Mouse Meets House

Want to live like you’re al­ways on va­ca­tion? Buy a home at Dis­ney World.

Times of the Islands - - News - BY BETH LUBERECKI

If you’ve ever thought that Cin­derella Cas­tle might be a good place to hang your hat or that Main Street, U.S.A., is some­place you’d like to call home, you might be a ma­jor Walt Dis­ney World fan. And while you can’t move into ei­ther of those spots, you can live at the Hap­pi­est Place on Earth—if you have the kind of hous­ing bud­get dreams are made of.

The Golden Oak de­vel­op­ment sits on about 980 acres within the bound­aries of the Walt Dis­ney World Re­sort in Or­lando, Florida. At com­ple­tion it will fea­ture about 300 homes in six neigh­bor­hoods, with a start­ing price of $2 mil­lion. It’s about 70 per­cent built out at this point.

“This is the only place to own a home at Walt Dis­ney World,” says Page Pierce, vice pres­i­dent of real es­tate de­vel­op­ment at Walt Dis­ney World Re­sort. “We’ve never done any­thing like this be­fore.”

Buy­ers own not only their fan­tasy-in­duc­ing cus­tom homes but also the highly cov­etable land on which they sit. “We’re sell­ing a lit­tle piece of Walt Dis­ney World at ev­ery pur­chase,” says Pierce.

The Kim­ball Trace neigh­bor­hood is mod­eled af­ter a Tus­can vil­lage, with cus­tom court­yard homes rang­ing in size from 3,000 to 5,000 square feet on one-quar­ter-acre home­sites. The

Marce­line sec­tion—named af­ter Walt Dis­ney’s home­town in Mis­souri—boasts sim­i­larly sized sites and homes.

The Sil­ver­brook and Kingswell neigh­bor­hoods fea­ture 5,000- to 7,000-square-foot homes on about hal­facre home­sites. The de­vel­op­ment’s largest homes can be found in the Carol­wood neigh­bor­hood—be­tween 6,500 and 12,000 square feet on three­quar­ter-acre home­sites—and within the Four Sea­sons Pri­vate Res­i­dences Or­lando sec­tion. Prices for the 30 homes in this area, nes­tled within Golden Oak and the neigh­bor­ing Four Sea­sons Re­sort Or­lando, start at $5 mil­lion.

Homes can be built in a range of ar­chi­tec­tural styles, in­clud­ing Dutch Colo­nial, Span­ish Re­vival and Ital­ianate. All res­i­dences must undergo an ar­chi­tec­tural re­view process to en­sure they fit in with the de­vel­op­ment’s con­cep­tual plans.

A se­lect group of builders works within Golden Oak cre­at­ing its cus­tom homes, in­clud­ing Jones Clay­ton Con­struc­tion and Der­rick Builders. Jones Clay­ton will build one of the de­vel­op­ment’s first con­tem­po­rary-style homes within the Four Sea­sons Pri­vate Res­i­dences neigh­bor­hood.

The Phil Kean De­sign Group will make its first foray into Golden Oak with a sec­ond mod­ern home within the Four Sea­sons Pri­vate Res­i­dences. Ex­pected to be avail­able in sum­mer 2019, it will in­clude luxe touches like a kitchen with three is­lands, a glassen­closed wine room, a van­ish­ing-edge pool and a four-sided glass fire­place.

“Our Golden Oak de­but em­braces the mid­cen­tury mod­ern ar­chi­tec­tural in­spi­ra­tions of Frank Lloyd Wright, Paul Ru­dolph, Richard Neu­tra and Ru­dolph Schindler to cre­ate this new mod­ern clas­sic,” said Phil Kean when these mod­ern homes were first an­nounced. “Fu­ture home­own­ers can ex­pect open floor plans, pock­et­ing glass walls, ex­ten­sive in­door/out­door liv­ing spa­ces and ex­tra­or­di­nary ar­chi­tec­tural de­tails as the main at­trac­tions of this ex­tra­or­di­nary home.”

Who’s al­ready liv­ing at Golden Oak? “You have to first and fore­most be a Dis­ney fan,” says Pierce. Res­i­dents are a mix of full- and part-timers and in­clude fam­i­lies, re­tirees with grand­chil­dren, In­ter­net en­trepreneurs and even a few pro­fes­sional ath­letes. The av­er­age age of res­i­dents is mid-50s, and most hail from some­where in the United States. Golden Oak res­i­dents have ex­clu­sive ac­cess to the de­vel­op­ment’s Sum­mer­house fa­cil­ity, which in­cludes a heated pool, fit­ness cen­ter, game area and Markham’s restau­rant (with even more to come af­ter a club­house ex­pan­sion that got un­der­way in 2018). On-site concierge ser­vices can fa­cil­i­tate ev­ery­thing from spa reser­va­tions to in-home din­ing. Res­i­dents en­joy com­pli­men­tary shut­tle ser­vice to and from sev­eral drop-off sites at Walt Dis­ney World Re­sort. Spe­cial res­i­dents-only events are held both within Golden Oak and at the theme parks, such as a pri­vate view­ing area for the New Year’s Eve fire­works show at Ep­cot. “It should be mag­i­cal,” says Pierce. “That’s why peo­ple buy here.”

Folks who live in the Four Sea­sons Pri­vate Res­i­dences get all this plus ac­cess to the trop­i­cal pools and other high-end ameni­ties at the neigh­bor­ing Four Sea­sons Re­sort Or­lando. They can also ar­range for Four Sea­sons staff to pro­vide in-home spa, din­ing and house­keep­ing ser­vices.

Dis­ney touches abound through-

We’re sell­ing a lit­tle piece of Walt Dis­ney World at ev­ery pur­chase.”

—Page Pierce, vice pres­i­dent of real es­tate de­vel­op­ment at Walt Dis­ney World Re­sort

out Golden Oak, like the whim­si­cal sculp­tures of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in Charm­ing Park in the Marce­line neigh­bor­hood. In­di­vid­ual homes can fea­ture as much of the magic as res­i­dents want—ev­ery­thing from a Mickey Mouse hose spigot and “Hid­den Mick­eys” in stair­case rail­ings to cas­tle-shaped foun­tains spew­ing wa­ter into hot tubs and swim­ming pools. “This is not a stuffy place,” says Pierce.

Want your own lit­tle piece of Dis­ney? Avail­able homes as of press time in­cluded Ohana in the Kingswell neigh­bor­hood ($4.6 mil­lion), a fivebed­room, is­land colo­nial-style home with a wine room and sum­mer kitchen, and Bon­avento in the Four Sea­sons Pri­vate Res­i­dences ($7.6 mil­lion), a 9,200-square­foot Ital­ianate es­tate home with six bed­rooms, a the­ater room and a rooftop ter­race with fire­place.

But don’t drag your feet. As Pierce points out, “As fast as we build them, we sell them.”

Clock­wise from top left: Sculp­tures of Bambi and other Dis­ney char­ac­ters pop­u­late green spa­ces; a mas­ter bed­room typ­i­cal of the Golden Oak style; out­door liv­ing space; res­i­dents en­joy their own club­house, known as Sum­mer­house; a lux­u­ri­ous pool per­fect for en­ter­tain­ing.

The din­ing room of a home in the F our Sea­sons Pri­vate Res­i­dences sec­tion of Golden Oak is punc­tu­ated by a fire­worksin­spired chan­de­lier.

Clock­wise from top left: Listed for $7.6 mil­lion, Bon­avento is an Ital­ianate six-bed­room es­tate home in the Four Sea­sons Pri­vate Res­i­dence; Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs lend a whim­si­cal touch; Sum­mer­house fea­tures a heated pool, fit­ness cen­ter and restau­rant.

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