The artists at Walt Disney Animation may have traded their pencils and notepads for computers and keyboards over the years, but not everything has changed. Decades of Disney heroes are too beloved to be forgotten, which means plenty of Easter Eggs, secret cameos, and inside jokes to watch out for. Here is our list of 10 Hidden Secrets in Disney Movies.
Long before Anna, Elsa, and Olaf became household names, the makers of Frozen had a party to plan. Being named Queen of Arrendale may have stressed Elsa out, but it also meant the gates of the castle would finally be opened to villagers and visiting guests. Two of which might be familiar to Disney fans: Rapunzel and Flynn Rider, the stars of Disney’s Tangled.
Big Hero 6
As one of the most successful movies Disney has ever released, we’re willing to bet that Easter Eggs and references to Frozen are just beginning. The minds behind Big Hero 6 are clearly fans – and hold a serious grudge against Hans, the would-be king who tried to kill both of Frozen‘s leading ladies. A statue of Hans can be seen for just a moment before Baymax completely destroys it. If that weren’t enough, his face can be seen gracing a Wanted poster in a San Fransokyo police station.
The Little Mermaid
It seems Disney animators never miss a chance to fill crowd scenes with iconic characters from other movies and cartoons. When King Triton assembles the underwater masses in the opening scene of The Little Mermaid, eagle-eyed viewers can spot Donald Duck, Goofy, and Mickey Mouse in the crowd. And it isn’t just Disney mascots who get in on the fun, either: Kermit the Frog can be seen just a few rows behind them.
Lilo & Stitch
You don’t have to be a princess just to star in a Disney adventure, only willing to don a disguise to protect your family – and belt out a few musical numbers too. Mulan learned that for herself when she pretended to be a man to join China’s forces against the invading Huns in Disney’s retelling of the classic story. Its message must have struck a chord with the cast of Lilo and Stitch, since a poster of Mulan hangs on Lilo’s sister Nani’s wall, and the family even passes a restaurant called “Mulan Wok” when first adopting the trouble-making alien.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Though most of its action may be focused on a single cathedral, that doesn’t stop The Hunchback of Notre Dame from squeezing in some Disney cameos, with the opening scene alone featuring a vendor selling Aladdin’s magic carpet, and Beauty and the Beast’s Belle out for a morning stroll. The Lion King‘s resident jokester Pumbaa may seem an odd fit for Paris, France, but his cameo in the film’s climax is even better: proudly standing guard as a stone gargoyle.
When Pixar was made an official branch of Walt Disney Animation, the tradition of Easter Eggs and cameos was just one thing both studios could agree on – even if it made no sense to the story being told. It’s strange enough that among the wooden carvings being sold by the Witch in Brave is the same Pizza Planet delivery truck included in every Pixar film. But the image of Sully, the furry star of the wildly successful Monsters, Inc. shows that even witches need to worry about what’s hiding in their closet.
In what may be Pixar’s most unconventional tale to date, Ratatouille follows a rat with a flair for the culinary arts, and a young man named Linguini who hopes to become a great chef, but lacks the skills to do it. The pair realize success means combining their talents, but actually working together poses a serious challenge. When Linguini considers smuggling Remy into the kitchen in his pants, the rat isn’t on board. But the biggest reveal of the scene is Linguini’s underwear, shown to be patterned with the logo of Mr. Incredible, the star of The Incredibles. It’s one more hint that Pixar’s films all take place in one universe, while also showing that superheroes are just as famous in the fictional world of Pixar as they are in our own.
Beauty and the Beast
One of the best known Pixar Easter Eggs is the label “A113”, the classroom at the California Institute of Arts where many of the company’s earlier animators learned their trade. But the California locations are nothing new: in Beauty and The Beast, Maurice and Felipe find themselves lost in a terrifying forest, with a worn-out signpost offering little help. But a closer look shows arrows pointing to both Valencia, where the school is located, and Anaheim, home to Disneyland.
Trading a human or animal star for a robotic one, Wall-E was a major turning point for Pixar as a whole, relying less on dialogue than ever before. Set in a future where mankind has turned Earth into one massive landfill and headed into space, Wall-E is just one maintenance robot left behind. He’s put his time to good use, too, collecting dozens of trinkets and souvenirs to store in his home. When Wall-E first enters his house in the movie, one Toy Story character can be seen hidden behind a pair of bowling pins. How Rex managed to survive the man-made end of the world isn’t clear, but if he survived, then it stands to reason Woody and the gang were still alive off-screen as well.
A Dog Eat Dog World
There’s one fact that no one can deny: the Disney animators are most certainly dog people. And what’s better than a canine adventure? How about a shared universe of them? 101 Dalmatians has enough spotted dogs in a single family to worry about, but when the call goes out that the pups are in trouble, Lady and the Tramp can be seen in the city streets, along with their canine co-stars Jock and Peg. The litter’s father, Pongo also makes a Cameo in Oliver & Company, along with Jock, Peg, and the always loyal Trusty.
So what do you think of our list? Did we miss any of your favorite Disney-Pixar easter eggs or hidden connections? Let us know in our comment section and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos like this one.