Disney World Unveils Revised Plan for Affordable Housing Development

Disney World plans to build a 1,400 unit affordable living community on 80 acres in its special district. Here are some details about the development.

Danielle Letenyei - Author

Apr. 21 2023, Published 8:48 a.m. ET

Entrance sign at Walt Disney World
Source: Getty Images

Have you always dreamed of living near the Magic Kingdom but figured it was financially out of reach? Don’t give up hope! Disney World plans to open an affordable housing community as early as 2026. The "happiest place on Earth" is working with a developer that specializes in building affordable communities around the country.

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Where will the Disney World affordable housing be located?

Disney officials announced on April 20, 2023, that they would build 1,400 affordable housing units on 80 acres of land within its special district in Orlando, Fla. The development will be near schools, shopping areas, the Flamingo Crossings Town Center, and just a few miles from the Magic Kingdom.

A sketch for Disney World affordable housing.
Source: Walt Disney World
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“We’ve been making more and more progress on this initiative every day, and now, we’re thrilled to share that groundbreaking on this development is targeted for next year,” said Rena Langley, senior vice president of Walt Disney World Communications and Public Affairs, in a statement. “We hope to make a positive impact wherever we can in our community, so to be able to offer more units means even more Florida families will get access to attainable housing, in addition to creating new Florida jobs as part of the construction and operation.”

The company announced its plans for the development a year ago but decided to expanded its original plans to include an additional 100 units. The development is expected to be popular.

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Who is the developer for Disney World’s affordable housing?

Disney is working with Camden, N.J.-based developer The Michaels Organization on the affordable housing project. The Michaels Organization is a nationally recognized developer of residential real estate nationwide. According to the developer’s website, it has built over 74,000 units in 596 communities over 39 states, including the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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This isn’t the first affordable housing project for The Michaels Organization. It has built several, and its mission is to “bring comprehensive solutions to communities that jumpstart housing, education, civic engagement, and neighborhood prosperity.” In May 2022, the company was awarded a project to redevelop downtown San Diego.

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“Walt Disney World President Jeff Vahle and our team met earlier this week with leaders from The Michaels Organization here in Florida, and we discussed how we hope this development inspires others in the community and across the country to support this important issue in innovative ways,” Langley said in a statement.

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How much will Disney World’s affordable housing cost?

No information is available yet on how much Disney World’s affordable housing will cost. Rent and home prices in Orlando have risen considerably within the last few years. According to RentCafe, the average rent in Orlando was $1,933 monthly. The majority of Orlando households are renters (62 percent). The median home price in Orlando is about $370,000, reports Realtor.com.

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How can I apply for Disney World’s affordable housing?

It doesn’t appear you can apply for Disney World’s affordable housing yet. The groundbreaking on the development doesn’t happen until 2024, and the first units won’t be ready for occupants until 2026.

When the units open, they will have an income cap for those who apply to live there. Also, Disney World employees may have first dibs on the affordable housing units when they open.

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