Animated films are a billion dollar industry, and one of the best companies that produce them is Disney. Disney (which now includes Pixar) has been in this industry for a long time, they may have been the first company to ever produce an animated film and released it in the cinemas. Technically, they were the first. Before they released Snow White in 1937, there were a few animated films released as early as 1908. But they were just short films and some were animation inserted with live-action. The first full-length animated film was Snow White. It ran for 83 minutes, and that was a big leap for animation during those early years.

Today, the technology available to make animation is astounding, it is cutting edge in the industry of filmmaking. But still, many animated films are based on real-life things and places. However advanced the technology is, we cannot help but get inspiration from real places. Animators can think up, invent, and create new worlds, planets, and realms, anything, the only limit is their imagination. And we have seen these worlds in animated films, and we saw that they were good. But have we ever wondered, is this place real, or is it a creation? An inspiring place from a real-life location on Earth, maybe it is, it looks really familiar. Here are 12 locations from Disney films that really exist, and 12 other locations that are pure creations.

23 Exists: Wreck-It Ralph: Game Central Station

Let’s start with the obvious one, while Ralph and the rest of his friends travel from one arcade game to another, the hub that allows them to do that is called Game Central Station. From the name itself, everybody knows it was modeled after New York’s Grand Central Station. One of the most iconic train stations in America, and in the world, it’s been shown in countless real-life films throughout the years. It also can be seen in one non-Disney animated film (Madagascar), but of course, Disney puts a twist on it and made it its own, the Game Central Station.

22 Exists: Up: Paradise Falls

Angel Falls in Venezuela was the clear inspiration for the film titled Up. It’s in America, but South. When Mr. Fredricksen arrived with that cute kid Russell, via his balloon-powered flying house. They didn’t land where they wanted but could see it at the edge of the mountaintop and the beautiful waterfalls. That particular scene was inspired by a real waterfall in Venezuela called Angel Falls. They hiked all the way to the spot the old man had wanted to land and got into crazy adventures on the way. From talking dogs and big and rare birds to the legendary explorer Charles Muntz. Adventure is really out there!

21 Exists: The Good Dinosaur: Clawtooth Mountain

Here’s a ‘what if’ that’s really interesting. What if the big asteroid never hit Earth and the dinosaurs lived with the first humans? That’s the premise The Good Dinosaur was based on. Arlo is our main character and like the classic films that start with tragedy, a loved one perishes (Bambi, Lion King, etc.), he loses his father in a freak flash flood. He then meets a human kid and together they venture off to a wild adventure and kind of a coming of age self-discovery only Pixar’s writers can pull off. His goal is to go back to his home, Clawtooth Mountain, which was actually inspired by a real mountain range from Wyoming, the Grand Tetons.

20 Exists: Moana: Motunui

A demigod and a village girl set out to sea to save their world in the Disney animated film Moana. The village girl and princess is Moana, and the demigod is Maui. Maui is voiced by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, in his first animated film voice acting lead, and he sang in here, too! Imagine that big guy singing, but he was good. The duo’s voyage led them to midget pirates, demons and goddesses. The island that was Te Fiti was based on an island in French Polynesia. Moana’s home island of Motunui was actually based on a lot of other real locations in Bora Bora, French Polynesia.

19 Exists: Cars: Radiator Springs

The world of automobiles was brought to life by Disney Pixar 12 years ago, and it became a trilogy, the last of which was shown just last year. Car was a film that’s very close to Pixar mastermind and former Disney executive John Lasseter. He wrote and directed Cars and Cars 2, with actor Owen Wilson in the lead as race car Lightning McQueen. The small town of Radiator Springs, off Route 66, was strangely familiar. Especially Ramone’s place of business. It was actually modeled from the U-Drop Inn in Texas. The motel, unfortunately, is now closed, kind of like the message the Pixar film Cars was sending out to viewers.

18 Exists: Snow White: The Royal Castle

Knowing where you’ve been is crucial to successfully get to where you are going, or something like that saying. This is why we are going back to where it all started. Snow White and The Seven Dwarves was an instant classic. A family movie night staple that’s been probably watched by millions of families all over the world. The castle in the film, where the evil queen resides, was modeled after a castle in Spain, the castle’s name is the Alcazar of Segovia. A structure that had stood since the 18th century was burned to the ground, unfortunately. It’s amazing to know that some styles in filmmaking have not died with the technology of the now.

17 Exists: Finding Nemo: The Anemone

You can’t create a whole new world (like Aladdin says) without a teensy bit of inspiration drawn from somewhere or something real. This is especially true if the world you are creating is as big as the ocean. The story of Finding Nemo takes place in the Great Barrier Reef, but only at the beginning and in the end. It’s a colorful place, one that people would think is created from scratch. But it actually closely resembles all the animals, corals, and other creatures deep in the ocean. Even Nemo and Marlin’s home exists, the anemone, and as true as the movie depicts, clownfish live in anemones.

16 Exists: Frozen: Chapel where Elsa was Coronated

Olaf is the best snowman that ever lived, voiced masterfully by comedian Josh Gad in the Disney film Frozen. In the first parts of the film, there was a scene in a nice, small church where Elsa is officially crowned Queen of Arendelle. That part where she was so afraid she would freeze the scepter and the ball thingy. Apparently, coronation ceremonies require the would be queen to remove her gloves throughout this particular bit. That chapel was inspired by a real-life chapel located in Norway. It is, as crazy as it sounds, but also very true, called St. Olaf’s Church.

15 Exists: Tangled: Rapunzel's Birthday Commemoration

Living a life hidden in a tall tower with no one to talk to, except for a non-talking chameleon, can do some weird things to a person’s mind. This is what happened to Rapunzel in the film Tangled. She was going crazy when she finally got down and out of the tower, feeling guilty and happy to be free at the same time. That magical and touching scene where her whole kingdom celebrates her birthday by lighting lanterns and letting them float up the sky was actually based on a lantern festival in Thailand. The festival, celebrated every 12th month (Thai lunar calendar) on a full moon evening, is called Yi Peng.

14 Exists: Monsters University: The University

A sequel to a very successful film is usually hit-or-miss. But Monsters University hit home in this “sequel prequel” to Monsters Inc. Earning a whopping $744 million in the box office worldwide on an announced $200 million budget, the sequel brought home $544 million. A voice cast powered by Billy Crystal and John Goodman in the first film, Monsters University employed the voices of Dame Helen Mirren and Alfred Molina for more firepower. Many buildings and parts of the campus were actually inspired by a number of schools like Harvard, Stanford, MIT, and Berkeley. But the closest one out of all of them was Harvard’s John W. Weeks Bridge.

13 Exists: Lion King: The Pridelands

Big five game was a term that was originally something that people of this day and age would frown on. The big five game animals are the Cape buffalo, elephant, rhinoceros, leopard, and of course, the king of the jungle, the lion. Such a title is worthy of its own Disney film, Lion King was released in 1994, and it was a kingly effort and was received by the people in a manner fit for kings. The pride lands was clearly inspired by the plains of the Serengeti in Northern Tanzania, Africa. That sunset and the tree afar looks really familiar.

12 Exists: Brave: Dunbroch

Kelly Macdonald was the actress behind the strong-willed voice of Brave’s Princess Merida. This was another runaway hit brought to us by the geniuses at Disney’s Pixar Animation Studios. Our princess, Merida, is a Scottish princess, just like Kelly Macdonald is Scottish, whose wish misfires and turns her mother, the queen, into a bear. Their home, Castle Dunbroch, was inspired by real-location, Eilean Donan Castle, of course in the Scottish Highlands. A Scottish castle rich in ancient history is perfect to be the inspiration for a medieval Scottish animated feature by Disney.

11 Does Not Exist: Coco: Land of the Dead

Our spirits wander the Land of the Dead in Disney Pixar’s Coco. This is a belief that Mexicans have, and why they have the Día de Los Muertos holiday celebrations. In the Mexican holiday, the same as in the film’s, people celebrate their departed loved ones. But in the movie, the protagonist, a boy named Miguel, entered the Land of the Dead by mistake. It was just like the real world, only more colorful, and with fully-dressed skeletons for people. Unfortunately, there is no real-life location that comes close to what the animators at Pixar created. It was an enchanting realm of the afterlife, both magical and kind of eerie at the same time.

10 Does Not Exist: The Incredibles: Metroville

What would happen when superheroes marry and have kids and a family… that’s the brilliant premise Brad Bird had for The Incredibles. This film was a special homage to the emerging superhero films sweeping Hollywood and the whole world at the time. But the writing was exceptionally superb, for an animated superhero film. Mr. Incredible, with superhuman strength, and ElastiGirl, with Mr. Fantastic-like powers, get married and have three children. Then the world, denying superheroes their help, forcing every hero to live like regular humans. Metroville was their Gotham City, a city that’s like any other city out there, but was pure fiction. There was no need to draw inspiration, everyone in the production was already inspired by the story itself.

9 Does Not Exist: Zootopia: Zootopia

Zootopia is a Disney film released in 2016 and it made just a few million dollars over 1 billion in the box office. A wonderful film based on a rabbit cop and her friend the fox. It’s the classic buddy cop crime-solving mystery film. No animated film has ever done this kind of story before, and Zootopia does it in a fashion that warrants more sequels. Their city, Zootopia, is the capital of the animal world. It’s a bustling city where animals of different shapes and sizes go to for their everyday work. A city so diverse, it cannot draw inspiration from any city on Earth.

8 Does Not Exist: Inside Out: Riley Anderson’s Mind

Obviously, the film Inside Out was based in San Francisco, as we learn at the start of the film that the family moves from Minnesota to San Francisco. But no one can ever base the world of Joy, Fear, Anger, Sadness, and Disgust from any real location, because it is inside our minds. As we learn at the end of the film, it was not only Riley’s mind that works that way but everybody else’s. From Headquarters and those memory spheres to the Train of Thought and the Memory Dump, we can only watch in awe at what our mind might look like if it was a place.

7 Does Not Exist: Big Hero 6: San Fransokyo

Elements of a fictional city have some truth in it, this is clearly the case in the city where Hiro, Baymax and their team resides. A city based on not just one, but a melding of two famous cities in the world. San Francisco and Tokyo, hence the name San Fransokyo, like brunch. There may be elements of buildings that were inspired by Tokyo and some streets and bridges by San Francisco, but as a whole, the city of San Fransokyo is a city that’s created from scratch. We will see more of the city and Baymax in the sequel, our only hope is it pushes through soon.

6 Does Not Exist: Monsters, Inc.: Monstropolis

A city in a world of monsters, an alternate reality separated from our own with magic bedroom closet doors. A world of the monster whose source of power is the scream of frightened children. What a story, right! This could easily have been an amazing horror film that could rival Jason or Freddy. But Pixar thought of it first, so here we are with a nice family and kid-friendly film called Monsters Inc. Monsters University may have gotten their inspiration from real life campuses, but Monsters Inc. is an original, through and through. In a few hundred years, when we’ve discovered other life in the universe, and faster space travel, maybe one film would base their film’s locations on a real planet out there.

5 Does Not Exist: Wall-E: Earth 2805

Recycling is one method of reducing waste, without these kinds of methods our world would be reduced to rubble and will become one big giant trash can. This is what happened to Earth in the Disney Pixar film Wall-E. A future Earth was the setting to this film, exactly 787 years from now, to be more precise. The animators can only speculate what Earth would look like by that time. But with a story to draw inspiration from, instead of skyscrapers, we see tall blocks of compacted trash. Instead of some survivors and vagabonds, we see the only “living” thing on Earth, a mobile trash compactor robot called Wall-E.

4 Does Not Exist: Chicken Little: Oakey Oaks

A film based on a very familiar and famous folk tale was released by Disney in 2005. This film is titled Chicken Little. Our story gets its excitement with, of course, Chicken Little effectively warning and alarming everyone that the sky is falling. Nobody believed him, of course, they all thought it was just an acorn that hit him on the head. It was actually an invisible panel of an alien spaceship that struck him. Their town is called Oakey Oaks, a small town where different species of animals live together in harmony. The animators did not draw inspiration from any other town in the world, Oakey Oaks was pure fiction.