Ever wonder about the world outside of Disney World? I thought everything revolved around Disney in Florida. Turns out Celebration, Florida is so much more!
Leaving the World of Disney
Just outside of Florida’s Walt Disney World is a quaint little town called Celebration. Who knew?! I, myself, having visited Walt Disney World over a dozen times in the last few years, has never stepped outside of the World of Disney! My only experience with the town of Celebration, unfortunately, was due to my son’s two emergency room visits to Celebration Hospital after having anaphylactic attacks at Disney. Even then, I only drove to and from the hospital to our home base at Walt Disney World.
I admit, when my dear friend and former resident of Celebration wanted to rent a car for our Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon Weekend, I really couldn’t fathom why on earth we’d want to leave the “World of Disney” and told her so too!
As we ventured out for my first time, outside of the what I will fondly continue to refer to as the “World of Disney“, I couldn’t really be bothered as she drove around Celebration with a familiar ease, avoiding traffic, taking all sorts of really handy shortcuts if I was closely paying attention. It wasn’t until my feet physically landed on the ground of Celebration that I started to really appreciate this small little town. My friend knew exactly where to go for our forgotten toiletries, Celebration’s very own Walgreens. While I do note that the prices weren’t too inflated in the World of Disney, it was nice to have a much larger selection of snack choices and toiletries than that offered at our resorts gift shop. I also was giddy with glee at the rows and rows of Disney merchandise, although not Authentic Disney Parks merchandise, still authentic Disney souvenirs!
My friend even introduced us to a southern staple, Chick-fil-A and I am obsessed! This may only be this particular location in Celebration, but I was absolutely enchanted by the staff who were beyond friendly, so eager to please, bringing out our meal to our table and even whipping out a pepper mill for some fresh cracked pepper for our salad and even our fries if we liked! Seriously!! Their new superfood salad… TO DIE FOR… I just need them to supersize it please!
So I’m sure it’s sounding like Celebration is more like home and a lot less than being on vacation but there’s more!
Things to Do In Celebration
A twist of fate – no pre-booked fabulous Disney dining reservations – left us without a decent breakfast meal choice on our first race day for the little miss. Wanting to start off the day on good start, we ventured back out into the town of Celebration and landed in the beautiful scenic little town center where we gorged on fluffy french toast drenched in their cinnamon butter and a Spinach Benedict to die for at the Market Street Cafe. Their mimosa was very memorable as well, but I digress.
With a full belly to walk off, we explored the streets of this town center. Really it’s not that big, maybe it’s should be more aptly called a town square, but they sure did pack it full of beautiful shops and quaint little details.
We found a pet shop adorably and appropriately named, Woof Gang Bakery, filled with only the finest for your most loved pets. We even picked out a cute Avenger’s collar for a friend’s pooch and a huge selection of fresh baked doggy treats. Yes, you can really spoil a pooch in that shop.
Seeing the all too realistic doggy treats making you want some real ones? You have to stop at Kilwin’s Confectionary Shop. While they are famous for their mouthwatering chocolate selection, their ice cream bar is not to be missed. They have their own proprietary flavors and I hear the Superman is AMAZING!
I loved all the small specialty shops with their one of a kind gifts like Confetti’s, Once Upon a Time and Market Street Gallery. Of course they served up a side of Disney in each shop like the adorable Disney-inspired designs by world reknown artist Britto.
Right in the heart of this all is a lake that you can walk right up to, but not too close! There have been some alligator sightings from time to time and I’ve been told they love to sunbath on the steps. Maybe hanging with the alligators isn’t your thing, but a neighborhood stroll is. Celebration has a ton of beautiful walking trails and bike paths. Definitely a very family friendly town with all the beautiful parks we passed. My daughter and I had a wonderful time playing at Spring Park [951 Spring Park Street] right by Celebration’s Heritage Hall.
Driving back to the “World of Disney“, I definitely kept my eyes open, soaking it all in. Admiring the beautiful architectural details which seamlessly blended Classical, Colonial, French, Coastal, Mediterranean, and Victorian styles. I could almost picture myself living there.
History of Celebration
This town has charm and an all-American feel which left me saying, it’s all just a little too perfect! My friend then shared that, although I may have thought I left the “World of Disney“, Celebration was actually founded by Disney over 14 years ago. While Disney has divested most of its interest and the town is mostly self functioning, it is still connected to Disney via World Drive and its infrastructure is very much built on the highest of Disney standards.
We’ll definitely be back as there seemed to so much more to see at this little town called Celebration. On our list for our next visit is Columbia Restaurant where I hear the Cuban sandwiches are a melty dream and their 1905 salad is obsession worthy. If that happens to be packed, I head Cafe D’Antonio’s is divine and even their pizza is something to write home about. If you’re ever feeling like a little breather, Celebration is definitely worth a day trip.