Disney is making housing in California

The sun sets behind the Mickey Ferris Wheel in California Adventure.

The Disney takeover is here.

While it is fun to watch Disney movies, occasionally hit the theme parks and maybe even ride a Disney cruise, you can now actually live the Disney life.

Disney is beginning to construct its first Californian Disney community  called Contino, which will be situated between the mountains of the Coachella Valley.

Though Disney owns Golden Oak, upscale residential living in Florida, Golden Oak is located within Walt Disney World Resort, whereas Contino will be brought to Rancho Mirage.

Disney Golden Oak has estates with a starting price of $2 million, but Contino will have a variety of housing options, with Rancho Mirage Mayor Ted Weill calling it “the largest project in the history” of Rancho Mirage in a press release.

The plan includes 1,700 homes, 400 hotel rooms, commercial buildings and a 24-acre swimmable lagoon, according to storylivingbydisney.com.

Krysten Burton, assistant professor of architecture and former Walt Disney Imagineering team member, offers insight into what this new community may look like.

“It looks like the theme is early 1930s Hollywood Palm Springs,” Burton said. “A vibrant, touristy type destination.” It looks like this community concept is for everything to be all-in-one-place. Disney is creating another world within the world that you don’t have to leave. You are within the time period that Disney has created — it is an imaginary time period and timeline, but it looks and feels real. Though this community is currently being built, Disney places are built to feel like they have always been there, established and organic.”

Though many are excited about Disney’s new residential community, others are apprehensive.

“I don’t think Disneyland and major companies should be at the forefront of our lives,” said Hannah McPherson, senior history major. “It’s a bit weird because I love Disney too, but to live in it is a different thing. There’s no issue with decorating your house with Disney stuff, but your house doesn’t need Disney to be in the architecture.” 

Brooke Donovan, sophomore film major, agrees that Disney-themed housing might take Disney a step too far into everyday life.

“It is odd,” Donovan said. “It seems kind of cult-like. It makes sense for Disney employees to use the housing since they work for Disney, but to just have expensive communities that are closed-off and revolve around the Disney company makes it sound very controlled.”

Burton, however, sees the appeal for those who may be reluctant.

“Disney isn’t a new concept or just a trend,” Burton said. “Disney has had an appeal to so many for so many years and this is just the growing extent of that.”

Burton explained why many people are eager to live in Disney communities.

“There is definitely a market for this Disney community and more, and it sells very quickly despite its high price point because people are willing to pay it,” Burton said. “We all want joy, and Disney allows for people of all ages to partake in imagination and this magical world of Disney. Living the Disney life is a different way to see the world more beautifully, more magically.”

Though the Contino opening dates have not been revealed yet, construction has begun.

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