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Image Credit: Pure New Zealand

The world’s best big-screen experiences

The characters of your favourite films are escaping the big screen. Curious cinema-goer Natarsha Brown discovers that ‘once upon a time’ happened in a land not so far away after all.

Frozen
Disney Cruise Line, Norway

The popularity of Disney’s ‘Frozen’ has not only led to staggering box office profits, sold-out merchandise and a plethora of parent-daughter YouTube reenactments of Queen Elsa’s ‘Let It Go’; the runaway hit is also motivating a dramatic increase in travel to the country behind the animated winter wonderland. You and your family can follow in Anna and Elsa’s footsteps as you cruise through the awe-inspiring landscapes of Norway and Iceland with Disney Cruise Line.
The movie magic doesn’t stop after you disembark, as there are a range of port adventures and shore excursions that will have kids hunting for the Yoogon Trolls of Ålesund, exploring the Hardanger Fjord in Bergen and, if you’re lucky, maybe even meeting Elsa and Anna in their home town.

Image Credit: Disney Cruise Line

Norway

The Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit
Red Carpet Tours, New Zealand

Since the release of Peter Jackson’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ franchise, New Zealand has become synonymous with the Middle-earth of Tolkien’s wild and intricate imagination. The spectacular scenery of the Land of the Long White Cloud is the star of the saga and the greenery of The Shire is magical. Tucked away on private farmland on the North Island is the Hobbiton Movie Set with 37 hobbit holes waiting to be explored, including the homes of Bilbo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee.
The charm is in the detail; violets flowering at the base of Hobbit letterboxes, vegetable patches surrounded by picket fences, curtains and knick-knacks overflowing in round windows, smoke rising from chimneys and fresh washing drying on the line. Red Carpet Tours departs daily from Auckland and the guided tour includes visits to the infamous Party Tree, the Mill and lunch at The Green Dragon Inn.

Image Credit: Pure New Zealand

Image Credit: Pure New Zealand

Finding Nemo
Quicksilver, Australia

Diving among the waters of the world’s biggest aquarium (and one of the Seven Natural Wonders) is pure paradise. Imagine an underwater world drenched in ocean-filtered sunlight and teeming with comically coloured marine life dashing in and out of an endless bed of coral. While you’ve no doubt become familiar with this wonderland after watching Pixar’s ‘Finding Nemo’ on the big screen, it becomes a mesmerising reality at the Great Barrier Reef.
It would take a lifetime to explore the intricacies of the marine park, but a day spent in Queensland’s sea and sun gives you a small taste of the vastness of this fragile ecosystem. Join one of the many boat, catamaran or seaplane day trips to the reef and snorkel among green sea turtles, reef sharks, manta rays, dolphins and, of course, Nemo and his friends. Quicksilver offers snorkelling tours of the reef that are guided by a marine biologist, providing the perfect introduction to this underwater world for families.

Image Credit: Tourism Queensland

Image Credit: Quicksilver Cruises

The Lion King
Lemala Camps, Tanzania

Located in north Tanzania and extending to the south-west of Kenya, the Serengeti ecosystem serves as the inspiration behind the Pride Lands in ‘The Lion King’ franchise. In 1991, when Disney first started developing Simba’s story, a team of animators were sent to East Africa to observe all aspects of the Serengeti: the sights, sounds, colours, landscapes, sunsets and the great lion population. The sun-scorched plains of the savannah are the real-life incarnation of the movie’s ‘Circle of Life’ opening sequence and renowned as one of the best wildlife watching destinations in the world, host to elephants, cheetahs, gazelles, leopards, rhinoceros, zebras, buffalos, crocodiles and a variety of bird species.
The accommodation at Lemala Authentic Camps and Lodges offers the perfect balance of luxury, adventure and authenticity and a vantage point for the Serengeti Wildebeest Migration, the largest terrestrial mammal migration in the world. With scenes like this unfolding before you, the adventures of Simba and Nala will truly come to life.

Image Credit: Lemala Camps

Image Credit: Tanzania Tourism

The Sound of Music
Panorama Tours, Austria

Salzburg is a fairytale within itself. To art lovers, it is the city of Baroque. To historians, it is playfully referred to as the Rome of Germany. For music aficionados, it is the birthplace of Mozart. Despite all this, most travellers visiting this hideaway in the Austrian Alps are really seeking their very own ‘The hills are alive’ Fraulein Maria moment.
Fifty years after the film’s release, the spirit of ‘The Sound of Music’ still resonates in this cultural Austrian city with Panoroma Tours offering day trips to the set locations of the famous musical. Hum along to ‘Do Re Mi’ in the Mirabell Gardens, snap a selfie at the Pegasus Fountain, sneak a kiss at the ’16 going on 17’ gazebo at Hellbrumm Palace, marvel at the trappings of Frohnburg Castle, stand on stage at the Festival Hall where the Von Trapps sang their farewells and stop by the Nonnberg Convent where young Maria lived as a nun. Tours also visit the historical landmarks of the city and explore the nearby landscapes of the Lake District.

Image Credit: Austrian National Tourism Office

Image Credit: Austrian National Tourism Office

The Emperor’s New Groove
Adventures by Disney, Peru

The ancient site of Machu Picchu has left visitors in awe of the otherworldliness of its ruins since it was discovered in 1911. Located in the Cusco region of Peru and situated on a mountain ridge above the Sacred Valley, the ruins attract over a million curious travellers annually.
Machu Picchu is the inspiration behind Kuzco’s empire in ‘The Emperor’s New Groove’ and the surrounding scenery, stone architecture and sublime views are replicated repeatedly throughout the film. Adventures by Disney gives families the chance to experience a traditional Andean feast, raft down the Urubamba River and venture to the ancient ruins of Moray before taking part in a privately guided tour of Machu Picchu on their ninenight tour of Peru. Little ones from the age of four are welcome on this once-in-a-lifetime reenactment of a silver-screen classic.

Harry Potter
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, USA

For true Potter enthusiasts, a journey halfway across the world is worth the spectacle that is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This immersive themed playland at the Universal Orlando Resort, Florida, brings the story of ‘the boy who lived’ to life with such finely crafted detail that even the most avid JK Rowling fan will be left stupefied.
Step inside the magical Great Hall at Hogwarts, walk along the cobblestone streets of Diagon Alley, meet your match at Ollivander’s wand shop, throw a Dungbomb from Zonko’s Joke Shop, catch a ride aboard the Hogwarts Express and get a glimpse of a goblin at Gringotts Wizarding Bank. After such a busy day, it’s essential that you wine and dine like only wizards can… at The Three Broomsticks. The somewhat ominous Hogwarts Castle looms large above the park and ‘The Forbidden Journey’ remains the signature attraction at the park, with young muggles invited to compete in a game of Quidditch, narrowly escaping the clutches of the Whomping Willow and outrunning a horde of Dementors.

Image Credit: Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Image Credit: Wizarding World of Harry Potter

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