Calling all Disney fans! Here are 12 real world destinations for you to discover beyond the Disney parks!
12 real world destinations for Disney lovers
Looking for that Disney magic but tired of overcrowded theme parks and endless queues? From magnificent castles that have inspired much-loved Disney hits to stunning natural wonders that have made cameos in the films, you can still feel transported to a real-life fairytale setting without stepping foot in the Disney parks.
Le Mont-Saint Michel, France
Le Mont-Saint Michel in France is a must visit, especially for fans of the animated Disney movie Tangled. A true fairytale island, this magical castle is situated just off the coast of Normany and can be reached from Paris by train in just 3 hours. With strategic fortifications since ancient times, the island is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. During the early development of Tangled, animators directly sought inspiration from the town and island-castle for the Kingdom of Corona and Rapunzel's own palace in the film. Everywhere you look whilst on the island could be a scene from the movie, just without the paper, floating lanterns! What's more is that Le Mont-Saint Michel has also been credited as inspiration for one of the Lord of the Rings films. It's every film lover's, Disney or not, dream destination!
Pride Rock, Serengeti National Park
Pride Rock in Serengeti National Park has the Disney animated Lion King movies to thank for becoming a famous landmark today. Home to Simba and his lion pride in the films, the ancient rock formation in the African savannah sees many lion visitors of its own in real life. Embark on a safari through the national park and you may be lucky enough to spot a lion or two sunbathing or scoping out its prey high upon on the rock. Serengeti National Park is also home to a fantastic array of other animals and wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for friendly meerkats and warthogs!
The Alice in Wonderland Statue, New York
The bronze Alice in Wonderland statue featuring Alice, the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat and other weird and wonderful creatures proudly stands in Central Park in New York. Commissioned by philanthropist George Delacorte in 1959 as a gift to the children of the city, the statue is now enjoyed by thousands of visitors of all ages. If you look closely, lines from Lewis Carroll's nonsensical poem, the Jabberwocky, are engraved on a plaque surrounding the statue. For all the Disney and Wonderland fans, it is a must-see: its prime location in Central Park offers a momentary relief from the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple too.
Eilean Donan, Scotland
Any Disney fan visiting Scotland must make a stop at the castle of Eilean Donan. Animators of Brave, a Pixar film following red-headed princess Merrida, were heavily inspired by both the 13th century castle's exterior and interior. Clan MacRae's grand banquet table at the centre of the Great Hall in the real-life castle acted as the model for Merida's own royal family gatherings whilst the stone turrets and towers of the castle informed the backdrop to the rebellious princess's adventures in the film. The surrounding landscape of the Scottish Highlands also makes an appearance in the film but their true splendour and beauty is best seen for yourself.