6 Beautiful Real-Life Locations That Inspired Iconic Disney Animated Movies
These magic places have to be on your travel bucket list.
From quaint European castles to breathtaking African landscapes, the locations that inspired Disney movies are just as beautiful in real life as they are on the silver screen.
Here are just six of the stunning real-life locations that served as muses for iconic Disney films.
1. Château de Chillon, Switzerland — The Little Mermaid
Inspiration for: Prince Eric's Castle
Prince Eric's Castle, where Ariel dreams of becoming part of the human world, was inspired by the famous Château de Chillon on Lake Geneva in Switzerland. Located on a small island, this medieval fortress boasts stunning lake views and a rich history that reflects the fairytale charm of Prince Eric's home.
2. Château of Saumur, France — Sleeping Beauty
Inspiration for: King Stefan's Castle
The inspiration for the enchanted castle where Princess Aurora pricks her finger on a spindle was drawn by the film's illustrator, Eyvind Earle, from the illuminated manuscript Très Riches Heures de Jean, Duc de Berry.
The manuscript's depiction of the Château de Saumur in France's Loire Valley was an inspiration for the design of King Stephen's castle in the movie.
3. Cinque Terre, Italy — Luca
Inspiration for: The Coastal Setting
Set against the backdrop of an idyllic Italian coastal town, Luca is a heartwarming tale of friendship between humans and sea creatures. Portorosso's colorful and vibrant setting in the film was inspired by the real-life beauty of Cinque Terre, a collection of five charming villages on the Italian Riviera's cliffs.
The Cinque Terre is a dreamy location that Disney has artfully recreated with its picturesque landscapes, azure waters, and charming streets.
4. Masai Mara, Kenya — The Lion King
Inspiration for: The Pride Lands
The wide and breathtaking landscapes of Kenya's Masai Mara served as the inspiration for The Lion King's Pride Lands and its most famous location, Pride Rock. This wildlife-rich region, part of the Serengeti National Park, is known for its stunning sunsets, diverse flora and fauna, and breathtaking views that capture the spirit of the African wilderness.
5. Mont Saint-Michel, France — Tangled
Inspiration for: The Kingdom of Corona
Mont Saint-Michel, a picturesque island in Normandy, France, served as the kingdom inspiration for Disney's 50th film, Tangled. Reflecting the magical allure of Rapunzel's kingdom, this historic abbey sits on a rocky island surrounded by swirling tides.
Mont Saint-Michel's architecture and ambiance will transport visitors to a fairytale world like the beloved movie.
6. La Tour d’Argent, France — Ratatouille
Inspiration for: Gusteau's Restaurant
In Ratatouille, many famous French restaurants, including Le Train Bleu, La Tour d'Argent, Guy Savoy, and more, inspired the charming story of Remy the Rat showcasing his culinary talents.
These esteemed places influenced the ambiance and cuisine of Gusteau's restaurant in the movie, adding to the authenticity and depth of the French culinary world depicted in Ratatouille.