Walt Disney World is earmarking nearly 80 acres of land for a new affordable housing development

Apr 06, 2022 in "The Walt Disney Company"

Posted: Wednesday April 6, 2022 2:09pm ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Walt Disney World Resort will earmark nearly 80 acres of land to bring a new affordable housing development to life in southwest Orange County, Florida.

According to Disney, this initiative has been in the works for quite some time and will be located by the new and expanding Flamingo Crossings Town Center retail and dining complex.


This new development, which is still in the early planning stages and subject to appropriate approvals, is expected to include more than 1,300 units and will be constructed by a third-party affordable housing developer on Disney’s land near its Central Florida theme parks. The development will offer residents a variety of home choices that are affordable and attainable, located in close proximity to schools and the new and expanding Flamingo Crossings Town Center retail and dining complex. It will offer a variety of amenities to foster a strong community.

Known for building industry-leading theme parks and resort hotels around the world, Disney will engage the developer to bring that same innovation, expertise and attention to detail to this initiative.The development will be available for qualifying applicants from the general public, including Disney cast members.

“We are invested in working together with our community to solve complex issues,” said Jeff Vahle, president of Walt Disney World Resort. “The lack of affordable housing is affecting many people across our country, including right here in Central Florida. With this initiative, we’re lending a hand to make a real and meaningful impact in our community by tapping into the best of our company’s strengths. This is the right opportunity and the right time to take action.”


More details about this initiative will be released at a later date as the company continues due diligence work with a prominent affordable housing developer. Disney’s initiative will play an important role as leaders in the community – including Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings – continue to prioritize finding lasting solutions to affordable housing in Central Florida.

This new initiative in Central Florida will join additional investments Disney is making in affordable housing. Several years ago, Disneyland Resort led an effort to revitalize the Orange County Housing Trust that provides “last mile” funding for affordable housing projects in Anaheim. This made the Buena Esperanza project — a converted studio apartment community for veterans and homeless individuals with mental illness — a reality. In addition to providing them a place to live, the community offers job placement and mental health and wellness support to residents. As a result of Disney’s investment a second project, Finamore Place, in Anaheim is under construction with an expected completion date of early summer 2022. It will provide over 100 additional housing units. Disneyland Resort will continue to show support for these and other such worthy endeavors.

These initiatives are among the many ways Disney is strengthening its communities, including hundreds of millions of dollars provided in philanthropic donations to local nonprofits, the Disney VoluntEARS program, contributions to local foodbanks and more. Walt Disney World Resort also recently donated $3 million to important causes in the community, including organizations on the front lines of the affordable housing issue.

For additional details about Disney’s community initiatives in Central Florida, please visit DisneyWorldGivesBack.com.

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LilofanApr 02, 2024

That's Orlando in a nutshell. A number of apt complexes and a really poor bus transportation for residents that need it. Nothing new here.

flynnibusApr 02, 2024

No - it wasn’t park of the master plan because it was in the district before. Which is ehy i said it was part of the staff report… yet you were going back and forth on what the road can support. The county transportation plan for the roads are outlined.

Disney AnalystApr 02, 2024

The NIMBY’s always have so much time on their hands to attend meetings in droves and be loud grumps.

lazyboy97oApr 02, 2024

You say this isn’t NIMBYism but this is like the most classic example of NIMBYism. A master plan isn’t supposed to be an absolute edict. They’re a big picture, something that should be flexible to accommodate changes in development patterns. Unless of course it is a NIMBY tool intended to only allow certain types of development and provide an excuse to disallow others.

maxairmikeApr 02, 2024

I was there, a group of about 3 to my back and a little further forward in the middle section with one being noticeably louder than the others kept constantly interrupting whoever was speaking. They managed to get them to answer if there was a plan for buses, and they said no. Those people and several others had the “good, we don’t want them” response with plenty of others voicing their agreement. I heard literally no one at the 18th meeting actually suggesting that buses for this development would be a good thing. This is where I will also slam the developers, as I couldn’t believe the flippant and disinterested response I got from the guy at the transportation table when I asked if they had planned for and considered bus transit for the residents. Both parties (the opposed residents and the developers) provided 180 changes at the BCC meeting from what I witnessed and experienced on the 18th. ETA: In fact, I had the pleasure of speaking with I believe the head of county transportation planning at the 18th meeting after Commissioner Wilson directed a question/discussion along those lines to him as he had just walked towards the group around her. I was glad to let him know there was at least one person there who understood that “just one more lane” will never be the real solution, and enjoyed the quick conversation I had.

LAKid53Apr 02, 2024

According to the notes I read from the meeting on the 18th, it was clear there were no plans for any type of bus system. And that lack of buses was in the package presented to the Mayor and commissioners that I read. Not in the "we don't want buses because buses = poor, but that "you've got no mass transit plan for residents of this development? You're asking residents in affordable housing without vehicles to depend on ride sharing, taxis and Lynx?" And it been that in every letter and package to Demings and others that I've read.

maxairmikeApr 02, 2024

Which the residents at the community meeting said they don’t want in their area (because mass transit = poors and crime, that’s always the reason), and then turned around at the BCC meeting chiming in like that was something the developers should be considering to get their approval.

LAKid53Apr 01, 2024

None of the occupied or under construction apartment complexes have 1400 units. Waterleigh is 1400 acres, with plenty of green space, conservation areas, parks and playgrounds for the planned 3600 homes, townhouses and condos. Plus an elementary school is currently under construction in the development. This project is 1400 apartment units on 80 acres.

LAKid53Apr 01, 2024

A mass transit bus system that's not Lynx will be essential for those living in the proposed development. Otherwise, those without a car will be using ride sharing services or taxis.

LAKid53Apr 01, 2024

Horizons West has a master plan. That acreage in the plan was always marked as to be undeveloped. There's already a light at Avalon and Hartzog/Waterway Passage...with turn signals and turn lanes. Same at Seidel, YMCA and Porter. The only improvement that would be beneficial is a light at Schofield. All this was presented to Mayor Demings and commissioners PRIOR to the meeting last Monday. I reviewed the materials.

trainplane3Apr 01, 2024

One thing I've learned about regularly visiting Florida is if housing or shopping can fit in a spot, they're going to stick it there. Traffic concerns have yet to stop anything major from happening.

maxairmikeApr 01, 2024

It’s literally already 4 lanes under the first 429 overpass heading north and they’re currently widening it to 4 lanes at the 2nd overpass… If you mean the Turnpike, that has a published plan already as well on the county website (I’ll maybe find it later when I actually post this after work). The space is there for narrow or divided 4 lanes all the way up to Colonial, with the possible exception of the area around Stoney Brook West Country Club and that big landscaping business. It’s so easy to see the space for widening on Google Maps for most major roads if you actually want to see it, and it’s even more obvious (IMO) when driving to notice the space. It is a case of NIMBYism because I can guarantee you that if the road and other infrastructure concerns were fixed and running at an A LOS 24/7 with school capacity to spare, a lot would find yet more issues with the project. At the community meeting someone asked if there would be buses and when they answered no I heard several people around me say “good, we don’t want those either.” They might get backed into the corner of “home values” and “those people” as the only remaining options, but there’s a not insignificant amount of them. I was both surprised and unsurprised at the 180 in tone between the community meeting and the BCC meeting from those opposing it. Yes, some would say “okay, my concerns are taken care of, make it happen,” but I would put money on it not being a majority.

flynnibusApr 01, 2024

From afar... you have a huge high density, planned community, planned for this area. So, to be against new development because the area is already too crowded and shouldn't have more development seems completely abnormal and detached. The area was planned for over 40 THOUSAND homes. The area isn't even developed yet to a fraction of it's intended design. I get 'you live there' - but the place isn't done building out... so new development is always coming. Buckle up. DCBaker linked it before https://forums.wdwmagic.com/threads/disney-world-earmarks-80-acres-for-affordable-housing.977045/post-10875346 PDF - https://www.ocfl.net/Portals/0/Resource%20Library/planning%20-%20development/2023-3-A-1-1%20BCC%20Transmittal.pdf "Planned and Programmed Roadway Improvements: The Work Program and Long Range Transportation Plan includes the planned widening of Avalon Road from two (2) to four (4) lanes, from US 192 to New Independence Parkway. Portions of the road have been improved and the remaining segments are planned partnership projects. Additionally, Hartzog Road has been realigned and is planned to be improved to 4-lanes as a partnership project. Finally, there are intersection improvements including a new signal at Avalon Road and Waterway Passage Drive/Hartzog Road, and an intersection control evaluation at Avalon Road and new Hartzog Road, which is also being signalized in the interim. Since these improvements are planned partnership with no committed construction date, they are reflected in the 2040 horizon year analysis." The long range transportation plan for the area is summarized in the PDF starting at page 103. The traffic study basically says three road segments are projected to exceed their load design just due to normal growth in the coming years, and this change would add one more segment to that.

LAKid53Apr 01, 2024

You have a link to said report? Because as a resident of Waterleigh, I will disagree about the expansion of both Avalon and Hartzog. I've driven Avalon (535) all the way to Colonial and there's no room to expand the road. ESPECIALLY as it passes under 429. I've also read the reports submitted to the Commission which includes traffic studies, environmental impact, etc. To say this is merely a case of NIMBY is frankly insulting to those of us who live there.