Disney's Utopia

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To create a perfect society. That was the dream that Walt Disney had in the 1960’s when he dreamt up the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (1). Today, this is better known as Disney’s theme park, EPCOT. In 1995, however, the Disney people established their own town, making another of Walt’s dreams come true. Simply named Celebration, it is located in central Florida. In order to live in the utopian community, there are strict guidelines that each and every citizen must follow, known in the legal world as a “covenant”. Disney’s covenant to live in Celebration is known as Celebration’s Declaration of Covenants. It is an extensive 166-page document that has both its positives and negatives for citizens living in this “perfect” little town. The covenant signed by the citizens of Celebration has many positives to it. One of them is that it does not allow an established church or government in the town (4). This is a positive because there cannot be a division of the citizens by any type of local politics or religious affiliations. It keeps everyone on an equal level and no one is looked at differently. Another positive that is a direct effect of the covenant is the sense of unity that is found in Celebration, Florida. Certain specifications found in the 166-page Celebration’s Declaration of Covenants include certain shrubs that can be planted in yards, each house is a certain number of feet away from the street, and fences can only be a certain height (1). Other specifications include: the positioning of garden gnomes and birdbaths, and only one campaign poster is allowed during election season and can only be displayed for forty-five days (3). This sense of unity makes people feel equal to everyone else, and allows for people to not worry about physical appearances as they do in the real world. The layout of the town, which is specified in the covenant, is also something that positively affects the town. Ridding the town of cul-de-sacs and having narrow streets helps to slow down traffic and encourages people to walk to different places (2). Downtown is conveniently located very closely to all of the original houses built in the town (2). This makes the citizens of this utopian town interact in a way in which almost every single other town has forgotten.

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