Walt Disney World Announces New Affordable Housing Development

Today Walt Disney World announced that it had set aside 80 acres for a new affordable housing development. The development will be found in southwest Orange County, Florida. According to Disney, this project has been in the works for quite some time. Disney shared that it ” builds on The Walt Disney Company’s long legacy of bringing positive, lasting change to the communities it calls home—making an important difference locally to address one of the nation’s greatest challenges.”

“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.”

Currently, in early development, there should be 1,300 units that will be constructed by a third-party affordable housing developer on Disney’s land near Walt Disney World Resort. It will offer a variety of different housing options for residents that will be both affordable and attainable. It will be close to schools and also Flamingo Crossings Town Center. Disney says that it will “offer a variety of amenities to foster a strong community.” The new development will be available for qualifying applicants from the general public, including Disney cast members. Disney will work with a developer to bring the same innovation, expertise, and attention to detail that it has in its theme parks and resorts to this development.

At this time, there are many details that remain to be released as the process is just getting started. Disney will do “due diligence work with a prominent affordable housing developer.” This initiative will join other leaders in the community, including Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings, as they prioritize finding lasting affordable housing solutions for Central Florida.

Disney will add this to its list of investments it is making in affordable housing. A few years ago Disneyland Resort led ” led an effort to revitalize the Orange County Housing Trust that provides ‘last mile’ funding for affordable housing projects in Anaheim.” The result was the Buena Esperanza project. It converted a studio apartment community for veterans and homeless individuals with mental illness. This community also helps with job placement and mental health and wellness support for its residents. Disney’s investment also led to a second project, Finamore Place, in Anaheim as well. It is currently under construction and expected to be completed this summer. This will provide over 100 additional housing units. Disneyland Resort says it will continue to support efforts like these in the future.

Disney has many other ways it works to strengthen communities. Thi includes hundreds of millions of dollars that it provides to local nonprofits, the Disney VoluntEARS program, support of local foodbanks, and other initiatives. Recently Walt Disney World Resort donated $3 million to important causes in the community. These donations included organizations working on the front lines of the affordable housing issue.


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