Disney took the animated world by storm after its first Disney movie released in 1937: Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Based on the fairy tale from Grimm's Fairy Tales, we followed Princess Snow White as she was forced out of her castle by her evil stepmother. She sang, she danced, she cared for others — Snow White was a win in the animated world. What followed came unstoppable and lovable films about hope, love, and kindness.
We learned a lot from Walt Disney's altered stories and fell in love with the images on the screen. And although these stories are fairytales about triumphs and glory, the locations were almost always based on real-life whereabouts. From castles in Germany to towns in Italy, if you take a closer look in these beloved Disney tales, you'll notice some iconic lands from across the world.
What's better than Disney recreating these special places in film is that we still have the chance to go see our favorite Disney places come to life. Below are 10 Disney films and their real-life inspirations that you can still see today.
10 SLEEPING BEAUTY: Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany
Released in 1959, Sleeping Beauty showed us the story of Princess Aurora and her three fairy godmothers who were ordered to protect her from the evil Maleficent. In the film, we're shown the King and Queen's castle, which was actually inspired by Neuschwanstein in Bavaria, Germany.
After Walt Disney visited the castle himself, he knew he needed to recreate it in an animated fashion. And that he did.
9 TANGLED: Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy, France
Tangled is the precious tale of a princess who didn't know she was a princess. With magical hair, she was kidnapped by a woman named Mother Gothel and taken far away to live in a tower – never to be seen by her real parents, the king and queen. Eventually, Rapunzel does make her way back to her parents at their castle. Sitting high above the rest of the town, surrounded by water, this castle was inspired by an island in Normandy, France: Le Mont-Saint-Michel. With a new bridge added last year, tourists can easily reach this island to take a tour of the castle.
8 FINDING NEMO: Sydney Harbour, Australia
Remember when it's Dory's responsibility to remember "P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney"? Well, as many know, Finding Nemo was based around Australia. From the accents to the coral reefs to the Sydney Opera House, Finding Nemo took us on a tour around Sydney's Harbor without actually ever been there!
However, if you are so lucky to travel around the world to Australia, be sure to check out Sydney's Harbour to see Port Jackson and the Sydney Harbour Bridge!
7 ALADDIN: Taj Mahal, Agra, India
Aladdin took all of our hearts in 1992 with its colors, cast, and the iconic love story between Aladdin and Princess Jasmine. Plus, we all wanted a pet tiger named Raja afterward, right? In the mythical world of Agrabah, the Sultan lived in a palace that looked very similar to India's Taj Mahal. According to Pop Sugar, the palace was, indeed, inspired by the Taj Mahal, however, no one lives inside these days.
6 PETER PAN: Big Ben, London, England
London's Big Ben has been in countless movies and shows. It's one of London's prized attractions after being built in 1859. Years later in 1953, Disney created Peter Pan into an animated film.
Based on a boy who could fly and never wanted to grow up, he finds himself trying to save other kids from growing up as well. After teaching his new friends how to fly, the fly all over London and headed for Big Ben. So, if you're ever in London, just remember that Peter could be nearby!
5 THE LITTLE MERMAID: Chateau De Chillon, Lake Geneva, Switzerland
The Little Mermaid hit screens almost 30 years ago. It was then that we were introduced to the ever impulsive and independent, Princess Ariel. We learned about her longing for human culture and dared to be by Prince Eric's side after she saved him from a shipwreck. As Ariel is bringing him to shore, we see a stunning castle on the water. It almost seems too good to be true but it's not! You can actually see this castle in Lake Geneva, Switzerland! Chateau De Chillon can easily be directed to and even has tours!
4 PINOCCHIO: Pinocchio's Village; Collodi Village, Italy
A few years after Snow White came out, Pinocchio wasn't far behind. Seeing a puppet come to life in a small village in Italy was about as eye-opening as anything as a kid. Our imaginations ran wild.
Although the puppets we see in the shops of Italy may not come to life, you can wander through Collodi Village (near Tuscany) to roam the cobblestone streets and see where Disney pulled its inspiration from the city.
3 BEAUTY & THE BEAST: The Black Forest, Germany
Before Emma Watson gave us her extraordinary rendition of Belle, we had the animated version from 1991. After her father becomes a prisoner to a Beast, Belle travels through a terrifying forest to free her dad. And although the story of Beauty and the Beast takes place in France, the forest she wanders through is inspired by Germany's Black Forest; a forest you can very much hike through today!
2 SNOW WHITE: The Dwarfs Cottage, The Storybook Cottages in Los Feliz, Los Angeles
As the first Disney movie created, Snow White should have a special place in many of us Disney-lovers. Now, it's not known in the movie where Snow is from or where they're living but the original story is taken place in Germany. Funny enough, Walt didn't get his cottage inspiration from Germany at all — he found it in Los Angelas. There are, however, many homes in the Hollywood area who claim to be Disney's inspiration — even people who recreated their home to look like the movie, only later to say that it was the original inspiration...
1 THE PRINCESS & THE FROG: New Orleans in Louisiana, USA
The Princess and the Frog is the most recent movie on this list and takes place in New Orleans, Louisiana. It's Tiana's dream to work hard enough to open up her own restaurant to make her family proud, however, she finds herself on a bit of a journey in the body of a frog. Throughout the film, though, we see the bustling streets and swamp-lands of New Orleans. The music, the food, the colors — Princess and the Frog sold everyone on this fun American location!