Creepily, Disney built a town in central Florida, just five miles south of Walt Disney World, 14 years ago. It is called Celebration, Florida, and, you might expect, it has a certain Stepford quality, with “manicured lawns and classic movie theaters.” It is also a town where, at holiday season, “Bing Crosby croons from speakers hidden in the foliage.” And, in a bid to out-creep the creepy, it has had its first murder. Milestones!
When neighbors in the community didn’t see their neighbor Matteo Giovanditto, 58 — who lived by himself with his Chihuahua, Lucy — for several days, they started to wonder what was up. (They’re neighborly like that.) They filed a missing person’s report, then went to his condo to investigate…where they found him, dead.
The death has been deemed a homicide, and Disney Town now has creepy red and white crime-reporting reward signs and hideous, “disfiguring” yellow crime-scene tape marring its otherwise pastel Floridian vibe. Someone get set design on the phone, stat.
The irony of being murdered in a town called “Celebration” shall not be lost on those who make this into the inevitable movie, we don’t think.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 2, 2010