If you’ve ever been to DisneyWorld and felt like staying there, here’s some good news. The division dedicated to the management of Disney theme parks has announced that it will build residential neighborhoods inspired by its films.
The project called “Storyliving by Disney” encompasses a series of planned communities for residential living, designed by Disney’s creative staff and offering the same tranquility found in its resorts.
“Imagine an energetic community with the warmth and charm of a small town and the beauty of a resort,” said Helen Pak, executive of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, in the promotional video.
Only one location has been announced so far: a community of 1,900 homes called Cotino. This will be built in the town of Rancho Mirage in California’s Coachella Valley (a place where Walt Disney himself once lived).
Cotino’s concept art shows villas, condominiums and housing complexes clustered around a 24-acre “grand oasis” that Disney says will offer “clear turquoise waters” powered by the Crystal Lagoons technology implemented at its resorts. Amenities will include “shopping, dining and entertainment” as well as a beachfront hotel and clubhouse that will house “year-round Disney programming, entertainment and activities.”
On the other hand, the public will be able to visit Cotino by purchasing day passes, while a section of the development will be reserved separately for residents over 55. However, Disney has not yet shared accommodation prices and financing options, or when construction will start or when residents might move in.
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In accordance with USATodayAlthough Disney is marketing these communities, it will not own, build or sell the homes. Instead, it will partner with third-party developers to carry out this work.
Cotino, for example, is being built by DMB Development, a company that has built several luxury communities in the United States and abroad. Some of them are Silverleaf, Arizona (“a private haven of rare grace and refinement”) and Kukuiʻula, Hawaii (“a place for discerning families seeking to balance luxury with the laid-back lifestyle and awe-inspiring beauty of our island native”).
But this isn’t the first time Disney has explored residential developments like this. In 1996, he opened the doors of Celebration, Florida, a community near Walt Disney World Resort, and in 2011 he opened his luxurious Golden Oak resort in the same state, where home prices originally started at $1.6 million. And, as is well known, Walt Disney himself wanted to develop a utopian “city of the future” called Epcot (which stands for “Experimental Prototyping Community of Tomorrow”).
However, not all of these communities have been successful. Hugely ambitious original plans for Epcot never came to fruition (although the concept’s legacy lives on in various ways at Disney’s resorts and parks), while Celebration, Florida, suffers from all manner of mundane problems like leaks and mold (although Disney itself is not responsible for maintenance).
With the new community, Disney apparently wants to revisit its residential dreams while focusing on the concept of “narrative.” Josh D’Amaro, the company’s president of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, said in a blog post that these new communities are all about “expanding storytelling from ‘Storytelling’ to ‘Storyliving’.” , hence the name of the new community.
Now, it is not known exactly what Disney means by it. Is it simply a marketing concept for the new residential sector or is the company really planning something more immersive and closer to what they do in their theme parks and hotels?
According USAToday, the new project leans toward the latter: “Every element of these communities will be steeped in history,” D’Amaro said. That is, the residents will be active participants in the stories.
Perhaps instead of engaging in skits with hosts dressed as Goofy or Elsa, residents of Disney’s “Storyliving” will be able to engage in more realistic adventures, who knows. In any case, there is still a long way to go before we see something concrete from this Disney plan.