Where is the real Disney castle which inspired Walt Disney located?
Are you one of those fairytale lovers who’ve always dreamt of castles, princesses, unicorns and glass slippers? Have the blissful stories of Cinderella, Snow White, elves and evil stepmothers captured you in awe? Has the fantasy world of Disney made you feel more than just thrilled, even slightly nostalgic inside?
Then, a tour of the real Disney castle would be the best thing that could happen to you!
Yes, it’s true and real! Walt Disney didn’t just conjure up his whimsical storybook castles out of thin air! Stroking the artistic sense of Disney’s designers were some of the most idyllic castles in modern day times:
The Neuschwanstein Castle – Germany
Does this towering limestone structure remind you of Sleeping Beauty’s castle from those hardcover books you read as a child?
The Neuschwanstein castle inspired Walt Disney in creating Sleeping Beauty’s resting abode at Disneyland. But apart from the fairytale splendor of the place, this 19th century castle was home to an actual king.
King Ludwig the second of Bavaria designed this architectural extravagance as his then retirement home. Apparently, he wished the castle be a retreat to escape from his royal duties. Hence, he modelled the Neuschwanstein castle to reflect the most poignant art and celebrated operas. The palace is lush with whimsical elements such as angels, poets and knights carved into the interior caverns and walls.
With the German legends of brave knights serving as inspiration to designers, the king commissioned representative artistic embellishments in the castle’s gardens, balconies and towering turrets.
The chapel at the Neuschwanstein castle is also marked with rich stone work. You can tour the inner gardens, artificial caves and grotto of the castle with the help of local guides.
What makes the Neuschwanstein castle even more of a fairytale icon is its amazing outdoor panorama. The castle itself is perched on a rugged hill up in the Alps. It overlooks the green and serene vistas of the Hohenschwangau valley.
This castle once hosted many famous balls in its two large expansive rooms – the Hall of Singers and the Throne Hall.
The Neuschwanstein castle is often considered the real Disney castle along with the following:
The Alcázar of Segovia – Spain
The Alcázar of Segovia is among Europe’s greatest castles. The castle is nestled high upon the rocky cliffs of the Guadarrama mountains, between the swirling rivers of Rio Clamores and Rio Eresma. A speciality of this castle is its distinct shape resembling a ship’s bow. Its height and surrounding rocky terrains were natural advantages in the face of the enemy.
Many marriages and crowning ceremonies of Spanish monarchs have graced the palace halls. From its early uses as a jail, the Alcázar of Segovia has transformed into a military school and then later, a royal artillery college.
The Alcázar of Segovia has distinct Muslim or Moorish architectural influences as you can see from the style of windows and glass ceiling work.
Walt Disney scouted throughout Europe to model Cinderella’s castle and found the gothic style turrets and balconies of the Alcázar of Segovia to be an appropriate inspiration. Also, the intricate garden mazes of the Alcázar lend a fantasy feel to the entire brick fortress.
Other real Disney castle inspiration
Châteaux of Chenonceau – France
The French crown lived in sparkling splendor in this magnificent fort above the river Cher. The Renaissance castle was once a hospital during World War | and was primarily in the hands of potent female royals.
Gardens and courtyards of the palace serve as base for many fairytales onscreen and off-screen.
Palace of Fontainebleau – France
This French palace hosts some of the world’s finest Renaissance work in its hallways and suites. Right from floral wallpaper designs ornate bronze statues and extensive brick fireplaces, the Palace of Fontainebleau spells of opulence and prestige in every corner.
The Palace Library and king’s throne remind us of the wisdom and administrative excellence of the then royalty.
With ornamental gardens, lush flowerbeds, winding paths and bubbling fountains, it’s no wonder the castle was a favorite in the minds of Disney designers!
The Versailles – France
Unbeaten to this day, this symbol of monarchism in the heart of France, Paris, has lasted the ages. It’s also become one of the world’s most valued castles. The French royals designed the Palace of Versailles in utmost grandeur with exquisite golden fountains and enormous bronze gates. The castle had the finest interiors any royalty could have at that time.
See for yourself how the Versailles could form the stuff of fairytales across the world:
The real Disney castle is situated at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, Florida, Tokyo and California.
Other castles which inspired the artists at Disney include the Moszna castle in Poland, the Pierrefonds, Chambord and Chaumont castles, all three in France.
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