We can’t stop watching the gorgeous new trailer for Disney’s live action remake of Beauty and the Beast.
While every image is magical, we especially love the Beast’s breathtaking castle.
Did you know many of the settings for Disney movies are based on real places? From German castles to Peruvian jungles, the animators have drawn (literally) inspiration from locations all over the world.
Here are nine Disney movie “sets” you can actually visit. Which one do you most want to see?
Atlantis: The Lost Empire: Angkor Wat
Location: Siem Reap, Cambodia
The world’s largest religious monument was originally built in honor of the Hindu god Vishnu, but eventually became the Buddhist temple it is today. When Disney decided to make a movie about the lost city of Atlantis, the directors wanted the setting to look like an ancient civilization that was ahead of its time. That’s why the animators chose to model their drawings in part after Angkor Wat, which is such a symbol of Cambodia that it even appears on the country’s flag.
Beauty and the Beast: Alsace
Location: Grand Est, France
This stunning storybook village, located along the upper Rhine, has an incredible history dating back to 1500 BC. Alsace was part of the Holy Roman Empire before being annexed by France during the 17th century. Today, it offers visitors many beautiful sights and monuments, cycling, a wine route, and a popular Christmas market. You almost expect to see Belle wandering the streets with her nose in a book.
The Emperor’s New Groove: Machu Picchu
Location: Cusco Region, Peru
This mountaintop city is the ultimate icon of Inca civilization. Historians believe it was built around 1450, during the reign of Inca ruler Pachacutec Inca Yupanqui. Since its discovery in 1911, as many as 400,000 tourists a year have visited this New Wonder of the World, including Disney animators looking for inspiration for peasant Pacha’s hillside village. (It’s worth noting the movie’s emperor, Kuzco, is clearly named after the region where Machu Picchu is located!)
Frozen: Hôtel de Glace
Location: Quebec, Canada
This is the one location you can’t visit whenever you’d like — because it melts! North America’s only true ice hotel is rebuilt every December, opened in January, and taken down in April. And yes, it’s made entirely of ice and snow; even the beds are ice (with real mattresses, of course). And don’t worry — the bathrooms are heated! The hotel features a bar, a chapel, and even an ice slide, truly making it fit for a “Snow Queen.”
The Little Mermaid: Chateau de Chillon
Location: Veytaux, Switzerland
Chillon Castle sits on the shore of Lake Geneva. Construction began in the 12th century; over the years, the castle has served as a palace, fortress, prison, and arsenal. Today, it’s a historic site that has delighted generations of visitors. It was even the inspiration for Prince Eric’s seaside castle in The Little Mermaid.
Mulan: Forbidden City
Location: Beijing, China
More than five centuries’ worth of Chinese emperors ruled from this imperial palace. While “The Ballad of Mulan,” the poem on which the movie is based, was written centuries before construction of the Forbidden City, it’s easy to see where Disney animators got their inspiration for the Emperor’s home. (Hey, they’re allowed to take a little creative license, right?)
Sleeping Beauty: Neuschwanstein Castle
Location: Hohenschwangau, Germany
Once the palace of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, this stunning German castle is now one of Europe’s most popular tourist attractions, drawing about 1.4 million people a year. Walt Disney reportedly visited in the 1950s, while Disneyland was still under construction, and was so blown away that he modeled Sleeping Beauty’s castle, in both the park and the 1959 movie, after the structure.
Tangled: Le Mont-Saint-Michel
Location: Normandy, France
This stunning French castle is notable for its location. It’s situated on an island about 600 meters from the coast; visitors can walk to it at low tide, but when the water rises, the castle is cut off from the mainland. Naturally, this allowed Mont Saint-Michel to go unconquered in times of conflict, including during the Hundred Years’ War. More than 3 million people visit the inspiration for Rapunzel’s castle every year.
Up: Angel Falls
Location: Bolívar State, Venezuela
Salto Ángel is the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall. It’s named for American pilot Jimmie Angel, who in 1933 became the first person to fly over the falls. Although Angel Falls is one of Venezuela’s most popular tourist attractions, reaching it is difficult, as it’s located among some of the country’s most rugged mountains and jungle. Angel Falls appears in Up as Paradise Falls, the attraction Carl hopes to visit.