For the young as well as the young at heart, Disney castles are iconic and uniquely memorable. Reproductions of these castles are some of the biggest attractions at Disney theme parks throughout the world! However, what were the inspirations that animators used to create these instantly recognizable buildings within their movies? In AESU’s newest tour offering for 2022, “Enchanted – A Fairytale Journey”, we explore several historic castles and locations throughout western Europe that served as inspiration for Disney creators – in fact, you might even find yourself believing that you stepped straight into the world of your favorite Disney classic!
Germany – Munich and Castle Neuschwanstein
The tour begins in Munich, famed for its Oktoberfest and the beer hall Hofbrauhaus. We’ll explore the cobblestone streets of the old city and take in a traditional Bavarian dinner, then head to Castle Neuschwanstein. This castle was the inspiration for the castle in Sleeping Beauty and is known as one of the most beautiful castles in all of Europe. Commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria as a private retreat residence, the castle was completed in 1886 and was opened to the public shortly afterward due to the death of the king.
Colmar – Castle Chillon
Next we travel to Colmar, near the border with Germany in the Alsace region of France. Colmar is a small, provincial city with loads of old-world charm, much like Belle’s hometown in Beauty and the Beast! The next destination is Castle Chillon, an island castle located on the eastern side of Lake Geneva that served as the inspiration for the castle in The Little Mermaid. The island was a strategic location as far back as Roman times, but the oldest parts of the castle still standing date back to the year 1005 CE. The castle went through a meticulous restoration and reconstruction in the late 1800s – one of the first instances where archeology and history were used to rebuild a structure in a historically accurate way.
Lausanne – Paris – Chateau de Chambord – Chateau de Chenonceau
We spend a quick evening in Lausanne, Switzerland, home to the international headquarters of the Olympic games, before heading out to Paris on a beautifully scenic train ride. Upon arrival, take a tour of the famed City of Light, which ends at the Notre Dame Cathedral (home of Quasimodo, the Hunchback of Notre Dame!) We’ll also be exploring some of the areas outside of Paris as well – first stop is Orleans, the city saved by Joan of Arc.
Next is Chambord and the Chateau de Chambord. While it may not look too familiar on the outside, the interior immediately brings to mind the Beast’s castle from Beauty and the Beast with its winding stone spiral staircases and towers. Finally, we visit the Chateau de Chenonceau, another inspiration for the castle in Sleeping Beauty and once home to amazing French women such as Catherine de Medici and Diane de Poitiers.
On the final day of the tour, consider spending the day with us at Disneyland Paris to round out your trip and say bonjour to your favorite princesses!
Explore the World with AESU!
Are you ready to plan an adventure of a lifetime? AESU offers unique, thrilling travel programs for college students and young professionals at affordable rates. Each trip is action-packed and informal—designed just for people your own age. We are also able to design custom tours just for your group.
2022 tour dates are now available! If you have any questions or want help booking your next adventure, please contact AESU by calling 800-638-7640, or fill out the contact form found on our website. Follow AESU on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.