In 2020, when the pandemic halted our travels, my family purchased a four-bedroom, 3,600-square-foot home in Golden Oak at the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida.
My parents had long wanted to buy a summer house. I have a daughter who is now five years old and my brother was about to become a father so we were looking for a place to spend quality time together.
My husband and I live around three and a half hours away in Miami, but Golden Oak is our home away from home. Since we both work remotely, we can visit our daughter at least twice a month.
As a travel and parenting blogger, I get a lot of questions from my followers about what it’s like to have a home in Disney’s highly sought-after residential community.
What is Disney’s Golden Oak?
Disney’s Golden Oak is a gated community of luxury single-family homes just 4 miles from Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park.
There are about 300 homes, ranging from 1,800 square meters to 12,000 square meters. One house sold for $12 million this year, and another is currently listed for $9.5 million.
Divided into eight neighborhoods, the residences were designed by Walt Disney Imagineering, the Walt Disney Company division that oversees the design and construction of its theme parks.
Residents have access to pools, a fitness center, restaurants and other Disney resorts. They also have membership to the exclusive Golden Oak Club, which offers “concierge-style service” including private VIP park tours and tickets to special events.
Buying a house in Disney’s Golden Oak
Golden Oak only started building houses in 2010. But despite being a Disney geek, I had never heard of it until my parents visited friends at their vacation home there in 2020.
During their visit, they got to see one of the newer houses. They facetimed my brother and me to show us the home. We all fell in love with the place and put in a contract at full asking price.
Homes in Golden Oak sell quickly, but we were lucky with the timing. The entire first floor came furnished so we could all enjoy Thanksgiving weekend there together just days after closing that year.
A look inside our ‘princess summer house’
We live in The Cottages at Symphony Grove neighborhood. Each house has its own quirky look. Ours was inspired by Belle’s summer house in “Beauty and the Beast”.
One thing that all of the Golden Oak homes have in common are the little Disney themed touches. For example, our property has over 50 hidden Mickey Mouses. The kids love trying to find them every time they come.
Our house is decorated like a French cottage, especially on the first floor.
The kitchen and dining room are complete with wooden beams and other rustic accents.
Upstairs, the house becomes more distinctly Disney themed. On the second floor, my bedroom has a quote from “Beauty and the Beast” above the bed.
My brother’s room has “Winnie the Pooh” characters hand painted on the walls.
The bunk bed room (aka the “Bambi” room) is small but filled with beautiful touches like wood paneling and a small night light for each bed.
My favorite feature in the entire house is a spiral staircase on the second floor that leads to “Belle’s Reading Room” on the third floor, which is now the girls’ playroom.
It has reclaimed wooden beams on the ceilings, hand-painted drawings on the walls, a built-in bookcase and the same banister as the staircase on the windows.
Finally, there is a guest suite that connects to the home through the outdoor patio. That whole area feels like you’ve entered a princess suite, thanks to a few Disney touches like the “Alice in Wonderland” doorknob.
We also have a small pool and jacuzzi. It is completely surrounded by the home, making the space more private. In the terrace area there is a dining table for six, a seating area with a sofa and chairs, a fireplace and an outdoor kitchen.
Inside the Golden Oak neighborhood
We don’t visit the theme parks too often when we are in Golden Oak. Most of the time we mostly just enjoy the neighborhood and spend time at home together.
We have golf carts that we can use to visit the Golden Oaks playground, parks and clubhouse which is for residents only.
The kids love watching the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the dock at Disney’s Fort Wilderness. We also take my daughter there to ride ponies. In the summer we use their splash pad and pool, which has a fantastic slide.
For us, this is truly the happiest place on earth.
Cristie Anne Cabrera, aka The Traveling Red, is a Miami-based mom, social media influencer, and travel blogger. Follow her on Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest and her blog for a look at her trips to Disney’s Golden Oak and road trips in her school bus conversion.
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