Disney Reveals Plan to Build Communities Around the U.S. — With Special Neighborhoods for Residents Over 55

Disney is developing master-planned communities — with some neighborhoods just for residents 55 and older.

Renderings of Cotino, Story Living Community by Disney
Photo: Disney ©

Disney is building something new in California, and no, it's not a theme park. Today, the company launched a new business called Storyliving by Disney to develop master-planned residential communities. Storyliving by Disney communities will combine small-town charm, resort-inspired beauty, and Disney touches. The first development will be Cotino, a Storyliving by Disney community, and it will be built in Rancho Mirage, California (near Palm Springs) in the Coachella Valley.

Renderings of Cotino, Story Living Community by Disney
Disney ©

In addition to the beautiful palm tree- and mountain-dotted landscape, the Greater Palm Springs area has special significance for Disney. Walt Disney and his family had a home there and spent time together in the area, so it's really the perfect spot for the first Storyliving community. Disney Imagineers are helping to develop the creative concept for the communities, and the company will work with builders and developers to make the vision come to life. Disney cast members, known for their great service and attention to detail, will work at the community association, and a club membership will grant residents access to experiences and amenities. Each community will have some neighborhoods for residents 55 and up, so Disney lovers have the chance to retire somewhere a little more magical.

Renderings of Cotino, Story Living Community by Disney
Disney ©

Homebuyers of all ages are welcome to choose from estates, single-family homes, and condos, and there will be at least one section just for the 55+ homeowners at Cotino. Current plans include a 24-acre oasis with a turquoise lagoon surrounded by a beach area and waterfront clubhouse, so members can lounge and enjoy water activities and Disney programming. A beachfront hotel, a shopping, dining, and entertainment district, and more is in the works for Cotino, too.

Renderings of Cotino, Story Living Community by Disney
Disney ©

In a media release shared with Travel + Leisure, Josh D'Amaro, the chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products, said, "For nearly 100 years, Disney has shared stories that have touched the hearts and minds of people all around the world. 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. We can't wait to welcome residents to these beautiful and unique Disney communities where they can live their lives to the fullest."

Renderings of Cotino, Story Living Community by Disney
Disney ©

If the concept of a residential Disney community sounds familiar to you, that's because the general idea has been around for a while. Epcot was inspired by Walt Disney's idea for the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, a model city that used the best new technologies and innovative city planning. Later on, The Walt Disney Company developed Celebration, a master-planned community near Walt Disney World Resort, and more recently, upscale residential community Golden Oak opened on Disney World property. Cotino is next, and Storyliving by Disney is looking at other U.S. locations for future development, too.

Elizabeth Rhodes is an associate digital editor at Travel + Leisure who loves all things theme parks. Follow her adventures on Instagram @elizabetheverywhere.

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