Finding Disney’s Inspiration: A Visit to Tivoli Gardens

For someone who’s a fan of Disney, it might seem like heading to one of the Disney parks is the best way to see things that are Disney related and do some travelling as well. However, there are tons of little bits of Disney magic and inspiration out in the world if you know where to look for them.

Recently, my summer travels took me to the city of Copenhagen in Denmark. Copenhagen itself, the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, is steeped in fairy tales and stories. In fact, one of the cities other most famous residents has a Disney link – the statue of the Little Mermaid which sits in Copenhagen Harbor.

Hans Christian Andersen - CopenhagenLittle Mermaid - Copenhagen

Beyond these stories that may have served to inspire a Disney film or two, Copenhagen also held more source of Disney inspiration. Tivoli Gardens, which opened in the summer of 1843 was one of the places that Walt Disney attempted to emulate with his creation of Disneyland in 1955.

Tivoli Gardens - Copenhagen

Tivoli is a beautifully landscaped area, with differently themed sections, featuring rides, shops and entertainment for children of all ages and adults as well. Walking through the park and seeing the way it was laid out and how families enjoyed spending time together, it was clear how this place could have given Walt the inspiration for all that Disneyland could be. And given that Tivoli is a beautiful oasis inside the bustling city of Copenhagen, it is very reminiscent of what Disneyland and the Anaheim area have now become!

Tivoli Gardens - CopenhagenTivoli Gardens - Copenhagen

In 2018, Tivoli is celebrating the 175th anniversary of their opening! Part of the festivities marking the anniversary is a Jubilee Parade focused on the global influences within and around Tivoli. The parade, which is held Monday through Thursday at 5 pm, and Saturday and Sunday at 6 pm, features performers, dancers, floats and many of the park’s signature characters.

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One key float in this parade that showcases an extra touch of Disney magic is the “Friendship Garden in Denmark” float, which was designed and built by the Walt Disney World team! The float features characters and music from the “it’s a small world” ride and was created to thank Tivoli for proving an inspiration for Disneyland! The back of the float features a replica of Cinderella’s castle and Mickey and Walt in the classic “Partners” statue pose.

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If you find yourself in Copenhagen, a visit to Tivoli Gardens is entirely worthwhile – even only to take in the sights of the park! The Jubilee Parade will run through September 23rd and is included with park admission. The parade is a much more relaxed atmosphere than a Disney parade, and people did not show up to see it until 10-15 minutes beforehand. The route for the parade also loops through the park so that you can catch the show from multiple vantage points. At the end of the parade, the floats and characters gather in front of an open-air stage for a final performance. For more information about Tivoli Gardens and the parade, visit

Tivoli Gardens - Copenhagen

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About Cristen Curley-Edwards