See Inside the World’s Only Residential Community on Disney Resort Property

Residents shell out millions to live in Golden Oak

Welcome to Golden Oak. Since the first homes sold around 2011, the Orlando, Fla. neighborhood has become a mecca for Disney lovers, with home prices ranging from the low millions to $19 million.

Hilda Bacardi's home. Photo: Coldwell Banker Realty

Developed by Disney in partnership with a selection of local builders, Golden Oak was named after a Disney-owned ranch in Santa Clarita, Calif.

The Tupy home

The community is so close to Walt Disney World’s four theme parks that residents can be at Epcot in about five minutes, and some can see the nightly fireworks at Magic Kingdom park from their homes.

Disney handles Golden Oak’s day-to-day operations, and residents get perks such as private bus transportation to the parks and early access to new rides, such as the Magic Kingdom’s Tron Lightcycle / Run ride, which opened last month.

Golden Oak’s homes were designed with input from the Imagineers, Disney’s design and research team, with solid wood doors, operational shutters and rounded gutters.

Janis Scaramucci's home

When it comes to decorating their homes, many Golden Oak residents embrace the Disney aesthetic.

A bedroom in Kathleen Morgan's home

Hilda Bacardi, 54, has embraced the Disney theme throughout her seven-bedroom home. A blue-and-white “Frozen” room features life-size figures of Anna and Elsa, as well as a bedframe dripping with giant icicles.

Coldwell Banker Realty

The showstopper is the “Star Wars”-themed home theater, which is designed with control panels to look like the inside of a star ship, and has large figures of R2-D2 and Darth Vader.

Coldwell Banker Realty

Bacardi, whose family founded the Bacardi liquor company, said she grew up on Disney. Buying in Golden Oak allowed the family to be closer to their happy place.

Coldwell Banker Realty

She paid $6.989 million for her home in 2018, records show, and it is currently listed for $19 million.

Coldwell Banker Realty

At Kathleen Morgan’s house, an office is decorated as an homage to the movie “Mulan,” with Asian-inspired, hand-painted silk wall coverings and Samurai swords collected by her husband, telecom entrepreneur Martin Rubin.

The couple paid $7.6 million for their home in 2020, records show.

A "Cinderella"-themed bedroom at Morgan's home

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A tiny door in the "Cinderella" room replicates the home of mice Jaq and Gus in the movie.

When Delena Tupy and her husband, Kevin, bought their Golden Oak home for $5.5 million in 2019, there was already a statue of Lumière from “Beauty and the Beast” by the pool. The house also has a stained-glass window showing an enchanted rose.

Tupy added her own touches, too. She turned a sitting room into a “Beauty and the Beast”-themed library filled with Disney figurines, movies and books.

Disney merchandise in the Tupy home

“My home is very, very, very Disney,” homeowner Janis Scaramucci said, “because I’ve collected Disney art and objects for over 30 years.”

Scaramucci, a divorced 63-year-old Disney enthusiast and art collector, bought a $2.52 million home in the community a few years ago after feeling dissatisfied with life in her suburban neighborhood in Edmond, Okla.

At Golden Oak, Scaramucci said, she has found “the best life imaginable.”

Matt McKee, a local real-estate agent with Compass, said Golden Oak real estate is akin to other markets with extremely limited inventory, such as blufftop mansions in Malibu, Calif., or slopeside homes in Aspen, Colo.

When he listed a Golden Oak house for $10 million last year, he had 50 showings and sold it for close to the asking price, he said.

What’s behind Golden Oak’s appeal? “I don’t want to say it’s like delayed adulthood,” McKee said, “but it’s like another version of the fountain of youth.”

Photo Editor: Marcy Ayres
Produced by: Brian Patrick Byrne

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