Down in the town square, children are skating on a skating rink or rolling in the snow.
Beyond the white palisade, the clatter of hooves briefly interrupts the Christmas carols as an open carriage slowly drives around a picturesque lily pond.
But the chocolate box scene is not what it seems. The ice is not real, the snow is made of soap suds, the fence is made of PVC, and the music plays from speakers hidden in the rocks under the palm trees.
And if you decide to go to the lake, you risk being bitten by an alligator.
Celebration, the city that Disney built.
Pedestrians walk down Market Street in downtown Celebration. The city was conceived as a small southeastern town with pre-1940s architecture. The celebration takes place outside the Walt Disney World Resort and was started by a division of the same company.
Founded 28 years ago in the swamps of central Florida, a short drive south of Orlando and the sprawling Disney World theme park, it was Walt Disney’s personal dream of creating a utopian community that could rightfully claim to be the happiest on Earth. .
For people who enjoyed a few days of flawless family life at the Disney theme park, this was the chance to experience it forever.
Over 4,000 people entered the lottery to pay 25% more than the market price for the first 500 homes.
Since then, the once tiny town has sprawled over 4,900 acres and is home to 11,000 people, including several hundred British expatriates.
Their home is like a movie set, a conscious attempt to recreate provincial America in a safer and friendlier era.
Critics berated the infamous controlling corporation, Disney, with its rules on everything, down to the residents’ choice of garden plants.
The celebration has earned comparisons to the spooky Connecticut idyll in the thriller The Stepford Wives, in which equally obedient wives are robots created by their husbands.
On the quiet residential streets of Celebration, Florida, everything is perfect.
But the locals only smiled at the ridicule, a small price to pay, they said, for living in a place where the front door could be left unlocked, where children could play freely in the streets, and theft was considered the most serious crime. a bike or two.
However, as with artificial snow (nicknamed “snoap”) and palisades, Celebration’s reassuring appearance could not forever hide the obscene passions of everyday life.
A yellow police crane has joined the Christmas red ribbons that decorate every other bush in Celebration.
A small children’s train, which is chugging through the city, suddenly found itself in the background in front of a police tank that was brought in with a SWAT team to surround Mr. Fushi’s house.
The police were quick to assure everyone that there was no crime wave in Celebration.
The celebration was designed to create a small-town feel by gathering houses close together and encouraging neighbors to talk to each other and walk rather than drive to an “old world” city center.
Reflections in the water highlight the view of the lake and the unique colorful shopping and dining district in downtown Celebration, Florida.
The celebration has an almost morbidly far-fetched beauty and physical perfection, so it’s no surprise that attendees mistake it for the setting of The Truman Show, the Jim Carrey-starring movie in which the hero grows up in a fake city as the unwitting star of his own reality show.
The architectural styles are a mixture of Victorian and pre-war America – perhaps an unconscious reflection of the social values that Disney was trying to recreate.
Almost morbidly contrived beauty and physical perfection—fallen leaves were even brought into the city to spread in the fall—are par for the course, and it’s no surprise that visitors mistake it for the setting of The Truman Show, a movie starring Jim. Carrey, in which the hero grows up in a fake city and becomes the unwitting star of his own reality show.
As planned, in 2004 Disney sold its stake in the city to a real estate company that promised to stay true to its founder’s spirit. The original set of rules for the inhabitants was several inches thick, but many of its restrictions have survived.
No two neighboring houses may look the same (builders may choose between several permitted house designs), no house may have more than two cars on the street, blinds or curtains must be white on the outside.
Even plant compost is listed.
Anthony Todt confessed to killing wife Megan, children Alec, Tyler and Zoe, and dog Breezy at their home at a holiday in January 2020.
Todt had previously confessed to sheriffs for killing his wife, three children, and their dog at his home (above), as it was revealed he was struggling with debt.
The locals love to joke that they live in The Bubble, but it was busted in 2010 when Celebration recorded its first murder.
Before that, you’ll have to travel back to 2002, when the couple was tied up and held at gunpoint in their home to produce one last major incident.
After a 14-hour standoff with police, 52-year-old Craig Fushi, a former airline pilot who was deeply depressed after a divorce, the loss of his home and the collapse of his security business, shot himself. His wife recently accused him of assault.
In 2020, another mass murder shocked the community.
Anthony Todt, 46, killed his wife and three children at their Disneyland home and lived with their bodies for at least two weeks.
Todt, deep in debt, confessed to killing his wife Megan, their children Alec, 13, Tyler, 11, and Zoe, 4, and Breezy’s dog.
The house in Celebration, Florida where the bodies were found more than two weeks after the murders.