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Shrek: What Real-Life Location Played Inspiration For The Ogre's Swamp?

The entirety of the "Shrek" franchise can be traced back to one important location: Shrek's (Mike Myers) swamp. It's the place Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow) sends the fairy tale creatures in the first film, which prompts Shrek to confront Farquaad and subsequently go on a quest to rescue Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) — an expedition that leads him to become a husband, father, and friend to numerous characters as the saga unfolds. While it may seem like a pretty typical swamp, as it turns out, Shrek's ogre-friendly homestead is inspired by a real-world location.

During the production process for the first "Shrek" movie, art director Douglas Rogers took a visit to the Magnolia Plantation in Charleston, South Carolina. More specifically, Rogers was enamored with the Audubon Swamp, where he was nearly attacked by an alligator while having a look around and researching the land. Sadly, like other plantations in the United States, Magnolia has a long, dark history of operating on slave labor, forcing enslaved people to work in the fields and take care of the rice crop. Thus, it's not a very positive source of inspiration for an animated movie.

Meanwhile, another notable "Shrek" location seems to be inspired by much different real-life places.

Duloc is clearly inspired by Disney Parks

When his Magnolia Plantation-inspired land is overrun with fairy tale creatures, Shrek makes it his mission to confront Lord Farquaad and have them removed for good. This leads him to venture to the kingdom of Duloc, where Farquaad rules over his subjects with an iron fist. Shrek and Donkey (Eddie Murphy) arrive there and run into velvet ropes, a turnstile, an admissions booth, and a man dressed in a Farquaad costume. Once they enter, they spot a gift shop and a music box that has puppets singing about the greatness of Duloc before taking their picture.

If any of that sounds familiar, that's because it's all there to take some playful jabs at Disney Parks. 

The theme park-like layout, the giant castle at the center of town, and even the "It's a Small World"-inspired musical number are designed to parody the sights and sounds of Walt Disney's amusement park empire. This makes sense, given that "Shrek" is basically one big dig at the Walt Disney Company, its characters, movies, and business model. Even though the connection has been refuted by those who worked on the film, some have even questioned if Farquaad was created as a caricature of then-Disney CEO Michael Eisner, who didn't have the greatest relationship with DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg (via The Chicago Tribune).

The "Shrek" franchise has gone down in history as one of the greatest animated sagas of all time. Its fictional elements are vital, and one could argue that its real-world connections are right there with them.