Zootopia was Disney's Oscar-winning, feel-good flick of 2016. Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde didn't waste any time climbing to the ranks of Disney royalty, having found a home in the hearts of every Disney fan. Since 2016, this film has without a doubt been viewed over and over by its army of fans, ourselves included.
That being said, as much as we've watched this jewel of a film, we can't deny we didn't catch all of its Disney Easter eggs and winks to the audience the first time. Zootopia is not immune from the little surprises so favored by Disney animators. Here are ten of those little secrets and surprises from the film you probably missed.
10 Trained Fur-fessional
A staple of any good buddy-cop movie is the training montage set to a pop/rock soundtrack, and Judy's is no exception. Though her gauntlet run is more visual-gag-heavy than some others, it does serve a bigger purpose than one might think. We actually do see Judy apply all her routines later in the film.
From scaling a car like an ice wall to escaping an enclosure via a toilet, we see Judy use all of her moves from the training montage at some point during the movie. She tackles thousand-foot falls, slippery walls, and enormous criminals all before the credits roll. She was obviously in control at all times, which is why she's so good at her job.
9 Familiar Forest Spirit
Disney artists love to sneak little winks and nods to their other films throughout their movies, but what about sneaking a hint at another studio? It's no secret that Disney director and animator John Lasseter was tight with the head of Studio Ghibli, Hiyo Miyazaki. We're betting even the sharpest didn't pick up on this rather obvious Easter egg, though.
If you look at the train station Judy departs for in the Bunny Burrows, you'll notice a pair of large, familiar eyes and a wide, toothy mouth on the side of the building. This figure is very reminiscent of Miyazaki's Totoro, the mascot of the Ghibli company and star of My Neighbor Totoro. Perhaps Zootopia has some anime influence?
8 Frozen in Tundra Town
Directors Byron Howard and Rich Moore were responsible for bringing us the wonderful world of Zootopia, but they also created the kingdom of Arendelle. As the creators of Disney's most popular and profitable princess property, it's no surprise that they added more than a few nods to Frozen into the mix in Zootopia.
From Alan Tudyk's Duke Weaselton to Chief Bogo delivering the best one-liner in Disney history, there are several nods to the famous film, but there's one you'd have to pause the flick to catch. As Judy's train cruises through Tundra Town, you can see two little elephants in Anna and Elsa costumes walking with their mother. Guess the film's popularity transcends even Disney movies?
7 A Living Hidden Mickey?
Is it legal to put a Hidden Mickey on the flesh/fur of a living character? We don't know, but we do know where you can -spot- a Hidden Mickey you might have to watch twice for. Keep your eyes peeled next time you walk into the ZPD.
Clawhauser, our favorite cheetah cop, has a lot more going on than just a crush on a certain pronged pop star. If you look closely at the spots on one of his cheeks, you can see a Hidden Mickey formed by three of them. Gotta give the film-makers credit for creativity on this one.
6 Perfectly Legal
We can't leave this list without talking about our favorite hustler, Nick Wilde. Aside from the whole tax-evasion deal, does Nick do anything illegal in his shifty popsicle routine? His materials are paid in full, nobody gets hurt during the process, and he sells a safe and delicious product. What's the issue?
If he were to take that Jumbo Pop and break it into more easily-consumable pieces, that would be the logical thing to do. What's the harm in putting a measly $2 price tag on it? Not exactly an Easter egg, but it is something we didn't catch upon our first viewing.
5 He Left the Washtub at Home
This is one Easter egg that only viewers of a certain age might catch, but it still made it through our sensors. One of the fourteen missing mammal cases on Bogo's desk is Emmet Otter, a florist who works for Mr. Big. Think back to that name, Emmet Otterton. Why does that sound so familiar?
Emmet Otterton is a direct reference to the Jim Henson character Emmet Otter, most notably from Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas. Since Disney works so well with the Muppets, it only makes sense to throw them a little wink in an animated film once in a while. Perhaps they both play the washtub bass?
4 Mickey Merch on the Move
We have not one but two Hidden Mickeys on the list. Where Clawhauser's Mickey spots can easily be seen upon closer inspection, this next one is perhaps even harder to spot. Just before Judy encounters Nick and Finnick on the sidewalk, a Mickey can be seen briefly, but not where you'd expect.
When the pair of foxes pass a mother hippo and her child, a full-bodied plush of Mickey can be seen in the pouch of the mother's stroller. A Mickey head is a treat, but a full-bodied appearance is even rarer!
3 Hunter and the Hunted
This is one of those hidden details that not only hit us hard after a rewatching but made us rethink a character's entire motives. Nick Wilde is one of the most loveable characters with the most heart-wrenching of backstories. Nobody likes dealing with bullies at any point in life, but Nick's bullies have a common denominator that one might miss upon first viewing.
Nick's tormentors are all prey animals. Even in his monologue, he mentions being the only predator in the ranger scouts. That totally shifts our view of the predator vs. prey conflicts. Even before knowing a bunny can go savage, we see that even creatures like a zebra, groundhog, and colt can be just as cruel.
2 Early Villain Reveal
Recent Disney films, Zootopia included, have had the habit of hiding their villains in plain sight. Though her reveal is unexpected for some, those who pay attention to the story get a hint at who's really pulling the strings in the anti-predator plot. It all starts when they move Clawhauser from the front desk to records... down by the boiler.
Where have we seen an office in a boiler room before? When we get our assistance interaction with Bellwether, we are shown her office is actually in the boiler room instead of a proper setting. Once Clawhauser is moved, it's not hard to put two and two together.
1 Judy and the Don
We love seeing Officer Hopps use her wits and kind nature to get out of a scrap, but we tend to forget that during her time in Zootopia, she earned the favor of a very powerful ally. How do you think it would look to the ZPD if one of their star officers had connections with the mob?
With his Don Vito persona and Brando vibes, it can be said Mr. Big is one of the biggest players in the Tundra Town mafia. Sure, he becomes a friend to both Judy and Nick by the end of the film, but Judy wouldn't have garnered the info from Weasleton if not for his intervention. Probably shouldn't tell Bogo about this one.