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  • Writer's pictureNick Burgess

Golden Oak: The Multi-Million Dollar Way To Live At Disney

Updated: Feb 14, 2023

Disney World's Exclusive Golden Oak Neighborhoods

Are you a Disney aficionado? Do you dedicate yourself to the happiest place on earth? Did you insist on people calling you a princess, and does your family take you on yearly (or more than that) trips to Walt Disney World Resort?

If so, you're probably looking for that next level. That true engagement with the brand that only few can have. Well, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that I have the perfect solution. The bad news? You'd better have a couple of commas in your bank account. That's right! Today, I'm talking about the Most Magical Real Estate on Earth. Welcome to the luxury homes of Golden Oak.

Golden Oak neighborhood in Disney World

A quick note that this is not to be confused with the Walt Disney's Golden Oak Ranch in California, which is also owned by Disney. That ranch is actually not a neighborhood, but it's a working movie set and backlot featuring a variety of natural preserves and lush landscapes for Walt Disney Productions to be able to shoot live-action films. They also rent it out to other film studios for use, perhaps most famously in the episode "The Initiation" of the American version of The Office.

Located with water views of Lake Buena Vista and technically on the Disney property, Disney themselves refer to Golden Oak as "a world embraced by luxury, privacy and the Magic of Disney," Golden Oak homes are a collection of private residences; single-family homes in a residential community set less than 4 miles from the Walt Disney World® Resort theme parks, making them close enough to be part of the Disney experience while far enough to not hear the wails of children when they don't get their Mickey-shaped ice cream. They're also designed by Disney Imagineers, which is notable. Walt Disney Imagineering is the department that developed pretty much everything else in the theme parks. This gives you a mix of the "custom homes" look, while also providing that Disney feel.

The area, as previously mentioned, is actually a collection of neighborhoods under the umbrella of Golden Oak. Each neighborhood has different architectural styles, with "The Cottages" looking like upscale country homes, "Symphony Grove" containing homes that look much more modern and angular, and "Carolwood" really owning the look and feel of if Mark Cuban owned a golf course and built his own personal insane dream home on it. Curiously, there's also a Four Seasons hotel built on the property, which also contains permanent residences if you want that type of feel.

Golden Oak Is Really Just For The 1%

All of this doesn't come cheap, however. These homes start at $2 million and cap out around $8 million. However, one of the newest listing in the development, the "Capolavaro" in the Four Seasons neighborhood, was just listed for over $16 million. That hasn't stopped the neighborhoods from filling up, though. At time of writing, there is only one available home, and it's a resale for $4.5 million.

the capolavaro plan at disney's golden oak neighborhood near epcot and magic kingdom
Capolavaro rendering (c/o The Business Journals)

Golden Oak Residents Benefits

You do get some really interesting benefits and concierge-style services for being residents of Golden Oak. The Disney staff refers to it as "Club Life," and it opens up a whole host of features, both in and out of the parks. some of the out-of-park perks reads like the features list at a retirement home, including: private lounges in the neighborhoods, "elegant" dining at a private clubhouse formal dining room and The Golden Oak Club golf course exclusive to Golden Oak members designed by golf legend Tom Fazio. You also get 24/7 access to private chefs from the Four Seasons Resort Orland, for a fee of course. Speaking of retirement home, this neighborhood does serve as a sort of de facto retirement village for northerners with a penchant for the most magical place on earth, as Disney does have guidelines about how long you should live in the home each year to be considered a "resident." If you're really wealthy and don't care that much about exorbitant HOA fees, then these could certainly serve as a second home in central Florida with a front door into the Disney parks.

When it comes to actually getting to Walt Disney World® Resort, you have easy access to exclusive transportation to all of the Disney World theme parks, plus Disney Springs. You also get member-only access to the parks for "an extra amount of time" according to a vague Disney blurb. You also get free home delivery on any item you purchase from a gift shop in any of the parks. But do you get free access to the parks because you spent $10 million on a home there? You sure don't!

Interior Design Details By Disney

Like Club 33, getting a glimpse inside these homes isn't always easy. However, thanks to the real estate listings, we can get a pretty good idea as to the options available. Everything from stunning indoor-outdoor views of the pool:

a living room in a home at Golden Oak in Disney World

As well as a wine cellar that would make LeBron James proud:

a wine cellar in a home at Golden Oak in Disney World

But thanks to one YouTuber, Angie Bellemare, who recently moved into Golden Oak, we get to see a comprehensive tour of the interior of one of these homes. All of these residences are designed by Imagineers at Disney, which allows them to include design flourishes you wouldn't otherwise find in other homes. Her home includes a Mickey shaped water feature by the swimming pool:

a Mickey Mouse pool at a Golden Oak home in Disney World

As well as a diffuser located in the central air system that actually diffuses theme park smells throughout the house.

Miss the smell of sweaty families from New Jersey walking too slowly in front of you? Probably not, but now you have the option of bringing them into every room of your home.

a hidden mickey at a home in Golden Oak in Disney World Angie Bellemare

They all get the Disney mega-fan experience of being able to see the Magic Kingdom fireworks from their own roof, which is actually pretty sweet. I'd be down with that. To see the whole walkthrough, you can check out her video below.

The Bottom Line

For as much derision as I've thrown at this concept, I'd totally own a house here if I had the means. The homes are impeccably built, and the variety of architecture across the neighborhoods is pretty remarkable. My wife is also the biggest Disney mega fan I know and the only reason we don't already live in Orlando is because I wouldn't move there If I couldn't move into these exact homes. But what do you think? Would you live in Golden Oak? Let me know in the comments below!

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