18 real-life captivating places that inspired Disney films

Your dream of being able to live in a Disney movie just came true.

Have you ever longed to be surrounded by the enchanted castles and beautiful forests that seem to only exist in Disney movies? Well, look no further! Many of your favorite Disney movies were modeled after real-life places in the world. If you are looking for a hint of magic in your life, checking out one of these 18 destinations may be worth your while.

1. Ashdown Forest, England, inspired “Winnie the Pooh”

This 500-acre forest inspired Winnie the Pooh’s home, the 100 Acre Wood. The mystical ancient forest is located in Sussex, England, and the original illustrator of the “Winnie the Pooh” stories sketched hundreds of scenes while sitting within the bed of trees.

2. Grand Central Station, New York, inspiried “Wreck-It Ralph”

Almost identical in name, Game Central Station in “Wreck-It Ralph” is almost an exact replica of New York’s Grand Central Station, apart from a few added Disney touches.

A week in NYC… #grandcentralstationnyc

A photo posted by SONYA BARKER (@athomewiththebarkers) on

3. Taj Mahal, India, inspired “Aladdin”

Although the Taj Mahal is located in India and “Aladdin” takes place in ancient Arabia, the Taj Mahal served as the main inspiration for Princess Jasmine’s palace in Agrabah.

#tajmahalpictures #tajmahalpalace #tajmahal #tacmahal

A photo posted by ?WEIRD TRAVELER? (@weird_traveler) on

4. Chateau de Chambord, France, inspired “Beauty and the Beast”

The Beast’s eerie castle is one of the most iconic Disney buildings, and Chateau de Chambord fully inspired the castle’s gothic and intriguing features. Chateau de Chambord was also used primarily as a hunting lodge by Frances I.

5. Alsace, France, inspired “Beauty and the Beast”

Belle’s little town in France is based on the charming village of Alsace in France. The colorful and enchanting buildings look like they came straight out of a fairy tale.

? HAPPY BIRTHDAY @sert_mehmet? All the best wishes for you dear friend ????? #eguisheim #france

A photo posted by @thebestdestinations on

6. Hotel de Glace, Canada, inspired “Frozen”

This famous ice hotel in Quebec is open for five months of the year during the winter season. It is then rebuilt the following winter after warmer temperatures cause it to melt. Elsa’s ice palace was heavily influenced by this fascinating ice hotel.

7. Black Forest, Germany, inspired “Beauty and the Beast”

The spooky forest where the Beast’s castle resides was based on the Black Forest in Germany. The Black Forest is a large and ancient wood that expands through the German Highlands and is one of the most explored tourist attractions in the world.

8. Serengeti Plains, Africa, inspired “The Lion King”

The landscape surrounding Mufasa and Simba is nearly identical to the Serengeti Plains in Tanzania.

9. Machu Picchu, Peru, inspired “The Emperor’s New Groove”

Kuzco’s Incan-inspired kingdom was heavily influenced by the ruins of Machu Picchu. From the rolling hills and stone structures, this crumbling civilization in Peru added a lot of depth to the setting.

#machupichu # Peru #travel #cusco #lonelyplanet #discoversouthamerica #southamerica #explore #passionpassport

A photo posted by Kristen Gianaris (@kristennicole22) on

10. Angel Falls, Venezuela, inspired “Up”

Visiting the fictional Paradise Falls was Carl Fredrickson and his wife, Ellie’s, childhood dream. Although the location is fictional, the falls are real and located in Venezuela. It is world’s tallest and largest waterfall.

11. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany, inspired “Sleeping Beauty”

Sleeping Beauty’s castle is the most iconic Disney castle and appears at the opening sequence of every Disney film. The beautiful castle was inspired by the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. It has received over 61 million tourists throughout the years.

12. Geirangerfjord, Norway, inspired “Frozen”

Princess Anna and Queen Elsa’s kingdom of Arendelle is located right in the middle of this beautiful mountainous range in Norway.

Mountain farms along the beautiful Geirangerfjord in Norway ? Have you been there? #NorskNatur ?

A photo posted by Norge ?? Norway (@norge) on

13. Mont Saint Michel, France, inspired “Tangled”

This beautiful castle in France served as the base for Rapunzel’s Kingdom of Corona. The castle in the film is iconic as the body of water surrounding it and serves as the setting for the romantic lantern scene.


A photo posted by Luciana Galvão (@lucyanagalvao) on

14. Forbidden City, China, inspired “Mulan”

The Emperor’s palace in “Mulan” is nearly identical to the Forbidden City in Beijing, China. The film’s climax occurs within the palace itself and on the rooftops that greatly resemble the Forbidden City’s structures.

15. Chateau de Chillon, Swizerland, inspired “The Little Mermaid”

Prince Eric’s seaside castle was influenced by this endearing estate by the shore of Lake Geneva in Swizerland.

#chateaudechillon #montreux #switzerlandpictures #switzerland??

A photo posted by Christina (@cky1111) on

16. Bayous, Louisiana, inspired “The Princess and the Frog”

The Bayous in New Orleans heavily influenced “The Princess and the Frog.” The swampy marshes, alligators and fireflies are present in both real-life and the film.

Swampin in the #louisianabayou

A photo posted by Molly Gigax (@mollskijane) on

17. Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland, inspired “Brave”

“Brave” was heavily influenced by the Scotland Highlands. Most significantly, Princess Merida’s Castle DunBroch was based on the Eilean Donan Castle because of it’s rustic and mysterious history.

18. Segovia Castle, Spain, inspired “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”

Snow White’s simple, yet pleasant castle resembles the Segovia Castle located in Spain.

Chakell Wardleigh

Chakell Wardleigh has a Bachelor of Arts in English. She spends her days silently (mostly) correcting others' grammar. She adores all things nerd, such as Harry Potter, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Shakespeare, and anything else that whisks her away from reality. She currently works as an editor for the FamilyShare team. You can usually find her with her nose in a book, laughing too loudly, or belting out songs from Hamilton.