New Disney-branded residential communities aim to bring magic home

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Have you ever visited a Disney theme park resort, with its perfectly manicured and clean-scrubbed grounds, whimsical, yet reassuring architecture, chirpy employees, and general sense of cheery optimism, and thought how great it would be if you could take up permanent residence there? That’s sort of the idea behind the Mouse House’s latest venture: Disney-branded, master-planned home communities.

Today, the company announced “Storyliving by Disney, which will be part of the same division that oversees its theme parks, Disney Cruise Line, and other experiences. The first community, which will be known as Cotino and include about 1,900 housing units, will be in the Palm Springs city of Rancho Mirage, California.

“There is incredible demand for all things Disney. Our fans continue to look for new ways to engage with us, to keep Disney as part of their lives,” says Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney parks, experiences and products. At the branded communities, he adds, “you can be part of Disney all of the time.”

As for the “Storyliving” name, the communities will capitalize on the company’s sense of storytelling and placemaking. Instead of telling Mickey Mouse tales, however, they will focus on the culture, history, experience, food and other attributes of the places in which they will be built.

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Plans call for a centerpiece lagoon with a beach that will be accessible to members of the community’s private club.

“Every single element of these communities will be steeped in a story,” D’Amaro notes. The residents, he says, will be active participants in the stories.

Prices, financing, and other details have not been announced, but the development will include a variety of properties such as condominiums, single-family homes, and estates. Rental units are not anticipated to be part of the mix. Families with young children and people of all ages will be able to purchase properties. Some of Cotino’s neighborhoods, however, will be designated for residents 55 and older, a market in which Disney seems especially interested.

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