lake at Celebration. Spring Lake offers four different series of homes, with sizing from 1,600 to 2,700 square feet
Creation Kids Village
Founded in 2013
Creation Kids Village is a Christian-based preparatory school in Celebration. They provide education from 6 weeks old to 4th grade.
West Osceola Branch Library
Built in 2013
The West Osceola Branch Library was build in 2013. It includes two meeting rooms as well as a computer lab.
The Celebration Marathon began in 2014. Runners get to run through the beautiful neighborhoods and could win awards. After the race there is food and drinks to celebrate. All of this, for a good cause! Their goal is to raise money to fund scholarships for high school seniors across Osceola county.
Celebration Community Church
The Celebration Community Church includes music, prayer, communion, personal stories of God’s work, teachings, and plenty more.
Rebranded in 2015
Disney Springs went through a renovation, adding more restaurants and shops for everyone to enjoy. It is the new hot spot for entertainment, fantastic dining, and shopping sprees.
New CCDD Building
The Celebration Community Development District Facility moved to a new location in early 2016.
Shoppes at Celebration Place
The Shoppes at Celebration Place was purchase by a New York based investment group. This 44,000 square feet area includes many food options such as Chipotle, Applebee’s, and many more. There is also a Walgreens, nail salon, and plenty to offer in a great location.
Grand Opening March 24th, 2017
The Dog Park in Celebration opened recently for the furry friends of the community. You must register your dog at town hall and it is for residents only.
Windsor at Celebration
Grand Opening April 11th, 2018
Windsor at Celebration is modern senior living that includes independent living, assisted living and memory care. This remarkable establishment includes entertainment, social opportunities and much more all wrapped in an amazing building.