BY: JESSICA BEUKER
There is a gated community in Florida where 100,000 residents roam freely in an area the size of Manhattan. There are no cars or trucks – instead everyone cruises around in golf carts, many of which have been decked out to look like Hummers and Mercedes Sedans. Happy hour begins at 11 a.m., and on more than one occasion residents have been caught having sex in the town square.
Welcome to The Villages: the hedonistic Disneyland where everyone does exactly what and whom they want. The only catch – you have to be over 55 to live here.
The Villages development was founded by Harold S. Schwartz whose Walt Disney-esqe statue can be seen in the community’s old-fashioned downtown. Schwartz bought a trailer park and turned it into the retirement community it is today. The whole development operates under the same laws that give Walt Disney World governmental autonomy, meaning that the development has its own tax districts and is responsible for providing streets, lights, water and sewer for the subdivisions. The developer also controls home construction and enforces deed restrictions.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, the community is outfitted with over three-dozen golf courses, 12 swimming pools, 18 tennis courts and 400-plus activity clubs. Everything that the retirees could possibly need is available within the confines of the development – groceries, restaurants, entertainment, medical care and churches – and is accessible via golf cart. There are no typical streets in the villages – instead everything is built to accommodate golf carts. Besides the numerous golf courses, there are cart tunnels and bridges and the community also hosts a golf cart parade.
While there is plenty of freedom, the residents face their fair share of restrictions. No garage sales, sheds, fences, outdoor trash cans, loud music, or large dogs and cats unless on a leash. The Villages is also relatively childfree. Grandchildren are not allowed to visit more than 30 times in a year.
Despite any restrictions the residents know how to have a good time.
The community has its own microbrewery and residents boast that they can out-drink college students. According to Slate, they have the highest consumption of draft beer in the state of Florida. They also have a thriving black market for Viagra. Residents have been caught getting it on in the town square and in their golf carts.
According to Buzzfeed News: “I’m told that sticking a loofah on your cart antenna signifies you’re into swinging. According to multiple people, wearing gold shoes or letting your shirt tag stick out in the back signals you’re on the prowl. I hear a story about a scorned woman painting “YOU FUCKING PRICK YOU GAVE ME HERPES!” in red letters on her lover’s garage door. Recently, a married 68-year-old woman became a folk hero after getting arrested with a 49-year-old man for having sex in the square at Lake Sumter Landing. The cops brought her to jail and a Villages restaurant named a drink after her — Sex on the Square. It involves whipped cream and a cherry.”
More than anything The Villages is a place for retirees to be happy in their remaining years.”The people here aren’t sitting around waiting to die,” said resident Tootie Jackson in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel.
Jackson herself belongs to the Indiana Club, teaches adult swimming, square dances and plays golf, cards, dominoes and bocce ball, and is taking organ lessons. Disneyland may claim to be the happiest place on earth, but I’m betting that the residents of this community would vote otherwise.