Mickey Mouse McMansions

The Disney Company is betting against the struggling Florida housing market with plans to build million-dollar luxury homes near its Orlando theme park.

"Disney will offer homes priced between $1.5 million and $8 million in a state where the foreclosure rate remains among the nation's highest. In Orlando, where brokers say home values have dropped between 50% and 60% from the peak, Disney's pricing would put its homes near the top of the market. According to Realtor.com, the average price of new listings in greater Orlando this year is just over $243,000."

While most of the market is down, officials in the company believe the market for luxury homes is on the rebound.

Full Story: Disney World's New Thrill Ride: Selling Luxury Vacation Homes

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Irvin Dawid's picture
Correspondent

Not much to Celebrate here

"We don't really relate it at all to what we did at Celebration," says Matt Kelly, vice president of Disney resort real-estate development, adding that Golden Oak is different from Celebration because it's a resort community meant to offer a new way to experience Disney World, not a primary-home development. "I think by any measure Celebration was a tremendous success," he adds.

"This may be the first time that a kind of man-made entertainment center has generated that kind of real-estate activity," says Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, the dean of architecture at the University of Miami. Her town-planning ideas influenced Disney's first home development, called Celebration. She is not involved in Golden Oak."

Comparison of the two Disney real estate projects in Orlando, FL:

"The proposed 980-acre Golden Oak development, most recently two golf courses within the 40 square miles of Disney's Orlando theme parks, is expected to eventually encompass 450 homes and a 445-room Four Seasons hotel."

"Celebration, a 4,900-acre development adjacent to Disney's Orlando theme parks, was touted in the mid-1990s as a new model of small-town living. The pedestrian-oriented, primary-home community was designed to be economically diverse, with apartments renting for $600 a month near single-family homes, which started at $185,000 and went up to $4 million."

Irvin Dawid, Palo Alto, CA

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