If you’re a theme park lover, you might remember heading to Disneyland as a child, spinning in teacups and taking photos with Mickey Mouse, Tigger, or Princess Jasmine.

While you may know Disneyland left and right, you may not be as familiar with Latin America’s first theme park. Located in La Plata, Argentina, República De Los Niños opened in 1951— four years before Disneyland’s inauguration.

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Interestingly, people have long compared República De Los Niños to Disneyland. For one, both theme parks have a startlingly similar architecture that reminds attendees of a magical fairytale.

On the one hand, República De Los Niños’ castles and rides paid homage to the stories of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, who wrote “The Little Mermaid.”

Meanwhile, Disneyland’s original Fantasyland also brought in components of the Brothers Grimm’s stories, including Snow White.

The theme parks’ similarities have led many to believe República De Los Niños inspired Walt Disney to build Disneyland. So…is it true or not?

What to know about the inauguration of República De Los Niños in La Plata, Argentina

Okay, so let’s dive in. República De Los Niños was inaugurated in 1951 by President Juan Domingo Perón after two years of construction. The La Plata theme park is immense, amassing 53 acres and 35 children-size buildings.

República De Los Niños is an educational theme park teaching kids about living and working in a city as adults. The “mini city” includes a bank based on Doge’s Palace in Venice, Italy, as well as an airport, parliament and a Taj Mahal-like cultural museum.

Interestingly, Argentina’s government envisioned the theme park as a place to teach kids how to be model citizens.

Buenos Aires’ then-Governor, Domingo Mercante, once called it a place to put children “in direct contact with future civic responsibilities, so when they become adults they will be conscious of their duties, rights, and obligations.”

Meanwhile, President Perón allegedly said it was a place for Argentine children “to be fair” and “free.”

So where does Walt Disney come into play? According to La Nación, some people assert that Disney attended República De Los Niños’ 1951 inauguration. Some even go as far as to say that the American mogul tried to convince Perón to make the theme park entertainment-based instead of educative.

No one has proven either of these instances — all we know is that Disney unveiled Disneyland in Anaheim, California, just four years later in 1955.

Many people assert the Argentine theme park inspired Walt Disney to create Disneyland

According to the official history of the California theme park, Walt Disney got the idea to build Disneyland sometime around the 1940s. According to SFGATE, Disney began brainstorming while walking around Los Angeles’ Griffith Park with his two daughters.

Disney later said, “As I’d sit there and watch them go on the merry-go-round, I’d sit on a bench eating peanuts.”

He explained, “I felt that there should be… some kind of amusement enterprise built where the parents and the children could have fun together.” And boom, the idea behind Disneyland was born.

Still, many people see a clear line between República De Los Niños and Disneyland. In fact, Gustavo Silva, Cultural and Educational Secretary of La Plata, told La Capital: “Walt Disney saw in ‘La Repu’s’ construction the genesis to create his famous theme park.”

As the first theme park of its kind in Latin America, there’s little doubt it was on Disney’s radar then. Was knowing about its existence enough to inspire the mogul to model Disneyland off of it?

While the alleged “myth” is still anyone’s guess, both parks’ classic fairytale themes are a tell-tale sign. Just look at this side-by-side comparison of both theme parks’ construction, posted by Twitter user @RafaelPoulain:

As historian Claudio Panella told La Nación, La República De Los Niños’ architects were inspired by Andersen’s tales like “The Little Mermaid,” and the Brothers Grimm’s stories like “Snow White” and “Cinderella.” Sound familiar?

While we know Disney also based his theme park on some of the same fairytales, European architecture also inspired both parks. While La República De Los Niños partly set its sights on Venice, Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle is allegedly based on Germany’s Neuschwanstein Castle.

While we know Walt Disney visited Argentina in 1941, other possible trips are less documented. Will we ever know if he was inspired by República De Los Niños? Maybe not. But we’d like to think so.