First there was Celebration, Disney’s gated community that resembles the set of The Truman Show. (I was there in the early 2000s and remember peering into what looked like a hotel lobby but turned out to be the medical center.) These days, Disney has little to do with Celebration—instead it’s all about Golden Oak.
Explains the Wall Street Journal:
Golden Oak—named after the company’s California ranch—is the only place in the world where you can own a home within Disney-resort boundaries. Some 980 acres are being carved up for as many as 450 homes on the Lake Buena Vista site, a few within eyesight of the famous Cinderella Castle fireworks.
Homeownership in the development starts at $1.7 million, and homes have sold for more than $7 million. Extras include property taxes and annual fees as high as $12,000 to cover perks, which include park passes, door-to-park transportation, extended hours for visiting attractions such as the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, and a 17,000-square-foot clubhouse with a restaurant and concierge. Residents also will have access to some of the amenities, including the spa and dining rooms at the $370 million, 444-room Four Seasons resort expected to open in Golden Oak next summer.
How awesome is that? And yet how weird—people with extraordinary means choosing to live in the Magic Kingdom. What the piece doesn’t mention is how far are supermarkets, drug stores, churches, and hospitals—you know, real-world stuff.
As for the “typical” resident:
Mr. Bergami was an early buyer in Golden Oak. His $3.4 million Spanish-style home, purchased in January 2012, includes framed blueprints of the park’s castle. “I’ve traveled everywhere, pretty much all over Europe,” says the 69-year-old, who is chief executive of an industrial-supplies maker. “I always gravitate to Disney World. It’s the place where I’m most comfortable.”