Does your family love to visit Disney World, Disneyland, or a Disney theme park in another country? If you said yes, you will want to check out a few destinations that were used as inspiration for Disney theme parks. All the magic you see within the Disney theme parks did not happen at random. Nope! Instead, people traveled the world and became inspired by certain destinations they saw. Today, I am going to share a few of the destinations that inspired the Disney theme parks. I recommend considering one of these destinations for your next family vacation.
Walt Disney himself fell in love with Matterhorn Mountain during his trip to Switzerland in 1959. He designed a replica of this mountain and used it for the ride, Matterhorn Bobsleds. The Matterhorn is one of the oldest rides at Disneyland.
This 16th century military fort was used as inspiration for the entrance of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney World. Disney called this entrance Castillo del Morro. While it does not look exactly like the real-life fort, there are enough similarities for people to know where the inspiration came from.
A Disney Imagineer used the features he saw inside Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park to create Big Thunder Mountain Road at Disney World. This ride will take you back to the 1850s when the Gold Rush was happening. The terrain of this park was also used to create Frontierland at Disney.
Over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, guests will see some similarities between Expedition Everest and the actual Himalayan Mountain range. The Himalayan villages that surround Mount Everest were replicated for this ride. During a trip to this Disney theme park, board the train that ascends the mountain near the replicated village before racing back down to the bottom. It is one ride you will never forget!
Have you ever dared to ride the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney? If you have, you will have noticed it resembles the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. Walt Disney visited this hotel in 1937. While Disney fell in love with the hotel, the Tower of Terror ride wasn’t constructed until 1994. That was twenty-four years after Walt Disney died. It shows you how long it sometimes takes for inspiration to become a reality at Disney theme parks.
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Your family may not be ready to go on safari in Africa, but that doesn’t mean you can’t experience the Zambezi River in Africa. This river was used as inspiration when the Jungle Cruise ride was constructed in 1955 at Disneyland. In the beginning, fake plants and trees were used in the design. That has changed over the years. Now you will see real palm and bamboo trees growing to create a real-life jungle.
Frozen is one of Disney’s biggest movies and that theme was used for the Norway Pavilion in Epcot. To find the right style, Disney Imagineers traveled to Norway to find the proper architecture for a home Elsa and Anna would live in. They found exactly what they were looking for at this folk museum.
Traveling along Route 66 was always a popular option for families taking road trips. Nowadays, not as many people travel along this route to see the sights. However, many people still know about Cadillac Ranch in Texas. This is where Cadillacs with graffiti all over them are partially buried standing up in the sand. You can see something similar at the Radiators Spring Racers ride at Disneyland. There it is called the Cadillac Mountain Range.
The last destination I am sharing that was inspiration for Disney theme parks is Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. A Disney Imagineer chose to base Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at Disneyland off this castle in 1955. All these years later, it is still the most popular feature at Disneyland.
These are the destinations that inspired Disney theme parks that you will want to check out during a future family vacation. You can easily combine a trip to these destinations as part of your vacation in nearby areas. I can easily personalize a family vacation itinerary for you that includes everything you want to do while away from home.
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