Disney has launched a new business for fans who can’t bear to leave the original family-friendly world the company nurtured through its theme parks and media projects.
Storyliving by Disney will operate as part of the company’s theme park division, where it will develop a series of planned residential living communities, designed by Disney’s creative staff and offering the same pampered tranquility found at its resorts.
“Imagine a vibrant community with the warmth and charm of a small town and the beauty of a resort,” Disney Parks, Experiences and Products CEO Helen Buck said in a promotional video.
Only one location has been announced so far: a 1,900-unit community named Cotino to be built in Rancho Mirage in California’s Coachella Valley (where Walt Disney himself lived).
Cotino’s concept art shows villas, condos and condominiums clustered around a 24-acre “big oasis,” which Disney says will provide “clear turquoise water” powered by Crystal Lagoons technology deployed at its resorts. Amenities will include “shopping, dining, and entertainment,” as well as a beachfront hotel and club that hosts “Disney programming, entertainment, and activities throughout the year.”
Members of the public will be able to visit Cotino by purchasing day passes, while a portion of the project will be reserved for residents 55 and older. Pricing for accommodation and financing options has yet to be announced, and Disney has yet to announce when construction will begin or when residents can move in.
as reported by USA TODAYAlthough Disney promotes and markets these communities, it will not own, build, or sell homes. Instead, you’ll partner with third-party developers to get this work done.
Cotino, for example, is being built by DMB Development, a company that has created a number of luxury communities in the United States and abroad. These include Silverleaf, Arizona (“A Rare Private Haven of Grace and Refinement”) and Kukuiʻula in Hawaii (“A place for discerning families seeking a balance between luxury, relaxed lifestyle, and the stunning beauty of our island home”).
Nor is it the first time Disney has explored housing projects like this. In 1996, the doors of Celebration opened in Florida, a master planned community near Walt Disney World Resort, and in 2011 his luxury hotel opened Golden Oak Resort In the same state, where home prices originally started at $1.6 million. Notoriously, Walt Disney himself wanted to develop a utopian “future city” called Epcot (meaning “Tomorrow’s Experimental Model Society”).
However, not all of these societies were successful. Epcot’s original, highly ambitious plans never fulfilled (Although the concept’s legacy lives on in different ways at Disney’s resorts and parks), while Celebration, Florida, suffers from all sorts of mundane and non-magical problems. Like leaks and mold (Disney itself is not responsible for the maintenance).
With this latest project, Disney apparently wants to reconsider its residential dreams while focusing on the mysterious and forever sunny concept of “storytelling.” As Chairman of the Board of Directors of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, Josh Damaro puts it in the Blog posther new communities are all about “extending storytelling to storytelling” (hence the name).
What exactly this means in practice is not clear. “Storytelling” is the company’s way of saying it “will have a really nice life if you pay us a lot of money,” or is it planning something akin to the brand of lightweight, immersive theater dotted in its gardens and themed hotels? report from USA TODAY It alludes to something more than pure service:
“Each element of these communities will be immersed in the story,” D’Amaro points out. He says that residents will be active participants in the stories.
Perhaps, instead of being drawn to skits with hosts dressed up as Goofy or Elsa, residents of Disney’s “Storyliving” will be able to partake in more cohesive adventures, as character-less staff helps them navigate the crises of midlife and suburban boredom. Why pay for therapy if you can turn your life into theater? A happy ending can be written for you.
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