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Golden Oak Luxury Residential Resort Community at Walt Disney World

posted on June 23rd, 2010 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


Today, we’re unveiling something very different – an unprecedented opportunity to buy a home at the Walt Disney World Resort. You read right. Golden Oak is a new one-of-a-kind, luxury residential resort community that Disney Imagineers helped design. So, of course, it’ll have a unique Disney touch.
Golden Oak Luxury Residential Resort Community
Take a look at our first released artist rendering of a Tuscan village courtyard home – it’s one of several architectural styles that’ll be featured at Golden Oak. Parks, pedestrian pathways and a private clubhouse are also planned for the community designed especially for resort living.

Golden Oak, named after Walt’s Golden Oak Ranch in California, will offer single-family, custom homes priced between approximately $1.5 million and $8 million, with fewer than 30 home sites available for sale this year. Residents will also have access to select amenities at the planned Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, including the full service spa, restaurants, golf course and event space.

We’ll have more on this in future Disney Parks Blog posts. But if you’d like to know more right now, please visit www.disneygoldenoak.com.

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80 Comments 2 Replies

51

Rose on June 24th, 2010 at 8:55 am

Agree that it’s a huge waste of space, would rather see more guest areas. The last thing FL needs is more vacant homes. Will visit the model homes, if only to dream…

52

Landon from MI on June 24th, 2010 at 11:17 am

I don’t like this idea at all. How about concentrating on the parks. More rides and attractions please.

53

Judy from TX on June 24th, 2010 at 11:24 am

I am disappointed too, especially given the proximity to Fort Wilderness. Several people previously have mentioned The Fort but the only response it that the new development will not replace The Fort… but will it force changes? Will camping sites be moved, downsized, closed (add the verb of your choice)? Will roads be closed, moved… Will the dog park be moved because people purchasing multi-million dollar homes will not want to hear people having fun with their pets? Heaven forbid they will be near the partial hook up sites where people with tents actually stay by choice! Will part of The Fort’s beach be taken away for a new private beach for the rich folk?

Obviously Disney is catering to a group here that I don’t belong to. Am I jealous? A bit… but I wouldn’t spend my money on a house like these if I could.

54

Krista on June 24th, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Well, these are way out of my price range but I hope the rich people who do buy them enjoy the greatness of them.

55

Philip on June 24th, 2010 at 1:00 pm

To all the folks bashing this plan, I think you’re the ones who are being elitist here.

Please stop accusing EVERY single thing that the company does these days hurts Walt’s legacy. It’s like telling them to rest on their laurels and let everything stagnate and not to ever do anything new ever again.

Not everything they build has to be a ride, resort, etc.

56

John on June 24th, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Well, dangit, I guess I have a new goal in life.

I can certainly see both sides of the argument, here, and while I’m most definitely a loonnggg way from being able to buy a house in the Golden Oak community, it actually is a goal for my family now, and worthy one, I should say — for us and for the Mouse.

Yes, it is expensive. So is a DVC membership (obviously not AS expensive), but if you visit “the Disneys” as much as we do, it’s very much worth the cost. We couldn’t REALLY afford it, perhaps, but we did it, and now we have 50 years worth of escapes to the haven that is Disney World to share with our family and friends.

This new community is one further step along those lines. It represents, for us, the chance to rear our children (okay, grandchildren by the time we can afford it) in a near-perfect environment. Can you imagine a better, more stimulating setting in which to grow up?

To be so close to the place we love most that we can literally hear the fireworks, to live side-by-side with people who share that love, to have the closest thing we can to living inside Splash Mountain itself… $1.5 million? Chump change, I say, for that kind of privilege.

Perhaps a few multi-family buildings could have been (and could still be) considered to help reduce the cost to less-than-uberwealthy families, but I’ve got no complaints. And hey, if all else fails, I’ll just make rich friends and force THEM to move in so I can visit.

In any case, thanks a lot, Disney, for giving my wife ONE MORE bit of ammo in the fight to move to Florida. :-D

- John

57

Tana from IN on June 24th, 2010 at 3:45 pm

The homes will be wonderful for those that can afford them. I do understand why they set a price like that. I would not want to see tons of unsightly homes put there. I think Disney really needs to add another park as all the parks are crowded all the time now and with so many accommodations now and constantly being built I feel they need another theme park to spread the crowds out. I hope they will get going on one soon and also extend the monorail system to carry the crowds instead of using the buses.

58

Peter from GA on June 24th, 2010 at 3:51 pm

It was always Walt’s intention to have residential areas at Disney World. And at this point there is really no way to make single-family homes at Disney World without selling them for that much money. These will be highly coveted properties. Even if they decided to sell them for $100k, as soon as they were filled up the owners could probably turn around and sell them for over a million dollars. I think that just by the virtue of the location they are easily worth seven figures. I guess they could develop a town house community, or something along that line, to cater to a lower price bracket but even these would be worth many times more than a community off Disney Property.

I know that I can’t afford to live at Disney World but that isn’t really Disney’s fault. I think it’s cool that they’re returning to another piece of Walt’s vision for the property even though I think that to make it possible today, it will certainly look different from his original intentions.

59

Kimberly on June 24th, 2010 at 7:04 pm

Typically people who invest in vacation homes will pay more than the “home norm” b/c of its location, location, location and b/c they have the money to do so. ie: Beach homes, mountain homes, etc. I personally don’t see this as elitist, just typical.

My family owns a beach home at the Jersey shore and for what was paid for our house (which would be comparable to the low end of the Golden Oaks properties), the Disney home seems reasonable for what you get. I would imagine some of these home owners would rent weeks out to vactioners when they are not using them and would be responsible for getting the people in through a realtor or themselves if they are interested in doing so. You can go to any destination, Vail, NYC, USVI, Jersey Shore, etc. and there are always $million+ homes owned by someone who may or may not rent to guests.

This doesn’t seem so ridiculously shocking to me that Disney would want to offer something of this nature to people with money to invest. There will definitely be 30 people ready and willing to purchase at the get go. Millions of dollars fast with nothing to do after the sale except let the new owners live there… sounds like a good idea to me from Disney’s perspective.

60

Patrick on June 24th, 2010 at 7:48 pm

How does Disney deal with the municipal voting rights to which on-property homeowners are entitled? At present there are less than 50 permanent residents on property, most of whom are Disney employees. They will be outnumbered by the residents of Golden Oak, people whose needs and desires may be at odds with those of Disney.
Walt did in fact want residential areas in WDW — EPCOT was meant to be a real city with neighborhoods and housing, etc. But the inhabitants of EPCOT were never intended to be permanent property owners. Walt was clear he never wanted that. The main reason Disney bought so much property in central Florida was to gain municipal control of the area, thereby gaining control of zoning issues, building codes, etc. Walt was very aware placing permanent residents on site, thus giving them municipal voting rights, would threaten corporate control.
The original purpose of having residents in EPCOT was to facilitate the sort of urban experimentation the city was designed to foster. Only by having on-site residents could Disney and their partners experiment with new housing and transportation concepts. Golden Oak is not experimental — it is just another exclusive gated community for the very rich. Nothing new about this. The state of Florida is loaded with these things.
I am personally disappointed to learn of this project. Its elitist nature is contrary to the egalitarian spirit of Disney World. Don’t be surprised if the residents of Golden Oak are awarded ‘permanent Fastpasses’ and receive other front-of-line special treatment.
The only good thing about it is they gave Ward Kimball a nod by naming one of the neighborhoods after him. I can’t imagine Ward, however, would think much of this project. He’d probably want to spray paint graffiti on its gates.

This project is not “Disney.”

61

David from IL on June 24th, 2010 at 8:53 pm

For those who say this is a bad use of space, remember that less than 1/3 of the WDW property is developed, so I don’t think the land consideration is keeping us from more parks, etc.

I think there are a lot of sour grapes here. I mean how many people in the World can afford to go to Disney at all? Does that mean we should get rid of it because everyone can’t afford it? Disney has done a great job of providing the Disney Magic at many budgets. If you can’t afford Beach Club does that mean it shouldn’t exist? This is just another step up. (Okay a big step). And for those who say it isn’t “Disney”, you better check again. DisneyLand has had a very exclusive club called Club 33 for the very wealthy and you can’t even join. The membership is closed. And it was Walt’s Idea. So come down off of your high horses and just enjoy what you can afford and let others enjoy what they can afford. I love the idea of living in DisneyWorld. That is why I bought into DVC. So I can live there a couple of weeks a year. I have even thought it would be great to buy so many points I could just “live” there or send people to my permanent timeshare. I can’t afford it yet. But this is America. I can dream. And I say kudos to Disney for giving us one more thing to dream about.

62

Max on June 24th, 2010 at 11:07 pm

I’ve been watching this development for a while now wondering what was being done, and I have mixed feelings on what I now know. The only thing not making me a little more upset is the announcement that came out a while back about the new value resort being constructed. I think these combined will represent 2 different sides of a Disney fan’s budget, and complement each other nicely; still, I’m unsure about these luxury properties.

63

Max on June 24th, 2010 at 11:12 pm

Oh, and this is a bit off topic, but I think it needs to be put out in the open.

@Stephen (post 30)

I don’t think it’s fair of you to criticize the transportation system utilized at Disney. I’m sorry that you have chosen to utilize public transportation at home, and therefore you don’t want to deal with it on vacation, but your options are basically limitless. Aside from the buses that run from every resort to every park, water park, downtown disney, and Wide World of Sports, Disney also provides the friendship boats that run from resorts to Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, and Hollywood Studios, as well as a monorail system that services MK, EPCOT, and 3 resorts. If you really don’t want to deal with crowds there are also walking trails from some resorts to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. Oh, and by the way, ALL of that is provided to you free of charge. I mean honestly, what else could you possibly want?

64

Philip on June 25th, 2010 at 7:58 am

Patrick, I’m going to have to disagree with your comments.

This project IS Disney and not “elitist” in any way.

And to say something like “Ward Kimball might want to spray paint graffiti” is foolish on every level. Folks like him would not be the sorts to do such things anyway. And the world does not revolve around people like Ward, Walt, anyone bashing this project, etc.

65

Jean from NY on June 25th, 2010 at 1:04 pm

Although I always said “I could live at DisneyWorld” – the reality is, it’s a place I LOVE to visit. Don’t think I’d like to be living smack dab within the thick of it especially during “peak” times. I guess though if I were buying the $8 million dollar home, I’d probably have a driver who would have to deal with the traffic!

66

Chris on June 25th, 2010 at 3:21 pm

Does anyone know how much “developable” land is left at the Disney World resort? It’s my understanding that 1/3 had already been developed and 1/3 never will be for conservation issues. 985-acres sure sounds like a lot land we can never get back. I read somewhere that the Magic Kingdom is just over 100-acres if that put anything into perspective. Didn’t know if anyone had any ideas on this…..

67

Janis from TX on June 25th, 2010 at 3:47 pm

It seems to me that the location of these homes will look just like any other residential area, and is not really located near one of the parks, so unless you are taking a bus to downtown disney from the Wilderness Lodge or Ft. Wilderness you won’t even know they are there. I certainly will not be able to buy a home, but there is so much land for other parks and hotels to be built, I cannot understand why people are making such a big deal. They are building a new value hotel right now that I believe is to open in 2011. I am sure there are other factors involved with them using this land for luxury homes that we are not aware of. Time to move to another subject. Is anyone going to stop going to DW because of them building luxury homes? I am going in Dec. and I hope that there will be a home that I can see as I go riding by. In May it was just grass, and machines. I look forward to seeing the change.

68

Beverly from FL on June 26th, 2010 at 9:45 am

If it’s not going to replace Ft Wilderness then the maps need to be redone, because it sure looks like it is replacing it! Personally, I find this concept appalling, and one that Walt would never have approved. It is very elitist. So sad that the company has come to this. Whatever happened to “every guest is a VIP?” It went away years ago and this just makes it worse. A DVC would be better there– not luxury homes for the elite ruling class, which is what it is. So sad. So sad. How about fixing Epcot instead?

69

James on June 26th, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Comments here, mostly negative, aren’t surprising and were probably anticipated by Disney… after all, this project is intentionally in the extreme exclusive category. Guaranteed gated community so Google Earth and/or sales brochures is almost certainly as close as any of the majority will ever get to these homes.

70

Kevin from IL on June 26th, 2010 at 11:56 pm

On the transportation issue, Disney has promised for decades that the monorail system would be expanded to include all of the parks. It still only services The Magic Kingdom and EPCOT. This is green infrastructure that everyone could use. It may not be a money maker, but it makes good ecological sense in the long run.

Luxury homes are fine…no complaints from me. But don’t forget those aren’t the people who are the bread and butter of Disney parks.

71

Emily on June 27th, 2010 at 9:06 am

Personally I find this appalling and contradictory to the vision Walt had for Disney World. The Florida project, which we all now call Walt Disney World, was created with “. . . the blessing of size.” The land was meant for expansion of parks and recreation for the enjoyment of all; not the elite few. I really feel like someone is out of touch with the vast majority of their audience that scrimp and save just to come to Disney. What message does this send to them, to me?

72

Rosemary from NJ on June 28th, 2010 at 8:12 am

Celebration is owned by disney presently, and is located on rt 192 in kissemee about 2 miles from wdw entrance

73

Philip on June 28th, 2010 at 8:58 am

Beverly and Emily, there’s no need to be so negative, blurting out false accusation after false accusation.

There’s nothing appalling about this project at all. And the company is NOT out of touch with their audience.

74

Philip on June 28th, 2010 at 9:44 am

Disney doesn’t actually own Celebration anymore, Rosemary.

75

Gina from MD on June 29th, 2010 at 11:06 am

Count me in… as soon as I get the $$$.

76

Gina from MD on June 29th, 2010 at 11:08 am

I think this is a dream come true for hard core fans, like myself. I dont get the negative comments, but it seems like that’s all you’ll find on the internet these days.

77

Jean from PR on July 8th, 2010 at 2:35 am

$1.5-8million!!!! Really???

I’m a big fan of Disney, but who can afford that????

The best of this community are the benefits and privileges.

78

Pete from TN on July 11th, 2010 at 3:17 pm

My family and I are very interested in buying one of the Golden Oak homes. We have already expressed our desire to do so.

But, we were not raised with a silver spoon…at best, plastic. I was raised by hard working parents who both had jobs outside the home. I have worked all my life, starting in elementary school. I swept parking lots of trash. I raked all the leaves in the neighborhood. I cut grass, shoveled snow, delivered newspapers from elementary school on, was a security guard, life guard, and did any odd job I could find.

I put myself through college and worked long hours over decades before I had enough saved to even be able to make investments. Even when I got married I worked during the day and went to school at night to get even more education preparing for my family.

During this building process, our oldest child was stricken with brain cancer and our lives were turned upside down. We fought to save her and help her survive. Because she was terminally ill, she was granted a wish by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. What did she want? To go to Walt Disney World of course. A dream come true.

We have since made contributions to Make-A-Wish Foundation to offset our wish grant, and we realized how important fighting cancer was and is. We became involved with the struggle and have not stopped in the quest to better the lives of others who have had to battle the horrible disease.

We all know that Walt Disney World is the best of the best. A true first class operation. Dreams do come true with hard work and perseverance. Even tragedies like children getting cancer can work to the greater good if we have the right attitude.

If we can be so blessed to buy a home in Golden Oak, why should others begrudge that? If we can’t buy the $8 million home but something less, should we be envious of the most expensive homeowner in the neighborhood?

We would give anything if our daughter didn’t get cancer. Now that we, through hard work and the grace of God, can still make her dreams come true, isn’t that the Disney magic we all love?

The costs of the homes are priced as they should be by Disney. If they weren’t as expensive, then much more land would be necessary to contain the numbers that would be sold.

We have to realize that there are people who are driven to better themselves and their families in a free market by applying their skills. If that is not so or possible, then dreams will never come true. Think about that.

79

linda from NY on July 14th, 2010 at 11:48 am

Will you ever have affordable
place to purchase on WDW property
for the majority of us who REALLY
would like to own?

80

Steve from MA on July 15th, 2010 at 6:12 pm

Hi,
I don’t particularly like this either, especially since I cant afford to buy in. I don’t think this will discourage anyone from visiting, staying at, or spending more than they can afford at Disney though. I am glad to see that Fort Wilderness is not being discarded, because that is one of our favorite places to stay. They have already eliminated so much at Disney that we liked (Original Discovery Island in Bay Lake, Epcot Horizons which was more engaging than Mission Space, Wonders Of Life, World of Motion, Dreamfinder Imagination, Journey to Mars, in Magic Kingdom which was way better than Stitch, Skyway to Tomorrowland, etc). Ok, so I like some of the classics, but I guess if you think in final numbers terms at 1.5 to 8 million dollars per home times 450 homes at final buildout Disney and its contractors could be looking at between 675 million and 3.6 Billion (with a B) dollars in gross revenue. Hard to argue with those numbers.

80 Comments