To celebrate the recent opening of Disney’s flagship store on London’s Oxford Street (full post coming soon about that) the House of Mouse have released a ‘Disney Map of London’, which celebrates Disney’s extensive links with the capital and features both animated and real-life film locations.
St Paul’s Cathedral is one of the locations included on the map, which is featured in Mary Poppins, both in the lyrics to ‘Feed the Birds’ and in the snow-globe that Mary Poppins holds during the scene.
More recently, Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides was filmed at the University of Greenwich. The best way of getting down to Greenwich is to make like Captain Jack and hop on a boat along the Thames. If you take a Thames Clipper from Embankment you’ll also go past St Paul’s and the Tower of London. Whilst it’s unlikely Johnny Depp is still hanging around (the movie was shot there in September 2010) you can visit the Old Royal Naval College and University of Greenwich, where the filming took place. Oh, and there’s a lovely market there on weekends.
Also on the map is Big Ben, which features in Peter Pan as the children follow Peter to Neverland.
And if you want to see Peter himself, head to Kensington Gardens where you will find a statue of the boy who never grew up.
Come October 2011 the map will have another Kensington location to add to its repertoire. On October 2nd Rapunzel, the heroine from Tangled, will be inducted into the Disney Princess family in a star-studded reception at Kensington Palace, where she will be joined by the ten other Disney Princesses. There will also be a parade through the park!
For those who can’t wait until then, Kensington Palace are currently hosting an exhibition entitled Enchanted Palace which introduces visitors to some of the real-life princesses who have lived there over the years.
Whilst most British Disney characters are represented, fans of Alice in Wonderland may be disappointed as Oxford is not featured on the map. Oxford is about an hour away from London, and as well as being supremely beautiful (and my alma mater) it’s also the home of Alice in Wonderland. Lewis Carroll was a student at Christ Church, one of Oxford University’s largest colleges, and Alice was based on the Dean of Christ Church’s daughter, whom he met during his time there. It is possible to wander around Christ Church and its meadows, which are very Wonderland-like and, most exciting of all, opposite the college you can find the most delightful store called Alice’s Shop, featuring all sorts of Alice-related trinkets.
Although omitting Alice, the Disney map does feature fifteen Disney-related locations and is a great starting point for first-timers to London.
However, landlubbers beware: it wouldn’t be a real treasure map if there wasn’t some fools’ gold hidden on it! One of the map’s suggestions, Disney Street in Southwark, doesn’t actually have anything to do with the Disney company and the road was named thus long before Mickey was even a twinkle in Walt’s eye. Given the part of London in which it’s located, Disney Street has probably only ever seen one kind of shooting, and its the kind that’s viewed on CCTV as opposed to IMAX.
If this still hasn’t put you off and you do decide to venture down there, you will be faced with the decidedly unglamorous scene below. Gives new meaning to the phrase, ‘abandon hope all ye who enter here’ doesn’t it?