Why Prague Should Be On Your Disney Bucket List

prague castle czech real life disney
Credit: Disney Tips

You can travel the world Disney-style at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

The EPCOT theme park offers Disney Park Guests the chance to “visit” iconic countries like France, Italy, Mexico, and Canada. Encompassing the World Showcase Lagoon, EPCOT’s World Showcase boasts a kaleidoscope of 11 nations, all represented in the food, merchandise, architecture, and international Cast Members at each Pavilion.

But there is actually a city that looks like it got taken from EPCOT and placed into the real world, a city that looks like it got plucked straight from a storybook. On our adventures in Prague, one of the first things we realized was that not only the cathedral, but the entire city, looks like a Disney movie.

prague castle cathedral

Credit: Disney Tips

Just look at those stained glass windows and the dazzling array of colors shining into the cathedral – magical, right? It felt like we were stepping into The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), as if the colors and light were all animated by The Walt Disney Company.

The history of the Prague Cathedral is pretty impressive too. The Metropolitan Cathedral of Saints Vitus, Wenceslaus, and Adalbert is a Roman Catholic cathedral and the seat of the Archbishop of Prague. Its impressive interior is home to such wonders as the beautifully decorated St Wenceslas Chapel with the tomb of St Wenceslas, the crypt where Czech kings are buried, and the Crown Chamber, where the Crown Jewels are kept.

Interestingly, this Gothic cathedral, the spiritual symbol of the Czech state, took nearly 600 years to build! You wouldn’t believe it but the two front spires were only completed in 1929. A subtle hint to when they were constructed is shown by a couple of men in suits and ties carved into the front of the cathedral.

church cathedral prague czech

Credit: Disney Tips

The blossom, the architecture, the sunshine – it all looks so fairytale, right? The cathedral is actually located within Prague Castle, a place where you’ll be tricked into thinking you’re on the set of a Disney movie.

According to the Guinness Book of Records, Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world. Built in the 9th century, it is the official office of the President of the Czech Republic. The castle was a seat of power for the kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman emperors, and presidents of Czechoslovakia.

Its medieval and gothic structures just speak fairytale to us, with its position across the river giving us real Tangled (2010) vibes.

Prague is actually split into 4 distinct “towns” with 2 on either side of the river connected by the famous (and again, Disneyfied) Charles Bridge. The “Castle Quarter” and “Little Quarter” on one side and the “Old Town” and “New Town” on the other.

charles bridge prague fairytale cuty

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The Castle Quarter contains the picturesque castle and political area. The Little Quarter, directly below the Castle Quarter houses gorgeous baroque architecture, cute alleyways, and gardens – including peacocks!

The Old Town is made up of some of the best-preserved and historic parts of the city including the Jewish Quarter and the Old Town Square. Prague was not destroyed as much as other cities during the Second World War, and so the Old Town is full of original buildings, architecture, and artwork.

Legend says that the Tyn Church towers in the Old Town Square gave Walt Disney the inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland in Anaheim, but we’ll let you judge for yourself whether these two spires look familiar:

church old town prague disney city

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The photo on the left is of Prague’s Old Town at 6 a.m. in the morning, before the hubbub of tourists and locals arose for the day. Doesn’t it look like a picture of EPCOT? Picture-perfect buildings, colors, and lanterns, all with cobbled streets and a fairytale aesthetic.

It’s interesting to note that in the summer of 1935, Walt Disney, his brother Roy, and their wives embarked on a two-month European grand tour.

In 2014, French historian Didier Ghez published a book about the European tour that Walt and his brother Roy undertook in the 1930s, at a time when Hitler and the Nazis were in power in Germany. Walt and Roy were working on Disney’s first full-length animated feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), and this Europe trip inspired many things in Disney’s history.

walt disney plane

Credit: Disney

The Disney organization already had an influence in Europe. They had offices and distribution rights in multiple countries, and Walt’s big star, Mickey Mouse, was very well-known. Walt and Roy visited England, France, Germany, and Italy among other countries, and were inspired by the architecture, art, and stories of Europe.

In fact, Walt brought back 335 books that he had purchased in Europe. Of those, many covered German topics such as fables/fairy tales, Wagnerian operas, and illustrations by noted European artists.

As Didier Ghez writes in his book about the trip: “The impact of Walt and Roy Disney’s 1935 European adventure would be felt in multiple ways over the following three decades, in the movies Walt produced, in the artists he hired, and in the ideas he used in the design of Disneyland.” – “Disney’s Grand Tour: Walt and Roy’s European Vacation, Summer 1935.”

He didn’t just get a big European vacation but brought back to America ideas and source material for new films, new cartoons, and far down the road, a new theme park. Whether Prague was an inspiration for Walt Disney can be left up for debate, but all we know is that Prague truly is a real-life fairytale city.

About Melissa Cannioto

Melissa is an author, adventurer, and chatterbox, who has worked at Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris, and Adventures by Disney! A British native, she has traveled the world seeking new experiences, and now resides in Florida with her husband, an Air Force pilot. Find her children's book at