Neuschwanstein Castle Influences Disney

Walt Disney brought the beauty he found in Europe back home with him when he created his films and amusement park. Having toured Europe myself, the inspirations Walt and Roy found for the Disney Company on their European tour in 1935 are easily visible to me as well.

Snow White, his first princess, isn’t the only Disney creation from German descent. Neuschwanstein castle, located in the Bavarian land of south Germany and constructed by Ludwig II, largely inspired Sleeping Beauty’s castle inside Disneyland Park. Many people believe Sleeping Beauty’s castle in Disneyland was originally built for Snow White. However, Disney decided to change the castle’s ownership to Aurora, due to the upcoming movie release of Sleeping Beauty.

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Neuschwanstein Castle in Munich next to Sleeping Beauty’s castle in Disneyland

Neuschwanstein Castle extraordinarily resembles a plethora of fantasies found in Disney parks and animations. As I personally walked through Neuschwanstein, I felt the way I do when I’m at Disneyland or watching a Disney classic, as if I fell into a fairytale. The castle rests atop a mountain in the German Alps, overlooking a lake and small town surrounded by mountains that go on as far as the human eye takes you. The lake is similar to the one portrayed in the establishing shot in Sleeping Beauty.

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Servants’ quarters and dwarfs’ beds

The servants’ sleeping quarters within Neuschwanstein hold small, wooden beds with simple carvings in each bed frame. These beds compare with the dwarfs’ beds found in the 1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs animation. A grove painted on a large wall of the castle’s Singers’ Banquet Hall looks as if Snow White may dance out of it at any moment.

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Painting in Singers’ Hall

Though some people claim Ludwig II an insane man, I think he was a genius. His castle is colorful, with a cheerful spirit. Unlike most wealthy and royal men in Europe, Ludwig II never wanted others to see his castle. He had no desire to boast of his expensive artwork, or bejeweled cupboards. Instead, he created the castle for himself, the way he wanted it, without the judgments of others. Perhaps that is why Ludwig II’s Neuschwanstein Castle stands out to so many of us, including Walt Disney himself. It is a peculiar, unique and magical kingdom.