8 Times Disney Films Drew Inspiration From Real Wonders In The World

Magic. Adventure. Princesses and spells and castles so magnificent they seem to touch the sky. Disney has always offered kids (and me) a window into a place of wonder through its films. But did you know some of its most iconic locations were inspired by real-life natural and architectural wonders that you can actually visit?

Yup! Here’s the list.

1. The Little Mermaid

Château de Chillon, an island fortress along the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland was the inspiration for Prince Eric’s seaside castle in The Little Mermaid.

2. Mulan

The emperor’s palace in Mulan was based off The Forbidden City in Beijing, a complex made up of 980 buildings that was once the political, religious, cultural as well as the geographical centre of the city.

3. Tangled

The unique island of Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy, France, was the inspiration for the Kingdom of Corona in Tangled.

4. Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs

The Alcázar of Segovia (literally, “Segovia Fortress”) is a castle located out on a rocky crag above the confluence of two rivers near the Guadarrama mountains. Much resembling the bow of a ship, it became the inspiration for the evil Queen Grimhilde’s castle in Snow White.

5. Up

Carl Fredricksen would need way more balloons to float himself to the real-life Paradise Falls. The Parque Nacional Canaima with its rolling savannas, dense river woodlands, stunning flat-topped tepuis and the highest uninterrupted waterfall in the world, Angel Falls, became a reference point for the movie makers.

6. Aladdin

With its white walls and golden domes, the home of the Sultan of Agrabah and Princess Jasmine was inspired by our very own Taj Mahal.

7. Sleeping Beauty

The 19th-century Romanesque Revival castle of  Neuschwanstein in Fussen, Germany became both, the inspiration for King Stefan’s castle in the Sleeping Beauty movie, and the one at Disneyland.
Apparently, Walt Disney was influenced by the grand palace during a trip there with his wife.

8. Atlantis: The Lost Empire

Atlantis was based on a legendary Greek island that may or may not have existed. To recreate it, the film’s creators drew inspiration from Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the largest religious monument in the world.

We bet you’ll see these films in a new light now!

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Amanda Francesca Mendonça

After spending pretty much all of my teen years waiting for a Hogwarts letter that never came, I gave up and settled for being a wizard with words instead. A hopeless romantic, when I’m not penning down short stories, I’m busy imagining my own happily ever after.

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