Where Would Rosas from 'Wish' Be in Real Life?

Disney marks 100 years in the biz with "Wish," now on Disney+

Disney makes no secret that Rosas, the island kingdom depicted on 2023's "Wish," is on the Mediterranean Sea just off the Iberian Peninsula. 

It is not exactly of Europe though. What's important is that Rosas seems to be situated in some kind of diasporic dreamland, a haven for diverse cultures that is rooted in immigration. Everyone has a sanctuary in this city, as the soundtrack cut "Welcome to Rosas" makes abundantly clear.

According to "Wish" producer Juan Pablo Reyes, the design heritage of the Mediterranean area of ​​Iberia inspired the resplendent backgrounds seen on the movie. 

"It can be seen in details such as architecture, where we have Moroccan or Mudejar or Roman architecture, which is what you really see in the south of Spain and in some other places like Morocco and North Africa,” Reyes said

Disney consulted Moroccan anthropologist Aomar Boum for this project, and it was a wish, no pun intended, come true for him. "Never imagined in my dreams to be part of a project like this," the UCLA professor wrote on social media. 

The Islamic history of Iberia, which has origins in Arabia and northern Africa, is well known. Moorish influences can still be seen on old buildings in mainland Spain to this day. 

The design of Rosas borrows from Moorish-influenced architecture in the Iberian Peninsula, such as The Royal Alcázar in Seville, Spain (below via cleghane)

But Rosas is an island, far from the mainland, so where would it be in real life? 

Majorca, particularly the city of Palma, could be a candidate. The Spanish island, close to party center Ibiza, is where one can find a few Moorish-influenced buildings like the Banys Àrabs and Jardines de Alfabia. 

The former, a 10th-century Arab bathhouse, still has its majestic dome, columns, and cupola. The Jardines de Alfabia, on the other hand, used to be home to the Muslim wali or viceroy of Majorca, Ben Abet. While its design is not so much Moorish as Gothic now (it has been redesigned time and again under Christian rule), it still sports a Mudejar coffered ceiling today. 

Palma also has an Arab quarter, Al Mudaina. 

The closest things to an insular halfway point between Iberia and northern Africa are the Chafarinas Islands. The three-island archipelago, disputed and claimed by Spain and Morocco, doesn't have the thriving populace like the one on "Wish," with only a military garrison for human presence here. But it's probably not a stretch imagining Sabino and Sakina rowing to any of the islands here. 

Believing that "Rosas" is modeled after these islands would obviously be wishful thinking. The ultimate inspo for "Rosas" is in other fictional places: the ones in classic Disney movies. Apparently the animators mined the watercolor worlds of "Snow White," "Pinocchio," and "Sleeping Beauty" to create the 2D-style backdrops of Rosas. The pen, it seems, is still a most powerful magic wand.  


Popular Posts