5 Real Locations That Inspired Disney Films

We often hear or read about reel to real in film. On-screen lovers to real life couples, fictional worlds recreated in theme parks or tourist attractions among several other examples. But we’re not gonna talk about that in this article. We are going on a journey to a whole new world. Well, not really because these 5 Real Locations That Inspired Disney Films already exist and all we have to do is to know where to find them.

Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland, UK – Brave

Reel – If you’ve watched every Disney movie out there, I’m pretty sure you remember this one-of-a-kind princess, Merida, firstborn descendant of clan Dunbroch. As seen in the movie, the castle was pretty much isolated and one way of going there is by boat.

5 Real Locations That Inspired Disney - DunBroch Castle, Brave

Real – The Eilean Donan Castle was founded in the 13th century. It became a stronghold of the Clan Mackenzie and Clan Macrae in the early 18th century. The involvement of Clan Mackenzie in the Jacobite rebellions led to the destruction of the castle in 1719. The present building that we know today is the product of Lt. Col. John Macrae-Gilstrap’s effort to reconstruct the ruins in the 20th century. Accordingly, it is possible that an early Christian monastic cell dedicated to Donnan of Eigg, an Irish saint martyred in Eigg, was founded on the island in the sixth or seventh century.

5 Real Locations That Inspired Disney - Eilean Donan Castle


Louisiana Bayous, USA – The Princess and the Frog.

Reel – Still remember the blind voodoo lady who lives in the boat in the tree in the bayou? If you’ve watched The Princess and the Frog, you probably do.

5 Real Locations That Inspired Disney - Bayou, The Princess and The Frog

Real – To start of, the name “bayou” is believed to have originated from the word “bayuk” which means “small stream” in a local American tongue. The bayou, primarily located in the southern reaches of Louisiana, is the defining feature of this part of America. It is the home to a lot of people living in the Pelican state and to an abundance of wildlife.

5 Real Locations That Inspired Disney - Louisiana Bayou

St. Olaf’s Church, Balestrand, Sogn og Fjordane, Norway – Frozen

Reel – One of the notable events in Frozen was Elsa’s coronation. This event lead to the “reunion” of Elsa and Anna, but it’s also the reason why Anna met Prince Han, which resulted to a lot of conflict and plot twists in the story.

5 Real Locations That Inspired Disney - Frozen

Real – The church featured in the film was based on St. Olaf’s Church, an Anglican church in Balestrand in the county of Sogn og Fjordane in Norway. It was built as a stave church imitation in 1897. St. Olaf’s Church has 95 seats and nine stained glass windows in the choir. The church has been a popular location for weddings, especially by Norwegian-British bridal couples.

5 Real Locations That Inspired Disney - St. Olaf's Church

Angel Falls, Venezuela – Up

Reel – Unable to have any children after years of being married, best childhood friends Carl and Ellie decided to pool their savings for a trip to Paradise Falls in South America, only to end up using all the money on more pressing needs. At an old age, Carl was finally able to arrange a trip for him and Ellie to the falls, but his wife became ill and died. Carl was able to reach the falls by tying 10,000 helium balloons to his house.

5 Real Locations That Inspired Disney - Paradise Falls, Up

Real – Since mid-20th century, the waterfall has been known as “Angel Falls”, named after the first person to fly over the falls, Jimmie Angel, a US aviator. Despite being situated in an isolated jungle, Angel falls is one of Venezuela’s top tourist attractions.

5 Real Locations That Inspired Disney - Angel Falls

Le Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy, France – Tangled

Reel – Notable for the romantic scene where Rapunzel and Flynn watched the floating lights which were actually launched from the castle and town center. When the first lantern was released by the king and queen, the scene zooms out and we get to see a good view of the castle as more lanterns are released by the townspeople.

5 Real Locations That Inspired Disney - Tangled

Real – Le Mont-Saint-Michel is an island commune in Normandy, France. Since the ancient times, Le Mont-Saint-Michel has held a strategic fortifications and has been the monastery from which it got its name since the 8th century AD. This island is one of France’s most recognizable landmarks. Le Mont-Saint-Michel and its bays are on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

5 Real Locations That Inspired Disney - Le Mont-Saint-Michel

To conclude this list of 5 Real Locations That Inspired Disney Films, keep in mind that there are times we find ourselves inspired by the books we’ve read or the films we’ve watched, but let us not forget that we live in a beautiful world that can also have the same effect to us. All we need is the courage (and budget -winks-) to explore it.

We hope you enjoyed reading this list of 5 Real Locations That Inspired Disney Films.


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