Disney is developing planned communities for fans who never want to escape its clutches


Disney has launched a new company for fans who can’t bear to leave the pristine, family-friendly world the company has nurtured through its theme parks and media ventures.

“Storyliving by Disney” will operate as part of the company’s theme parks division, developing a series of master-planned residential living communities designed by Disney’s creative staff and offering the same pampering tranquility found in the resorts.

“Imagine an energetic community with the warmth and charm of a small town and the beauty of a resort,” said Disney Parks, Experiences and Products director Helen Pak in a promotional video.

Only one location has been announced so far: a community of 1,900 homes called Cotino that will be built in the town of Rancho Mirage in California’s Coachella Valley (a location where Walt Disney himself once lived).

Concept art for Cotino shows villas, apartments and residential complexes clustered around a 24-acre “grand oasis,” which Disney says will offer “clear turquoise waters,” powered by the Crystal Lagoons technology used in its resorts. Amenities include ‘shopping, dining and entertainment’ as well as a beachfront hotel and clubhouse offering ‘Disney programming, entertainment and activities all year round’.

Residents can visit Cotino by purchasing day passes, while part of the development will be reserved for residents 55 and older. Pricing for lodging and financing options has not been announced, and Disney is also yet to share when construction will begin or when residents may be able to move in.

As reported by USA todayAlthough Disney brands and markets these communities, it will not own, build, or sell the homes. Instead, it will partner with third-party developers to perform this work.

Cotino, for example, is being built by DMB Development, a company that has built a number of luxury communities in the US and abroad. These include Silverleaf, Arizona (“a private oasis of rare grace and sophistication”) and Kukuiʻula in Hawaii (“a place for discerning families looking to combine luxury with the laid-back lifestyle and awe-inspiring beauty of our island home”).

It’s also not the first time Disney has explored these types of residential developments. In 1996, it opened the gates of Celebration, Florida, a planned community near Walt Disney World Resort, and in 2011, it opened its upscale Golden Oak resort in the same state, where home prices originally started at $1.6. million. And it is known that Walt Disney himself wanted to develop a utopian “city of the future” called Epcot (which stands for “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow”).

However, not all of these communities have been successes. The wildly ambitious original plans for Epcot were never fulfilled (although the concept’s legacy lives on in various ways at Disney’s resorts and parks), while Celebration, Florida, has all sorts of mundane and non-magical problems like leaks and mold (Disney itself is not responsible for maintenance).

With this latest venture, Disney apparently wants to revisit its living dreams and focus on the vague and eternally sunny concept of “storytelling.” As Josh D’Amaro, the president of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, puts it in a blog post, the new communities are about “extending storytelling into storytelling” (hence the name).

It is not clear exactly what this means in practice. Is “storytelling” just the way the company says, “you’ll have a really nice life if you pay us a lot of money,” or does it intend to be a little closer to the lightweight immersive theater deployed in the parks and themed hotels? A report from USA today refers to something more than just impeccable service:

“Every element of these communities will be steeped in a story,” notes D’Amaro. The residents, he says, will actively participate in the stories.

Perhaps instead of getting sucked into skits with hosts dressed as Goofy or Elsa, Disney’s “Storyliving” residents can take part in more grounded adventures, as never-breaking character-breaking staff helps them navigate midlife crises and suburban boredom. . Why pay for therapy when you can turn your life into theater? A happy ending can be written for you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.