10 real-life places that inspired our favourite Disney movies

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Hard as it may be to believe, many of the locations in our favourite Disney movies are based on dreamy locations that actually exist.

From Frozen to Aladdin to Beauty and the Beast, click through our gallery of Disney’s majestic destinations – and find out how you can get there too!

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Kuzco’s Empire in The Emperor’s New Groove was inspired by Machu Picchu, Peru.

Pacha’s village in The Emperor’s New Groove was inspired by Machu Picchu in Cusco, Peru.

This Incan citadel is found 2,430m up in the mountains of Peru. Built in the 15th century, the site was abandoned in approximately 1550 during the Spanish Conquest. It remained forgotten to the outside world until it was rediscovered in 1911.

A little known fact is that you’re not allowed to enter the ruins wearing the national dress of another country, so if you’re Scottish leave your kilts at home!

Return flights from London Gatwick to Cusco, Peru starting from £913 with opodo.co.uk.

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The Kingdom of Corona in Tangled was inspired by Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy, France.

The team who designed the Kingdom of Corona inTangled were inspired by Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy, France.

This unique island commune is periodically cut off from the mainland by tidal waters. One of France’s most recognisable landmarks, visited by more than three million people each year, Mont Saint-Michel and its bay are on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

Return flights from Southend Airport to Rennes starting from £99 with edreams.co.uk.

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The Sultan’s Palace in Aladdin was inspired by the Taj Mahal in Agra, India.

The Sultan’s Palace in Aladdin was inspired by the Taj Mahal in Agra, India.

Thought by many to be a palace, the Taj Mahal is actually a magnificent white-marble mausoleum that Emperor Shah Jahan began building in 1632 to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.

Construction was completed in its entirety in 1653 as a cost of £620 million in today’s money. The tomb is the centrepiece of a huge 42-acre complex which includes a mosque, a guest house and a large Mughal garden.

Prince William and Kate famously followed in Diana, Princess of Wales’ footsteps and visited the Taj Mahal earlier this year.

Return flights from London Heathrow to New Delhi starting from £528 with opodo.co.uk.

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Prince Eric’s castle in The Little Mermaid was inspired by The Chillon Castle, Switzerland.

Prince Eric’s castle in The Little Mermaid was inspired by Chateau De Chillon on Lake Geneva in Switzerland.

Though the oldest parts of the castle have not been officially dated, the first time the castle was identified was in a written record in 1005.

The castle’s primary function was to ensure entrance to the Great St Bernard Pass was controlled, however it has also been used more recently as a summer house and a prison.

The beautiful castle is one of Switzerland’s most visited tourist attractions and also appears frequently in novels; Lord Byron wrote a poem set in the castle and carved his name on a pillar in its dungeon.

Return flights from London Gatwick to Geneva starting from £80 with edreams.co.uk.

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The Queen’s Castle in Snow White was inspired by Alcázar de Segovia in Spain.

Segovia castle played a key part in inspiring the design of the Queen’s Castle in Snow White and is one of the most distinctive castle-palaces in the world due to its shape – said to be based on the bow of a ship.

The Alcázar was originally built as a fortress but has served as a royal palace, a state prison, a Royal Artillery College and a military academy since then.

Return flights from London Stansted to Madrid starting from £124 with edreams.co.uk.

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Paradise Falls in Up was inspired by Angel Falls (also known as Kerepakupai Vena in the indigenous Pemon language) in Venezuela.

Paradise Falls in Up was inspired by Venezuela’s Angel Falls, the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall. It falls from a mountain called Auyantepui, which is one of several table-topped “tepui” mountains in Venezuela.

Not content with featuring in Up, the falls also made an appearance in Disney’s 2000 film Dinosaur and the 2015 remake of Point Break.

Return flights from London Gatwick to Caracas starting from £593 with opodo.co.uk.

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The Royal Castle in Brave was inspired by Eilean Donan Castle in Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland.

The Royal Castle in Brave was inspired by Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland. Though the current castle standing on Eilean Donan (which means “island of Donnan” in Gaelic) is a reconstruction completed in 1932, the island has an ancient history.

It is said to have been the site of a monastery in the sixth or seventh century, and it later became home to a castle that protected the Mackenzie clan.

The castle is regularly described as one of the most photographed monuments in Scotland and is a recognised Scottish icon, frequently appearing on packaging and advertising for shortbread, whisky and other products.
Return flights from London Luton to Inverness starting from £71 with edreams.co.uk.

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Belle’s hometown in Beauty and The Beast was inspired by Alsace, France.

This small village square in Beauty and the Beast was inspired by Alsace, a picturesque north-eastern French region near the Rhine River.

Bordering Germany and Switzerland, it has alternated between German and French control over the centuries and reflects a mix of the two cultures.

The region’s authorities pay grants to homeowners who use coloured paint on their houses as it increases tourism to the region.

Return flights from London Heathrow to Strasbourg starting from £158 with opodo.co.uk.

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The Chapel in Frozen was inspired by St. Olaf’s Church in Balestrand, Norway.

The Chapel in Frozen was inspired by St. Olaf’s Church in Balestrand, Norway. The church was completed in 1897 as a memorial to Margaret Green.

Margaret, an English lady, came to the fjords as a tourist to hike the mountains. She met, fell in love with and married Knut Kvikne who was an avid mountaineering man.

Being a very pious woman, she wished for an Anglican church in Balestrand. Instrumental at initiating it’s construction, Margaret died before it was completed.

Return flights from London Heathrow to Bergen starting from £101 with opodo.co.uk.

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The Emperor’s home in Mulan was inspired by the Forbidden City in Beijing, China.

The Emperor’s home in Mulan was inspired by the Forbidden City in Beijing, China. Though it is now accessible to the general public, it was once home to the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties.

The expansive palace was considered “Forbidden” because it was the residence of the emperor, and no one could enter or leave without his permission.

Return flights from London Heathrow to Beijing starting from £412 with edreams.co.uk.

 

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