Ever dream of living inside Disneyland? The “happiest place on earth” company is now offering the next-best thing: a Disney-run residential community.
“For nearly 100 years, Disney has shared stories that have touched the hearts and minds of people all around the world,” said Josh D’Amaro, the chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, in a statement. “As we prepare to enter our second century, we are developing new and exciting ways to bring the magic of Disney to people wherever they are, expanding storytelling to story living. We can’t wait to welcome residents to these beautiful and unique Disney communities where they can live their lives to the fullest.”
The first Storyliving by Disney residential association will be located in Rancho Mirage in southern California’s Coachella valley. It’s a fitting spot, considering it’s just minutes away from Walt Disney’s own favorite family retreat in Palm Springs, a getaway he called his “laughing place.” Subtitled “Cotino,” the Rancho Mirage development will include multiple housing options, including estates, single family homes, and condominiums. There will even be some neighborhoods specifically for residents ages 55+.
The entire village will be centered around a proposed 24-acre “grand oasis featuring clear turquoise waters with Crystal Lagoons® technology, enabling crystalline lagoons of any size to be built sustainably, with low water consumption and using a minimum amount of additives and energy,” the company said.
Residents can opt into a club membership for access to the recreational water activities, waterfront clubhouse, and members-only beach area. And of course, the club membership will provide access to all the other Disney lifestyle activities that the community offers. Disney cast members will run the community association and provide their legendary guest service to residents. They’ll also facilitate curated leisure opportunities like live performances, cooking classes, seminars, philanthropic endeavors, and wellness programming.
The master plan also includes a commercial zone with a hotel, as well as a range of shopping, dining, and entertainment options open to the public along the lakefront. There’s a catch though: to use the beach and its amenities, outsiders will need to purchase a day pass.
Disney says it is “exploring other location options in the United States – in the places people dream of living in.” Each community “will take inspiration from the authentic culture and heritage of each region,” with design help from its team of Imagineers.
“Disney Imagineers are exploring the richness of each local region to inspire the theme of Storyliving by Disney communities,” says Michael Hundgen, executive producer of Walt Disney Imagineering. “Distinctively designed indoor and outdoor spaces will offer residents new opportunities to explore, engage, and create the next incredible chapter of their story.”
The idea of Disney living originated with Walt himself. Epcot was inspired (and named) by his idea for the “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow,” an imaginary city built on the newest and most innovative technologies. And the company actually did build an entire Disney town in the 1990s. Celebration, Florida is filled with pastel-colored buildings and palm-tree lined lanes, but Disney sold the municipality to a private-equity firm a decade later, essentially cutting ties with the development.
Cotino is being planned with the help of Scottsdale, Arizona-based DMB Development, a builder with experience creating unique communities in the western United States. No completion timetables have been given at this point, but interested mouseketeers can apply for more information on the Storyliving by Disney website.