Celebration, Florida gets a lot of attention as a Disney-designed New Urbanist community but there are more exclusive Disney housing options: living in a big house within a gated community inside the resort.
Walt Disney Co.’s gated community known as Golden Oak—named after the company’s California ranch—is the only place in the world where you can own a home within Disney-resort boundaries. Some 980 acres are being carved up for as many as 450 homes on the Lake Buena Vista site, a few within eyesight of the famous Cinderella Castle fireworks.
Homeownership in the development starts at $1.7 million, and homes have sold for more than $7 million. Extras include property taxes and annual fees as high as $12,000 to cover perks, which include park passes, door-to-park transportation, extended hours for visiting attractions such as the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, and a 17,000-square-foot clubhouse with a restaurant and concierge. Residents also will have access to some of the amenities, including the spa and dining rooms at the $370 million, 444-room Four Seasons resort expected to open in Golden Oak next summer…
Many homes include nods to Mickey Mouse and friends. (Disney is willing to overlook trademark violations inside the home.) The ceiling of one of Mr. Bergami’s guest rooms has a tray ceiling in the shape of Mickey’s head. Doors have carvings of the castle, Donald Duck and Goofy.
Homeowners also have the option of adding “hidden Mickeys”—as the features are known—in everything from kitchen backsplashes to stair railings. Builder Chad Cahill included an estimated 75 hidden mouse ears in a showcase home finished earlier this year. Some are tough to spot, so when the furnished $2.7 million home sells, the new owner will receive a map of the locations.
See a 2012 post about the construction of this gated community. Sounds like the gated community is all about giving the wealthiest Disney fans what they want: an immersive Disney home just a short distance away from the Disney gates.
A thought about these wealthy Disney fans: are they easy to spot at the Disney parks? We spent a day at the Magic Kingdom in Florida last year and I was struck that the people around us looked like a broad slice of middle-class America. Granted, it is not cheap: single-day tickets were over $90, the food was moderately expensive (not as bad as I thought it might be), and many people have to travel far and pay for airfare, a hotel, and a rental car. Of course, there are lots of other things to spend big money on (for example, giving your small daughter the full princess experience), but I don’t remember seeing people who were flashing wads of money and really expensive clothes or other goods. Perhaps this says more about Americans trying to downplay their wealth (we’re all middle-class) or the findings that most millionaires don’t act like stereotypical millionaires.