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