The Disney community of Celebration is well known (see earlier posts here and here) but the company is developing a more luxurious community called Golden Oak three miles from the theme parks.
At prices ranging from $1.5 million to upwards of $8 million, the developer promises a house and neighborhood with the hallmarks it has carefully cultivated for decades: meticulous attention to detail; extensive personal service; and, if you’re so inclined, a daily dose of Mickey, Minnie and the crew…
Although Florida abounds in upscale communities that promote a “lifestyle” of one kind or another, Golden Oak’s planners think the Disney brand is the not-so-secret weapon that sets it apart: Buy here, goes part of the sales pitch, and get years of virtually unlimited access to Disney properties in the surrounding area.
“We’ve never done this for anybody else,” explained Stacey Thomson, public relations manager for Golden Oak, who said that buyers in the current sales phase will get three years’ worth of unlimited VIP-access passes to the parks for the homeowner and four guests, in addition to such services as door-to-park van service, access to special events, and numerous other Disney-esque benefits that don’t accrue to the typical visitor…
Where Celebration was conceived as a full-fledged town with a large contingent of full-time residents and a share of units at a much lower price point, Golden Oak is a sprawling, 980-acre subdivision that will function more as a gilt-edged resort…
This is a great example of branding. If your company can be associated with ideas like quality, fun, vacation, and magic, consumers will go to great lengths to be a part of this. The reach of Disney is so broad that they can build communities and people are drawn to them because of the Disney name even though they could find comparable homes or amenities elsewhere.
While we know there are enough buyers to make this work, it would be helpful to hear more from Disney in what they are trying to do with Golden Oak. Here is “the story of Golden Oak“:
The story of Golden Oak begins in true once-upon-a time fashion. As a youth in Missouri, Walt Disney would lie beneath the spreading branches of his “dreaming tree” and let his imagination run free. It was here that Walt’s talents for storytelling and fantasy began to take shape into some of the world’s most beloved characters.
Years later, a scenic ranch in California’s Placerita Canyon proved an equally inspiring location for filming segments of The Mickey Mouse Club TV show. Walt Disney Productions purchased portions of the property in 1959 and, over the years, acquired more than 900 acres to reserve its quiet vistas for TV and movie productions and protect its harmony with nature. In fact, Walt and his family spent time relaxing and playing on the ranch.
The name of this ranch? Golden Oak, in honor of a storied tree there, under which some say gold nuggets had been found in 1842. From these illustrious origins, the legacy continues with Golden Oak at Walt Disney World® Resort.
The website for Golden Oak emphasizes a blend of neighborhood plus resort living. Will there really be a neighborhood here or is this more of a resort that can be called a “neighborhood” because it consists of single-family homes? Or does Disney think that without calling it a neighborhood, the development won’t be as attractive? If only you have the money necessary, you too can purchase this unique Disney blend.
I wonder if we can read anything into this development in terms of how it relates to Celebration. This wealthier development could be a marker of several things:
1. Disney has gone as far as it wants to go with Celebration type developments which are more geared toward “average” suburbanites. Disney now wants to take advantage of wealthier people who are willing to buy larger and more expensive homes these days.
1a. Does Disney consider Celebration a success or would they do a lot differently if they were starting a new community?
2. Disney finds these housing projects to be profitable and will pursue more of these in the future as conditions allow. It would be interesting to know how profitable the developments are.