Disney Is Making Creepy Towns For Fans To Live In (Again)
The Walt Disney Corporation has its own movie studio, theme park empire, streaming service, and owns pretty much every intellectual property under the sun – which, if celestial bodies are ever up for sale, will presumably one day be known as "Disney's The Sun." And now, apparently, they're building a new "residential living community," the first of a proposed series of resort-like small towns known as "Storyliving by Disney" because the company is now "expanding storytelling to storyliving." And who wouldn't want to live in a Disney story? Unless, of course, you're a parent who doesn't want to be horribly killed after just 15 minutes.
The first one is set to be built in Rancho Mirage in the Coachella Valley, where Walt Disney used to own a vacation home; features include a waterfront clubhouse, "Disney entertainment and wellness programming" (for an "additional fee"), and presumably regular visits from the ghost of Walt Disney whenever he's free to go on holiday.
The crazy thing is, Disney already made their own planned community, and it … didn't go well. In 1996, Disney opened their own teeny tiny utopia: Celebration, Florida. Demand was so high that houses were only sold via lottery, but the town had a distinctly Twilight Zone-esque flavor; lawns had to be perfectly manicured, old-timey music played through hidden speakers, and they coated the town in fake snow at Christmastime. It was basically The Truman Show, but with no secret cameras (that we know of). And, given the proximity to the park, most of the residents were originally Disney employees, making the whole thing a sort of unofficial company town.
Disney's efforts to keep things as Disney-fied and forcibly wholesome as possible required a disturbing level of authoritarian control -- fining and harassing people for littering or even taking down their Christmas lights a day too late. Not to mention that the town's demographic was 90% white. And while the company sold Celebration in 2004, the town, full of Disney superfans, remained – and its unnerving bubble of creepy '50s idealism was eventually deflated by unfortunate incidents such as a grisly ax murder and SWAT team raid. Ultimately, living the Disney dream 24/7 was both unattainable and, for some, infuriating – but good luck to everyone packing their bags and heading to Storyliving.
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Top Image: Disney Parks