11 Famous Disney Castles and Their Real Life Prototypes

You probably grew up watching Disney. If that’s the case, that means you probably have your favourite Disney character, perhaps it’s a Disney princess or a prince. Maybe you’re a maverick and your favorite Disney character is a sidekick. Either way a lot of us associate Disney with our childhood. Some of us idolized Disney to the point where we wished we could go and visit all those beautiful castles and places from the cartoons. Well, what if I told you you could? That some of those places actually exist. And I don’t mean in Disneyland. Some of your favourite castles, waterfalls, churches and streets were inspired by real places and there are real life prototypes that you can go see if you just hop on a plane.

Then again, not all of us have the finances to go on a round the world trip to see real life Disney locations. So for those on a budget, enjoy the pictures. This way you can have a side by side comparison of the Disney version and the real deal.



1. The Sleeping Beauty
The gorgeous castle from The Sleeping Beauty was inspired by the Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany. As you can see, in certain light it does look like something out of a fairytale.
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2. Up
The waterfalls from Up are actually real waterfalls in Venezuela called Angel Falls. They’re incredibly beautiful. Perhaps even more beautiful in real life than in the cartoon.
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3. Atlantis: The Lost Empire
Doesn’t this place just look magical? One might say the beauty of this place is out of this world. Well, that would be wrong, since there’s a place in this world that looks very similar – the temple complex of Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
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4. The Little Mermaid
The castle in The Little Mermaid looks very much like the Chillon Castle on Lake Geneva in Switzerland. The only difference is that the Disney version is a bit more rounded, while the real castle is a standard square shape.
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5. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
While the houses in this picture from the Hunchback of Notre Dame are completely fictional, you probably know that the actual Notre Dame is very real and is located in Paris, France. Once again, the real thing looks even more mesmerizing than the Disney version.
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6. Tangled
The magical looking island with a castle on top, from Tangled, also has a real life prototype. Mont-Saint-Michel in France looks like it might’ve been what gave the creators of the animated movie the idea for that castle.
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7. Beauty and the Beast
The charming, picturesque little streets Belle wanders through in Beauty and the Beast look pretty much identical to the streets of Alsace in France. That city has the same old-timey vibe to it.
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8. Frozen
This beautiful scene in Frozen looks like it might’ve taken place in St. Olaf’s Church in Norway. Funny name, right? Do you think that’s why the snowman in the cartoon was named Olaf?
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9. Wreck-It Ralph
The Game Central Station in Wreck-It Ralph is pretty much an identical copy of Grand Central in New York. Isn’t it cool how they model the main station in a game world after the most famous train station in NY?
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10. Brave
It’s obvious that Brave is set in Scotland. If you can’t tell by the nature, you can definitely tell by the accents. And even though it’s an animated movie and they could’ve made the scenery whatever they wanted, the castle in Brave looks very much like the Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland.
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11. Snow White
The castle from Snow White always looked fake. Like it’s a generic castle in the middle of nowhere. Most of us always assumed it’s just made up. However, Alcazar of Segovia, located in Spain looks like it wouldn’t look out of place in the Snow White cartoon. In fact, the real castle looks even more surreal than the Disney version.
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