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Disney Plans First 'Storyliving' Master-Planned Community In Southern California

A rendering of Cotino, the first Disney master-planned community in California

Disney is continuing its decades-long push into residential development, with the company’s theme park division spearheading plans to develop master-planned home communities in Southern California. 

The Walt Disney Co. will build the first Storyliving by Disney community in Rancho Mirage in Coachella Valley, “a location where Walt Disney himself owned a home and would spend leisure time with his family,” the company announced Wednesday

Disney will partner with Scottsdale, Arizona-based DMB Development for the first 618-acre community, called Cotino, which will include a range of home types, including estates, single-family homes and condominiums, and at least one section for 55+ residents.

“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,” Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, said in a statement.

The community will include homes, a Crystal Lagoon and beach club, among other amenities

This isn’t the first time Disney has delved into homebuilding. The media and theme park conglomerate first explored options in the 1960s to develop housing as part of the centerpiece of what is now Walt Disney World in Florida, but those plans were nixed after Walt Disney died in 1966, according to Forbes. The company’s housing plans first came to fruition in 1996 when Disney opened Celebration in Florida, a 4,900-acre community that sold to a private investor in 2004. 

Similar to what they did in Celebration, Disney Imagineers, or the brains behind the company’s theme parks, will help master-plan the communities, working with developers and homebuilders. 

The Southern California project will be a mixed-use district with retail, dining, a beachfront hotel and park with recreational water activities. The public can purchase a day pass to use the amenities. The development will also include a 24-acre “grand oasis” using Crystal Lagoon technology, a growing concept that enables “crystalline lagoons of any size to be built sustainably, with low water consumption and using a minimum amount of additives and energy," Disney said. 

The project will be managed by Disney employees and will include club memberships for amenities and events like cooking classes, wellness programs, live performances and seminars. 

Additional Storyliving locations are being explored elsewhere in the U.S.