by Brian Libby
Issa Homes in Disney’s Golden Oak at Walt Disney World® Resort is a unique experience. When Disney began selecting builders for its resort community, Golden Oak at Walt Disney World Resort, experience and quality were paramount. It was no surprise, therefore, when Issa Homes was one of the companies chosen. Issa Homes has enjoyed four decades of experience building luxury homes in Florida, dating back to its founding by Francis Issa in 1972, and particularly flourishing when the company joined forces with Arvida, a large Florida developer. Issa has built-in communities such as Arvida’s Weston, Baldwin Park, and Lake Nona Golf and Country Club, including homes for local celebrities and former professional athletes like Cortez Kennedy and Bernie Kosar.
Issa Homes also spent ten years working in the Disney-developed town of Celebration, which sits several miles outside Disney World. Golden Oak represents the culmination of Issa’s experience in the luxury market and working with Disney. The company even relocated from its South Florida headquarters to Orlando to take advantage of the opportunity.
“It’s almost like we’ve gone full circle,” says Don Hempel, partner at Issa. “At Disney, they’re huge on customer care. That’s obvious to anyone who has visited their theme parks or stayed in a Disney Resort. We gave them an unabridged list of 400 homeowners and they called every single one of them they could reach.” Obviously, the testimonials were decidedly in Issa’s favor.
Issa Homes is one of the builders in Kimball Trace, the Tuscan Village neighborhood within Golden Oak that also is home to Summerhouse, the community clubhouse. “These are some of the smaller homes and tighter lots, but plenty luxurious,” he says. “Disney was looking for true Tuscan architecture, and developed guidelines that builders followed to ensure the massing and detailing of the homes were architecturally correct. The level of architectural detail is extremely important in Golden Oak. We are utilizing all-natural materials, such as natural stone and true clay tile roofs. You are not in Tuscany living here, but that sense of romanticism is as present as the Florida sunshine.”