The 10 Real Places of the Disney Classics

More than fifty Disney classics have been made since the birth of the American company. From Aristochats to The Snow Queen, via The 101 Dalmatians or Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Fantrippers reveals 10 places that inspired the directors of these cartoons.

1. The Aristocats

Rushing to rescue Duchess and the kittens, O’Malley’s gang, followed by Roquefort the mouse, pass by this famous café. Sitting on the terrace, a man is drinking wine. But when he observes the parade of animals, he spills his glass, convinced that he has had too much of the drink. Walt Disney, in love with France, which he discovered in 1918 when he served as a volunteer soldier with the French Red Cross, gave his approval for this film just before his death. The team thus set the story in Paris and included this establishment opened in 1862, frequented by many artists, such as Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Emile Zola or Guy de Maupassant.

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2. The 101 Dalmatians (Clyde Geronimi, Wolfgang Reitherman, Hamilton Luske – 1961)

Where Anita and Roger met

Pongo’s moping about being alone and his owner Roger. From the very beginning of the film, the spectators attend the watered meeting of Pongo and Perdita and Roger and Anita in Regent’s Park, this beautiful royal London park. Situated on horseback in the City of Westminster and the Camden district, it is home to beautiful flower beds. To the north is the London Zoo and to the south the Madame Tussauds Museum and the Sherlock Holmes Museum.

The scene of the animated feature film takes place at the Queen’s Mary Garden within the Inner circle (inner lane of the park). In this part, there is also the Open Air Theater where Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is performed.

Address: Chester Rd, London NW1, United Kingdom

3. Frozen (Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee – 2013)

Elsa’s coronation church

St. Olav, Balestrand, Sogn og Fjordane County, Central Norway (CC BY-SA 3.0 / Zairon)
St. Olav, Balestrand, Sogn og Fjordane County, Central Norway (CC BY-SA 3.0 / Zairon)

This Anglican church, built in 1897, was the setting for Elsa’s coronation scene. The exterior of the building resembles a stavkirke, a wooden church that was very common in the Middle Ages. At present, there are reportedly less than a dozen left in Norway. They were also used to design sets in Frozen. The religious building also gave its name to the character of Olaf, the snowman in the animated film.

As for Hallstatt, set in Arandelle, the artistic director of both films, Michael Giaimo, has always refrained from citing this small Austrian town as inspiration for the town in Frozen. Yet tourists and influencers have not really taken note of it. Inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997 for its pastel-coloured houses and cultural landscape, the village receives more than 10,000 visitors every day.

Address: Kong Beles veg 35, 6899 Balestrand, Norway

4. Peter Pan (Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson and Hamilton Luske – 1953)

The Darlings’ home

The lavish Darling family home is the setting for the extraordinary adventures of Wendy and her brothers. It is in the teenager’s bedroom that Peter Pan appears, before guiding the children to Neverland.

The author of Peter Pan, James Matthews Barrie, often visited the Llewellyn Davies family in this house. After the death of their parents, the novelist adopted the couple’s five children and used them to imagine the Darling family. It is in this park that the prelude to Barrie’s novel takes place. There is also a statue of Peter Pan. Sculpted by Sir George Frampton in 1912, it was secretly installed on the night of April 30 of the same year, so that children would think it was the work of fairies.

Address: 31 Kensington Park Gardens, London W11 2QS, United Kingdom

5. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (David Hand – 1937)

The Castle of the Evil Queen

Alcazar Castle of Segovia (CC BY 2.0 / carthesian from Barcelona, España)
Alcazar Castle of Segovia (CC BY 2.0 / carthesian from Barcelona, España)

The splendid Spanish castle of the Alcázar of Segovia inspired the evil queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. As it is located on a rocky spur overlooking rivers, visitors have no trouble believing they are in the lair of the evil queen and her magical mirror. Built in 1130, it is one of the most remarkable fortified buildings in the country, particularly because of its shape similar to the bow of a ship.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is Disney studios’ first animated feature film. Adapted from the Grimm brothers’ eponymous novel published in 1812, the first draft of the script dates from 1934, three years before the animated film was released in theatres. Although he did not win the Oscar for best film score – his only nomination in 1938 – the following year, Walt Disney received an honorary Oscar with the mention “Unquestionable innovation in the field of cinematography that has charmed millions of spectators and opened up vast perspectives for the cinema”.. The award is represented by 8 statuettes, 7 of which are small, like the number of dwarves in the feature film.

Address: Plaza Reina Victoria Eugenia, s/n, 40003 Segovia, Spain

6. Alice in Wonderland (Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson and Hamilton Luske – 1951)

Hyde Park

It is in this park that Alice and her sister read a book. At the top of a tree, the little girl doesn’t really listen to her eldest daughter giving her a history lesson. She’d rather play with Dinah, her cat.

Like Mary Poppins, The 101 Dalmatians and Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland begins with a long map of the city of London. For the feature film Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson and Hamilton Luske chose Hyde Park as the set for the first scenes of the story. Without ever really referring to it when they talk about the sequence, but the spectators can make the link with this London park.

As detailed in the Fantrippers London Guide, Hyde Park is frequently used as a location for feature films. It should be noted that this place is charming and offers a unique photograph of London. With its 140 hectares and the Serpentine flowing in the middle, this immense green space is one of the nine royal parks in the British capital.

Address: Westminster, London W1, United Kingdom

7. Sleeping Beauty (Clyde Geronimi – 1959)

Sleeping Beauty Castle

Castle of Neuschwanstein in Schwangau in Bavaria (Germany). (CC BY-SA 3.0 of / Thomas Wolf)
Castle of Neuschwanstein in Schwangau in Bavaria (Germany). (CC BY-SA 3.0 of / Thomas Wolf)

You can’t miss this castle if you’re a Disney fan. Visible in Sleeping Beauty, erected in California’s first Disneyland in 1955 and then logo of Walt Disney studios, the castle is everywhere. But it is not only the Burbank studios’ animators who are inspired by it. The castle also served as a model for Hades in Saint Seiya, the fortress of Eyrie in Game of Thrones and is also visible in One Piece.

Sleeping Beauty is an adaptation of the written versions of the folk tale by Charles Perrault (1697) and the Brothers Grimm (1812). Neuschwanstein Castle was built in 1869 for Ludwig II of Bavaria. Two years earlier, the king of the region had visited the castle of Pierrefonds in the Oise and wanted to mix his architectural style with that of the medieval Wartburg fortress in Thuringia. This cultural mix gave a flamboyant result.

Address: Neuschwanstein Castle, Neuschwansteinstraße 20, 87645 Schwangau, Germany

8. The Adventures of Bernard and Bianca (Wolfgang Reitherman, Art Stevens and John Lounsbery – 1977)

The bayou

Penny’s just been kidnapped. Opheline of the Clair matin institute, she finds herself locked in a boat in the middle of a bayou. His only chance is an SOS slipped in a bottle. The message was then discovered by the SOS Society, a mouse organization based in the cellars of the UN in New York. Bianca and Bernard, two mice, then set off in search of the little girl.

To illustrate the Bayou du Diable where Penny is held prisoner, the hosts chose to draw inspiration from Bayou Metairie in Louisiana. Filled in at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, only a few remains of this ancient navigable network remain today. The word bayuk in choctaw means snake or sinuosity. The name Bayou Meteraie was given to the place by the French settlers; the tenant farm being a farm.

Address: Bayou Metairie, City Park Ave, New Orleans, LA 70119, USA

9. Robin Hood (Wolfgang Reitherman – 1973)

Sherwood Forest

This is Robin Hood‘s most important place. Here the prince of thieves meets Little John in an epic battle over the river, where he later discovers the hidden inhabitants to flee from the Sheriff of Nottingham. It was from this secret base in the forest that the revolt sounded, including stealing from the rich to give to the poor.

Its name sounds like a myth, but Sherwood Forest really does exist. It is home to the legendary Major Oak. According to legend, this huge oak tree, between 800 and 1000 years old, was used as a hiding place for the big-hearted robber.

The animated film required 35,000 drawings, including more than 800,000 painted cellulos and 800 sets. Nevertheless, many elements from previous feature films have been reused.

Address: Edwinstowe, Mansfield NG21 9HN, United Kingdom

10. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise – 1996)

The Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris

Freely inspired by Victor Hugo’s novel, Notre-Dame de Paris, published in 1831, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame attracted nearly 7 million spectators in French cinemas. This feature-length animated film reached the first place at the box office in our country in 1996, ahead of Independence Day and Seven.

Almost the entire film takes place in Notre-Dame Cathedral. Quasimodo lives there surrounded by his friends the three gargoyles La Rocaille, La Muraille, and La Volière. It is also in this famous building that Judge Frollo exercises his power over the bell ringer.

The cathedral, built from 1163, was completed in 1345. An important place of worship for the French Catholic Church, it is one of the most visited monuments in our country. With more than 14 million visitors a year, it is ahead of the Eiffel Tower for example. Its fame, it owes it above all to Victor Hugo’s novel. From this publication, Notre-Dame became a muse in the arts and culture.

Address: Notre Dame Cathedral, 75001 Paris, France

The Fantrippers Buying Board


Fantrippers' opinion

By Damien Canteau

Monday, May 18, 2020

Passionné par l'Histoire, les animés, les Arts et la bande dessinée en particulier, Damien est le rédacteur en chef du site spécialisé dans le 9e art, Comixtrip.

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