Disney has been capturing the imaginations of children and adults alike for almost 100 years with its tales of brave characters on epic journeys through awe-inspiring landscapes. Now the old favourites are getting a revamp with numerous live-action remakes and sequels hitting screens in 2019 and beyond. Ready to revisit Agrabah, Arendelle and Atlantica? Make your travel dreams come true with these real-world adventures inspired by classic Disney movies.
The acrobats of Cirque du Soleil – seen here performing Barge from "O" in Las Vegas – don't actually fly like a certain large-eared elephant... but they come close © Tomasz Rossa / Cirque du Soleil
See a modern-day circus in the USA – Dumbo
Caged animals are so last century. See a different kind of spectacle at a Cirque du Soleil performance. The USA’s most circus-like city, Las Vegas, is home to six different shows; while you won’t see an elephant fly, the aerial stunts and acrobatics are as dazzling as Dumbo himself.
Set-jetter? Tim Burton’s reboot of this heart-wrenching story, starring Danny DeVito and Colin Farrell, is set to take off in March 2019 – take tissues.
You might well need the help of a genie if you get lost in the trackless Empty Quarter © Buena Vista / Getty Images
Experience Arabian nights in Oman – Aladdin
There’s no need for a magic carpet ride in Oman – the shimmering stars are a sight to behold from terra firma. Bunk down in a Bedouin camp in Sharqiya Sands (previously named Wahiba Sands) or book an overnight tour of the Empty Quarter, an unfathomably vast desert spanning parts of Oman, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the UAE, where a guide is absolutely essential. Alternatively, live like a sultan in one of the country’s many opulent hotels.
Set-jetter? Will Smith has big shoes to fill in his role as Genie (played by Robin Williams in the original) – see the magic for yourself when it’s out in cinemas from May 2019.
Does this little chap have the makings of a future king? © Yury Birukov / Shutterstock
Witness the circle of life in Kenya – The Lion King
From the famous Giraffe Manor to the Masai Mara, opportunities to spot Pumba and pals abound in Kenya. For a luxurious (and therefore pricey) Pride Lands-inspired experience, consider a family-friendly tour from The Safari Collection led by Robert Carr-Hartley, the same expert guide who chaperoned the animators of the original film during their research.
Set-jetter? With Donald Glover, John Oliver and the one and only Beyoncé cast in this live-action remake coming in July 2019, The Lion King lovers are in for a treat.
It's not easy to pick out a Captain Li or Ping lookalike from this lot... but it's fun to try © Oktay Ortakcioglu / Getty Images
Have a trip worth fighting for in China – Mulan
Start your China trip at the Great Wall to evoke Mulan’s opening scene, minus the invading Huns. Hunt for dragons in the Forbidden City, Beijing, which bears a striking resemblance to the animation’s colourful Imperial City, before hopping on a high-speed train to Xi’an to see the likes of Captain Li and Ping (Mulan in her male warrior disguise) in sculpture form at the Unesco-listed Terracotta Army.
Set-jetter? Mulan fans will have to wait until 2020 to catch the new movie, featuring Chinese stars Liu Yifei and Jet Li.
Chilly Tromsø is the perfect place to get frozen waiting for the elusive Northern Lights © Roberto Moiola / Getty Images
Do you wanna build a snowman? Go to Norway – Frozen 2
Norway is notoriously expensive, but if you’re looking for the true Frozen experience, you’ll simply have to Let It Go... Start your snowy adventure at the annual Ice Music Festival in Finse, where everything, including the instruments, is made of glacial ice. For another chilly thrill head to Tromsø, an icy Arctic outpost where you can meet Sven and his reindeer friends, and glimpse the Northern Lights. For a final pitstop, tour Oslo’s Akershus Fortress, which is said to have been the inspiration behind Elsa and Anna’s castle.
Set-jetter? It might not be a golden oldie, but after the first animation’s global success (thanks partly to its outrageously catchy tunes) the Frozen sequel was inevitable – see it on the big screen from November 2019.
Not your average mermaid... spot a dugong in Australia's Ningaloo Marine Park (if you're very, very lucky) © cinoby / Getty Images
Venture under the sea in Australia – The Little Mermaid
What dugongs lack in wavy red hair and lilac bikinis, they more than make up for with their grace and beauty – which may explain why Christopher Columbus and his crew mistook sea cows for mermaids. Flip your fins in Ningaloo Marine Park on the west coast of Australia for a chance to see these shy creatures, as well as manta rays, whale sharks, dolphins and turtles. Once you wash up on shore, take your pick of Exmouth and Coral Bay beaches.
Set-jetter? Ariel and friends will once again be part of your world – Disney just isn’t sure when yet. Cross your fingers and fins – there’s no doubt this release will make a splash.
Feel the magic of Mary Poppins' London in the shadow of St Paul's © joe daniel price / Getty Images
Enjoy a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious day in the UK – Mary Poppins
Fancy a jolly holiday? Cheeky chimney sweeps are few and far between in the UK’s capital these days, but you can still step in time in the shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral (we recommend not feeding the birds), or get a panoramic view of the City – the financial district where Mr Banks worked – from the highest heights at the Sky Garden. Round off your day in the capital with a spoonful of sugar at Hardy’s Sweet Shop on Ludgate Hill, which serves classic confectionery from its retro-looking store.
Set-jetter? Mary Poppins Returns, starring Emily Blunt and Lin Manuel Miranda (of Hamilton fame), hit big screens in late 2018. Catch it on DVD from March 2019.
Find a real-life Shere Khan and co. in the jungles of Madhya Pradesh © Safique Hazarika Photography / Getty Images
Forget about your worries and your strife in India – The Jungle Book
Make like Mowgli and explore the Indian jungle. Wildlife lovers should go to Madhya Pradesh, where the Bandhavgarh, Kanha and Pench tiger reserves protect much of the nation’s endangered but growing tiger population. Keen to encounter Baloo, King Louie and Kaa? The region is also home to sloth bears, pythons, grey langurs and macaques galore, as well as the elusive leopard – although the best chances of glimpsing a Bagheera-like black panther are found in India’s southern parks.
Set-jetter? The Jungle Book (2016) was one of the first old-school Disney films to be recreated with live action and CGI and is available on DVD.
The colourful, leaning, half-timbered houses of Eguisheim, Alsace look like a leftover Disney film set © Manuta / Getty Images
Ponder a tale as old as time in France – Beauty and the Beast
Say bonjour to Belle’s little town – or at least the numerous towns that inspired it – in Alsace, a region of France bordering Switzerland and Germany. Eguisheim, Riquewihr and Ribeauvillé are just a few of the quaint locations said to have influenced animators with their narrow, cobbled streets and medieval architecture. Come to wander, nibble on baguettes and browse for books – or visit nearby chateaux which resemble the Beast’s abode.
Set-jetter? Emma Watson’s Disney debut was released in 2017. Many (if not all) Disney titles will be available to view on Disney+, a streaming service launching in late 2019.