Saturday, August 2, 2014

Snow White Statues at WDW Golden Oak Community

Golden Oak is an 890 acre active movie ranch in Placerita Canyon, California. It was originally purchased by Walt Disney in 1959 and used as film locations for such shows as the Mickey Mouse Club and Zorro. The Disney family also made use of it themselves for family retreats.

On June 23, 2010, the Disney Parks Blog announced Golden Oak at Walt Disney World Resort. Named for the California ranch, it's a 980-acre development in Florida on edge of the Disney property. A gated community, there are 450 luxury homes that range in price from $1.8 to $7 million. These are not timeshares but actual houses offered for whole ownership.

Below is an artist's rendering of Snow White statues in Charming Park in the Marceline neighborhood.

There are many reminders to residents of their auspicious situation of living on Disney property. One example is a series of beautiful outdoor sculptures inspired by a "Disney friends in nature" theme. The description from the website reads...
Cast in timeless bronze and sized true to life, the series "stars" beloved characters from classic Disney animated movies. Ariel and friends greet the comings and goings of residents along Dream Tree Boulevard; Bambi, Thumper and Flower are at home near the entrance to Carolwood; and gathered around the reflecting pool in Marceline's Charming Park are Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs along with their adorable forest friends.

The polished bronze sculptures are beautifully crafted.



Since this is a gated community, the only images I could find were on the Golden Oak site. About 70% of the residences are used as vacation homes. This is how the rich do WDW.

A screen capture of the Golden Oak website from 2010.


January 2015 UPDATE: Recently, author Ron Miles had the opportunity of visiting the Golden Oak community. He attended a business conference at the new Four Seasons hotel located on the property, and while there, he managed to arrange for a driving tour with one of the Golden Oak personnel.

Ron's comments and photos...

Charming Park is a nice little island that is in the middle of a teardrop-shaped loop of houses. That particular subdivision only has a few completed homes, and only one of those is actually occupied yet.

It was overcast that day, which actually made it easier to photograph the statues. Apparently on a sunny day, the brass is very reflective and it's hard to get a good shot.

I was somewhat constrained, in that I had to promise to not include any person or home in any of the photos. I did get one photo from behind Snow White, but because she looks directly across to several houses, I had to angle down and show the bed of flowers in front of her.

The woman from Golden Oak was very kind. She drove me through two of the neighborhoods (both ones very much under construction, she avoided taking me to any of the subdivisions that are basically complete). Aside from Charming Park, she also took my by the statues of Bambi, Flower, and Thumper.

Each of the subdivisions is individually gated, and the homeowners have transponders for their car that opens their particular gate(s). So if you own a home in one subdivision, you still can't drive into any of the others.

She said that currently there are over 100 houses completed, so they are about a quarter of the way done. The homes are not allowed to be used as rental properties, but they can be gifted to family members. She said that many of the homes are specifically multi-generational. In many cases they see three or four generations of a family all come to stay on vacation together. The cheapest home available for purchase is about $2M. Most range around $6M-8M, and obviously some are significantly more than that.
There is no negotiating on price. If you purchase a house there, you agree to use their builders. The homes are all custom-designed, and have to go through a lengthy approval process before construction can begin. On average, it is over two years between the time a new homeowner makes the purchase and the time they are able to actually occupy it.

Special Thanks to Ron Miles for sharing his photos and info.

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