Golden Oak

Jack Spence Header

I used to fantasize that unbeknownst to me, my parents had bought land in Florida during the 1950s. And when Disney was buying up acreage for Walt Disney World in the 1960s, they somehow missed this small parcel of land my folks owned. And when my parents passed on, I would discover I now possessed land directly beneath Cinderella Castle. As part of the settlement with Disney, I would request millions of dollars. I would also demand a luxurious suite at the Grand Floridian be transformed into my new home and I would be allowed to live at Disney World year round. Unfortunately, when my parents died, I did not find any secret deed hidden in a strongbox. Sigh.

But my fantasy is not dead. I can still live at Walt Disney World year round — just as soon as I win the lottery. My new dream is called Golden Oak — a new community at Walt Disney World.

Golden Oak Logo

Golden Oak is located at the north end of Disney property and the entrance is off of Vista Boulevard (just east of the Fort Wilderness Campground). The 980 acre community (when finished) will feature the world’s largest Four Seasons Resort (444 guest rooms) surrounded by approximately 450 single-family luxury homes. Connecting the various neighborhoods and the hotel will be recreational pathways, footbridges, parks, and gardens, all surrounded by undisturbed natural forest. The master-plan was developed by Walt Disney Imagineering. Although Disney will maintain the day-to-day operation of the community, the land was de-annexed from Reedy Creek and residents will be part of Orange County. Homes and lots are purchased with full ownership. Prices range from $1.5 million to $8 million.

Golden Oak Entrance

Golden Oak

In an effort to let Disney fans across the country know all that Golden Oak offers, a small number of media folk were invited to experience the well-appointed lifestyle this community provides. I was honored to be included in this group. And I have to tell you, I was impressed by what I saw.

Our visit began at the sales office. Like most such facilities, a topographical map greets prospective buyers as they enter the building. Here we could easily see what Disney has planned for this new community. Current home sites and future developments are all laid out in meticulous detail. But what really set the Golden Oak sales office apart from other communities are the Disney photographs and paintings that hang on the walls, emphasizing the connection between Golden Oak and Walt Disney World.

Sales Office

Topographical Map

Topographical Map

Disney Art

Our group was introduced to Page Pierce who is part of the Golden Oak team. He spent several minutes explaining to us some of the perks of living in this upscale community.

When buying at Golden Oak, homeowners will receive a special ticket that entitles the Passholder and four additional guests admission to all of the Walt Disney World theme parks and water parks. Additional ticket perks include:

No blackout dates
Extra Magic Hours
Park hopping
Free parking

But who cares about free parking when Golden Oak offers Home-to-Park shuttle service? And I’m not talking about a big diesel bus that continually circles the community. I’m talking about a mini-coach that arrives at your doorstep at a predetermined time and transports you and your guests directly to your desired location on property. All it takes is a phone call to Residence Services and you’re set.

Your park admission ticket is provided free of charge for the first three years. After that, the tickets can be renewed. (Prices were not quoted.)

Here are just a few of the other perks offered to homeowners of Golden Oak. Some of these are included in your monthly fees, others are at an additional cost.

Golden Oak residents receive Disney Park merchandise discounts of up to 20 percent. Home delivery is also provided. Dining and golf reservations can be made via Residence Services. Need your house cleaned? All it takes is a phone call.

Need your house decorated for the holidays? The same people who so beautifully adorn the theme parks and hotels at Christmas will be available to custom design your own yuletide decorations. Once again, all it takes is a phone call to Residence Services.

Of course, we wouldn’t want any unsightly trashcans out on the street come collection day. So each house will have a designated area near the home where the trash men can access your garbage in a more “civilized” manner.

Golden Oak residents will also be invited to exclusive in-park events. For example, breakfast might be served at the France Pavilion before World Showcase opens. Or during the Food & Wine Festival, an executive chef might provide a private cooking demonstration.

Golden Oak residents will also have a club house known as Summerhouse.

Summerhouse

Summerhouse

Summerhouse Model

Although almost complete, Disney is still finishing up some of the interior details of Summerhouse and we were asked to refrain from taking pictures inside the building. So I’ll do my best to let you know what to expect from this beautifully decorated and appointed structure.

When guests enter the main lobby, an electronic display will detail all of the current Golden Oak activities and times. Nearby are two “concierge” desks. Here, highly knowledgeable Disney cast members will be on hand to answer questions, make reservations, or plan your entire vacation.

A private dining/conference room seats 12 and can be reserved for family meals or high-level business meetings. State-of-the-art electronics will offer the ability to video-conference with associates from around the world. The table is round and has a large lazy susan in the middle for the passing of food or business documents. (The table was big enough to conjure up thoughts of King Arthur.)

A small kitchen sits adjacent to this room and is accessed via sliding panels that feature a reproduction of a “Sleeping Beauty” background piece painted by Disney Legend, Eyvind Earle. Other, Disney art adorns the rest of the room and if you see a piece that strikes your fancy, it can be reproduced and hung in your home.

Summerhouse also features a lounge and dining room. These two facilities will be staffed by Four Seasons and offer upscale and healthy choice meals. Also available are a heated pool, fitness center, and a family/game center. Residence Services will host a number of seasonal activities and parties throughout the year.

Summerhouse is beautiful. I’m very sorry that I can’t share pictures with you because any description I might give would fall short. But let me assure you, the rooms are all comfortable and inviting. It’s obvious that quality has been woven into every aspect of this building’s design. Yet at the same time, there is absolutely nothing stuffy or formal about the décor. Summerhouse is a place where anyone would feel right at home.

Seven local construction companies have been selected to build the custom homes of Golden Oak. Each is noted for superior quality and craftsmanship and has a reputation for providing high customer satisfaction. Prospective home buyers can design their new dwelling from the ground up, or select from several, ever changing spec houses.

During my visit, our group toured four homes. Instead of taking you on a tour of each one by one, I’ve decided to present these houses on a room by room basis. This way, you’ll be able to do comparisons of styles and offerings.

Exterior

In order for the neighborhoods to maintain continuity, the exterior designs have been limited to a select few architectural styles. Yet within these styles, a great many choices are available so no home will look like its neighbor. Golden Oak will feature old-world Mediterranean and Caribbean architecture with Venetian, Dutch, and Tuscan design influences.

Lots range in size from ½ to ¾ of an acre. All outside landscaping is included in the price and is maintained by the homeowner association Current homeowner dues run a little over $5K a year.

Faux finishes are not allowed on any exterior surface. If a house is to be covered in rock, it must be real rock. When brick is called for, it must be actual brick. All gutters are to be made of copper. The driveways are covered with pavers or other special surfaces. You won’t find any concrete or asphalt leading up to the garage.

Each home will feature a special medallion next to the front door. The owner’s name will grace the upper portions of this crest.

Medallion

Here are front exterior shots of the four homes I toured.

Home Exterior

Home Exterior

Home Exterior

Home Exterior

Home Exterior

Home Exterior

Home Exterior

Home Exterior

Home Exterior

Home Exterior

Kitchens

Many who move to Central Florida are dismayed to learn that natural gas is not available for cooking and heating. If you want to cook by flame, you must have a propane tank positioned next to your house or buried underground. Because of this, most folks opt for electric cooktops as this is the simpler option. But Golden Oak did not settle for this solution. They arranged for pressurized natural gas to be piped to each and every home.

Custom cabinetry is also standard at Golden Oak. In many cases, the Sub-Zero refrigerator (or comparable brand) and dishwasher will be hidden behind matching cabinet doors.

You won’t find any laminate in a Golden Oak kitchen or bath. Granite, marble, or other upscale surfaces are the countertop of choice.

Want a built-in espresso machine? It’s a snap. Need a water faucet above the cooktop? Sure, why not? If you want it, these builders can probably provide it.

Kitchen

Kitchen

Kitchen

Kitchen

Kitchen

Kitchen

Kitchen

Kitchen

Kitchen

Kitchen

Kitchen

Living Room & Dining Room

Of course, music can be piped into every room of the house if that’s your desire. And state-of-the-art security systems are the norm – complete with TV monitors in selected rooms. Would you like to control the thermostat, lights, pool temperature, music, or other household functions from your computer or iPad? Not a problem. The wiring and technology are available.

In Florida, many homes have large sliding glass doors that fit neatly out of sight in pockets when open. This allows homeowners to open up their houses for “outdoor” living. At Golden Oak, these doors can be automated so they open and close with a flick of a switch.

Almost every room has been electronically outfitted to accommodate wall-mounted flat-screen TVs with recessed openings for cable and electrical connections.

The living and dining rooms are large. The designers realize that these homes will be used for entertaining and don’t want residents to feel crowded.

Living and Dining Room

Living and Dining Room

Living and Dining Room

Living and Dining Room

Living and Dining Room

Living and Dining Room

Living and Dining Room

Living and Dining Room

Bedrooms

Bedrooms

Bedrooms

Bedrooms

Bedrooms

Wine Cellar

The term wine “cellar” is somewhat of a misnomer. We don’t have cellars in Florida. The high water table prevents this. But a couple of the homes did have dedicated rooms for storing your favorite vintage.

Wine Cellar

Wine Cellar

Wine Cellar

Wine Cellar

Ceilings and Light Fixtures

If your house is typical, the ceiling is either smooth or has a knockdown or a popcorn texture. Although some of the rooms within the Golden Oaks homes have traditional knockdown surfaces, some are far more imaginative and artistic. And you won’t find any “glass-and-brass” chandeliers hanging over a dining room table. The light fixtures here are well thought out and exhibit quality.

Ceilings and Light Fixtures

Ceilings and Light Fixtures

Ceilings and Light Fixtures

Ceilings and Light Fixtures

Ceilings and Light Fixtures

Ceilings and Light Fixtures

Ceilings and Light Fixtures

Ceilings and Light Fixtures

Ceilings and Light Fixtures

Ceilings and Light Fixtures

Switches

Even the light switches are special in these homes.

Light Switch

Staircases

Three of the homes featured a second story. Of course, the staircases here required more than simple carpeting. Wooded steps with tiled or marble risers provide a creative walkway to the upper level.

Staircases

Staircases

Staircases

Master Bath

One of the requirements of Golden Oak is that every bedroom have its own, full bath. So a five-bedroom home would have five-and-half baths. The half-bath is the guest “powder room.”

In several of the models, there were his and hers water closets in the master bath. No more arguments as to whether the seat is left up or down. One bath featured a bidet.

The showers in the master baths were also large and some offered multiple controls to adjust the several shower heads. The showers were definitely big enough for two (or more).

Bathroom

Bathroom

Bathroom

Bathroom

Bathroom

Bathroom

Bathroom

Bathroom

Bathroom

Closets

The master bedroom closets are bigger than most people’s bedrooms. All were furnished with cabinets, drawers, hanging space, and shoe racks. One closet even had an area dedicated to the hanging of men’s neckties.

Closets

Closets

Closets

Closets

Closets

Outdoor Living

Florida is all about outdoor living and this fact hasn’t been forgotten at Golden Oak. All of the homes featured large covered lanais, swimming pools, outdoor kitchens, outdoor televisions, and outdoor fireplaces or fire pits. Some even offered retractable screens that lowered and rose with the flick of a switch.

Outdoor Living

Outdoor Living

Outdoor Living

Outdoor Living

Outdoor Living

Outdoor Living

Outdoor Living

Outdoor Living

Outdoor Living

Outdoor Living

Outdoor Living

Outdoor Living

Outdoor Living

Outdoor Living

The various neighborhoods of Golden Oak will surround the Four Seasons Resort. Many of the services and facilities of this upscale hotel will be available to Golden Oak residents. However, the guests of Four Seasons will not have access to Golden Oak so there will be no “tourist” traffic driving up and down your street. Four Seasons is currently scheduled to open sometime in 2014. Current estimates predict that Golden Oak will be selling homes for the next 8 to 10 years.

Four Seasons

Four Seasons Model

Disney is fully aware that the vast majority of the people who buy at Golden Oak are planning on using these houses as vacation homes for themselves and their guests. Although there will be a few year-round residents, most will only spend a portion of the year at Walt Disney World. When home owners are away from Orlando, all they have to do is call Residence Services to arrange for their house to be made ready for friends and family.

I will be honest; Disney wined and dined me for three days during my visit. Did this affect my opinion? Not really. Although enjoyable, the lavish attention I received really wasn’t necessary to garner a good review. The community of Golden Oak could sell itself. How could someone not be impressed with the community, the homes, and the Disney services offered?

But Disney pulled out all the stops for my visit, not so much as a way to win me over, but to vividly illustrate the lifestyle that is available at Golden Oaks and at Walt Disney World if you have the means to afford the very best. For example, we were treated to a buffet breakfast poolside at the last house we visited. Cold cuts, fruit, rolls, and breakfast drinks were served in the kitchen while out by the pool, two buffet tables had been set up to offer us an array of meat products (including filet mignon), eggs, potatoes, an omelet station, and a pancake station. We sat at tablecloth covered tables while the wait staff cleared our plates, brought us seconds, and refilled our drinks. The weather was perfect, the atmosphere sublime, and the views outstanding. Even a McDonald’s hamburger would seem special with this type of service and surroundings. Once again, all it would take for a resident to arrange such a gathering at Golden Oak is a simple call to Residence Services. Disney’s “Special Events” team would take care of the rest.

Special Breakfast

Special Breakfast

Special Breakfast

Special Breakfast

I know your next question is, “Can I visit Golden Oak?” The answer is yes. However, you cannot just stop by and say, “I want to take a look around.” You must call in advance and make an appointment. But before you do, I would strongly suggest taking a look at their website. Here you’ll find a wealth of information that I’ve neglected to tell you and more about appointments. The Golden Oak website is: www.disneygoldenoak.com

So how did this multimillion dollar community get its name?

In the mid-1950s, Disney needed a location to film “The Adventures of Spin and Marty,” a serial about two boys attending a western-style summer camp. This 25-episode drama was to be part of the “Mickey Mouse Club” television show. Scouts scoured Southern California and eventually found the perfect parcel of land off of Placerita Canyon Road in northwestern Los Angeles County, about an hour’s drive north of the Disney Studios in Burbank. The setting was perfect for a multitude of productions as it included streams, a lake, meadows, oak groves, and rolling hills. Walt was so enamored with the area that he bought 315 acres in 1959 for $300K. Over the years, subsequent purchases of the adjacent parcels brought the total property up to 827 acres. The name “Golden” Oak Ranch refers to the mini-gold rush that occurred nearby in the 1840s.

Over the years, scenes from many Disney and non-Disney movies have been filmed here. Some of the Disney productions include: Old Yeller, The Parent Trap, Toby Tyler, Follow Me Boys, and The Shaggy Dog. More recent movies include: Princess Diaries II, The Santa Clause, Pearl Harbor, and Pirates of the Caribbean II & III.

If you watch the original “The Parent Trap” there is a scene where Mitch Evers (Brian Keith), Vicki Robinson (Joanna Barnes), and the twins (Hayley Mills) are getting ready to leave on a camping trip. If you look closely at the pickup truck they are riding in, you can see “Golden Oak Ranch” printed on the truck’s door.

Disney still owns Golden Oak Ranch and is currently in the process of transforming a portion of this land into a high-tech motion picture production center. Soundstages, mill shops, offices, outdoor sets, and a commissary are all part of the grand, multimillion dollar plan. When construction is complete, it will be possible to create an entire movie or TV show from beginning to end at this facility.

Golden Oak Ranch

The name “Golden Oak” can also be seen in the Magic Kingdom. In Frontierland, “Golden Oak Outpost“ serves fried chicken sandwiches, chicken nuggets, fries and drinks.

Golden Oak Outpost

In conclusion, I would like to thank all of the Disney cast members who provided me with this marvelous opportunity to visit Golden Oak at Walt Disney World. I was treated like royalty and I appreciate all of the effort that so many individuals took to make my experience here so memorable.

And just so you know, since my parents didn’t buy any land in Central Florida during the 1950s, I’ve added Golden Oak to my “must have” list when I win the lottery.

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49 Replies to “Golden Oak”

  1. Hello Jack:
    Thank you for this blog about Golden Oak.
    I had a tour of Golden Oak on Sunday, August 03, 2014. Anna Martin gave me the tour (Cecelia Niles arranged the tour). Thank you to Anna and Cecelia. Also thank you to Laurie (I don’t know if I spelled your name correctly) at the front desk at Golden Oak Realty. Yes, Golden Oak is magnificent, and I hope to own a residence there as soon as possible. Anna showed me Venezia, which is currently a showcase home. I am trying to use my memory to compare with your photographs in this blog. I also stayed at the Four Seasons there on opening day (night). As soon as I pulled into the parking lot of Golden Oak Realty and heard the music being piped into the parking lot, I knew I was at the best community on the planet.

  2. A few months ago we were talking about the possibility of looking at a home in the Golden Oak community but there is a big difference between a vacation at Disney and living there. We looked at three differences that would change our lifestyle and our Disney experience.

    1) As adults we have always enjoyed leaving the car behind and not having to drive anywhere on our vacations so we can have the choice to have an adult drink with dinner without the worry about getting back to the resort. Car access is the only option living at Golden Oak, or be driven everywhere which does not appeal to us.

    2) We have amazing memories of the parks but also very fond memories of the simplifier things such as walking along the Boardwalk to Epcot, taking the monorail through the Contemporary, or the boat ride down the Sassagoula to DTD, we are one of the ones that enjoy Disney transportation. I would rate our fondness of boat rides as a 10/10,
    the monorail as a 10/10, the buses as an 8/10 (just for the people that you meet on the trips), and the few times we have taken a taxi as a 2/10. For us Disney transportation is just as much about the journey as it is the destination. Golden Oak has no bus access, no monorail and no boat service. Living at Golden Oak we feel we would miss half our fond
    Disney experiences.

    3) We normally lead a very active lifestyle and walk, jog, or bike a lot. During our vacation we forgo these activities (except for walking around the parks and resorts) and we are fine with that for a couple of weeks. By living at Golden Oak we would forgo that for 4-5 months a year and for us that would not be acceptable. We normally bike to the local coffee house during the evening and do not call a car service to be driven there and home again, the journey and not just the destination.

    For these reasons we decided not to look at Golden Oak currently but that could change very easily with a small change at Disney World. In order to go for a walk, jog or bike ride DW could ensure there was a pathway from Golden Oak through to the Wilderness Campgrounds via the Osprey Golf course. Also make sure there were bike racks at the Campgrounds and Wilderness Lodge which I think there already are. This would open the Bay Lake area of Disney, the Magic Kingdom and Epcot to Golden Oak residents.

    If there was also a pathway from the undeveloped eastern part of Golden Oak to the west bus stop of POR (about 100 ft) this would open up the resorts (PO, SS, OKW) and Downtown Disney to Golden Oak as one could now bike from Golden Oak to DD. If bike racks were installed at POR boat launch, SS, and OKW as well as DD (one already there I think) it would allow residents to choose their own transportation method and not be stuck in a car. This pathway would not interfere with Disney’s current policies for Disney Resort guests, for them it would be a pathway to nowhere as Golden Oak would block access to other parts of the park.

    These small changes, for me, would ensure that while living at Golden Oak we would be allowed to experience Disney as we always have via the transportation network. It would allow us to keep our active lifestyle by opening up a sufficient amount bike/jogging routes to keep us healthy. It would allow us to just go for a walk and a coffee during the evening as we would expect to be able to do in our community. Plus all the additional benefits that Golden Oak would offer a family would make it not just a wonderful holiday destination but also a place that we could call home.

    Stunning homes and great article Jack.

  3. Thank you for this article Jack. It gave me a lot of insightful information and I appreciated seeing the pictures of the homes and the interiors. I have been drawn to the Golden Oak Resort ever since I heard about it. Now after reading your article I want to buy a home at Golden Oak even more. I was really impressed that the materials used in these homes are natural and not fake. In addition to the beauty of these homes and the resort two words come to my mind–peaceful and safe. I would really like to live at Golden Oak. Like so many other people–if I could just win the lottery.

  4. So, these residents will live within the Disney lines but not be officially Disney residents but still have all the great amenities? I don’t see the downside to this. They have really worked hard to provide a real unique experience for us quests.

  5. Hi Jack!
    Question, I read that this property has been de-annexed from RCID. What does this mean? I’ve hared this several times in referenced to Celebration and other certain parts of the WDW Property. Is Disney loosing property here?

    BTW My expectant wife and I are moving not too far from this spot, just west on 535. Maybe our kid will go to school with kids from here! I’m already feeling the jealousy as I see our kid having awesome sleepovers in a house like that! LOL I can dream right?

    Great Blog Jack. Better than all others out there!

    Thanks,
    -Evan

    Jack’s Answer:

    Yes. Disney is “voluntarily” losing property.

    Walt Disney World is considered a pseudo-county by the State of Florida and can exercise its own building codes, laws, and other county related functions. In order to have “county” privileges, there must be actual residents living on property. Disney maintains two communities, Lake Buena Vista and Bay Lake. Each is inhabited by about 20 Disney employees. They are allowed to vote on all Ready Creek matters. However, they MUST vote as Disney dictates.

    Disney had to de-annex Celebration and Golden Oak or these people would also have voting rights — and they wouldn’t be subjected to Disney’s authority since they would not be cast members.

    Both Celebration and Golden Oak get their fire protection and paramedic coverage from Orange and Osceola Counties respectively.

  6. Great blog Jack. I was hoping that vacation rental would make the dream a little more realistic for folks, but it seems that Disney put the kabash on that already. Bummer.

    From an architectural standpoint I’m glad to see a nice mixture of traditional and modern. I was afraid these homes would be a bit too frou-frou for my taste.

  7. Ah my dream home! I actually saw this driveway a while ago on our way back from Ft. Wilderness. I thought to myself they are building a hacienda style resort like Coronado and never hear a peep about it. Years later I realized that what I saw was the driveway for Golden Oaks. Now, if I could just get inside those gates, I’d be a happy camper. Did someone say Powerball?

  8. Hi Jack,

    Great article. You mentioned that 3 of the 4 homes you visited were two story. Is there a model name for the one story version? I was taking a look at the website and couldn’t figure out which model would be a one story. I mean if we are dreaming of the impossible, might as well go all out and get the details of the dream exactly right!

    Jack’s Answer:

    The only one story I visited was Casa Arezzo. It was also the most expensive.

  9. Dream! Dream! Dream! That is all we can do. When Powerball was up to $375 million a few months ago, People asked what I would do with the money. The first thing was quit my job and the second was to buy a house in Golden Oak. Came home and asked my husband what he would do and he said the same thing. Two peas in a pod we are! Disney peas that is!

  10. Such extravagance! This neighborhood is clearly for that 1% out there. I understand the Disney logic of using the land to make money where they can, but I’d sure like to see more moderate and value resorts. I wish they could do more for us middle-class folk who work so hard to save up for just a week at the POP. The sad part is that the people who buy these homes are probably not true Disneyphiliacs. I’m guessing they are buying them for the status.

    Now I need to run out and buy (several) lottery tickets…

  11. Hi Jack,
    I just thought of a question…will pets be allowed? I’m thinking about dogs and walking them.

    Jack’s Answer:

    Yes. These are people’s homes. Pets are most definitely allowed. In fact, pet “clean up” stations are positioned along the various sidewalks and trails inside Golden Oak.

  12. Holy guacamole! What an amazing place. A girl can dream…

    BTW, Jack, I know how you can make the millions you need to live in this Fantasyland… Forget the lottery, you TOTALLY need to write a book about WDW. Your detailed knowledge, interesting facts & figures and your emotional connection to the subject would make a wonderful read. I know I’d buy it!

  13. It looks lovely, but I wonder how much space each house actually gets. And I suppose if I had $8 mil to sink into a house I’d have time to exhaust the disney parks in Florida.

    But I wonder if you can keep chickens in the backyard.

  14. I want one, and I want one now!

    Mind you, with the cost of the houses it’s a shame they couldn’t find someone who can spell the word “off” (Look under the section switches at the photo of the light switches). 😉

    Jack’s Answer:

    If you look carefully, you can see a portion of the second “F” on the switch plate. LOL

  15. Ah-maze-ing! Shouldn’t have read this at work though! I was moaning and groaning the whole way through. My nurses were ready to admit me to one of the rooms! I was with you right from the beginning. I, too, have dreamed of actually living in Disney. As soon as I read complimentary tickets, free shuttle, no blackout dates I turned and said, “Think I can sell my kids and husband?” Lol. (Their answer was NO just in case you were wondering.) This neighborhood is incredible. Can you imagine having the ability to live in the Disney bubble? We don’t play the lottery, but what are the odds of the community needing a pastor?

  16. Wonderful blog, Jack.

    Loved all of the photos you took of the special details of lighting, bathrooms, stairs, etc. If anyone in the media tour was going to get their money’s worth from this event, it would have to be you.

  17. Hi Jack,
    On our last trip I saw where this development was going to be and like you and the others I would be there in a second if I would win the lottery! I’ll keep dreaming.
    Take care

    FYI… I have been reading your blogs when I can because this month has been busy with visitors. My daughter came from Portland,OR so all the siblings have been here plus my siblings since Michelle hasn’t been home for several years. I hope you are having a fun summer.

  18. Jack, Nice article and it is nice to see how the other half lives. I tend to agree with Eric about this being another sign that Disney is forgetting about the little guy. As a DVC member and avid golfer I am disappointed that Disney scrapped the Eagle Pines golf course for this project.

  19. Wow what can I say. Thanks for sharing this with everyone. As usual it was a great report on your part. I guess I will need to start playing the lottery more so that I can one day afford to buy one of these homes. Oh well a girl can dream can’t she. Thanks again Jack for a great article.

  20. Jack,
    Thanks for another great blog!! I hope when the Four Seasons resort is ready to go they will give you similar access.
    — Originally they were talking about fractional ownership homes. Is that option completely dead now?
    — The second photo makes it look like the homes will be pretty close together. For those prices you might expect more distance from neighbors.
    — Monthly fees?! I can just imagine, given some of the amenities they are talking about. Sounds like you better win TWO lotteries if you want to live there!

    Jack’s Answer:

    I heard nothing about “fractional ownership” so I assume this idea is history.

    The homes are close together — and in my opinion, too close together for the prices Disney is asking. However, once you enter the house and the outdoor pool and lanai area, this is not noticeable.

  21. I must say, if I could get one wish granted, any wish, the moving truck would be at my door this afternoon. It is the dream vacation — and it would be happen all year round. I think showing us just how wonderful and fantastic these Disney homes & lifestyles are, is a very, very, bad idea.

    I am now trying to sell my kids, rent out my wife, trying to raffle off my belongings, stopped buying gas, and am forging adoption papers showing me as the lost son of the richest oil sheik. I also stand at major intersections with a cardboard sign that says “Will move for money”.

    That’s the plan for today…tomorrow? More planning!!!

    I guess for now, I’ll dream and drool (better than crying). While I want to say thanx for the great blog, as is your usual, I am so depressed I need to find a therapist, which will cost me money and put me farther away from the dream!

  22. All I can say is WOW!!!!!!!!!
    Now, I wonder how many lottery tickets I have to buy before I make enough to buy one of those homes.

  23. In response to the school question, elementary school is Sunset Park, middle school is Bridgewater, and I’m assuming high school is West Orange. I live in the area and dream about this neighborhood daily! 🙂

  24. Jack….first it was such a pleasure to meet you at the Art of Animation. As always this was an incredible article and I am glad you answered my two questions that we had when thinking (key word thinking…LOL) about this development that it is going to turn into a rental development or have tourist traffic going to and from the hotel. If my disney dreams ever come true this is where we would love to live.

  25. Jack,

    So this is how the other quarter of a percent lives? If you had a jaw-dropping smilie for blog replies, I’d be using it.

    As for Walt’s views, I think Walt was an inveterate capitalist, and would have been on board with anything that would make money. He was great at knowing what would appeal to people, and then he wanted to sell it to them, not give it away!

    Thanks, Wendy

  26. Jack did they mention anything about schools for those who wanted to live there year round? While this would only be a dream for me if I won the lottery, the thought did cross my mind about whether or not I could live there and be able to have my kids go to school. And the grocery store :).

    Jack’s Answer:

    I can tell you that the area behind Disney (and behind Golden Oak) is an up and growing residential area. What was pastureland for years is now being developed with new homes, condos, and apartments. There is a Publix supermarket about 6 miles away from Golden Oak and a grammar school about 8 miles away (approximately). Will school buses ever run through Golden Oak? I have no idea.

  27. GREAT article — I am very grateful for the information you supply. Many thanks!

    One question and then a comment.

    So I can hone my daydreams, do you know which model on their website is, pricewise, the entry level property?

    Also, I don’t think that catering to a high level clientele is anything new for Disney. I think the first hotels were all deluxe, yes? Those with fewer dollars in their pockets had to stay off property. Same thing here: many dollars, Golden Oak, some dollars, DVC / Grand Floridan, less dollars POP! That’s just business. As long as the all these properties are good values, I’m happy.

    Jack’s Answer:

    I can tell you that Kimball Trace is intended for the “starter” homes and Carolwood Reserve is for the “established” investor. LOL. These were the two neighborhoods I visited. Mind you, there is still a lot of land set aside for future development so who knows what else might happen.

  28. I would love to live here once I earn enough off of writing. Kinda makes you wonder how many people who will choose to live there will be true Disney fans or not.
    Question, are all the expenses you mentioned maintained by TDO or is it an outside resource ’cause it would get awefully expensive if TDO maintained it.

    Jack’s Answer:

    As I said in my blog, Four Seasons will operate the lounge and restaurant in Summerhouse. According to tax records, Disney owns Summerhouse.

    It’s my understanding that Disney will oversee Golden Oak and regulate community bylaws. They will also coordinate all of the services I mentioned, but as to who will actually execute them, I don’t know. For example, it’s entirely possible that Disney will outsource the gardening of the homes and common grounds. But it’s Disney’s intention that you use their services for the things I mentioned. For example, if you want a party catered and call Residence Services, you will be using Disney. If you don’t want Disney, then you’ll need to pull out the Yellow Pages and do it yourself.

    I hope this answers your question because we really didn’t get into the nitty-gritty of the day to day operation.

  29. Not 100% the same as living in the Castle but I have always wondered if I won a huge lottery jackpot could I take up residence in the Disney resorts full time? You know maybe stay at boardwalk villas for couple months then off to another resort. This would be a nice alternative. C’mon FL lottery.

    P.S. On a side note I was at AK yesterday and was really impressed with the number of CMs who wished me a Happy Fathers Day. Nice touch. oh and I defintely think that the autotronic “Flick” looks purple in the “Tough to be a Bug” show.

  30. WOW! Time to play more lottery.

    As always, happy you added the “Disney reason” behind the naming–knew it couldn’tve been random! 🙂

  31. It’s rather ironic that you selected this topic for this week since I checked out the Disney website on Saturday, just for kicks.

    I’m almost ashamed to admit that Golden Oak has “encouraged” me to purchase two Power Ball tickets per week, as I fear the Florida Lottery wouldn’t be enough for purchase HOA dues, cleaning staff, etc..

    Great blog. Even though many dreams never really do come true, it’s nice to have them anyway. I’ve also discovered that buying a few lottery tickets can be equal to half a therapy session. LOL!

  32. It looks beautiful but something I will never see. I am sorry to see Disney catering to the few that can afford such luxury and wonder how long it will be before there will be black out dates for the “common people” so that the blessed few can enjoy the parks without the rest of us cluttering up the scenery. I think this is a sad turn of events that Walt never would have condoned.

    Jack’s Comment:

    Since there will only be 450 homes at Golden Oak, I don’t think we’re in any danger of blackout dates because of this community. As for what Walt would think, see next week’s blog.

  33. Wow. I have not heard about this before. It is hard to imagine living this kind of life for an extended period of time. Of course, if they have so many diferent events going on all the time I would just need a place to sleep. Hmm, not likely to win lottery. Next best thing is to become good friends of someone who owns one of these houses.
    Thanks for another wonderful article!
    David

  34. OK Jack! Sign me up, I’m moving in!!! I wish! What a beautiful community. As soon as I win the lottery, we can be next door neighbors… 🙂 The perks alone are awesome!

  35. I am assuming there is no restriction on the property owners offering their properties to “friends” they don’t know for a nightly fee(aka renting)?

    Jack’s Comment:

    There is no renting of your home. Arrangements for anyone other than the owner to stay in a home must be made thru Residence Services. Disney is on top of this.

  36. WOW, how beautiful. Reminds me of Celebration but more exclusive. I wonder who the first residents will be.

    Jack’s Comment: Some family have already moved in.

  37. Oh my…

    I have no words…

    Gorgeous, simply gorgeous.

    The minute I heard about this project some time ago, I immediately scoured the internet for more information on it. I was simply impressed with just their website. Your blog has made me even more so. Jealousy is not becoming to me 🙂

    I would have died and gone to heaven to live here. I am with the many others that state “as soon as I win the lottery…”. You can bet the Golden Oak office will be my first phone call! Maybe they will run a contest to win one of these dream homes and I will win! Ha!

    Thanks for taking one for the team Jack. Someone’s gotta do the hard work 😉

  38. This looks fantastic! I’ll also be adding it to my “must buy” list when I win the lottery. 🙂

    I’m wondering though… If Disney thinks that most of these homes will be purchased as vacation homes (and not year-round residences), are they concerned about the possibility of the owners using them as rental property (for vacationers)? It seems as if that might be opening the door for issues. Renters don’t necessarily take care of property like owners do.

    Jack’s Answer:

    The owners cannot “rent” these homes. They may be “used” by their friends and family. And the exterior landscaping of the homes are maintained by the home owners association so the appearance of the neighborhood will always be well kept.

  39. I agree that these homes are beautiful and certainly even worth the asking prices. But, I have to ask why Disney wants to create a bigger have and have nots divide at Disney World? There are really very few people who’d be able to afford $2million or more for a SECOND home.
    I’m certainly glad you had the experience Jack, but it seems that Disney is more and more catering to the very wealthy and to celebrities. Is the Grand Floridian really too pedestrian for some?
    I guess I don’t understand the logic behind this move. If you have some insight, I’d love to hear it.

    Jack’s Thoughts:

    According to Disney, there is a high-end market out there that wants something better than the Grand Floridian — so enter the Four Seasons. Apparently, communities like Golden Oak are commonplace with other Four Seasons resorts. The land that Disney is using for this development is in an area of Disney World that in all probability would have never been developed anyway.

    In the scheme of things (Disney World wise) Four Seasons and Golden Oak will have little or no effect on the crowds at Disney World and their facilities. Yet this small group of people will be big spenders and open their pocketbooks for high end services that Disney can provide.

    Disney will tell you that they haven’t forgotten those with lesser pocketbooks as there are five budget resorts and three moderate resorts on property.

  40. I don’t normally comment but I have been following the Golden Oak project for awhile. Their website is nice and this really filled in some of the gaps. Now if I only had the means to afford….

  41. hey jack
    I remember hearing about this and as soon as i saw your pictures i was sold. now if only i can win the lottery then my dream will be complete. the homes loook absolutly beautiful and the perks are amazing. maybe one day lol. can’t wait for your next blog and as always keep up the great work.

  42. Thank you so much for this article, Jack! Every since I first heard about Godlen Oak, it was like it was taken straight out of my dreams, and made a reality! Alas, I’d have to win the lottery first in order to make it my reality. But we can always dream can’t we? If we’re going to dream, might as will dream big!
    Thanks again!