Celebration, Florida -- a place that should be the happiest place on Earth -- just got a little less so over Thanksgiving weekend.
The first murder in the community's 14-year history has shocked the area, which was conceived, planned, and designed by ... wait for it ... wait for it ... Disney.
Matteo P. Giovanditto, 58, an educator from Massachusetts who moved to Celebration in 2004, was found dead by concerned neighbors in the condo where he lived alone with his chihuahua. And while this is clearly a tragedy for Giovanditto and his family, it's also a tragedy for a town that has been billed as "the destination your soul has been seeking."
Creeped out yet?
According to CBS:
"In this neighborhood it's a rare occurrence for the Celebration community, and we are working this as an isolated incident," said Twis Lizasuain, Osceola County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman.
Perhaps it is. But Celebration has some Stepford-esque qualities that do make a person start to wonder. Here are a few:
It snows there: Yes, despite the fact that it's in Florida, it "snows nightly" in Celebration during the holiday festivities. From the town website:
Now Snowing, Central Florida’s original and premier “Snowing” event, offers an all new ice rink and a schedule filled with surprises. Now Snowing is a month long Winter Wonderland Spectacular featuring strolling Charles Dickens Carolers, photos with Santa, horse drawn carriage rides, the Celebration Express train, and nightly snowfall.
It's designed to "look like" a town: Yes, the town is a town designed to look like a town. "Celebration’s downtown is a traditional retail and business district modeled after those found in small American towns," according to the website. It's like going to Disney. Every. Day. All. Day. Terrifying.
There is no Main Street: Despite aspiring to look like a town, there is no Main Street, which happened because there was already a Main Street in Osceola County, and street names cannot be duplicated in the county. The main road is Celebration Avenue. Now, I wonder who was in charge of holding the name ... just sayin'.
The town has a soundtrack: During the holiday season, Bing Crosby is piped from speakers inside the foliage. Seriously. Hidden speakers. That is all.
They have fall: The town was designed to look like a New England town, begging the question: Why not just move to New England? But I digress. Each fall, they drop leaves on the residents during the annual Oktoberfest celebration, which also includes yodeling and sing-alongs.
Look, Disney World may very well be the happiest place on Earth, but I wouldn't want to live there full-time. There is something very creepy about a town five miles away from the theme park where neighbors smile all the time, they pretend to have seasons, and built a town designed to look like a town.
This may be Celebration's first murder, but I doubt it will be their last. This town was a horror movie waiting to happen.
Would you live in a Disney town?
Image via Celebrationtowncenter.com