What is Storyliving By Disney?

Last month Disney announced a new neighborhood—yes, you read that right. So what is Storyliving, anyway?

According to Disney’s announcement over at DisneyParksBlog, Storyliving by Disney is a series of neighborhoods “infused with [Disney’s] special brand of magic.” There will be more than one location, each of which will be unique. The master-planned neighborhoods are intended to “inspire residents to foster new friendships, pursue their interests, and write the next exciting chapter in their lives.” According to the announcement, the community associations will be operated by Disney cast members trained in Disney’s style of guest service. A club membership will allow access to curated experiences like wellness programming, entertainment, seminars, and even philanthropic endeavors. This seems like so much more than a place to live—which may be appealing to interested buyers.

Where is it? The first location—named Cotino, a Storyliving by Disney community—will be built in Rancho Mirage, California. There is a reason for this location: this greater Palm Springs area was often visited by Walt and Lilian Disney.

Timeline and Future Communities. We don’t know when this will start, much less be finished, and no other communities were announced. Looks like Disney is taking the wait and see approach here.

Remember Celebration? Disney previously created something ostensibly similar in Celebration, Florida. Founded in 1996, Celebration—which still exists—is a planned community located just south of Walt Disney World. Celebration is an interesting study that may require another, longer, article on the subject, but importantly it was formerly linked to Disney (which divested its interests in the community) and contains a downtown, churches, parks, schools, and more.

Details Matter. The fine print at the bottom of the announcement proves interesting:

“This material contains general information about future proposed community plans which are subject to change or cancellation at any time without notice.  Club membership, programming, and access and use of future proposed amenities and offerings, will require the payment of dues and/or fees and be subject to additional terms and conditions, which will be set by the owner of the club. Availability of club membership and operation of club facilities are not guaranteed. Disney is not the developer of Cotino, a Storyliving by Disney community or the builder or seller of homes within Storyliving by Disney communities. The parties developing, and building homes in, Storyliving by Disney communities are independently owned and operated.”

What is this telling us? As an initial matter, Disney is upfront that this is a proposed community; the design, the timeline, anything, can change. The club membership and the fancy amenities are subject to a fee, and considering this is a real estate community, probably HOAs, too. The third sentence is key: based on the language above, Disney is not the developer of Cotino, not the builder or seller of the homes, nor the developer or operator of Cotino. I am not surprised by Disney’s caveats, but it seems like Disney’s foray into real estate may only be surface level. I am curious to see how Disney the communities are considering those distinctions.

Regardless, I am interested in how this turns out, especially considering how hot the housing market has been for the past two years. Are you interested in (story) living in a Disney community? Sound off below.

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