Monday, September 20, 2004

Another Ho-Hum Day in Paradise

If you've done any research at all on Celebration (or if you've read some of my other blog entries), you may have that whole "Stepford" mindset or think that we're like a latter-day version of Mayberry. To help you make an informed decision, I'll give you a little peek into the things that we discuss on our community intranet and let you decide for yourself.

"The Front Porch" can be found at, but unless you are a resident who has been given access by Town Hall, you can only read the publicly posted information. For those who can log in, there are lively discussion forums based on the cornerstones (Community, Education, Health, Place, Techology), plus a place for concerns, areas to post items for sale, houses for rent, and more.

So what do the people of Celebration discuss away from the prying eyes of the public? Here is a quick sampler, based on tonight's actual topics:

-Kudos for a local doctor
-Results of the Celebration Residential Owners Assocation election
-Photos and information on a "found" cat
-Posts seeking a baby sitter
-A complaint about a local mover
-A request for donated items to help a needy family
-A query about whether others are experiencing a Dish Network outage

Sound kind of mundane? Not the sort of thing you'd expect from Walt's "experimental prototype community of tomorrow?" I know it would be more exciting if we were plotting how to entice new residents into the secret lab for chip implantation or making plans to duplicate our insidious concept of "New Urbanism" in clones of Celebration across the country, but no such luck.

The discussions do get pretty heated sometimes. Some of the more famous and/or interesting ones have included the scooter wars (Celebration used to be rife with youngsters on motorized scooters until the sheriff's department started enforcing a state law against them) and the family who liked to bring their dog and naked baby to swim in our neighborhood pool. But even when tempers flare, I keep in mind that people say things from the safety of their keyboard that they'd never dare to say face to face. It makes for very amusing reading. I've even been known to enter the fracas myself, most notably in my crusade to eliminate the jungle-lawns of the triplexes, duplexes, and townhomes.

But the big debates are usually in the minority, and posts like those on the topics I have mentioned are the majority. Actually, it's that small-town mundaneness that I love about Celebration. It's so cool to live in the heart of Tourist Country and still enjoy a close-knit community atmosphere. The only difference is that we have it in person, and we have it New Millenium-style too. Instead of sitting around in the barbershop or gossiping across the fence, we can do it from the comfort of our livingrooms, at the air-conditioned comfort of our keyboards. Many of us even sign our posts with a photo for that "personal" touch.

But I don't mean to give the impression that we've all a bunch of technies. Our townsfolk do plenty of in-person interaction too. If you actually tallied up the percentage of people who post on The Front Porch regularly vs. the overall population, it's probably only a fraction. We're like the Moral reality, a small but very vocal minority.

Still, the Front Porch is a great place to check in. I especially enjoy it because when I'm stuck 1500 miles away, it gives me a little taste of home. It may be mostly lost pet notices, jobs sought or offered, and public kudos or complaints, but those are the things that a town like Celebration is really all about...I wouldn't want it any other way.

You can email me at if you have questions or comments.

You can view my websites at the following links:
Information about Celebration
Platinum Vacation Planners (my travel agency)
The Platinum Castaway Club (Disney Cruise Line information)

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