The “Happiest Place On Earth” is a top destination for most tourists visiting Florida. But what else is there to see and do when you’re done having adrenaline-filled adventures at Walt Disney World?
Just a stone’s throw away from the park itself, Celebration, Florida is the ideal town that takes you back in time – it was even named one of America’s top 10 prettiest towns. Pastel houses stand in rows, streets are lined with trees, and it’s sunny all year long.
Read on for a full guide to visiting Celebration, FL, including its history, where to stay, and what to do in this picturesque town.
Location And Directions
Located in Osceola county, Celebration is a short 30 minute drive from downtown Orlando. It is 5 miles away from Hollywood Studios and 8 miles from the Magic Kingdom theme park.
If you want to go to Celebration, Florida from Disney World, the easiest route is to drive down World Drive. You don’t have to worry too much about getting lost – it’s quite easy to locate on Google Maps.
It was Walt Disney’s dream to conduct an experiment in community planning and make a perfect, utopian city set in the 1930s. He called it the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (E.P.C.O.T.).
Unfortunately, Disney himself never saw this dream materialize – he died in 1966, almost three decades before The Walt Disney Company finally established the master-planned community and broke ground in 1994.
Celebration, Florida was built by well-known architects on 27,000 acres of land in Osceola and Orange counties. Every civic building was designed by Robert A.M. Stern, Michael Graves, and Philip Johnson, who were heavily inspired by historical American small towns.
The company chose its residents through a raffle draw. The first family moved in 1996 after construction was done.
Today, Celebration, Florida is no longer owned by Disney, but the community there still remains. Tourists often flock to this charming small town to adore the captivating architecture and enjoy the many activities and attractions it offers.
Where To Stay
There are several hotel and resort options in Celebration and the neighboring Disney region. The key is to decide how much of the area you want to explore while visiting.
Luxury: Bohemian Hotel Celebration
If you want to experience luxury in Celebration, Florida, you can find accommodations at the Bohemian Hotel Celebration. Located at the edge of a lake, this hotel boasts an excellent view from its outdoor dining area and bar. This hotel also offers a free shuttle service to Celebration Golf Club, located just a few minutes away. The Bohemian Hotel is only a 10-minute drive away from the Happiest Place on Earth. The hotel sells theme park tickets at the desk and shuttles guests directly to Walt Disney World Resort.
Fun and Family: Holiday Inn Express & Suites S Lake Buena Vista
For a more family-friendly feel, book a room at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites S Lake Buena Vista on Calypso Way, a ten minute drive from downtown Celebration. This chic and modernly designed hotel is also located only 10 minutes from the Walt Disney World Resort. It’s also central to all of Orlando and Kissimmee’s top points of interest, such as Orlando International Airport, Universal Orlando, Sea World, Orange County Convention Center, Kissimmee Lake Front Park, Osceola Heritage Park, Old Town USA and so much more.
Where To Eat
As you walk down Celebration Avenue, Market Street, and Front Street, you’ll find plenty of restaurants to choose from, whether you’re craving Thai and Japanese food or good, old-fashioned ice cream. Don’t forget to check out the Downtown Diner in Celebration, the Celebration Town Tavern, and the local bakery!
Things To Do
Lake Rianhard has rocking chairs where you can watch the sunset, as well as parks along the walking trails that surround the lake. It’s a great place to take a break and relax!
Horse-drawn Carriage Ride
If you want to take your partner on a nice romantic date, hop on the horse-drawn carriage at the Celebration Town Center and enjoy the scenic trails and lake view. Departing from the Town Center’s lakefront, the one-horse carriage ride takes 20 minutes.
Celebration Bike Rentals And Mobility Scooters
Create memorable experiences as you travel along the quiet streets of Celebration Village. Everything is so much more accessible by bike! Those who need mobility aids can also rent scooters for the duration of their trip.
Celebration Theatre Company
Stop by the Celebration Theatre Company for a spectacular show. Escape from your daily life and participate in a broad range of community and professional productions. Celebration Theatre Company strives to bring a creative and inclusive environment for all.
Celebration Golf Club
Get the best golfing experience in the area at the Celebration Golf Club’s premier golf facilities. Play on a scenic 18-hole course, designed by masters of golf course architecture Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Rober Trent Jones Jr.
Celebration Town Center
In the town center, you will find retail shops, restaurants, the town hall, the post office, and other offices. Many of these buildings are situated around a small lake – take in the breathtaking views as you walk along the brick-lined streets.
On Sundays, stop by the Farmers Market on Market Street. The whole street is closed to vehicular traffic during the day to make way for booths on both sides of the street. In the Farmers Market, you can find fresh produce, products from local bakeries and shops, souvenirs, and more.
One of the main commercial streets in Celebration, Market Street boasts plenty of boutiques and eateries that will make you feel as if you truly stepped back in time. Some Market Street restaurants even offer alfresco dining by the sidewalk!
Aside from its picturesque structures, tourists often go to Celebration, Florida for fun events and festivals, such as:
It doesn’t snow in Florida during the holiday season, but it does at this event! Celebration, Florida looks even more magical during the holidays, with horse-drawn carriage rides, train rides, and (of course) plenty of man-made snow.
Now Snowing Central is a long-running tradition for locals and tourists who visit regularly. The event is completely free and runs every night from late November to December 31st.
The Oktoberfest Celebration is held every October on Market Street. Guests will enjoy the live music (ranging from yodeling to crowd sing-alongs) and free-flowing alcohol. The annual “Rocktoberfest” concert even invites artists and musicians from all over to take the stage.
During the two-day event, you can also enjoy hayrides and the lakeside promenade.
If you want to visit FL, Celebration is worth a visit. Whether you need a place to stay near the Happiest Place on Earth or a scenic vacation for the summer, this tiny community is the perfect spot to take in the sun, sights, and so much more!
**Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate or sponsor links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).
Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.
Events and schedules are subject to change.