Disney World announces more details for its Affordable and Attainable Housing Initiative

20 days ago in "The Walt Disney Company"

Posted: Wednesday November 16, 2022 9:09am ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Originally announced earlier this year, Disney has today revealed more details about its new Walt Disney World Affordable and Attainable Housing Initiative.

Walt Disney World has selected The Michaels Organization, a prominent developer known for creating homes in communities across the country and here in Central Florida, to build, own and operate a new attainable housing development, offering affordable options for qualifying applicants within certain income levels. Walt Disney World will contribute approximately 80 acres of land in southwest Orange County, Florida, for the development, located west of State Road 429 and just a couple of miles from Flamingo Crossings Town Center. The development is expected to include more than 1,300 units with a construction timetable to still be announced.



Walt Disney World chose The Michaels Organization for its long-standing track record in building and managing attainable housing communities. Negotiations between Walt Disney World and The Michael’s Organization on a definitive agreement for the project are underway. With over 425 communities in more than 35 states, The Michaels Organization has provided comprehensive solutions to affordable housing for many years and is the largest privately held owner of affordable housing in the country. The development will be open for qualifying applicants, including Disney cast members.

“For more than 50 years, Walt Disney World has cared for and invested in our community, and we’re committed to being a part of this solution which will bring more attainable housing to Central Florida,” said Jeff Vahle, president of Walt Disney World Resort. “We will continue to find ways to use our resources to make a difference in the community we call home, and we’re excited to take this step with a nationally recognized developer.”

The initiative will create new jobs in the Central Florida community through The Michael’s Organization’s construction and ongoing operation of the property. Disney will collaborate with The Michaels Organization throughout its design and construction.

“We are excited to work with an iconic brand like Disney to deliver attainable housing for the Central Florida community,” said Michaels CEO John J. O’Donnell. “Our goal is to create a repeatable model that we hope will inspire other companies and municipalities to create high quality, attainable housing in their own communities.”

The development – which is planned to be privately financed – will be limited to applicants within a certain income range. This initiative will support and build upon Orange County’s Housing for All action plan to address housing affordability for local residents, an action plan brought about by the passion and leadership of Mayor Jerry Demings.

The initiative is one of many ways Disney engages with local leaders to help the community find lasting solutions to this issue, from making monetary donations, to contributing supplies to local organizations in need, to providing assistance through the Disney VoluntEARS program and more. Earlier this year, Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort donated $300K to local food banks to support people in the community facing food insecurity. That donation was just part of the $5.5M Walt Disney World has contributed to important community causes during the ongoing 50th Anniversary celebration, including organizations on the frontline of addressing the need for affordable housing, like Hope Partnership.

Discuss on the Forums

Follow WDWMAGIC on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for more Walt Disney World news and updates

View all comments →

John park hopper18 days ago

In theory----- but it never seems to work that way

Comped18 days ago

That which isn't currently scheduled to remain in Celebration anyway... Still many jobs advertised as being in Celebration.

DisneyCane18 days ago

I understand why they did it but the biggest disservice ever done to low income people was developing low income housing projects that were isolated from housing of other income levels. All the people living there ever see is other poverty stricken people. If Disney wanted to try and do things a better way, they should have partnered with developers to mix some percentage of low income housing into middle income developments. Inner cities would look a lot different today (in a much better way) if that's how low income housing had been developed in the prior to the 1970s.

MrPromey19 days ago

That work doesn't need to be done directly behind the parks and the people working there can afford the commute, when needed. Most will be salary where time isn't as much of a concern, either. (it's a whole different lifestyle from frontline cast) Lake Nora is a place to put people that is in relative proximity but doesn't take up more of the finite connected property on something that doesn't need to be connected.

Sirwalterraleigh19 days ago

Davenport sucks 🍭 Clermont blows 🌬

Sirwalterraleigh19 days ago

Woah…architecture? Urban planning? Sustainability? This is all “high minded” for people that book character meals 7 times in a week 😉 I have to say I love it…and I’m much more “stimulated” than I should be 🫢

MrPromey19 days ago

Davenport used to be a sleepy little town. The kind of place where you need to go to the next town over (Hanes City) if you needed anything more than the kind of stuff you would get at a small grocer or feed store. I had family friends who had a farm there with cattle, orange groves, etc. where I spent time growing up. Today, I hardly recognize the place. Condos everywhere (many bought up as Aribnb), huge tracts of land once full of trees cleared for the development still on the way. It's not even that close to Disney but I guess it's close enough.

MrPromey19 days ago

Although the irony around me at least is that in addition to higher housing costs, the more urban areas also tend to have the worst prices on everything - grocers, pharmacies, basic restaurants, etc. In the more gentrified areas, it's because the stores tend to be more Whole Foods than Walmarts but in the less affluent, prices are still disproportionately high, but for stores that would not be considered desirable by many in the lower middle class. It's like someone once pointed out regarding non-urban locales with a similar problem - "Gas always seems to be higher in the poor neighborhoods.". I understand that that there are some actual causes for this - higher rates of crime which result in higher insurance, having to pay more for security, having to pay employees more to want to work there, more condensed means less retail space which can make pricing for that space anti-competitive which drives up retail rent which drives up prices, etc. but particularly in more urban settings where people are conditioned not to drive, it creates a feeling of entrapment and lack of upward mobility when a person can't easily travel to places where nicer things can be gotten at more reasonable prices. (although Amazon....) In the case of Disney, this could easily turn into: "Load 16-hundred Dumbos, what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go I owe my soul to the company (D) store" Not to say this is hopeless and Disney shouldn't be expected to do anything but the situation is definitely a thorny one. Apologies to Tennessee Earnie Ford.

Sirwalterraleigh19 days ago

…very cute

ybot77719 days ago

How do I sign up for this? I have SSI

Sirwalterraleigh19 days ago

Right…which is untenable

brettf2219 days ago

An interesting reminder from 30 years ago:

brettf2219 days ago

This is definitely one of the challenges with “affordable housing.” It’s usually defined as something like “can’t spend more than 30% of income on housing, and income has to be <60% of the local average household income.” Around my area, that would mean “affordable housing” would be something like $2300/month.

Sirwalterraleigh19 days ago

Are you talking about post WW2 projects? …yeah…they designed/built them to be enclaves of poverty. Fortunately that’s not ALWAYS the case now