Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Jamie Street
Real Life Sites and Places You'll Recognize from Disney Films
Top tier storytelling and animation contribute to Disney’s success as a franchise. Almost all of the films draw from real life. For example, the sultan’s palace in “Aladdin” imitates the Taj Mahal, and the Imperial Palace from “Mulan” is a real structure in China.
Here are some sites and places from Disney films.
Notre Dame – The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, a Gothic cathedral on the Île de la Cité in Paris, inspired Victor Hugo’s novel. Years later, Disney released “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”
Most of the story takes place at the church, which is effectively a prison for Quasimodo. The animators took great pains to depict every detail from the stained-glass windows to the gargoyles.
Notre Dame means “Our Lady,” and it attracts millions of tourists each year.
Hell’s Gate National Park – The Lion King
To create a credible setting for Simba, Disney animators went to Hell’s Gate National Park in Kenya.
Pride Rock, the set of the monarchy in “The Lion King,” draws directly from the park’s cliffs. You can see them for yourself if you drive from Nairobi, which isn’t far.
Aside from stunning scenery, enjoy bird watching, hiking and game viewing.
New York City – Oliver and Company
This playful take on the Oliver Twist novel isn’t in England, but New York City. In typical Disney fashion, most of the main cast consists of animals.
Set in the 1980s, “Oliver and Company” shows the Twin Towers, Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge and Times Square. Don’t overlook the yellow taxis, which are emblematic of the city.
Big Ben – The Great Mouse Detective
“The Great Mouse Detective” is one of the most slept on Disney movies. It shows Baker Street, Buckingham Palace and Big Ben.
The final confrontation between Basil and Ratigan occurs inside Big Ben. The clock, part of the Houses of Parliament, is the quintessential landmark in London.
If you’re interested in the mechanics of the clock and the bell, book a guided tour.