Did you know you can live in Walt Disney World? No, not in one of its four theme parks, but in the Golden Oak neighborhood on Disney property. The luxury community is aimed at the Mouse House’s most devoted fans, folks who buy second or third homes here just to be close to the magic. We recently attended a dinner inside Golden Oak. Here are some things we learned.
1. It’s the only place Disney diehards can own a piece of Walt Disney World property.
Golden Oak is the only residential space actually on Disney property. It even has its own designation on mailing addresses: Golden Oak, FL. Also in the neighborhood is Orlando’s five-star hotel, the Four Seasons.
2. Residents here pay a lot to live in the happiest place on earth.
Homes start around $2 million and go past $10 million. And that’s not including extra Disney embellishments many people add to their houses.
3. The neighborhood was developed by Disney Imagineers.
The community is full of Mickey-approved flourishes, like bronze statues of characters including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Many of the custom mansions bring the Disney decor inside, like the home built to resemble the Haunted Mansion ride at Magic Kingdom, or the one in which guests walk through a small door to enter a shrunken room a la Alice in Wonderland.
4. You wouldn’t know it was there from the roads traversed daily by eager theme parkgoers.
It’s sort of hidden, back behind Magic Kingdom and near Disney’s Port Orleans resorts. A gated entry leads to the five-star Four Seasons Resort and the collection of subdivisions of Golden Oak.
Delicious Disney: This dinner series tells a whimsical story through food
5. Normally, you can’t access the two restaurants in the neighborhood’s swanky community center.
They’re called Markham’s, named after Marty Markham on Spin and Marty, a Disney series of TV shorts; and Bolton’s, named for Fred Bolton, the lead character in the 1968 Disney movie The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit. To get inside, you either have to know someone who lives in the neighborhood and come as a guest, or buy a ticket to events like the Delicious Disney dinner series. For usually around $349, you can get a taste of Golden Oak, and the Disney fanaticism found inside its well-manicured grounds.
6. At 980 acres, it’s twice the size of Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios combined.
About 300 homes are planned for the community, which is still adding subdivisions.
7. It’s named after the Golden Oak Ranch in California.
That’s where many early Disney movies (and The Mickey Mouse Club) were filmed.
8. Chefs from the five-star Four Seasons hotel down the road are on call any time of day to come to a resident’s home.
They’ll come and cook for residents 24/7. And there are other perks for those who live in Golden Oak, like access to special events and members-only lounges, free shuttles around Disney property and extended hours at the theme parks.