The Disney company announced plans on Wednesday to create multiple residential neighborhoods across the United States, the first of which is expected to break ground this year in Rancho Mirage, California.
A Disney spokesperson told CNN that “Cotino,” the first project in its Storyliving by Disney venture, will have about 1,900 residential units of varying types on the 618-acre property.
Prices have not been announced, though the spokesperson said home prices will be set by the homebuilder, taking into account market conditions.
The property outside of Palm Springs will be developed with DMB Associates from Arizona.
Besides planning condominiums and single-family homes, Disney plans to have a mixed-use district open to the public, with shopping, dining, entertainment, a hotel and a beach park. Certain neighborhoods will be designated for residents 55 and older.
Disney employees, whom the company calls “cast members,” will manage the properties and curate programming and experiences for residents.
But you won’t find Mickey Mouse here. And there are no planned discounts or perks related to Disney theme parks or products. Instead, residents will find water recreation, cooking classes, seminars on wellness or philanthropic projects.
All of this of course, comes at a premium. Residents would pay a homeowners association fee, as well as a voluntary club membership fee, the prices of which have not been announced.
Other Disney residential developments
The company has created master-planned, residential communities before: a community in Celebration, Florida, which Disney no longer owns or operates; and a community called Golden Oak on Walt Disney World property.
At Golden Oak, single-family homes target Disney fans who want close access to the Walt Disney World Resort.
Within the town of Celebration, Disney had previously owned the Town Center and golf club but sold them in 2004. Some of the Town Center residents later struggled with the new owner over certain units and buildings falling into disrepair. The thousands of other homes in Celebration have always been privately owned.
But a Disney spokesperson told CNN these Storyliving communities will be a complete departure from those previous projects.
She said they have no intentions to sell as happened at Celebration. And while Golden Oak may appeal to the theme park fan, the Storyliving developments are for fans who are looking for the Disney approach to detail and experience implemented in everyday life.
This is the first time Disney will attempt to create multiple neighborhoods across the country. Disney Imagineers, known for their creativity in building immersive theme park spaces, will design the neighborhoods to evoke the history and nature of each particular location.
“You can see and feel why Walt Disney himself used to escape to the desert,” Michael Hundgen, executive producer of Walt Disney Imagineering, said in a video about the new project outside of Palm Springs, an area Disney’s founder was fond of visiting.
Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, said in a video-recorded statement that the Disney company has been known for strong storytelling for nearly 100 years.
“As we prepare to enter the second century, we’re developing new and exciting ways to bring the magic of Disney storytelling to people wherever they are,” D’Amaro said.
Top image: An aerial rendering of Cotino, a planned Storyliving by Disney residential neighborhood in Rancho Mirage, California (Storyliving by Disney)