To celebrate its 100th anniversary, The Walt Disney Company has opened its vaults to reveal a list of 30 locations across Europe, the Middle East and Africa that have inspired its movies, parks and fan’s hearts over the last century. From Big Ben in London to the colorful province of Cinque Terre in Italy, the list of landmarks covers 13 countries and showcases the spots that have inspired some of Disney’s most famous stories.
As part of the celebrations, Disney has also recreated famous scenes from its 100-year history with exclusive photography, including locations such as Great Fosters, England where its topiary maze was said to have inspired a memorable scene in Alice in Wonderland.
Exclusive research, commissioned by The Walt Disney Company, found that when the nation was asked which locations in the UK they would like to see featured in future Disney films, the Lake District topped the list (14%), followed by Loch Ness (10%) and Edinburgh Castle (10%) in Scotland. The research also found that almost half of Brits would love to use a Disney location for a once-in-a-lifetime moment, with four in ten (41%) 16 – 44-year-olds saying they would select their dream wedding destination based on castles and locations that inspired Disney’s stories.
The research also found that two in five (42%) Brits are completely unaware that many Disney films and park attractions are based on real world locations. Indeed, three quarters (75%) of Brits were unaware that the iconic Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, with its fairy-tale architecture and picturesque setting, influenced the design for Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland in California, USA. Elsewhere, less than 10% of Brits were aware that St. Abbs Village in Berwickshire, Scotland, was the location for the home of Thor in Marvel’s smash hit 2019 movie, Avengers: Endgame.
Elsewhere, the research showed the nation’s top three most memorable Disney film scenes include the iconic Lady and the Tramp moment where a plate of spaghetti is shared in a demure restaurant (16%), the magical scene in Mary Poppins as she flies out of London with her umbrella (14%), and the musical march of ‘Heigh Ho’ from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (14%).
Rebecca Cline, Director of the Walt Disney Archives, said: “Towards the end of his life, Walt Disney was honored as the “Showman of the World”. It was a very apt honor, as he was fascinated and inspired by everything he experienced and saw, no matter where it was. As he once said himself, “Always, as you travel, assimilate the sounds and sights of the world.” And we have all benefited from his love of cultures the world over.”
Encouraging fans to join in its celebration, Disney is offering one lucky winner a once in a lifetime photoshoot with photographer, Linda Blacker, who will transform them to look like one of their favorite Disney characters. Fans gain a chance to win by recreating their own favorite Disney scene or moment in the most creative way possible and uploading the photo with the hashtag #Disney100TheLandmarks to Instagram, or through Disney UK’s Facebook page.
The list of 30 locations that have inspired Disney storytelling over the last 100 years:
- UK and Ireland
- Cruella (2021) / Liberty London
- One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)/ Regent’s Park, London
- Peter Pan (1953) / Big Ben, London
- Mary Poppins (1964) / St Paul's Cathedral, London
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) / Skellig Michael, Ireland
- Avengers: Endgame (2019) / St. Abbs Village, Berwickshire, Scotland
- Winnie the Pooh (2011) / Ashdown Forest (Hundred Acre Wood), UK
- Brave (2012)/ Calanais Standing Stones, Stornoway, Scotland
- Alice in Wonderland (1951)/ Great Fosters, UK
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) / Notre Dame Cathedral, France
- Ratatouille (2007) / Le Train Bleu, France
- Black Panther (2018) / Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, South Africa
- The Lion King (1994) / Masai Mara, Kenya
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) / The Black Forest, Germany
- Pinocchio (1940)/ Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany
- Sleeping Beauty castle at Disneyland, USA / Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
- Captain America: Civil War (2016) / Leipzig/ Halle Airport, Germany
- Black Widow (2021) / Budapest, Hungary
- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) / Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, Iceland
- Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) / Forte di Bard, Italy
- Luca (2021) / Cinque Terre, Italy
- Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023) / Ear of Dionysius, Sicily, Italy
- Hercules (1997)/ Mount Olympus, Greece
- Frozen (2013) / Akershus Fortress, Norway
- Aladdin (2019)/ Wadi Rum, Jordan