The beautiful worlds found in our favorite Disney movies are works of imagination, but even they are rooted in real-life locations. These images comparing some of Disney’s most iconic locations with their real-life counterparts will make you believe in magic!
The degrees to which Disney’s artists borrowed on these real-life sources can vary, but for most, the link is obvious. A number of Disney’s classics were also based on existing traditional fairy tales, meaning that the references to real-life castles were all the more appropriate.
1. Sleeping Beauty – Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany
Image credits: paparountas
The Royal Castle in Sleeping Beauty was inspired by Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany. This castle was built by Ludwig II of Bavaria in 1892 as a personal retreat and a tribute to Richard Wagner, his favorite composer. Ludwig II, known by some as the Swan King, was an enthusiastic art patron, leaving beautiful structures throughout Bavaria.
2. Beauty and the Beast – Alsace, France
Image credits: Tambako The Jaguar
This small village square in Beauty And The Beast was inspired by Alsace, a picturesque region in North-West France that, throughout most of Europe’s history, was politically German. As such, it has a blend of these two cultures, which can be found in the names of various locations and especially in the region’s beautiful pastoral architecture.
3. Tangled – Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy, France
Image credits: PEC Photo
The Kingdom of Corona in Tangled was inspired by Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy, France. This unique island commune is periodically cut off from the mainland by tidal waters. This made it an easily defensible position that was ideal for a fortified cloister. Today, its striking appearance makes it a popular attraction for tourists.
4. Up – Angel Falls, Venezuela
Image credits: Alice Nerr
Paradise Falls in Up was inspired by Angel Falls (also known as Kerepakupai Vena in the indigenous Pemon language) in Venezuela. With an uninterrupted fall of 979m (3,212ft), it is the world’s highest waterfall. It falls from a mountain called Auyantepui, which is one of several table-topped “tepui” mountains in Venezuela.
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