Which shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. The United States has been one of the longer-running wannabe utopias on the planet. From those first buckle-wearing, church-going Plymouth Rock Pilgrims to the Chinese laborers lured by the image of America as the "Golden Mountain" to the current crop of east Asians and ex-Soviet Bloc immigrants, the United States has always been the place where you could start over, do it differently, do it right. And when those initial dreams of touching down in a land of milk and honey died off, people decided that if you couldn't just find the American utopia, you could damn well build it yourself. The original Disneyland is an example of this.

American history is loaded with communal experiments in perfect living, again from those early Pilgrims to the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century vegan communes to the hippies, to more modern planned communities such as Reston, Virginia, and Columbia, Maryland. Of course, none of these utopias ever really worked out. And the ones that didn't fall apart immediately, came (or are coming) apart over time.

Starting in the 1980s, the newest American utopia hit its stride: the gated community. Secured from the outside world by fences, surveillance, and private security guards, these planned communities offered their residents a sense of safety, order, and belonging. They were in something together; they shared the desire both to keep the ragged, porn-hungry, drug-infested world outside the gates and to perfect their own lives on the inside. While Celebration won't be a gated community—that would violate the Disney's raison d'arte—the people that move there will be following many of the same impulses that move residents to those other locked-down developments.


Not that Disney is scrimping on security. Aside from Osceola County sheriffs on patrol, Celebration will have its own private security squad, answerable to the laws of the State of Florida and the town's community bylaws, which each resident is contractually obligated to obey. At this time, Disney hasn't made the town's bylaws public.

Given Disney's history of obsessive control over its projects and employees (call Disney sometime and see if you don't get the biggest, scariest "Hello!" you've heard outside a lock-down ward at the county hospital), it's probably safe to assume that the everyday rules for living in Celebration will be...conservative. And legally binding. Which might be a problem for Disney Corp. These aren't employees they're dealing with. They're homeowners. Customers. Of course, Disney has never hesitated to eject troublesome visitors from its parks, so there's no reason to assume that Celebration will be different.

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