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Working Papers

Disney Town

Working paper #359
Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins

The authors, husband-and-wife journalists, bought a house and lived with their children for sixteen months in the Walt Disney Company’s new planned community of Celebration, in Orlando, Florida. Celebration is designed according to the principles of traditional neighborhood development, which intends to replicate the small-town virtues that most Americans admire; neighborliness, walkability, safe inviting streets, a nearby downtown. Architecture and urban design are key factors in this kind of development. High expectations associated with Disney contributed to the dismay that some homebuyers experienced when they encountered problems. The authors conclude that “Good architecture couldn’t make the town work, and Disney couldn’t ride to the rescue every time. The people who lived there had the power to determine the future of Celebration.”

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