The Walt Disney Company today announced its next step in the residential real estate business. "Storyliving by Disney" will be the company's brand for master-planned communities that Disney will develop in locations across the United States.
The first Storyliving by Disney community will be Cotino, in Rancho Mirage in Southern California's Coachella Valley. Created in collaboration with DMB Development, Cotino will include a range of home types - including estates, single family homes, and condominiums - as well as a hotel, shopping, dining, and entertainment, including a lakefront park that the public can access by buying a day pass.
Disney cast members will operate a community association for Cotino, and a voluntary club membership for residents will offer access to a waterfront clubhouse, club-only beach area, as well as Disney programming, entertainment, classes, seminars, and other activities throughout the year.
"Disney Imagineers are exploring the richness of each local region to inspire the theme of Storyliving by Disney communities," Walt Disney Imagineering Executive Producer Michael Hundgen said. "Distinctively designed indoor and outdoor spaces will offer residents new opportunities to explore, engage and create the next incredible chapter of their story."
At least one section of Cotino will be designated as a retirement community for ages 55 and older, but homes elsewhere in the development will be available for residents of all ages.
Disney's first attempt at getting into residential real estate business was the original Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow that Walt Disney proposed for what becomes the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Although Disney abandoned the proposal after Walt's death, recycling the "Epcot" acronym for the resort's second theme park, the company eventually entered the residential real estate business with Celebration in the 1990s. After Disney sold Celebration, Disney created the more upscale Golden Oak community at the Walt Disney World Resort. [Full disclosure: One of my immediate family members was a sales agent for both Celebration and Golden Oak.] Storyliving by Disney will extend Disney's residential real estate business across the country, as Disney said that it is exploring additional locations around the United States for future developments.
"For nearly 100 years, Disney has shared stories that have touched the hearts and minds of people all around the world," Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro said. "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 Storyliving. We can’t wait to welcome residents to these beautiful and unique Disney communities where they can live their lives to the fullest."
Update: I offer some first thoughts on Storyliving by Disney in my YouTube post today. Yes, America needs a lot of new housing developments, and maybe the Disney name can help make that happen. But a community of investor-owned vacation homes ain't it.
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