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12 Real Locations Which Inspired Disney Movies’ Breathtaking Castles

Published on 13 November, 2015 at 10:00 am By

Disney’s fairy tales are undoubtedly one of the most beautiful pieces of magic. Yet they too have a source of inspiration, especially when it comes to their ethereal, breathtaking locations. Here is a compilation of pictures which depict how far the imagination goes in creating a perfect backdrop. 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.


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1. The Little Mermaid

Prince Eric’s palace was inspired by Chateau De Chillon, Lake Geneva, Switzerland. The chateau dates back to the Roman empire and was was used to guard a road through the Alps.

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2. Up

Paradise Falls was inspired by the highest waterfall in the world – Angel Falls in Venezuela. It falls from a mountain called Auyantepui in Venezuela.

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3. Beauty & The Beast

The inspiration for the enchanted/cursed castle came from Chateau De Chambord, Loir-Et-Cher, France. It was built in 1547 by King Francis I as a ‘hunting lodge’; no wonder it made a perfect castle for the Beast.

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4. Snow White

The Queen’s castle was inspired by the Alcazar of Segovia, a castle located in central Spain. It stands on a cliff at the confluence of two rivers, giving it a shape similar to the prow of a ship.

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5. Cars

Ramone’s House of Body Art was inspired by U-Drop Inn in Shamrock, Texas. The curious inn was inspired by, of all things, a nail stuck in the soil!

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6. Frozen

The chapel was inspired by St. Olaf’s Church in Norway. Looks like the church provided its name also as one of the inspirations for the snowman’s character in the movie!

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7.  Aladdin

The Sultan’s palace was inspired by our very own Taj Mahal in Agra. The domes and the minars all stand as the direct source of inspiration.

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8. Mulan

The Emperor’s home was inspired by the Forbidden City in Beijing, China. It was known as the Forbidden Palace because no one could enter or leave the palace without the Emperor’s permission!

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9. Beauty & The Beast

The market place in the movie was inspired by Alsace in France. This town was German for most of its history and hence there is a perfect cultural amalgamation of France and Germany here.

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10. The Emperor’s New Groove

The house on the hill was inspired by Machu Picchu in Cusco, Peru. This mysterious Incan site is thought to have been the residence of Incan emperor Pachacuti. After the Spanish Conquest, the site remained lost to the outside world until it was rediscovered in 1911.

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11. Frozen

Elsa’s ice palace  was an idea borrowed from Hotel De Glace in Quebec City, Canada. The seasonal structure on the outskirts of Quebec City is  made from ice bricks and hence its architecture varies from year to year.

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12. The Princess and The Frog

The bayou of New Orleans was inspired by the real-life swampy lakes, marshes and slow-moving rivers that characterize the state of Louisiana. The bayous are home to swamp creatures like alligators, catfish and turtles, which have inspired creepy tales of ravenous supernatural swamp beasts.

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Find more here.


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