Announcing Storyliving By Disney | New Business To Develop Residential Communities

It may be a long commute, but San Diego County workers may someday live the Disney life about two hours away. No daily pass needed.

Walt Disney Co. is turning acreage in Rancho Mirage into a planned housing community, it was announced Wednesday.

The first “Storyliving by Disney” community will be built in that Riverside County enclave once home to Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Sammy Davis Jr., Lucille Ball and Bob Hope.

The community will be called “Cotino,” the company said.

At each “Storyliving” community, Disney “cast members” will operate the community association and provide access to curated experiences including wellness programming, entertainment and seminars.

Artist’s concept of “Storyliving by Disney” community of Cotino planned for Rancho Mirage, about 120 miles from San Diego. Image via disney.com

According to officials, Disney “Imagineers” will work alongside developers and homebuilders to execute each community’s creative concept.

“Disney Imagineers are exploring the richness of each local region to inspire the theme of Storyliving by Disney communities,” said Michael Hundgen, executive producer, Walt Disney Imagineering.

“Distinctively designed indoor and outdoor spaces will offer residents new opportunities to explore, engage and create the next incredible chapter of their story.”

The first community, Cotino, was chosen because the area was once a retreat for Walt Disney himself, the company said.

Developed in collaboration with DMB Development, the community will include at least one section for 55 and older residents. Home buyers will have a range of home types to choose from, including estates, single family homes and condominiums.

Surrounding an approximately 24-acre water feature, Cotino also has approval for a mixed-use district featuring a range of shopping, dining and entertainment, plus a hotel and beach park with recreational water activities that can be accessed by the public through the purchase of a day pass.

Walt Disney Co. will design U.S. residential communities in deals with property developers, capitalizing on fans’ enthusiasm for the brand beyond its theme park and entertainment businesses.

Fans of Disney are passionate about the company’s control of detail and elaborate escapist experiences. In the residential communities, the company aims to create similar magic that it says will expand storytelling to “storyliving.”

Disney park designers will develop the creative concepts for the communities, drawing inspiration from each region, and employees will run a community association that offers entertainment, activities, beach access and Disney programming.

The effort is reminiscent of Celebration, a master-planned community in Florida founded by Disney in the 1990s and turned over to its residents. More recently, Walt Disney World Resort built a luxury residential community called Golden Oak, a sold-out development with a private clubhouse and an array of amenities, including golfing.

Those earlier resort communities are close to Walt Disney World. The coming residential developments will have no such theme park connection and will be designed to reflect the history and art of the places where they’re located, said a Disney spokesperson.

“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,” Disney parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro said in a statement Wednesday.

A Disney spokesperson declined to say how much capital the entertainment giant plans to invest in the residential initiative.

Developers and home builders will handle construction and set pricing. Disney will handle marketing and also operate the voluntary club.

Reuters and City News Service contributed to this report.