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22 Real Places That Inspired Disney Animated Movies

This is Prince Eric's castle from The Little Mermaid.


(Photo: Erik Charlton)

This is Chillon Castle, a real building in Switzerland.

The resemblance is striking, isn't it? Chillon Castle sits on the shore of Lake Geneva. It's existed in some form since at least 1150 and was most likely built to control what was a major road in medieval times. Chillon Castle has been a fortress, a prison, and an arsenal. It entered the popular imagination after famous writers, including Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Percy Shelley, and Lord Byron wrote about it. In "The Prisoner of Chillon," Byron describes the castle through the voice of someone trapped there:

There are seven pillars of Gothic mould,
In Chillon's dungeons deep and old,
There are seven columns, massy and grey,
Dim with a dull imprison'd ray,
A sunbeam which hath lost its way,
And through the crevice and the cleft
Of the thick wall is fallen and left;

And so it was an appropriate choice for the animators of The Little Mermaid.

This is only 1 of 22 real life places that inspired the background artists of Disney animated movies. You can view the rest at When on Earth.


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