Celebration, Florida, the New Urbanist planned community that Disney built on the grounds at Walt Disney World, is being sold off as part of the general disintegration of the Disney company. I just finished Walt Disney and the Quest for Community, an academic book by a real-estate scholar about Walt's obsession with urban reform and the fascinating shift in the Disney Company's focus from building futuristic, ambitious domed cities (the original plan for EPCOT, the Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow) to this modest, New Urbanist venture in which the emphasis was on high-speed data, alternative education, and building all the houses out to the curb to encourage inter-neighbor communications.
"I moved here because I loved Disney ? we had such blind faith," said Mrs. Shaw, treasurer of the association board. "But this was just a business venture for them, and now it's up to us. Their success is based on financials, and ours is going to be more, `Are you proud to live here? Do you love your life here?' "
Others, like David Manuchia, who owns two downtown restaurants, said they feared that the town might not be as well-oiled a machine without Disney. "There are enough trash cans, the streets are cleaned, the traffic is orderly," Mr. Manuchia said, citing how meticulous the Celebration Company has been, about special events in particular. "There is probably nobody better than Disney at making things run smoothly."