Disney’s New “House of the Future”

Disney’s House of the Future (see photo) opened in 1957 at Disneyland in California. It was a Jetsons style, plastic, pod shaped home that had such exciting futuristic things as hands free phones, wall-sized televisions, plastic chairs, and electric razors and toothbrushes. The future eventually comes and so this House of the Future was closed in 1967. (It was so sturdy that wrecking balls bounced off it when Disney tore it down. Considering our recent weather patterns, this may be the kind of house that people in tornado alley and hurricane areas need to build. Would someone please let Brad Pitt know?)

Hands free phones, electric razors and electric toothbrushes are pretty much standard in most households today so yesterday’s House of the Future is most certainly a thing of the past. We’ve got all that and then some so the Disney Imagineers have done what Walt would have wanted them to do and joined forces with the people at Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, software maker LifeWare and homebuilder Taylor Morrison to create a new $15 million House of the Future. This one will be placed in Tomorrowland at Walt Disney World.

The new house will skip the Jetsons theme and look more like every other house you might see in the suburbs. Of course, with 5,000 square feet of living space, this house would be found in a very wealthy suburb. It will be made of wood and steel and painted in muted browns and beiges according to Sheryl Palmer, president and chief executive of Taylor Morrison in North America.

The new House of the Future isn’t as much about nifty gadgets as it is about comfort, convenience and ergonomics. Lights and thermostats will automatically adjust when people enter a room. Closets will do what we all hate doing and pick out the right dress or suit with matching accessories. Countertops, although they won’t prepare the food for us, will identify groceries on them and make menu suggestions.

Visitors to the house will see all that it does while watching Disney cast members play a future family of four preparing for a trip to China. I can’t help but wonder “why China”? Plenty of people go to China. Why not have the family of the future preparing for a little jaunt to Mars or a spa on the Moon? Alas, this isn’t about vacation plans of tomorrow, it is about the house.

Touchpads, thinking closets and mirrors and simple transfer of electronic media are just a few of the features that have been promised for the new House of the Future.
I, for one, can’t wait to see it!

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