Featured

These Disney Locations Look Familiar Because They’re All Based On Real-Life Places

By  | 

Disney is the epitome of fantasy and magic. The worlds created for these stories are figments of the imagination…right? Well, not necessarily. Most of Disney’s backdrops are actually based off of very real places. It’s pretty amazing that these magical worlds were inspired by places that we could visit in real life!

Take a good look at these fictional places and their real-world counterparts. They’ll give you a whole new perspective on what the world has to offer beyond Disney fantasy.

1. The castle in Sleeping Beauty wasn’t the fruit of someone’s imagination.

The castle in <em>Sleeping Beauty</em> wasn't the fruit of someone's imagination.

It was based on Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany. So magical!

It was based on Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany. So magical!

It was built by Ludwig II of Bavaria in 1892 as a personal retreat. Ludwig II was known for leaving stunning landmarks all over Bavaria, and he was a big patron of the arts.

2. Belle’s village in Beauty and the Beast was based on a real place in France.

Belle's village in <em>Beauty and the Beast </em>was based on a real place in France.

Alsace, France, really is dotted with adorable buildings that look like they’re straight out of a fairytale!

Alsace, France, really is dotted with adorable buildings that look like they're straight out of a fairytale!

Historically, the area was occupied by Germans, which explains the unique combination of French and German architecture.

3. Here is the castle from Brave…

Here is the castle from <em>Brave...</em>

…and here is Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland.

...and here is Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland.

4. The island of Corona in Tangled was set in Germany.

The island of Corona in <em>Tangled </em>was set in Germany.

But it’s actually based off of the Mont Saint Michel Abbey in Normandy, France.

But it's actually based off of the Mont Saint Michel Abbey in Normandy, France.

The island city often gets cut off from the mainland because of rising tides, which makes it an ideal defensive position. That was a big deal in the 10th century.

5. Paradise Falls in Pixar’s UP is a wonderful, dreamlike place, but there’s a place just like it in real life.

Paradise Falls in Pixar's <em>UP</em> is a wonderful, dreamlike place, but there's a place just like it in real life.

Angel Falls in Venezuela is home to the world’s highest waterfall, and the animators at Pixar did the area some very serious justice.

Angel Falls in Venezuela is home to the world's highest waterfall, and the animators at Pixar did the area some very serious justice.

6. The sultan’s palace in Aladdin is probably one of the most recognizable Disney locations.

The sultan's palace in <em>Aladdin</em> is probably one of the most recognizable Disney locations.

It was, of course, inspired by the Taj Mahal.

It was, of course, inspired by the Taj Mahal.

Built in 1632 by Emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his wife, the landmark now attracts three million visitors a year.

7. The emperor’s home in Mulan seems like an unreal place, but…

The emperor's home in <em>Mulan </em>seems like an unreal place, but...

…it’s almost an exact copy of the Forbidden City in Beijing, China.

...it's almost an exact copy of the Forbidden City in Beijing, China.

8. The cathedral in The Hunchback of Notre Dame is another one of those highly recognizable copycats.

The cathedral in <em>The Hunchback of Notre Dame </em>is another one of those highly recognizable copycats.

It was inspired by Notre Dame, obviously.

It was inspired by Notre Dame, obviously.

It was one of the first structures to use flying buttresses in order to support high ceilings.

9. The body shop in Cars was drawn to remind you of…

The body shop in <em>Cars</em> was drawn to remind you of...

…the U-Drop Inn, which is located off of Route 66 in Texas.

...the U-Drop Inn, which is located off of Route 66 in Texas.

This art-deco structure was made to look like a nail sticking out of the soil, of all things.

10. Prince Eric’s castle in The Little Mermaid was modeled after Chateau de Chillon in Lake Geneva, Switzerland.

Prince Eric's castle in <em>The Little Mermaid </em>was modeled after Chateau de Chillon in Lake Geneva, Switzerland.

Built to be a German outpost, it’s now open to the public for tours and sightseeing.

Built to be a German outpost, it's now open to the public for tours and sightseeing.

11. I’ll give you one guess as to what Game Central Station in Wreck-It Ralph was modeled after.

I'll give you one guess as to what Game Central Station in <em>Wreck-It Ralph </em>was modeled after.

It’s Grand Central Station in New York City!

It's Grand Central Station in New York City!

12. The Beast Castle in Beauty and the Beast is a reimagined version of…

The Beast Castle in<em> Beauty and the Beast </em>is a reimagined version of...

…Chateau de Chambord in France.

...Ch&acirc;teau de Chambord in France.

This less-than-humble abode was built in 1547 by King Francis I…as a hunting lodge.

13. The swamp in The Princess and the Frog seems like a fairytale land, but a real-life version exists.

The swamp in <em>The Princess and the Frog </em>seems like a fairytale land, but a real-life version exists.

The Louisiana bayou is a very real place, and it’s just as magical as the cartoon.

The Louisiana bayou is a very real place, and it's just as magical as the cartoon.

14. Elsa’s palace in Frozen actually has a very modern inspiration.

Elsa's palace in <em>Frozen </em>actually has a very modern inspiration.

The Hotel de Glace in Quebec is reconstructed from blocks of ice every winter.

The Hotel de Glace in Quebec is reconstructed from blocks of ice every winter.

15. The queen’s castle in Snow White is actually a castle in Spain.

The queen's castle in <em>Snow White </em>is actually a castle in Spain.

Alcazar of Segovia in central Spain stands on a cliff between two rivers, so it looks like a ship slicing through the water.

Alcazar of Segovia in central Spain stands on a cliff between two rivers, so it looks like a ship slicing through the water.

(source: Bored Panda)

Next time you see a Disney movie, take into consideration the fact these fictional places are often based in reality. While some might think that this is a disenchanting idea, I actually love that you can find a little bit of Disney magic in every corner of the globe.