The world of Disney Descendants has magic, adventure, romance, and so many Instagram-worthy backdrops. It was almost unfair that the fictional characters get to enjoy it while the rest of us live out here in the real world. Almost! Turns out, a lot of the sets for both the original Descendants movie and its sequel, Descendants 2, are real places! If Descendants 3 gets made, you can bet it will happen here. All it takes is a hop, skip, or an enchanted motor scooter (if you have one laying around) to get there.
Where was Descendants filmed?
Like many movies and TV shows, both Descendants movies were filmed in Canada. According to What's On Film, scenes were filmed in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia.
Director Kenny Ortega admits that Vancouver was a great place to film both movies. He said, “I have actors that I’ve said, ‘Why would you leave Vancouver? The work is here now. This is the place. This is the mecca for young actors.' And the crews were sensational."
Where were the Auradon Prep scenes filmed?
Some scenes, like those filmed on the Isle of the Lost, were filmed on a backlot in Vancouver, but others were shot at major Canadian landmarks! For example, Auradon Prep, where the Villain Kids go to school, is Hatley Castle in Victoria’s Royal Roads University. You can see Auradon Prep best in "Ways To Be Wicked," the opening musical number of D2.
And who can forget the finale in the first Descendants movie? This epic dance number was one to remember!
The beautiful building has also been used in Arrow and as Professor Xavier's School for Gifted Children in X-Men. The movie also shows University of British Columbia and the British Columbia Parliament. So, if you're looking for a magical vacation spot, Canada has all your favorite locations.
How did Disney create the Isle of the Lost?
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Kenny revealed that the Descendants 2 crew relied on a 100-year-old copper mine and an old sugar factory as locations on the Isle of the Lost.
Set designer Mark Hofeling, who has worked on over 50 Disney Channel Original Movies (including all three High School Musical films), was integral to creating that fantasy world. In an interview with Variety, he explained how he turned the streets of Vancouver into the Isle of the Lost. In preparation, he rewatched Disney films like Sleeping Beauty and Aladdin to get a sense of the world he wanted to create. With Vancouver as the shooting location, Auradon was an easier aesthetic to accomplish. For the Isle of the Lost, however, he worked hard on creating a gritty landscape.
“Imagine a Jolly Rancher that fell in the dirt. The Island has gone to seed. The idea was dirty candy; the colors of evil covered with rust and dirt," he said.
While decorating the interior, all the furniture and appliances were made to look well-worn. The set design team even created a sunken living room, so that Maleficent (played by Kristen Chenoweth, who is under five feet tall), would look as if she had a taller stature in the first Descendants film.
Are there any behind-the-scenes photos or stories from the making of Descendants and Descendants 2?
Of course, the cast posted some pretty epic rehearsal pics, too! Behind the scenes, the set has the trappings of any typical set: director's chairs, makeup trailers, craft services, and more. The actual magic happens when the cameras are rolling, but the cute moments are to die for!
Still, not everything was drama-free. The director shared that the cast and crew battled a typhoon in Vancouver while filming!
Kenny said, "Everything is a practical location or on soundstages. We were shooting this musical number, 'Chillin' Like a Villain,' a wonderful sequence that happens in the middle of the movie. We actually shot that during a typhoon in Vancouver on location. We couldn't stop because it was the last day we could work in that location. Half of the set blew away, and we were nearly flooded out. But the kids didn't mind being drenched. We shot the entire musical number during a typhoon."
Wow, that's amazing! We never would have guessed.
How does the Descendants cast know the cast of Riverdale?
You can thank Canada for pairing up these two fan favorites. While the Disney Channel stars were in Vancouver filming Descendants 2, The CW actors were filming season one of Riverdale. It wasn't like they just happened to be in the same city. They actually shared a hotel!
"I know the cast," Dove Cameron told Shine On Media. "They were shooting that actually as we were shooting Descendants 2...They were in the same hotel, so we would always like see them at the gym."
This totally explains why Dove is so open to joining Riverdale or starring as Sabrina in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Now you know that a trip to Auradon isn't impossible! In fact, lots of your favorite television stars go there. Still, it's the Disney magic and the incredible cast and crew of Descendants that makes their locations seem out of this world.
Watch: Dove Cameron Dishes on Descendants 2