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You Can Live in Disney World -- for an Outrageous Price

Disney's newly announced planned community isn't its first foray into real estate. But Golden Oak is strictly for the 1 percenters.

Corinne Reichert headshot
Corinne Reichert
Golden Oak Walt Disney World

One of the Golden Oak mansions at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Golden Oak at Walt Disney World Resort

Disney made headlines last week with the announcement of a new real estate venture, Storyliving by Disney communities. The first Storyliving neighborhood, which will feature houses, condos, a hotel, shopping, dining and an oasis with "the clearest turquoise waters," will be built near Palm Springs, California.

But the entertainment company already has a thriving community on the opposite coast: Golden Oak at Walt Disney World Resort. This ultra-private community -- you can't even take a peek at it with Google Maps Street View -- has hundreds of houses built in European and Caribbean styles mixed with what the Golden Oak website describes as "Old Florida architecture."

All homes off Disney's master plan have now been sold. If you still desperately want to live in Golden Oak, you'll have to buy privately: One house is currently up for resale with a $4.6 million price tag (plus $200,000 if you want it fully furnished), and another home in the even more exclusive Four Seasons Private Residences within Golden Oak is listed for $16.4 million.

The resort-style luxury community was announced way back in 2010, with initial plans to build about 400 homes.

"Imagine what it would be like to live just four miles from Magic Kingdom Park," a sales video on Disney's Golden Oak site teases.

Read more: Disney Wish: Everything You Need to Know About This New Cruise Ship

Where is Golden Oak located?

Four Seasons Golden Oak Disney World

One of the lavish homes at the Four Seasons Private Residences Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort.

Four Seasons Private Residences Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort

Despite its quiet, private surroundings, Golden Oak is only a hop, skip and a jump away from Walt Disney World. Magic Kingdom Park is just a five-minute drive away, while Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom are about 10 minutes away. 

The homes are close enough that many have vantage points from where owners can watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks, complete with the accompanying music being pumped through their house speakers.

Surrounded by lakes and parks, Golden Oak also sits near some of Disney World's most expensive hotels, including the Grand Floridian, the Contemporary and Disney's Yacht Club Resort. 

What are the houses like?

Disney World Golden Oak house

Golden Oak homes come with opulent living rooms.

Golden Oak at Walt Disney World Resort

There are eight neighborhoods at Golden Oak. At the top end are the mansions of the Carolwood neighborhood. Situated on three-quarter-acre lots, the houses range in size from 6,500 to 12,000 square feet and feature golf course and water views.

Both the Kingswell and Silverbrook neighborhoods have half-acre lots with homes that range in size from 5,000 to 7,000 square feet. The former is built by Ferndell Park and the latter is near the Golden Oak community Summerhouse. Marceline, named for Walt Disney's hometown in Missouri, has 3,000- to 6,000-square foot homes on quarter-acre lots built near Charming Park, which has sculptures of Snow White characters. The "Tuscan-style" homes in Kimball Trace are between 3,000 and 5,000 square feet on quarter-acre lots, also located right by the Summerhouse.

Symphony Grove has more "contemporary" 3,600- and 4,900-square foot homes on quarter-acre lots. Lastly are the "cottages" at Symphony Grove, so-called even though they're all two-story houses of between 1,800 and 3,800 square feet on one-fifth acre lots. The "quaint hamlet" of cottages was "designed as the grand finale of the original Golden Oak's master plan," according to the site.

You can check out a virtual tour of some of the homes on Disney's website, and some Golden Oak home owners have uploaded videos of their luxurious houses and lavish furnishings to YouTube, as have real estate agents and home builders in Orlando.

"We do actually say we live in Disney World," one couple who live at Golden Oak said in their home tour video. "Something like this comes by once in a lifetime."

Designed in partnership with Disney Imagineers and architects, the houses all seem to include lush pools and landscaping, grand entryways, opulent kitchens and bathrooms, elaborate indoor and outdoor living spaces, options to include either subtle or obvious details from your favorite Disney movies in the enormous bedrooms and hidden Mickeys throughout the house, like on iron stair railings and tiles in the bathroom.

If you need something even more extravagant, there are also the exclusive Golden Oak homes at the Four Seasons Private Residences Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, which are part of the nearby Four Seasons Resort.

The cost of living in Disney World

As Disney vacations become increasingly expensive, underlined by the new Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser hotel opening in March at Disney World, living there permanently is even more cost prohibitive.

Disney didn't respond to a request for comment on the average pricing of the homes or on how many it ended up building in the community, but houses reportedly start at $2 million and go up to almost $8 million, according to Florida real estate agents.

Since Disney's stock of mansions sold out during the COVID pandemic, buying privately from a reseller will cost you extra. A huge markup in value means the house currently listed for $16.4 million was purchased for $6.4 million just four years ago.

What's included when you buy a house at Disney's Golden Oak

Golden Oak Walt Disney World

Lush pools and landscaping make homes feel like mini resorts.

Golden Oak at Walt Disney World Resort

The Golden Oak Club includes "concierge-style services," including tickets for special events at Disney World, private VIP tours at the parks, Disney dining reservations, spa reservations, golf tee times, Disney cast members providing services for in-home dinners and parties, and even assistance with getting your house decked out with seasonal holiday decor.

Shuttle buses and mini coaches can be ordered right to your front door to drop you off at Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Blizzard Beach and Disney Springs. Golden Oak Club members get discounted rates for the Disney World golf courses, access to the Disney Vacation Club member lounge at Epcot, and also discounts on Disney dining, shopping and tickets.

The Summerhouse clubhouse for all Golden Oak residents, situated in the middle of the community, includes a swimming pool and patio, 24-hour fitness center, a "family room" for kids and teens, and three dining options: Bolton's casual dining restaurant, Markham's upscale dining and Tyler's lounge. 

Golden Oak home owners are also charged for services like landscaping and irrigation maintenance, high-speed fiber internet, a 24-hour staffed gatehouse, and security patrols and maintenance of the landscaping, parks, sculptures, walls, ponds, water features, roads, sidewalks, gatehouse and street lighting.

How much does it all really cost?

Golden Oak Four Seasons Private Residences Orlando Walt Disney World

This Golden Oak mansion in the Four Seasons Private Residences neighborhood is currently on the market for $16.4 million.

Zillow

Those inclusions aren't just thrown in with your multimillion-dollar mansion, though. Golden Oak Club membership -- which is compulsory for anyone living in the community -- is an additional fee.

Brochures from 2021 show annual membership costing $19,000, but when grouped with HOA and maintenance charges, the annual fee ends up costing between $26,000 and $30,000, depending on which neighborhood you live in.

It's all part of the steep cost of Disney magic at a home in Walt Disney World.

"You have to have a certain type of personality to live in Disney World," one of the residents says in a home tour video. "I love my house ... when I die, I'm going to haunt it. I'm not leaving this house."