The Walt Disney Company has announced a series of new residential communities it is creating throughout the U.S. called “Storyliving by Disney.” The first Storyliving by Disney residential community will be called Cotino and is being built at Rancho Mirage, located in California’s Coachella Valley.
Walt Disney Imagineering will be key in designing each community that will be built by outside contractors.
Storyliving by Disney – Cotino in Rancho Mirage
The Walt Disney Company has hired DMB Development to build its first community known as Cotino. DMB Development, based out of Scottsdale, Arizona, has designed imaginative communities for more than 30 years. DMB is a play on the first names of the company founders, Drew Brown, Mark Sklar, and Bennett Dorrance. Walt Disney Imagineers have been heavily active in the design process with DMB Development.
The Cotino project has been underway since 2019 under the name “Section 31” in Rancho Mirage. When it was under the name Section 31, plans called for for 1,932 residential units, 400 hotel/resort units, and 175,000 square feet of retail, entertainment, and restaurants.
One of the major parts of the Disney’s Storyliving community, Cotino, will be a 24-acre oasis near the center. The oasis uses special technology by Crystal Lagoons, a company that specializes in crisp turquoise waters and tropical beach environments.
Imagineering Residential Communities
Disney Parks Chairman Josh D’Amoro describes Storyliving by Disney as, “All new Disney-branded master-planned residential communities designed to be the perfect setting for Disney fans to write the next exciting chapter of their lives.”
D’Amaro says that the goal of Cotino and future residential communities is to “bring the magic of Disney to people wherever they are, expanding storytelling to storyliving.” He believes that one of Disney’s jobs is to “turn dreams and stories into reality.”
That reality will be aimed at all ages including some neighborhoods designed for people who are 55 years old and older.
According to the Storyliving by Disney Website:
“The very heart of any Storyliving by Disney community rests in Disney’s vision of vibrant settings and magical possibilities. Imagination and inspiration have been carefully infused into every detail to provide invigorating and rejuvenating environments and activities.”
The inspiration and imagination comes from the magic of Walt Disney Imagineering, the creative group that brings imagination to life at Disney parks and beyond. The boring term for Imagineering would be “research & development,” but they are much more than that.
Walt Disney Imagineering is heavily involved in the initial designs and concepts of each residential community, including Cotino.
At this time it is unknown how long it will take for Cotino to be completed.
Non-Disney Third Party Involvement
Cotino and other future residential communities will be a mix of residences, dining, shops, entertainment, a hotel, and a beach park, along with recreational water activities.
While this sounds like a dream for any Disney fan, it’s a good idea to have an understanding of the fine print and what Disney’s role is in the creation of Cotino. In this case:
“Disney is not the developer of Cotino, a Storyliving by Disney community or the builder or seller of homes within Storyliving by Disney communities; third-parties developing and building are independently owned and operated. Disney does not guarantee obligations of, nor provide any warranties for, the construction of community infrastructure, recreational areas or unaffiliated parties who build homes in the community.”
Cotino’s Ties to Walt Disney and the Disneyland Hotel
One of the things that make Cotino’s location special is that it is “steps away” from Palm Springs where Walt and Lillian Disney owned a home. Their neighbor was a man by the name of Jack Wrather who Walt would tap to build the Disneyland Hotel. Wrather would later state to the Orange County Register that Walt asked him to build the hotel because the Hilton and Sheraton refused the project as they and “never heard of Anaheim and weren’t interested.”
Walt loved Palm Springs, a place that he called his “laughing place.”
Disney Residential Community Experiences
Part of living at Storyliving by Disney residential communities will be the experiences. According to Disney, that includes “access to curated experiences, such as wellness programming; entertainment ranging from live performances to cooking classes; philanthropic endeavors; seminars and much more.”
Central to the experience will be the creativity that goes into each community. That’s where Walt Disney Imagineers come in.
“Disney Imagineers are exploring the richness of each local region to inspire the theme of Storyliving by Disney communities,” says Walt Disney Imagineering executive producer Michael “Distinctively designed indoor and outdoor spaces will offer residents new opportunities to explore, engage and create the next incredible chapter of their story.”
Future Storyliving by Disney Communities
Disney has plans to build several Storyliving by Disney communities throughout the United States. However, Disney hasn’t officially announced what community will be built after Cotino.
According to the Storyliving by Disney Website, they are “
Cotino isn’t the first Disney-inspired residential community. There have been two prior – Celebration and Golden Oak.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Walt Disney Company’s “Disney Development Company” created the Celebration Company to create a new 4,900-acre community at an estimated cost of $2.5 billion. Called “Celebration,” the community would be designed as a special place to live and work with residences, 40 neighborhood parks, a community center, and more than 25 miles of walking trails. The community was to be built in a “new” city called Celebration, Florida.
The entire project was inspired by Walt Disney’s desire to build an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT). That’s right, EPCOT was originally envisioned as a community, not a theme park.
The groundbreaking for Celebration was in 1994 with the first homes being built in 1996. The entire Celebration downtown area was completed and opened on November 12, 1996.
Walt Disney Imagineering described the community as follows:
“There once was a place where neighbors greeted neighbors in the quiet of summer twilight. Where children chased fireflies. And porch swings provided easy refuge from the cares of the day. The movie house showed cartoons on Saturday. The grocery store delivered. And there was one teacher who always knew you had that special something. Remember that place?”
Demand was so high to live in Celebration that there was initially a lottery to determine who the first residents would be.
While Celebration thrives today, Disney’s involvement is very minimal as it sold the majority of its ownership of Celebration in 2004.
Golden Oak at Walt Disney World Resort
Following Celebration, Disney announced in 2010 that it was designing an upscale residential community on Walt Disney World property that would be called “Golden Oak at Walt Disney Resort.” The community features multimillion-dollar homes split into neighborhoods that feature different eras of architecture. Those neighborhoods are:
> Carolwood (name inspired from Walt Disney’s private backyard railroad.)
> Four Seasons Private Residences.
> Kimball Trace (Tuscan homes. The name is inspired by animator Ward Kimball.)
> Kingswell (name inspired from the street Disney’s animation studio was started on in 1923.)
> Marceline (name inspired from Disney’s hometown of Marceline, Missouri.)
> The Cottages at Symphony Grove.
> Symphony Grove (name inspired from Disney’s Silly Symphonies classics.)
A 9,056 square foot French Eclectic home called Beauvoir recently sold at Golden Oak for $8.5 million. Here’s a video of that property:
The community comes with Disneyfied benefits for Disney lovers along with access to recreation, clubhouses, and special events on the property. As an added benefit, fireworks from the Magic Kingdom can be seen and heard from each of the homes on Golden Oak, despite the park being approximately four miles away. Golden Oak is on official Walt Disney World property.
Disney’s past experience with Celebration and Golden Oak is providing a great opportunity to fine to its foray into more communities as it seeks to bring imagination to life through “storyliving.”
Explore More (Videos)
Explore More (Resources)
Storyliving by Disney Website
Sign Up Form to Learn More About Cotino
Article – Disney Parks Blog Talks About Storyliving by Disney
Article – The Palm Springs Roots of the Disneyland Hotel
Book – The Celebration Chronicles (Affiliate link. Thank you for your support.)
Book – Celebration – The Story of a Town (Affiliate link. Thank you for your support.)
Would you want to live in a Disney-inspired residential community like Covino? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments area below.
Cotino and Storyliving by Disney are both trademarks of the Walt Disney Company.
Cotino images are ©Disney and artist renditions only that are subject to change.