One reason that we love Disney-Pixar movies is that we know how much effort has been put into them. There’s always something new to discover in these films. Be it hidden symbolism or small details that reference other movies. Get ready to discover some of Disney and Pixar’s greatest easter eggs and hidden messages.
Based on a book written by Lewis Carroll, "Alice In Wonderland" is one of Disney's most complex and ambitious animated pictures. The movie is packed with imaginative, trippy imagery, which means you'll probably discover something new every time you watch it. One thing that is hard to spot on your own is that Wonderland is packed with Freudian symbols.
We could write a whole article just about these symbols and their meanings, but since time is short, here are just a couple you probably missed: The film is an allegory for the journey from childhood to adolescence. Every door symbolizes Alice's entrance into a different stage in her life. By the end of the movie, Alice is done being a child and is ready to take on her adult responsibilities.
Hidden in Latin
1991's "Beauty and the Beast" has brought us a spectacular love story with a strong female lead. While Belle enjoys walking around town reading books, the Beast is a prince stuck inside the body of a horrific monster. After falling in love with Belle, the Beast learns how to overcome his inner monstrosities, which in turn help him shed his monster skin and reveal the prince that he truly is.
Of course, the prince was trapped in the Beast's body because of his own cruel actions. The moral of the story is hidden in plain sight in one of the movie's first scenes. On the vitrage windows, you can see a Latin inscription "Vincit Qui Se Vincit." In English, it translates to "He Conquers Who Conquers Himself." Simply put, being able to overcome your emotions and faults is winning life's most important battle.
A Secret Combination
Pixar fans know to keep their eyes peeled and look for easter eggs in each and every Pixar movie. Hawk-eyed viewers noticed a peculiar code in many of the studio's films. "A113" can be found in the background of almost all of Pixar's animated movies.
The truth is that this secret code is merely a fun inside joke between the company's animators. Many of the talented animators who had the privilege of working on Pixar films went to school at the California Institute of the Arts. There, they took animation classes to help them perfect their craft. Many of those classes took place in classroom A113. This nod to the animators' college days can be spotted in "Up," "Brave," and all "Toy Story" movies.
We wouldn't usually peg conspiracy theory lovers as avid Disney watchers, but apparently, there is an overlap. In one episode of "DuckTales," Scrooge visits the doctor. At the doctor's office, there's an eye test chart with a hidden message on it.
The seemingly harmless chart spells out the phrase "Ask about Illuminati." When conspiracy theorists noticed the sign, they celebrated, and with good reason. While this could just be a joke that one of the original animators put it, it is still unknown who put it there and why.
An Unclean Acronym
Disney is a family-friendly franchise, and while many millennials love it, its core audience is children. But, Disney still does what they can to make their movies engaging and fun for adults as well. Sometimes, they purposefully slip in punches that only grownups will understand.
While on the surface, this "Madagascar" dialogue is completely safe, if you turn Marty's words, "sugar honey iced tea," into an acronym, you get a word that does not belong in Disney movies.
A Dirty Message in the Dust?
Disney is for everyone, which is why many were upset when they thought they saw an inappropriate word written in the sky in 1994's "The Lion King." Rumor had it that the dust sent to the sky by Simba spells the name of a certain adult activity.
This is the kind of scandal Disney could not afford not to react to. Their official claim was that the sand spells SFX and not... that other word. SFX stands for special effects, and according to the entertainment franchise, this was just a nod to the team. Whether you choose to believe them or not, that's up to you!
A Tribute to Jobs
2012's "Brave" was highly acclaimed and won several best-animated picture awards. Many grew to love the redheaded lead, Merida, but it is a minor character in the film that sparked rumors.
According to an unconfirmed theory, Lord Macintosh was created as a tribute to the late founder of Apple, Steve Jobs. Jobs had strong connections with Pixar and died in 2011, just one year before this film was released. Based on hearsay, the Lord is named after Jobs' commended computer, the Macintosh.
Pixar's Lucky Charm
Pixar is known for formulating numerous hits that are loved by audiences and critics alike. Their team is one of the best in the world, but even the greatest need some luck in order to make it big. This is why Pixar has a hidden this lucky charm in all of its films.
John Ratzenberger is known for portraying Cliff Clavin on "Cheers." He also voices a minor charter in each and every movie the studio releases. The staff considers him to be their lucky charm. Since they wouldn't want to jinx themselves, they always find a way of incorporating his voice in their creations.
The tradition of incorporating hidden messages into animation movies is as old as the medium itself. Of course, back in the day, hidden messages weren't as sophisticated as they are today. But, just because something is simple doesn't mean that it is well known, like the little nod in "Fantasia" (1940).
There's a wizard in the film named Yen Sid. His name can be found in the movie's end credits. But what happens if you read his name backward? Well, it spells out the name of the company that made him, of course! It is said that he was drawn to look specifically like the studio's founder, Walt Disney himself.
An Invalid Contract
In one of Disney's most beloved films, "The Little Mermaid," innocent Ariel gives away her voice to Ursula, who promises her human legs in return. When they make the deal, Ursula hands Ariel a contract to sign, which Ariel doesn't really read.
We can't blame Ariel for not reading the contract, right? Who hasn't signed something without actually reading the whole thing? Well, if you stop and try to look at Ursula's contract, you'll see it's written in gibberish. If Ariel had bothered reading it maybe, she would have known she wasn't actually signing anything away.
Alice and Eve
"Alice In Wonderland" is one of Disney's most symbolic films. One theory is that Alice's character is a rendition of Eve's character from the Bible. Think about it, when we first meet Alice, she's in a garden. Eve starts her journey in a garden as well -- the Garden of Eden.
Eve's journey starts with her eating the forbidden fruit, while Alice's starts with chasing a rabbit down a hole. After their initial mistake, they both find themselves in a new world that makes no sense to them. In the process, they both grow from girls to women.
If you want to become a master at finding animated movie easter eggs and hidden messages, you should always make sure to pause films when a piece of paper appears. Sometimes, you'll be disappointed to see that the paper holds no important information, but other times you'll be able to spot some hidden information.
The address that is written on Don Carlton's business card in "Monsters University" is "1200 Dark Avenue". There is no such address, but Pixar's studios are located on 1200 Park Avenue in California. The address on the card is a nod to the place the animators enjoy coming to every day.
It takes years to make one Pixar movie, which means that animators and concept artists are always thinking about characters we won't know about until years later. But, sometimes, the kind guys at Pixar leave clues for us to find, clues we will only be able to understand in hindsight.
In "Monsters, Inc.," for example, you can spot Nemo in the background a couple of times. Of course, nobody knew it was Nemo when the movie first came out, but two years later, when "Finding Nemo" hit the theaters, we could all of a sudden recognize the tiny fish.
Shakespeare's Stolen Tale
As kids, we all loved "The Lion King," but we also knew that the film's themes were a bit heavy for us. Mufasa's death by Scar has left a lasting impression on children all over the world. Wonder how the guys at Disney came up with such a tragic story? Well, they copied it from Shakespeare, of course!
The whole movie is based on the Bard's most famous play "Hamlet." The scene in which Scar holds a skull and plays with it references the original play, where Hamlet recites his speech to one.
The (Chess) Queen is Dead
"Frozen" (2013) was a cultural phenomenon no one could predict. The movie had great characters, infectious songs, and a revolutionary plot. No matter how hard we tried, we just couldn't let it go (see what we did there?). But, despite watching it several times, there's a great chance you missed one symbolic scene.
In the scene, Hans states that Elsa has died. Broken Olaf looks out the window, while, to his right, there is a chessboard. A gust of wind comes in through the window and knocks over the white queen, who symbolizes none other than Elsa. Luckily, Elsa didn't actually die.
Tag, You're It
"Soul" (2020) was the first Disney-Pixar movie to feature a Black man as its main character. The movie tells his story as he tries to teach young 22 why life is worth living. 22 has had many mentors, but no one could help her. In one scene, we can see the name tags of all of 22's past teachers.
This scene calls for a full-on easter egg hunt. You can spot famous names like Johnny Cash and Albert Einstein. If you look closely, you'll also be able to notice that some names are in foreign languages, and some of them are nods to the animators who worked on this masterpiece.
The Lion King's Pride
Many of Disney's movies are based on fairy tales and folk tales. This means no one is expecting accuracy when it comes to these films. But in 1994, Disney wanted to make "The Lion King" as accurate as possible. As accurate as a drama about talking lions could be, of course.
According to a study they did on lions, there's no way a pride will have more than one adult lion. Each pride has only one alpha male. This means that Scar and Mufasa can't actually be brothers. In order to make sure the story made sense but was still factually accurate, Disney announced that the two were stepbrothers.
Today, Pixar is one of the world's most successful animation studios. Before they became a household name, they made an animated short called "Luxo, Jr." The short features a yellow ball with a blue stripe and a red star.
The ball was named Luxo ball, and Pixar has included it in many of its features since. It is said that they incorporate it to remind themselves where they came from; just a small studio no one heard of.
Did Gaston actually die? If you remember "Beauty And The Beast," you'll know we never actually saw the sleazy guy's death. In his final scene, Gaston falls, but he was never actually seen landing, so is he alive or dead?
There's a great chance we'll never know, as nobody wants to show a character dying in a children's movie. But, one clue you might have never seen can be found in one of the film's deleted scenes. You can see little skulls in Gaston's eyes in the scene, signifying that he is indeed dead.
"A Bug’s Life" isn't Pixar's most memorable movie, but it still deserves some respect. The only reason it isn't as loved as other Pixar films is that the studio keeps making one masterpiece after the other. If you haven't watched "A Bug’s Life" in decades, let us tell you that it has a "Dumbo" nod.
In one scene, you can see a jar with a label that says "Casey Jr. Cookies Box." Those of you with a good memory will know that this is a "Dumbo" easter egg. Casey Jr. is the circus' manager in the film.
"Tangled" (2010) was one of the best retellings of a classic fairytale we've ever seen. The addition of mother Gothel's character is definitely one of the reasons the film is so good. But, let’s be honest, it is evident that mother Gothel doesn't have Rapunzel's best interests at heart. So why does Rapunzel trust her?
Rapunzel might have been fooled by mother Gothel, but we weren't. One clear indication of mother Gothel's true intentions is that she touches the girl's hair every time she tells Rapunzel she loves her. It's a small little easter egg that really makes the movie much deeper - check it out next time you watch it!
In one scene in "Tangled," Rapunzel and Flynn go to a bookshop. If you've learned anything by now, you know that books make for great easter eggs, and animators rarely skip on the opportunity to hide shoutouts in them.
You have to look closely, but if you do, you'll be able to see that the bookstore holds many books that have turned into Disney films. There's a copy of "The Little Mermaid on a table," "Sleeping Beauty" can be found next to the window, and finally, "Beauty And The Beast" is on the wooden floor.
Woods of California
Everyone remembers the heartbreaking scene in "Beauty And The Beast" when Belle loses her father during a storm in the woods. We don't recommend rewatching this tragic scene, but if you do, you'll notice that there's a sign in the woods.
At first, the writing on the sign looks worn-down and incomprehensible. If you pause the scene and squint, you might be able to make out two names: "Anaheim" and "Valencia." Disneyland is in Anaheim, while Valencia is where CalArts is located. These two places mean a lot to Disney animators.
Mickey Mouse is Disney's most iconic character, which is why they love finding creative ways of incorporating his image into almost each and every animated movie they make. This means fans can always watch Disney movies and try to spot Mickey.
Disney has been hiding Mickey in their movies for decades, which means you can practically play this game forever. Some hard-to-spot examples are Dumbo’s bath and Shang's horse. Both feature Mickey's outline.
The first "Toy Story" movie was originally released in 1995. Not many know that it was actually Pixar's first feature-length film, as well as being the first movie ever to be produced using only CGI. This could be the reason why the real estate company that sells Andy's house is called “Virtual Reality.”
CGI changed the entire film industry in wild ways. Today, almost anything can be made using this technique, which is why we get so many cool movies with special effects. Pixar gave a nod to the technology in this easter egg.
A "Thank You" in Disguise
Lilo and Stitch, which came out in 2002, is one of Disney's most underrated films. This could be because it doesn't feature a princess rather tells the story of an orphan. In one scene, the main character, Lilo, goes to an animal shelter with her sister. Lilo wants to adopt a dog but picks Stitch, who is clearly not actually a dog.
Stitch's adoption papers seem like they are just that, but if you stop the scene and read them, you'll find they aren't adoption papers at all, but a thank you in disguise. The note thanks to everyone who was involved in making the movie.
A Frozen Joke
Some of Disney's adult jokes are subtle and can be easily missed, while some are pretty clear to anyone who isn't a kid. Kids probably missed this joke in "Frozen," but we sure didn't, and we are surprised that Disney has gotten away with it.
Anna tells us that foot size doesn't matter, which is, you know, true! We should never judge a man by his...foot size. This joke got a chuckle from parents while the kids were completely oblivious, which is a good thing.
A Studio Shoutout
We have already established that Pixar's animators are obsessed with referencing their studio, where they went to school, their classrooms, et cetera. Of course, they didn't miss the opportunity to do so in 2006's "Cars."
While the movie itself takes place in a fictional town, in one scene, there's a sign that mentions the city of Emeryville. This is where Pixar's studios are located in California, so they had to pay homage to it.
Sully is Brave
"Brave" features scary grizzly bears and has characters shapeshifting into them left and right. While this is pretty terrifying, at least there aren't any actual real monsters in this movie, right? Well, that's not entirely correct.
If you take a good look at this piece of wood, you'll find a familiar character is carved into it. No, this isn't a carving of a grizzly bear but of Sully, the monster from "Monsters, Inc." What is he doing in this film's universe? We may never know!
Toy Story's Shorts
As we've already told you, "Toy Story" was Pixar's first movie, which means it couldn't really feature any hits at other Pixar movies. They did, of course, release a few shorts before they took on working on their first feature-length film.
Not having any long films to pay homage to didn't stop animators from putting in nods to their previous shorts. In this picture, you can see that the books behind Woody carry the names of some of Pixar's shorts.
Not many remember "Big Hero 6," but it was a great film that celebrated Tokyo, Japan. You probably didn't think a movie that takes place in Japan would have a reference to any of the Disney films that are set in Europe since the two are just too far away from each other.
But Disney keeps proving that all of their movies exist in one small world. In this police station from "Big Hero 6," you can see a wanted ad searching for Hans from "Frozen." We are not surprised he ended up on Japan's wanted list, as he wasn't a good guy!
"Cinderella" came out over 70 years ago, but this classic still captivates children worldwide. Disney has cared about the small details since its inception, and despite being old, "Cinderella" is no different. It was created way before CGI existed, and each and every frame was hand-drawn.
This frame is symbolic of Cinderella's internal feelings. While this is just a window casting its shadow on her, it actually looks like she's in a cage. Having to tend to her stepmother's every wish and not being able to do anything is indeed like living in a cage.
In 1933, Disney released a short called "Three Little Pigs" based on the famous story with the same name. The animators back then had a dark sense of humor that probably wouldn't fly today. In the first picture, you can see the little pigs with their mother in the background. But, where's the father?
Well, the answer to that question can be found in the second picture. Their father didn't make it out alive, and it has turned into a delicious treat. Hopefully, the kids who watched this short didn't notice.
Just like "Frozen," "Moana" was a movie that celebrated girl power. With beautiful animation and original music by Lin-Manuel Miranda, it is one of Disney's greatest films. Moana's chicken sidekick really enjoyed eating rocks.
At one point, the silly chicken tries to eat Maui's finger. If you know anything about Moana, you'd know that Maui was voiced by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. This just proves how much this chicken likes rocks.
As we said, Disney likes putting jokes that will please the parents watching the movies and not just the children. This has been a tactic of theirs for decades now. Proof of that can be found in one of their "Golden Age" movies, "Hercules."
Hercules mentions Oedipus, Greek mythology's most controversial character. If you don't know, Oedipus got rid of his father and married his mother. So, it's safe to say that Hercules certainly has fewer problems than this other guy.
A cool Disney theory you probably haven't thought about is that the evil queen from "Snow White" and Mother Gothel from "Tangled" are actually the same person. How does that work? Well, many think that "Tangled" is a sequel to "Snow White."
If you look at the two, you'll notice there are similarities. What if the evil queen survived at the end of "Snow White" and became Mother Gothel? You have to admit it makes sense.
Some fans believe that Disney goes beyond just including adult jokes in its actual films but also includes them in posters and prints. Take, for example, this "Lion King" poster. At first glance, it looks innocent enough.
If you take a second look at it, you might be able to see something a little raunchy in this poster. Like, it's only a lion's face, right? There's no way it can be anything more than that...
Acknowledging all the hard-working people who create each and every Disney and Pixar movie has always been a priority for both companies. Seriously, you can't even imagine how many hours, days, and years are spent making these movies.
Disney likes to immortalize its animators in different movie scenes. In this dramatic scene from 1998's "Mulan," the gravestone carries the names of some of the people who have worked on the movie. No matter how many years have passed, they'll always be remembered.
Up's Toy Story
"Up" was an emotional rollercoaster for all of us. The opening scene is a masterpiece in itself. If you were caught up in the film's heartfelt story, you might have missed a character you should be familiar with. Of course, at the time, you wouldn't have recognized the pink bear.
Lotso is the bad guy in "Toy Story 3." "Up" Came out in 2009, and "Toy Story 3" in 2010. The animators were giving us easter eggs we wouldn't have even known to look for! How clever.
Nemo and Buzz
"Finding Nemo" (2003) was one of Pixar's breakthrough hits. Because "Toy Story" was their first film, they like trying to incorporate it in almost every movie they make. There is a dentist named Dr. Sherman in"Finding Nemo."
In his office, there's a toy box, and if you look closely, you'll see that the toy box has a couple of toys you'd recognize. Buzz Lightyear is just outside, while inside of it, you can see Boo's bear from "Monsters, Inc."
Many of Pixar's creations have children as the main characters. This makes sense as that's their main audience. But, this also gives them an opportunity, time after time, to provide these children with toys from the "Toy Story" franchise.
We only need to pause the movies and look for the toys. In this case, Boo's room from "Monster, Inc." shows us she likes to play with Jessie, who we first met in "Toy Story 2" as Woody's lady friend.
Finding Inside Out
The sequel to "Finding Nemo" "Finding Dory" didn't make the same splash as the original movie, but it can still be enjoyed for its visuals as well as its easter eggs. "Inside Out "came out in 2015, and it taught us all valuable lessons about the importance of our feelings.
In 2016, "Finding Dory" hit theaters. In one scene, we can see poor Dory stuck in an aquarium. It seems that one of the girls looking at her is actually the girl from inside out, Riley, when she was younger.
The Genie's Crab
"Aladdin" is one of the movies that were made during a period of time that is now known as Disney's "Golden Age." Some of their best films were released around that time. "Aladdin" is prized for the Genie's character, who got a lot of its personality for its voice actor Robbie Williams.
In one scene, only for a brief second, the poor Genie's finger is bitten by a crab. This crab is no other than Ariel's sidekick Sebastian!
Boo is a lucky girl. It seems like she has many cool toys, toys that almost any kid would want to play with. If you pause "Monsters, Inc." while Sully is holding Boo's toys, you'll discover three different easter eggs.
The most obvious one is a Nemo figure. Behind Nemo, you can see the famous Luxo ball, and if you squint and use your imagination, you can see Jessie's cow pants.
"Moana" came out many, many years after "Aladdin," but as we have already said, Disney never gets tired of reminding us of its glorious past. During this "Moana" scene, Maui is standing on top of a mountain of golden objects.
Those who will look carefully will notice that there's a gleaming golden lamp on the left side of the frame. Many believe that it is the same lamp from "Aladdin."
A Tiny Stitch
Out of all the special characters Disney and Pixar have given us; you have to admit that Stitch is one of the most recognizable ones. This troubled alien likes to cause trouble and make noise, and we love him for it.
As far as we know, Stitch, the alien, has permanently relocated to Hawaii, but in this "Big Hero 6" scene, he can be spotted in one of the pictures on the wall.
Tangled in Frozen
At the end of "Tangled," Rapunzel gets to let go of what is holding her back. She cuts off her blonde, long hair to sport a short brown-ish hairdo. Have you ever wondered what happened next?
We think that there's a great chance that Rapunzel found herself in Arendelle, Anna, and Elsa's home and kingdom. This scene proves it!
A113 Strikes Again
True Pixar fans know that A113 is a common inside joke in Pixar's movies. This easter egg respects CalArts, the school where most of the studio's animators learned the craft. It refers to the animation classroom in the school.
"Up" has a touching scene where Carl Fredricksen sits in a waiting room before a trial. On the right side of the frame, there is a golden plaque that says "Classroom A113." Seriously, how do people spot these hidden jems?
Mickey is Everywhere
Now that "Frozen" has become such a massive hit, we can expect easter eggs that pay homage to this movie is Disney and Pixar's future films. But, Disney never forgets its past and how it got started. Mickey Mouse can be found in many of their films.
If you look at Anna's room, you'll be able to see a little Mickey in the background. It is so well-hidden that we have no idea how anyone noticed it in the first place, but it is definitely Mickey.