It’s fair to say that in the world of animated films, Disney and Pixar will always be the dream jobs of most animators and storytellers. And once they get there, the men and women of the studio are eager to show their love for older films, or new ones still under development. The easiest way? By planting clues, easter eggs, and secret shout-outs within their very own movies. Here are Screen Rant’s 9 Hidden Messages in Disney Movies.
Pixar’s CG movies and shared universe may be a modern invention, but Disney films giving nods to their colleagues is nothing new. When Aladdin helped Disney climb back to the top of the animated world, it made sure to give some credit to one of Disney’s greats. When the Sultan is stacking his toys out of boredom, make sure you catch the plush version of the Beast from Beauty and The Beast, not even hidden in the stack.
Big Hero 6
The policeman scene in this Disney movie is jampacked with easter eggs and references, connecting it to everything from Frozen to Bolt. But the name of the police officer is a message in itself: Sergeant Gerson, as in the late Daniel Gerson, the writer of the film along with Monster, Inc. and Monsters University, injected into the CG world as a joke most viewers won’t even catch.
It may not have been as warmly received as some of the Disney movies that preceded or followed it, but Brother Bear made sure to offer some credit to the movie released by Pixar in the same year. When the movie’s human stars are fishing, just a single frame or two shows that Nemo, the missing clownfish is visible in their net, before a mammoth helps him make his escape.
Lilo and Stitch
There isn’t much in common between the story of a visiting alien creature and a Chinese daughter pretending to be a boy in order to defend her family, but the makers of Lilo & Stitch were clearly fans of Disney’s Mulan anyway. A playful reference is made by the restaurant Mulan Wok in town, but made blatantly clear when Lilo’s sister Nani is shown to have a poster for the movie in her bedroom. Disney women gotta stick together.
Princess and The Frog
Although it’s one of the few Disney princess stories set in America, the ties are strongest between the Princess and the Frog and Disney’s Aladdin. Not only has Genie’s lamp made it all the way to North America, but even Aladdin’s trusty flying carpet can be seen in the background of one wide shot of New Orleans.
But it wasn’t just past easter eggs included in the Louisiana adventure, but a hint of what was to come. You’ll have to look closely, and you’ll catch a copy of Rapunzel on Tiana’s bookshelf. Before the title was changed to Tangled, Disney was set to release their follow-up with that same name. Clearly, the animators never got the message.
Disney’s Robin hood remains something special for its world populated only by human-like animals. But the love story at its heart is the exact same as any other. Which is probably why the carriage that Robin and Marian ride off in at the film’s conclusion is the exact same one that took Cinderella and Prince Charming away after their wedding. A subtle sign that people or animals, it was true love, through and through.
The world of Cars is filled to the brim with inside jokes, tongue in cheek car puns, and references to nearly every other Pixar movie ever made. But the number of star Lightning McQueen – 95 – is a reference to the studio itself, with Toy Story releasing in 1995, making them household names overnight. The same number even makes an appearance in Toy Story 2 on the front of the train in the opening sequence.
Few expected Disney to turn their story of a video game villain turned hero into a critical and commercial success, but just as much credit was earned by Paperman, the short film which preceded it in theaters. It earned Disney its first animated short Oscar since 1970, but fans may still miss the easter egg in the movie itself. Take a close look at the bulletin board of the Bad-Anon meeting, and you’ll spot the exact piece of paper from the short – red lipstick and all.
Nobody, and we mean nobody, expected Disney’s Tangled to become one of the studio’s biggest hits, kicking off a second renaissance of digitally-animated Disney films. Luckily, some of Disney’s most beloved mascots were able to see the movie up close. During the angellic musical number at the Snuggle Duckling, keep an eye peeled for both Pinocchio observing the action from the rafters, and even a warthog mixed in with the crowd. When you see a warthog in a Disney film, it’s a safe bet that it’s one more animator paying credit to the flatulent hog… even if Timon is nowhere to be seen.