A lot of inspiration goes into Disney films from classic fairytales to historical figures. What about those castles though? Well, there are real castles that inspired Disney. They are scattered all over the world, so you would be lucky to see more than one of these in your lifetime. Some are not even castles, but fortresses of war and even hotels that inspired the Disney castles that we love.

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Here are locations that inspired Disney's magical castles. They may not be magic, but they are real and visit-able for anyone willing to travel there.

14 Snow White: Alcazar Castle In Spain

The castle that inspired Snow White's is located in a historic town called Segovia in Spain. Obviously, there is more to this building than being just an object of inspiration. It dates all the way back to the 12th century. It began as an Arab fort and later became a palace for kings. Further into its life, it became a prison and then a military academy.

However, today you can visit it as a museum and archive.

13 Brave: Dunnottar Castle In Scotland


Scotland is full of castles, but if you are a fan of Brave, then seeing Dunnottar Castle should be on the top of your list. Like in the film, this castle is among some very dramatic cliffs.

Before Brave's team toured Scotland for inspiration, they planned for the family castle to be set against a loch in the Highlands. However, when they visited Dunnottar Castle, they changed their minds. And who can blame them? It is gorgeous and gives you a sense of adventure.

11 The Little Mermaid: Chillon Castle In Switzerland


Also called Château de Chillon, this castle dates all the way back to 1150. Records show that is served as a prison for a while, then just a storage facility for the Bernese, a fortress, and now it is visit-able as one of Switzerland's most famous castles. It was not all built at once, as the castle is a collection of 25 little buildings. Unlike Prince Eric's castle though, it is situated on a lake rather than by the ocean.

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Maybe there are lake mermaids?

9 Tangled: Mont Saint-Michel In France

Located in Normandy, France, is a beautiful island covered in a castle that is only connected to the mainland via a long bridge. It was built between the 11th and 16th century, and is what inspired the kingdom of Corona from Disney's Tangled.

Outside of Disney, this location was one of Europe's most famous pilgrimage sites. Now it serves as a tourist destination due to its view and amazing buildings. Also, the bay it sits on has very high tide so the island can transform twice a day.

8 Beauty And The Beast: Chateau Du Chambord In France


While you are in France, you can actually see two buildings that inspired Disney films. The second one is located in Loire Valley is the building that inspired both the original Beauty and the Beast and the remake with Emma Watson. Apparently, now you can actually honeymoon in this castle.

As for its history, it was commissioned in 1519 by Francis I. It was actually intended to be a hunting lodge, but it took about 28 years to construct and was not used very much. Now, however, it is well maintained and visited by plenty of tourists.

6 Aladdin: Taj Mahal In India


This inspiration is pretty internationally known, as its one of India's most famous landmarks. However, not everyone knows what the buildings' original purpose was. It is actually rather romantic.

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It was a mausoleum that was commissioned by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1632 for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. At least that is more romantic than a prison which seems to be the history of a number of these castles.

4 Cinderella: Neuschwanstein Castle In Germany

Cinderella's castle became one of Disney's most iconic symbols to the point where it is at the center of their most famous theme park. The real castle that inspired it does look like it came straight out of an old storybook.

Compared to other buildings on this list, this one actually is not so old. King Ludwig II of Bavaria commissioned to have it built in 1868. But he died before the castle was completed in 1892. Today it serves as one of the most visited castles in the world.

3 Frozen: Hotel De Glace In Canada

While this building is not a castle, it inspired one of Disney's most recent and famous ones: Elsa's ice castle from Frozen. While it was not inspired by a castle, it was actually inspired by a hotel.

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The ice hotel is in Quebec and is open for guests to stay. The director of Frozen, Chris Buck, visited the hotel five years before the release of the film while doing research. There is little doubt that since Frozen came out, this hotel has gotten much more popular.

2 Mulan: The Forbidden City In China

The Forbidden City in China, despite its name, has tons of visitors nowadays. In fact, it is  the most touristy destination in all of Beijing. It did not exactly directly inspire the Emperor's palace in Mulan as much as it just plain is the Emperor's palace. Rather than inspire the imagination of the crew that made the film, this location was just a dedication to historical accuracy of China.

The Forbidden City was called the Imperial City in Mulan, and is where there was a celebration that the Huns were defeated. It is also where Huns attack the Emperor and Mulan saves him.

1 The Emperors New Groove: Machu Picchu In Peru

Kuzco's palace is actually based on one of the 7 Wonders of the World. It also directly inspired Pacha's village.

With The Emperors New Groove being based on Incan culture, this location seemed like a no-brainer to the film team since Machu Picchu was built by the Incas. It is believed that the place was built in the 1400s. Visiting there can be quite a climb, as it sits 8,000 feet above sea level.

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