When Disney built its House of Tomor-row in Disneyland in 1957, it was speculating as to what home buyers would see in the way of home technology 30 or 40 years hence. The new House of Tomorrow—known this time as the Innoventions Dream Home, which opened last June at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif.—intentionally peers only five or so years over the horizon due to the speed of technology change; 60 percent of the home technologies installed there are available today. But it also suggests how home builders will be approaching their work in the future.
Disney partnered with builder Taylor Morrison, HP, Lifeware, and Microsoft for the project, a collaboration that Taylor Morrison marketing director Arianna Barrios says is going to be the template for the builder once the current slump ends. “When the home building business returns to growth, we want this experience to position us in a number of ways—to let us better understand not only what buyers want in the way of [home] technology, but also how we’ll build houses around that technology,” she says.
From the builder’s perspective, the Dream Home is a complex focus group outfitted as a theme park attraction. Where the previous futuristic home was a carefully scripted guided tour, this iteration allows visitors to stop and interact with the home’s systems, aided by a family of actors who are knowledgeable about the technologies and products. When visitors play with the remotes and other controllers, the input is recorded as data, which will be combined with input from kiosks that ask visitors’ opinions about the house, as well as information from conventional live exit surveys. By the time the five-year partnership concludes, Barrios says the way houses are designed and built will have changed as a result of the knowledge gained.