Neuschwanstein Castle is rumoured to have been the inspiration for Disney’s castle. There are plenty of other candidates but I am sure it had some influence.
We drove there a few years ago from Munich to the site in south-west Bavaria. A fierce snowstorm accompanied us for much of the journey, and returning after dark was a pretty hairy experience.
It was worth it though as we viewed the castle with a snowy backdrop and with hardly any other visitors. We even had a fun snowball fight!
In the 1960s, so the story goes, Disney ‘imagineers’ travelled throughout Europe looking for the perfect castles on which to model Cinderella’s Castle in Walt Disney World.
The lead architect for the project was a man called Herbert Rymanand and what makes this story a bit of a mystery is that there is no documentary evidence to establish exactly which castles he visited and indeed which of them became the inspiration for the Disney Magic Kingdom centrepiece. Disney themselves do no more than confirm that Cinderella Castle was ‘inspired by the great castles of Europe’, but they never explicitly say which one.
“This enchanting landmark is an architectural blend of many European styles, from 13th Century French Fortress to late Renaissance Palace. Since it was inspired by no single structure, Cinderella Castle represents them all” – Disney Official Souvenir Book