Disney Launching Residential Communities For Fans 

The theme park division at Disney announced that they are developing master-planned residential communities that will “meet the demand from fans looking for new ways to make Disney a bigger part of their lives.”

The project is a part of Disney’s decades-long efforts to expand into residential development. The company announced this Wednesday that “Storyliving By Disney” communities will be master-planned by Disney Imagineers, who are responsible for designing the company’s many theme parks. 

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Disney employees will operate the community associations. The company also announced that the communities will feature clubs where residents can participate in different forms of entertainment, health and wellness activities, and seminars. 

The first community is set to be developed on a 618-acre community called Cotino in Rancho Mirage, California; DMB Development is also helping bring the community to life. 

Disney plans on building full-scale residential houses, including a neighborhood specifically for individuals aged 55 and older. Mixed-use districts will consist of shopping centers, restaurants, a beachfront hotel, beach park, and a 24-acre “grand oasis” lagoon. 

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Disney is currently looking for additional community locations throughout the nation to further develop the communities. Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, made a statement Wednesday regarding the search:

“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.” 

Disney’s original residential efforts began in the 1960’s when the late Walt Disney announced his plans for the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, or EPCOT. The initial plans were to make the residential community the centerpiece of what is now Disney World. However, when Walt Disney died in 1966, the plans were put on hold, and the EPCOT name was repurposed to be used for Disney’s second theme park. 

Disney restarted residential development in the late 80s and 90s in Florida, with a planned community of Celebration. Celebration was a small town designed by Disney to give fans a nostalgic feeling. 

Disney sold a majority of its shares in Celebration in 2004 to a private investment firm. There’s no solid timeline as to when these Storyliving communities will be available for living, but it’s the biggest effort to come from Disney’s residential sector in a while.