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Celebration Photo Tour Part 2, Market Street
Friday, December 13, 2003
Every town has a central gathering place that functions as the hub of activity, and in the case of Celebration that would be the Market Street area. Signs around the community point visitors in the right direction, making it very easy to find. Market Street is an attractive collection of shops and restaurants nestled around a lakeside promenade. It's the perfect place to park the car and just wander around before or after a good meal.
Market Street is themed as a traditional retail and business district in small-town America. Currently there are retail shops, restaurants, the town hall, a post office, a grocery store, offices, a cinema, and a hotel. One- and two-bedroom rental apartments are located above some of the retail shops.
Town Center Lake is visible from almost everywhere in the Market Street area, and is a peaceful setting for a leisurely stroll. Children enjoy playing in the nearby fountain, just as they do in similar fountains within Walt Disney World. A limited supply of boats are available for rent, and rocking chairs are set along the promenade.
Parking is mostly along the street but there are a few lots designated by signs. The Market Street area is compact enough that no matter where you park, it is easy to cover the entire area on foot. One popular reason to visit is to enjoy a good meal in one of the excellent restaurants in Celebration. Florida's oldest restaurant, Columbia, is located here (as well as in many Florida cities). Columbia has Spanish décor and excellent Spanish-Cuban cuisine along with an extensive selection of wines and a cigar bar.
For a more casual meal, the very popular Market Street Café serves delicious food at reasonable prices. Themed as an upscale 1950s-style diner, I have yet to find anyone with a negative thing to say about this place. It originally opened under a different name (Max's) but is now named for its location. Eating outdoors on the sidewalk is a very pleasant option when the weather is nice, and the lake is directly across the street.
Café D'Antonio is a fine Italian restaurant, winner of a Zagat award and praised by the Orlando Sentinel reviewers as "a celebration of fine Italian dining." They offer daily specials and an extensive selection of wine during both lunch and dinner.
Movie buffs need not leave Celebration to watch current movies. Along the lake is a small AMC movie theater. Being able to avoid the tourist traffic in nearby Kissimmee and Orlando has to be a big advantage for seeing movies right here in Celebration.
Speaking of tourists, Celebration Hotel opened in 1999. Recently there has been much debate on whether additional hotels or timeshare units would be good for - or destroy - the ambiance of the Celebration community. Until that issue gets resolved, for right now there is just the one hotel in town.
It is a small hotel, located next to the lake and a short stroll from many retail shops and some of the Market Street area restaurants. With only 115 rooms and suites in four different configurations, every unit has more luxurious features than many of the Disney resorts at Walt Disney World. For example, each room has three telephones, coffee maker, high-speed internet access, and triple-sheeted beds. Rates start at just over $100 and go up from there depending on the season and category of room or suite selected.
The Piano Lobby Bar is a relaxing setting for a cocktail and conversation. The lobby itself is elegant and comfortable, with no Disney characters to remind you who runs the place. A single restaurant, Plantation Room, serves "New Florida Cuisine," which combines traditional cooking styles with the finest ingredients and southern accents. Chef Jean-Louis' classic specialties include zesty crabcakes, aged filet of beef layered with foie gras and Southern Comfort bread pudding. The restaurant has hardwood floors, paddle fans, tropical foliage, and music from the 1920s to set the mood.
There are a number of other unusual and attractive buildings in the Market Street area, depending on your level of interest in architecture and design. Market Street is what every town center should look like, and a nice break from the crowds and hectic pace of the theme parks.
Contact Sue at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sue has been hooked on Walt Disney World since her first visit in 1972 with her parents and younger brother. She kept returning more frequently until she moved to Florida in 1986.
After joining the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) in 1997, she now visits almost monthly. She also spends time at the DVC's non-WDW locations, and is experienced with the Disney cruise ships.
She takes many of these trips on her own, but she's also toured WDW with large groups of people, including families, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
She works as the Administrative Services Division Head for a large residential facility administered by the Florida Department of Children and Families. She currently resides in Southwest Florida with her teenage son.
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