Gate guarded McMansion suburb in Walt Disney World

Disney is building a bunch of multi-million-dollar McMansions in a gate-guarded suburb on the grounds of Walt Disney World. It's the latest in a series of urbanist experiments stretching back to the original vision Walt had for the Florida property -- the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, or EPCOT.

For absolutely the best-ever writing on the subject of urbanism and Disney, see FoxxFur's brilliant The Lake Buena Vista Story: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four

The Golf Resort Disney unveils Golden Oak luxury homes, offering a chance to live in the Walt Disney World resort (Thanks, Ricky!)


  1. This seems to be an appropriate place to mention a site I stumbled across yesterday – They stream Disney theme park audio and music. Very agreeable music to be playing in the background at work. I’m not allowed to play it at home, because apparently all of my mentions of these other Disney-related sites just make my wife depressed that we can’t get back to WDW any time soon :(

  2. Wait? “IN” the park zone? Doesn’t that mean that full-time residents could become registered voters and have land-owner rights inside the Reedy Creek Improvement District? Either the number of residents is so small that they could never have much influence or there must be some crazy legaleze as part of the property purchase agreement.

    Hmmmm…. So, the wikipedia page says that within Reedy Creek, there are only 5 non-Disney Corp. land owners, who thus become the District’s 5 board members. The 16 residents of Lake Buena Vista and the 23 residents of Bay Lake don’t own their property, so they don’t have a vote/say in the running of the District. Clearly these new McMansions will be somehow outside of the District.

    After all, we can’t have these McMansion owners controlling Reedy Creek’s potential Nuclear Power Plant!!!

  3. This doesn’t sound so much like an “experiment” to me. It sounds like Disney is looking for ways to make a quick buck.

    1. Exactly. Kind of sad, in a way.

      The “Celebration” development at least had a cool “traditional neighborhood design” movement vibe about it, with a notion of different home types (even apartments) and the formation of a viable community, with a post office, access to shopping, etc.

      It turned into, more or less, a resort town, but that’s Florida. This, however, is just another crappy development clogging the roads.


  4. “Welcome to the world of privilege and access…”

    What? The world of a big corporate lobbyist? Like we need another one of these to make the Special People feel more Special. The gated community thing drives my husband bonkers.

    1. “The gated community thing drives my husband bonkers.”

      Think of it this way. If they’re living in a gated community, they’re not out here trying to impose that society on the rest of us. The idea of living there is really, really not my cup of tea either, but I don’t see how it harms anyone else. Plus, I’m in favor of experimental communities in general.

  5. I used to be a map analyst for a flood-plain data servicing company before the real estate bust, and I spent quite a bit of time working Florida. I have even certified a few properties in the Disney area, as well as Celebration.
    All I can say is — buy flood insurance, whether it’s necessary or not.

  6. Cory, I can’t figure out why you love Disney so. I’m a Florida native, went to Disney World many times in the 70s, and have no interest in going back. I consider Disney’s blandly cheerful optimism the precise opposite of “good” and/or “interesting.”

    I’m sure my attitude is due mostly to my own prejudice, but, uh, what gives? Why the love for this corporate giant and copyright thug, which seems (in my limited knowledge of you, of course) to be at odds with your other attitudes?

  7. Okay, I’m confused. I did a quick spin around Google Maps (,-81.560097&spn=0.035183,0.084972&t=h&z=14), and it looks from the low-res image provided (the one with the pretty tree) that this development will sit smack on top of Fort Wilderness. I’m not all that big on camping, but that doesn’t make sense.

    Am I missing something? There just doesn’t seem to be any good way to fit this community in the way they described.

  8. I don’t get the hate for gated communities. Near enough all apartment complexes have gates at the front of the parking lot. They never close, because that would be a pain in the ass, but the gates are there.

    Even in my apt complex, the similarly-named “Vista Ridge” complex, there’s a gate by the entrance. If they trimmed the shrubbery, they could get it to close.

    Gates’re a rarely-used traffic flow control tool. Nothing more.

    Now, fences, those are a different thing, but even then, what’s wrong with them? They keep people from using the place as a shortcut, cut down on crime, etc.

    Maybe I’ve just got a very UK viewpoint, but having a fence around your property is considered NORMAL here. Nobody wants an open plan office, or an open plan yard.

    1. Dewi, I don’t have problems with apartment complexes having gates or fences, except with how gates are used here in the States with type of community.

      It’s very much a “keep the riff-raff out while we have cocktails on the veranda” vibe.

      But as some pointed out, having a gate community makes it easier to contain the snobs in one spot.

      1. I’m sorry, I still don’t get it.

        You have a nice home, you work your life to gain it, you want to protect it, you use a fence. That’s what they’re FOR. Nobody else has the right to walk over your land unless there’s an established right of way through that land.

        How the heck does that get equated with snobbery? Fearful, maybe. Or antisocial. But snobbery? Even if the people who own the fence are snobs, what’s the problem with that? Why shouldn’t rich people be allowed to fence their stuff off just as much as poor people? Why shouldn’t famous people have privacy too?

        Maybe there’s a “rich people are public property” mindset in the US or something, I don’t know.

        But if I get a nice place? Fences and alarms, you betcha. An Englishman’s home is allegedly his castle. Except, we’re not allowed to defend that castle in the UK, unlike the much more sensible US laws :(

        Which is weird. It’s OK to shoot people on your land, but snobby to put up a fence so you don’t have to? Weeeeird.

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