Cottage #42: Stella’s Place

Cottage #42: Stella’s Place


Over the yearCottage #42s, a yCottage #42 2oung woman named Stella developed a deep connection with Crystal Cove, dating back to 1938 when she came during spring break with her first boyfriend. She returned later in life to spend some years camping with her husband at El Morro Trailer Park. Once El Morro camping was closed, a few of her friends who had migrated north to Crystal Cove suggested that she and her husband move up there—and so they did.

They settled down at Cottage #42, which was once used by film companies during production at Crystal Cove. Though it originally featured just a modest space upstairs that wasn’t quite a full bedroom, Stella and her husband “remodeled” and added a bedroom and bath downstairs, in addition to an outdoor shower and a hot tub, where residents would gather late into the night. “Every night is Saturday night and Saturday night is New Year’s Eve,” she quotes. “That statement originated at Crystal Cove.”

She has many wonderful memories, but perhaps none that she remembers as fondly as her regular morning swims with her good friend Cinda Combs, whose grandmother lived in Cottage #6 just after World War II. Every morning at 7 a.m.—no matter the season or the weather—the two women would swim out to the buoy about 100 yards offshore, then climb into the hot tub upon their return, where Stella’s husband would bring them coffee to begin the day.

Nearly 25 years later, Stella was part of the final group of residents to move out of the cottages in 2001. Today, Crystal Cove is still very dear to her heart—in fact, she’s celebrating her 90th birthday in May in the cottage she once called home, which is now an exhibition space above the Education Commons. Stella is hopeful that friends and loved ones from the early Crystal Cove days will be able to celebrate the occasion with her, and vows that if Cinda makes her way back to California for the party, she’s even going to try and attempt their old swim one more time.

“I love Crystal Cove,” Stella says. “Disney World is not the greatest place on earth. The greatest place on earth is Crystal Cove.”

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