The Dream Home of the future

Imagine if you could create your dream home from scratch.

Some of us might wish for more space, others for upgraded gadgets or maybe green living.

Of course, in this current economic climate, it’s enough for many of our neighbors to just wish for an affordable home, period. But if you were going to dream up a vision for your model home, what would it have?

Disneyland recently opened its own version of a Dream Home, located inside the Innoventions pavilion in the park’s Tomorrowland.

A look at the home, created for the mythical Elias Family (as in Walt Elias Disney), has enough glimpses of the future to sustain the common dreams of those of us addled with technology addictions.

Some of us feel enslaved by our technical gadgets, checking our voice mail or scanning our BlackBerries long after work hours.

The teens text madly away, running up huge bills to talk to their friends just minutes after they stopped visiting them.

Kids awake in the summer to grab the Wii remotes or Xbox360 controllers.

And for the parents? There’s direct cable and satellite putting just about any show at the ready.

In Disney’s version, you get to see how the current gadgets can lead us into a more user-friendly seamless environment.

But the brand partners tapped to create Disney’s vision of a dream home also limit it. At times the home feels like little more than an extended infomercial where you see the bells and whistles, but never the price.

The Innoventions Dream Home exhibits, with some notable exceptions, are basically extra bells and whistles on already recognizable stuff.

The video game is an Xbox360, bringing the future full circle back to the present and jarring any dreams of what may lie ahead for those of us who enjoy blasting away the day’s stress with a high-tech remote in hand.

Microsoft Surface and its Vista operating system are also on display here. And while it is cool to be able to turn tabletops into instant displays and send ripples through a pond with the flick of your fingers, it isn’t anything that much more advanced than the average Clark County School District elementary school student hasn’t seen or used.

To be sure the Dream Home does have cool stuff.

The Alice in Wonderland book literally comes to life.

And the technology is omnipresent in every nook and cranny, even in the kitchen’s island where a cyberchef named Lillian pops up with instructions to help you through the evening’s dinner preparations.

Somehow I began to think of the old school technology of Disney’s “Tron” in which the human hero is trapped in a video game.

It got me thinking if Lillian would somehow prefer her freedom from this human home ruled by technology.

C’mon it was Disneyland, where imaginations are supposed to soar. And since Disney Parks have extended the Year of a Million Dreams promotion to something like 21/2 years, I figured there would be some dreams left over.

Shortly after Disneyland first opened decades ago, Tomorrowland featured the Monsanto House of the Future complete with home products that would eventually become indispensable for housewives.

The items at the current Dream Home are cool and the kids will have a blast exploring the exhibit if you can drag them away from nearby Space Mountain.

Displaying the items of the future in such a rapidly changing world had to be a challenge. And the home, designed by Taylor Morrison, is visually stunning.

But one thing that was really missing in this huge display of the latest trends was any glimpse of solitude.

The technology follows you everywhere, from the yard to the family room and puts you into the type of immersive experience that could become stifling if this home was your everyday living space.

Disney’s programmed scents to give the real illusion of hominess — pizza and pumpkin pie.

There are 2,500 pieces of digital media in the 5,000-square-foot home. Everything from the wallpaper to a mirror that lets you see if you truly are the fairest in the land before you slip on that dress.

You can’t just read Peter Pan; you can bring up the lights and create the sound effects right down to the shooting cannonballs. Not exactly how you get a young lad to sleep.

There are digital picture frames everywhere, turning the typical focal point of a family room into an ever-moving mantel.

And this being a dream home, the TV, supplied by HP, has a 100-inch screen.

This dream home is pretty much what you’d get if Disney bought out the Consumer Electronics Show.

And while there is recycled material in the kitchen splashboard, there was no telling just what the Elias Family home’s carbon footprint might be.

Thousands of digital devices have to run on something, even in dreamland or in this present view of the future.

There was also no way of telling what all this gadgetry costs.

I guess that’s what really makes the Innoventions Dream Home perfect for dreamers.

Contact Erin Neff at (702) 387-2906, or by e-mail at Eneff@reviewjournal.com.

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