Walt Disney Co. is extending its brand into real estate, announcing plans Wednesday to develop residential “storyliving” communities around the country where fans will be able to to live, make friends and soak in the magic of Disney in their everyday lives.
The first of the developments, dubbed “Cotino,” will be in built in Riverside County’s Rancho Mirage, near where founder Walt Disney once owned a home, the company said in a news release. Additional locations are also being explored.
“As we prepare to enter our second century, we are developing new and exciting ways to bring the magic of Disney to people wherever they are, expanding storytelling to storyliving,” Disney parks division chairman Josh D’Amaro said in the release.
The new communities, called “Storyliving by Disney,” will be open to all ages, with some neighborhoods designated for residents 55 years or older. Trained Disney cast members will operate the community associations, and Disney will provide access to “curated experiences” through a club membership, including wellness programming, live entertainment and cooking classes.
The Cotino community will surround a “24-acre grand oasis featuring clear turquoise water” and include estates, single family homes and condominiums. An optional club membership will confer access to a waterfront clubhouse, a club-only beach area and recreational water activities.
The project also has approval for a mixed-use district including shopping, dining and entertainment, a beachfront hotel and professionally managed beach park that will be accessible by the public with a day pass. Disney is collaborating with Arizona-based DMB Development, which specializes in planned communities, for the project.
Disney’s theme park “Imagineers” will help develop the communities and explore the “richness of each local region to inspire the theme of Storyliving by Disney communities,” said Michael Hundgen, executive producer of the company’s theme park research and development arm, in a statement.
Disney’s previous forays into residential properties include the master-planned town of Celebration, Fla., in the 1990s and high-end homes in resort-style communities near Walt Disney World. The Epcot theme park was also originally conceived by Walt Disney as a company town with commercial and residential areas.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.