Xanadu: Home of the Future

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Photo of Xanadu's Sign in 2004

The 1980's had just begun, and the future was on its way to Central Florida. Specifically, EPCOT Center, the long awaited "Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow" that Walt Disney had promised the state in the early sixties, was finally opening.

That EPCOT was not the experimental city of Walt's dream but just another theme park is another story. (Celebration, the upscale housing development that the Disney Company finally built in Osceola County, isn't it either, for that matter.)

But the future was in the air, and it was the perfect time to build the home of the future, Xanadu. Florida's Xanadu, located in Kissimmee on Hwy 192, was actually one of three -- the other two were in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.

Built of polyurethane foam sprayed over balloons to form the basic structure, Xanadu was energy efficient, cheap to build, and looked like a plastic barbie house left out in the sun too long. The interior rooms were a bit on the cramped side, and the built-in technology showed a decided tendency toward obsolescence. Like most oddly shaped "homes of the future" ever built, it never caught on, people preferring to continue living in box shaped dwellings where you could hang a picture on the wall and it would stay flat.

As the 1990's began these homes of the future died out like dinosaurs. Gatlinburg's succumbed first, followed by the Dells', and then, in 1996, Kissimmee's closed.

Photo of Xanadu in 2004

The building stood for years, growing ever more derelict as vandalism and several passing hurricanes took their toll. It was finally demolished in October, 2005. The home of the future is now a thing of the past.

Return To Florida's Lost Tourist Attractions, a site celebrating the now defunct tourist attractions of the Sunshine State. The attraction profiled on this page no longer exists.

Photos by the author, 2004.

This site Copyright (c) 1997-2011 by Robert H. Brown