October 12, 2014

7 Real-Life Disney Places

Books and movies possess the incredible ability to transport us to magical lands and countries.  In particular, Disney movies consistently succeed in romanticizing places and events to bring out the wonder of our inner child.  Thankfully, many of these stories take inspiration from actual places, and here are 7 Real-Life Disney places you can visit!


Ok, so the only ball I attended at Neuschwanstein Castle existed only in my imagination, but visiting the real-life inspiration for Cinderella's and Sleeping Beauty's castle was one of the highlights of our honeymoon in Germany!  From intricately decorated rooms to breathtaking natural scenery, a visit to Neuschwanstein Castle will give you a peek into what it must feel like to be a princess!

Disney Movie:  Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty
Place:  Neuschwanstein Castle located in Upper Bayern, Germany



I couldn't help keeping a wary eye out for a jealous Tinkerbell while relaxing in the real-life "Mermaid Lagoon" of Italy's Bagni della Regina Giovanna.  The stunning natural beauty of this fairly isolated and uncrowded cove located just outside Sorrento set a high standard for Mediterranean relaxation and made an indelible mark on our Italy trip this past summer.  Thankfully, the clock-swallowing crocodile of Peter Pan did not make an appearance, though!

Disney Movie:  Peter Pan
Place:  Bagni della Regina Giovanna, Sorrento, Italy




Don't begrudge your last tuppence to feed the birds at St. Paul's Cathedral in London!  Actually, there are signs indicating that you should not feed the birds, but that didn't deter me from singing a few lines as the "saints and apostles" looked down from the top of London's iconic church as I enjoyed being in one of the filming sites of Mary Poppins.

Disney Movie:  Mary Poppins
Place:  St. Paul's Cathedral, London, England




It's difficult not to be on the lookout for a vengeful Scar or hungry hyenas while on safari in Uganda's magnificent Murchison Falls National Park.  Although we did not get a glimpse of Simba or Nala, we did see a plethora of other wildlife that would warm the heart of any Lion King fan!

Disney Movie:  The Lion King
Place:  Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda



I felt like I was walking through the pages of my favorite Disney fairytale when we explored the streets of Strasbourg, located in the Alsace region of France just over the Rhine from Germany.  So much so that I half-expected to see a pony-tailed Gaston poke his head out of a pub and bellow about making Belle his wife!  While in Strasbourg, be sure to try the flammek├╝che, an Alsatian-style pizza featuring an onion-cream sauce.

Disney MovieBeauty and the Beast
Place:  Strasbourg, France



Rather than slinging pickaxes or shovels over our shoulders, we whistled our way through an auto tour of the Black Forest en route to World Cup celebrations.  Thanks to the heavy downpours and thick fog, it wasn't hard to see where the Black Forest got its name and reputation.  Perhaps the weather deceived my eyes, but I almost thought I saw a few magical creatures sneaking across the pine-forest floor...

Disney MovieSnow White and the Seven Dwarves
Place:  The Black Forest, Germany



Unlike the other Disney movies I've listed, I actually cannot stomach their version of Pocahontas.  Not only is it historically inaccurate (newsflash: Pocahontas never had a love interest in John Smith!), but they decided to completely misrepresent the landscape of tidewater Virginia.  There are no cliffs from which she possibly could've sung about the colors of the wind!  At any rate, whenever I visit the beautiful shores of Virginia's Northern Neck, Eastern shore, or general tidewater region, I can reflect on the real Pocahontas and the reactions of Virginia's Native Americans when the English explorers first arrived.

Disney MoviePocahontas
Place:  the Northern Neck, Eastern Shore, and/or Tidewater regions of Virginia


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Where are some of your favorite Real-Life Disney locations?



Linking up with Swags, Diana, Anna, and Bonnie for #TravelTuesday!



Linking up with other travel bloggers for the #SundayTraveler!

Updated 03/28/2016 with #TravelTuesday link-up and other internal links.

24 comments:

  1. I think it's so cool that you've been to all of these places, they are on my bucket list (some of them might have been added after reading this post)!!

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    1. After putting together this list, there are tons more "Disney" places I want to visit! I'd love to see an Arrendale-type place next. :)

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  2. Oooo I want in that mermaid lagoon!

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    1. Me too. When will someone invent teleportation?!?! I'm craving some clear-waters and sunny skies!

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  3. What a fun post! Very creative, and spot on.

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    1. Thanks! It's one of the more fun ones I've done. It makes me want to go visit more Disney-inspiring places. :)

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  4. What I want to know is, did you go to these places because of the Disney connection (I like a good scavenger hunt) and if not, when and how did the connection occur to you?

    Cool, either way.

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    1. Yes and no. :) I was definitely humming "Feed the Birds" when I visited St Paul's, but even if I hadn't seen Mary Poppins, I probably would've visited since it's such an iconic part of London. As for Neuschwanstein Castle, I actually spent half the time reminiscing on "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" as some of the scenes were filmed there (and Rothenburg, too). The Disney connection of all these places didn't occur to me until we visited Mermaid Lagoon and Belle's town this past summer! Now if only I could visit the Arendelle inspiration... :)

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  5. I really enjoyed this post!! What a cute idea! The Mermaid Lagoon also had me thinking about The Little Mermaid, too! :) Also, just in general, when I was in Prague, it felt so "storybook" and Disney to me in the architecture!

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    1. YES. Prague is definitely a fairytale/storybook location! I've seen pictures of Cesky Krumlov (also Czech Republic) that look just as magical!

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  6. What a great idea for a post. I haven't been to any of these places, although I was rather darn close when I visited Sorrento but didn't make it down to the water. I've been wanting to visit Norway for years. Now, I wish I had done it before Frozen made it so very popular.

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    1. I was thinking that, too! I want to see a real-life Arendelle inspiration. Too bad Norway is so stinkin' expensive!

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  7. So cool! I've only been to St. Paul's Cathedral in London. I didn't even realize the connection to Mary Poppins till now.

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    1. "All around the cathedral the saints and apostles look down as she sells her waaaares!!!!" What can I say? I'm 27 years old and not afraid to say I love Disney! :)

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  8. I love Disney, so of course I love this post! :)

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  9. Flammek├╝che = YUM! :) I had no idea the Beauty and the Beast story location was based in Strasbourg. I can totally see it now that you've pointed it out though!

    And that lagoon? I have to go there! So beautiful! :)

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    1. I don't know if Strasbourg was the precise location that Disney had in mind when he was making the movie, but I think it could be a good fit. :) And YES, you really should go see that lagoon! Justin + Lauren (justinpluslauren.com) also visited that place and can attest to its out-of-this-world beauty.

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  10. I didn't realize that Strasbourg was the inspiration for Beauty & the Beast...and that the Mermaid Lagoon existed. Such beautiful places :)

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    1. I can't say with 100% certainty that it was the exact inspiration for Beauty & The Beast, but it certainly looks the part! I really adore that part of France. The mix of Germanic and French culture there is absolutely beautiful.

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  11. I love this post Katrina!!! I'm such a die-hard Disney fan (mostly the older stuff! But I also looove Tangled... which I think I"m going to watch right now, haha!). Your photo of Neuschwanstein Castle is just breathtaking! For some reason, I dont' think I knew Snow White was supposed to have taken place in the Black Forest... how cool!

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    1. #DisneyFansUNITE!!! Disney movies take us all over the world, and it's so cool to see different sites that remind us of those movies. I don't know with absolute certainty that Snow White was based in the Black Forest, but it was a Grimm Fairytale so it's totally possible!

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  12. I like Strasbourg as the Beauty and the Beast locale, that makes the most sense out of all the villages in France! Love this post, Katrina, super good job! Yeah, I actually avoided watching (and still have) Pocahontas just because it was evident in the previews that her and John Smith would be an item (poor John Rolfe...)! Good job debunking even the topography of that movie! :D What would we have done without Disney to warm our hearts to traveling?! We are fortunate to live in an era where the world is accessible to us! :)

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    1. I have very limited knowledge of France, but Alsace seemed like an appropriate setting for Beauty & The Beast! Maybe Colmar would be even better than Strasbourg, but I haven't visited there yet. :)

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