Many of the settings brought to life through Disney animations may be fictional. Still, the Disney princesses themselves have real backgrounds, whether based on real people or totally imagined. Their heritage is often credited to the original author of the fairy tales and their culture.
You might never be able to visit King Triton's underwater Kingdom or the sweeping land of Arendelle, but you can check out these real-life destinations where the Disney princesses came from. Keep reading to find out where they are!
Updated by Gabriel Kirellos, December 5th, 2021: Each Disney princess originates from a specific region of this world. Some origins are known; others are not. This list was updated to include information about more Disney princesses and their countries of origin, including Beauty and the Beast's Belle, Aladdin's Jasmine, and Rapunzel of Tangled.
13 Aurora From Sleeping Beauty: France
Disney's Sleeping Beauty doesn't expressly state that it's set in France; however, there are several clues throughout that allude to that fact, including the playing of the French national anthem and the presence of the French symbol fleur-de-lis. So, it's reasonable to assume that Princess Aurora comes from France.
Although there's no specific destination in France where you can get close to Aurora's roots, the country is scattered with castles. Visit locations like Chateau d'Angers and Castle Rouquetaillade, and you'll feel like you've landed at King Stephen's palace!
12 Mulan From Mulan: China
While it's debated whether Mulan ever really existed, we do know for a fact that the Disney version of the character comes from China. The film is set in the country's north during the Sui dynasty when the population was under attack from the invading Huns. Mulan also features a couple of famous Chinese landmarks.
Disney fans and non-Disney fans flock to the Great Wall when visiting China. Not only was this featured in the movie, but it's one of the most impressive manmade landmarks on the planet.
11 Cinderella From Cinderella: France
It's common knowledge that Cinderella is another Disney princess from France. We can tell from the chateau, where she lives with her stepmother and stepsisters before marrying the prince. Also, the film is adapted from the classic tale written by Frenchman Charles Perrault.
Perrault is also responsible for several other fairy tales popular today, some of which have also been turned into classic animations by Disney. He is credited with writing Puss in Boots, Little Red Riding Hood, Little Tom Thumb, and a later version of Sleeping Beauty.
10 Snow White From Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs: Germany
Most experts agree that Snow White comes from Germany, a classic story from the Brothers Grimm. In the original German tale, the evil Queen, Snow White's stepmother, is actually named Queen Grimhilde, giving away the story's German heritage. There are several differences between the Disney version and the original tale, so it's worth reading the original just to be surprised!
Interestingly, the stunning Bavarian castle known as Neuschwanstein Castle inspired another Disney princess's home: Sleeping Beauty's castle at Disneyland.
9 Merida From Brave: Scotland
If there's one Disney princess that is very proud of where she comes from, it's Merida. Merida is quite different from most other Disney princesses living in medieval Scotland. She's not looking for a prince, shoots her own arrows, and cares more about her relationship with her mom than boys.
Scotland is an excellent destination if you're interested in seeing medieval castles, just like the one we see in Brave. The scenery in the movie is also dramatic, misty, and green. Visit the Scottish Highlands, and you'll see it for real!
8 Pocahontas From Pocahontas: Virginia
Unlike other Disney characters, Pocahontas was a real person. She came from the Tidewater region of Virginia and is now associated with the colonial settlement at Jamestown. The village she was born in no longer exists but was located in Gloucester County. Although she came from Virginia, she was buried in England, in the ancient town of Gravesend.
Pocahontas may have been an actual figure, but the character we see in the Disney movie leads a very different life from her historical counterpart. Let's just say her story was Disney-fied to have a happy ending!
7 Moana From Moana: Hawaii
One of Disney's more recent main characters, and not strictly a princess, Moana is the daughter of a Hawaiian chief. The story is straight out of mythology, based on the tale of Maui and how he created the Pacific Islands by fishing them out of the ocean.
Watching the idyllic island scenery in Moana definitely makes you want to jump on a plane to the Hawaiian Islands! This isn't the first Disney film to be set in Hawaii, by the way. The first was Lilo & Stitch, though there definitely aren't any princesses in that one.
6 Ariel From The Little Mermaid: Denmark
There's been a lot of debate over where Disney's The Little Mermaid is set. The original tale is by Hans Christian Andersen, who was Danish, leading many to attribute the story to Denmark. But if we look at the fish and sea life species in the movie, it's really not typical of Northern Europe. In fact, some believe that the Disney version is set in the Caribbean.
Focusing specifically on Ariel and her origins makes sense to trace her back to Denmark. If you actually want to go and pay tribute to Ariel, you can do so at The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen.
5 Tiana From The Princess And The Frog: Louisiana
Princess Tiana made waves back in 2009 for being the first African-American Disney princess. She hails from New Orleans, Louisiana, entangled in a mess with the handsome Prince Naveen. Although everything is embellished in Disney animations, there is still a lot of Louisiana culture that seeps into the story.
You can undoubtedly visit New Orleans today, although it might look a little different from how it looks in the movie, set in the early 20th century. There are even Tiana-inspired tours you can take while in the city!
4 Anna And Elsa From Frozen: Norway
Anna and Elsa have risen to become some of the most popular Disney characters ever in recent times. These sisters are the Princesses of a kingdom called Arendelle. Unfortunately, there is no actual place called Arendelle, but many believe that the fictional land is based in the Scandinavian country of Norway.
The Disney art directors took inspiration from Norway when designing the background animation for Arendelle, so this is the closest real-life destination that we can place the sisters in. There are plenty of other clues pointing toward the Scandinavian culture of the Kingdom, including the names of some of the characters (looking at you, Olaf).
3 Belle From Beauty And The Beast: France
Beauty and the Beast's events take place in France. Moreover, there are hints in the original film that reveal the location of the live-action movie through what the characters eat and Lumiere's strong French accent. In conclusion, Belle from the film is from France.
2 Jasmine From Aladdin: Arabian Peninsula
Although no information is included about the origins of Princess Jasmine from Aladdin, the film opens up with a song called Arabian Nights, referring probably to a location in the Arabian Peninsula, without specifying where exactly. Moreover, Agrabah does not exist in reality. So, it could be in Qatar, Yemen, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Iraq, UAE, or Saudi Arabia.
1 Rapunzel From Tangled: Germany
Many people think that Rapunzel has predicted Coronavirus. However, the case is not true. As for the origins of the long-haired princess, the Tangled fairytale is set in Germany, so Rapunzel hails from there probably. Still, no additional information is available concerning where she comes from.