Aladdin (1992)

Aladdin is the story of a plucky underdog who tries to transcend their situation in order to live the life they know they deserve, who happens to fall in love along the way despite not really looking for it. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s also the plot of The Little Mermaid. Maybe that is why the Genie stumbles across Sebastian the Crab while flicking through a book of Royal Recipes. Yikes! Run, Sebastian!

Aladdin (1992)

The Little Mermaid isn’t the only Disney property to pop up in Aladdin; Pinocchio also makes an appearance. You don’t have to look very hard to spot this crossover, as Genie literally transforms into the famous wooden boy at one point… or at least his head does. Early in the movie, when Aladdin promises to use one of his three wishes to free the Genie, he transforms his face into Pinocchio’s, complete with the growing nose. What a classy way to call Aladdin a liar!

The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (1996)

If you grew up watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, chances are you at one point believed that all the Disney characters were friends and hanging out behind the scenes. This blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo, of Belle from Beauty and the Beast reading a book as she strolls through the street in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, only reaffirms that notion. Do you think she’s reading Les Misérables?

Tarzan (1999)

Who could forget this jubilant scene where Tarzan’s gorilla friends wreck everything the unwitting explorers brought with them? What you might have missed is the fact that this tableau of destruction hides a secret: the troop aren’t playing the drums on any old tea set, but on Mrs. Potts and her children! It’s a good job they don’t get smashed!

Toy Story 2 (1999)

In Toy Story 2, Mrs Potato Head can be spotted reading a story to some of the Toddle Tots. If you squint, you can see that it’s a page from A Bug’s Life. This brings up some obvious questions, like does that mean that Disney movies are canon in the Toy Story universe? Or is the storybook actually a biography, and the sentience of the bugs themselves is already known to the toys and the people, so much so that books are made about their plight?

Monsters, Inc. (2001)

Almost all Disney movies contain references to other properties owned by the mouse, but Monsters, Inc. is unusual in that it contains one big Easter Egg – for a movie that wasn’t even out when Monsters, Inc. hit cinemas! You might think it makes perfect sense for Boo to hand a clownfish teddy called Nemo to Sully, but for people who were lucky enough to see Monsters, Inc. in theatres, the moment meant nothing, as Finding Nemo was still two years away from coming out!

Finding Nemo (2003)

Monsters, Inc. helped introduce the world to Nemo the clownfish before his movie dropped, so it makes sense that when Finding Nemo finally hit cinemas, Disney wanted to return the favour in some way. They settled on having Mike Wazowski swim through the Finding Nemo credits like some sort of strange, alien fish – complete with flippers and a snorkel!

101 Dalmatians (1961)

If you were the kind of kid who watched 101 Dalmatians on repeat when you were younger, there’s a good chance your parents were driven mad by one scene in particular: the twilight bark. They probably fought the urge to skip the moment where every dog in the neighbourhood barks in tandem, but if they did, then you might have missed the sneaky Lady and the Tramp cameo where the canine couple can be seen in silhouette.

The Rescuers (1977)

The Rescuers might not be the best-remembered Disney movie today, but it was actually pretty successful when it was released, so much so that it became the first Disney movie to get a sequel. If you’ve ever seen it, you might have seen these two very recognisable silhouettes, Bambi and his mother, appear on the screen during the song Someone’s Waiting for You.

Aladdin (1992)

The movie Aladdin not only features a cave full of countless treasures and delights, but also a genie who can conjure anything into being on a whim. In other words, it’s the perfect movie in which to hide Easter eggs and references. One of the subtlest examples is within this pile of animal toys, where you can spot the titular Beast from Beauty and the Beast. Did you spot him?

Hercules (1997)

Near the beginning of childhood-scarring, undisputed family classic The Lion King, Zazu sassily remarks that Scar would “make a very handsome throw rug.” Little did either of them know, he would meet that exact fate just three short years later, in 1997’s Hercules. At one point, Hercules himself wears a very recognisable lion pelt over his shoulders like a cape, and then leaves it slumped on the floor. How morbid!

Monsters, Inc. (2001)

Boo’s plushy clownfish is not the only nod to Finding Nemo in Monsters, Inc., although it is definitely the easiest to spot. If you have extraordinary pause-button reflexes or an amazing eye for tiny details, then you might be able to spot the Nemo toy hanging up on the wall as Mike frantically exits the door. If not, you can at least tell your friends and pretend you were the one to discover it!

Monsters, Inc. (2001)

Monsters, Inc. really feels like it has a higher-than-normal amount of Easter eggs, references and crossover nods, even by Disney’s own standards. In this frame alone, you can see that Randall has ended up in the trailer from A Bug’s Life, just to the right of the Pizza Planet Truck from Toy Story. The Pizza Planet Truck is one of Disney’s most prolific references, so look for it next time you’re in the cinema!

Lilo And Stitch (2002)

Lilo from Lilo and Stitch has a lot of interests, from photography and Elvis to travel and ice cream and many of her likes and obsessions are documented on her walls. Not only does she have photographs of all the tourists that frequent her hometown, but she also has a giant poster of… is that Mulan? Clearly, she’s a fan of powerful women with combat skills!

Finding Nemo (2003)

When it comes to sneaking Easter eggs into an animated movie, toys are a great way to do it. Not only are they small and not out of place in shadowy corners or strewn about randomly, but they are a plausible way to put recognisable characters into a real-life world. A great example is in Finding Nemo, where you can find a Buzz Lightyear toy in the dentist’s waiting room.

Finding Nemo (2003)

The dentist in Finding Nemo doesn’t only play host to a Buzz Lightyear doll that may or may not be sentient, it also contains Mr. Incredible… kind of. One of the kids waiting to have his teeth seen is reading a Mr. Incredible comic, in a movie that was released a whole year before The Incredibles would hit theatres. That’s an extremely subtle way to build hype!

The Incredibles (2004)

Disney Easter eggs are usually pretty hard to spot, but you’d be even more forgiven for missing this next one, as it was placed slap-bang in a high-octane, fast-moving superhero action sequence. However, if you take your eyes off Mr. Incredible as he attempts to save the city, you’ll see Doc Hudson of Cars blending in with the non-sentient cars in the background.

Ratatouille (2007)

One of Ratatouille’s most memorable scenes is the faux-one shot that sees the titular rat navigate through Paris for the first time, encountering fighting and kissing couples, treacherous landscapes and a variety of physical threats. One of these threats is a barking pup, who loses some of his menace when you realise it’s definitely Dug from Up.

Ratatouille (2007)

In one of the cleverest references Disney has ever done, the villain from The Incredibles, Bomb Voyage, can be seen in the background of Ratatouille, specifically in the scene where Chef Skinner is spying on Remi. However, to make Bomb Voyage more tone and setting-appropriate, he’s been repurposed as an innocent mime entertaining a Parisian child. Lovely!

Wall-E (2008)

We’ve already discussed the fact that the Pizza Planet truck is one of the most frequently utilised references in Disney, so it probably won’t surprise you to know that it also shows up in Wall-E. However, in true Wall-E style, the Pizza Planet truck is almost unrecognisable, due to the layers of grime, rubbish and dilapidation it is hidden beneath.

Up (2009)

Given that toys are some of the easiest ways to sneak references into a movie, children’s rooms are one of the best places to start if you want to look for Disney Easter eggs. For example, this girl’s bedroom in Up is only on screen for a couple of seconds, and yet you can see both Lotso from Toy Story 3 and the famous Pixar ball.

101 Dalmatians (1961)

The Twilight Bark scene in 101 Dalmatians doesn’t only feature a sneaky cameo from Lady and the Tramp’s two titular characters, as Jock also makes an appearance. Who is Jock? He’s the Scottish Terrier who is friends with Lady and Trusty, who is tasked with explaining to Lady what a human baby is and how it can change the dynamic of a family.

Frozen (2013)

Frozen was created to poke fun at and subvert the established wisdom of the Disney Princess canon, so it makes sense that it is packed full of winking references to other films. The one that made hardcore Disney fans the most excited, however, was definitely the appearance of Tangled’s Rapunzel and Eugene (aka Flynn Rider) at Elsa’s coronation, thanks to the lore implications that went along with it.

Frozen (2013)

Rapunzel wasn’t the only princess to be invited to Elsa’s donning of the crown and sceptre either. Tiana from Princess of the Frog can also be seen, specifically when Elsa turns to address the crowd of nobles entering through the gates. You can recognise her by her dark green dress, which has a pattern that references her iconic transformation ballgown.

Big Hero 6 (2014)

Big Hero 6 is technically a Marvel movie and takes place in a theoretical alternate universe in a city called San Fransokyo, so it’s about as far away from the traditional fairytale setting of a Disney movie as it’s possible to get. Maybe that’s why it’s so surprising to see a wanted poster requesting information on the evil Prince Hans Westergaard, aka the villain from Frozen, in the background of the police station.

Monsters University (2013)

Monsters University explores a raucous campus attended by various monsters, and all that inevitable chaos is the perfect place to hide Easter eggs. Not only that but, monstrous or not, every campus needs its fair share of late-night food options, so it makes sense that yet another Pizza Planet truck can be seen in the background of an all-night fraternity party.

Tangled (2011)

Rapunzel’s nebulously historical setting means that it would be difficult or downright inappropriate to sneak characters or items from some Disney films into the background, but that doesn’t mean it’s entirely devoid of references. If Rapunzel’s three-legged spinning wheel looks familiar to you, it could be because it was first seen in the classic Sleeping Beauty, all the way back in 1959!

The Little Mermaid (1989)

Elsa and Anna aren’t the only Disney royals to invite important figures from other kingdoms to their important events. When Eric and Ursula almost go through with their ill-fated wedding towards the end of The Little Mermaid, a group of invited nobles can be seen also aboard the ship. Two are instantly recognisable as the King and Grand Duke from Cinderella. Hopefully, they’re not seasick!

A Bug’s Life (1998)

Remember the scene in Monsters Inc. that showed Randall terrorising a caravan next to a Pizza Planet truck in an otherwise tranquil field? Well, that whole tableau was actually taken wholesale from A Bug’s Life, Pizza Planet truck and all! Both vehicles can be seen here in the sunset, looking just as in disrepair as they do in Monsters Inc.

Toy Story 2 (1999)

Remember the kindly toy repairman who is tasked with fixing Woody? Well, he might be little more than a featured extra in the Toy Story universe, but he’s actually the protagonist of his own narrative. In 1997, the toymaker starred in a Pixar short film called Geri’s Game, not to be confused with the very different, very non-family friendly Gerald’s Game.

Emperor’s New Groove (2000)

For a small subset of the population who were born at exactly the right time, The Brave Little Toaster isn’t just a movie, it’s a foundational piece of childhood. However, for everyone else, the 1987 flick is one of Disney’s lesser-known films. It still gets a nod in the wacky odd-couple comedy The Emperor’s New Groove however, as at Mudka’s Meat Hut, you can see that the chef owns his own brave little toaster.

Finding Nemo (2003)

Another Pizza Planet truck Easter egg? Why not! This one is only visible for a couple of frames, when Gil is describing the escape route out of the dentist for Nemo. If you manage to spot it before the camera whizzes past then you officially have bragging rights at your next Pixar watch party.

Brother Bear (2003)

Brother Bear wasn’t one of Disney’s most successful movies when it was released, and it hasn’t stuck around in the hearts and minds of fans the way some others have. However, it did successfully tease the release of Finding Nemo later the same year, by showing a single clownfish leaping out of the water alongside the salmon.

Cars (2006)

See that jackalope painted on the back of the RV truck to the right? It might just seem like the kind of random illustration that fans of the Indie 2000 and races like it would put on the back of their mobile home, but it’s actually a picture of the star of Pixar short film Boundin’! Now you know what to look for next time you watch Cars!

Wall-E (2008)

Wall-E spends much of his movie surrounded by piles of trash, whether he’s working diligently to clean up the abandoned and polluted Earth or being stuck in the waste disposal area of the spaceship Axiom. Either way, these cluttered settings are the perfect places to hide references and Easter eggs, which is why you can see a grubby Mike from Monsters Inc. hanging out in the background of this shot.

The Princess and the Frog (2009)

The Princess and the Frog is responsible for one of Disney’s most believable worlds, thanks to its expert blending of fantastical magic and ordinary civilian life. However, if you watch closely there’s actually a hint at the whimsy yet to come in the opening scene, where a woman can be seen shaking out Aladdin’s magic carpet.

Cars 2 (2011)

Cars 2 sees Lightning McQueen and Mater leave their home to explore Europe and Japan, first in an attempt to win the World Grand Prix but later to help uncover a conspiracy led by a shady criminal mastermind. During their travels, they drive past a restaurant called Gastow’s in a Paris-inspired landscape, which is of course a reference to Gusteau’s, the restaurant that Remi is lucky enough to stumble into in Ratatouille!

Brave (2012)

Brave might not have the dedicated following or beloved classic status that other Disney Pixar movies enjoy, but it’s still beautifully crafted and full of intricate details. One that might have escaped your notice is the brief appearance of the Pizza Planet truck, which can be seen on the witch’s workshop table, almost finished, amongst other wood carvings.

Tangled (2011)

Early on in Tangled, Rapunzel ventures out to The Snuggly Duckling, a deceptively-named tavern that houses the criminal underbelly of the kingdom. Once there, she sings I’ve Got a Dream, an upbeat number that includes toasting mugs of beer, fire juggling and daggers being thrown. Given all the chaos, you’d be forgiven for missing the Pinocchio puppet that can be seen dangling over Flynn Rider during the finale.

Partysaurus Rex (2012)

It’s a good job that this Easter egg is only in the background of the scene for a few moments, as it might be one of the most ghoulish references in Disney history. During Partysaurus Rex, a 2012 short made by Pixar Canada, you can see a furry toilet cover with an oddly familiar pattern… has anyone seen Monsters, Inc.’s Sully anywhere?

Wreck-it Ralph (2012)

Given that Wreck-it Ralph is built around the idea of the secret lives that video game characters live when we’re not playing with them, it makes sense that its world is populated with every recognisable video game character that Disney could get the rights to. However, what you might not have expected to see while watching is Tiny the T-Rex from 2007’s Meet the Robinsons, who is hanging around Game Central Station when Ralph travels back from Pac-Man.

Wreck-it Ralph

Tiny isn’t the only non-video game cameo to pop up in Wreck-it Ralph either. In the very same scene, you can see Cinderella and Belle walking together through Game Central Station. Who knows which game they were coming from or who they were visiting – maybe they were just a little early getting ready for their appearance in the sequel?

The Great Mouse Detective (1986)

A lot of Disney references are pretty subtle and hard to spot, but this one is actually harder to ignore. When Bill the Lizard first popped up in Alice in Wonderland in 1951, many people were quick to point out that he didn’t look much like a lizard at all. So when he showed up again as part of Professor Ratigan’s criminal gang in 1986’s The Great Mouse Detective, he didn’t escape a lot of people’s notice.

The Little Mermaid (1989)

At the very beginning of The Little Mermaid, King Triton’s entire kingdom is gathered to celebrate the birthday of Ariel, the youngest of all the mermaid princesses. When it is discovered that she is not there to sing and dance with her sisters, Triton is not the only one to react with shock, as Goofy, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck can all be seen in the audience glancing around for her.

The Princess and the Frog (2009)

Louis from 2009’s The Princess and the Frog is one of Disney’s most interesting characters. After all, how often do you see a giant, jolly alligator whose only desire is to play the trumpet in a human jazz band? He gets into countless wacky antics over the movie’s runtime, but one in particular is actually a sneaky reference to a much earlier film. When Louis scrunches up swamp grass and puts it over his head like a wig, this is actually a reference to Madam Mim in The Sword and the Stone!

Lilo & Stitch (2002)

Given how inseparable Lilo is from both Stitch and her handmade doll Scrump, it might surprise you to know that she actually has other teddies that she surrounds herself with, albeit ones that end up discarded in her room more than they get played with. One of these cast-aside cuddle buddies is an elephant with unmistakably big ears, in a clear reference to Dumbo. Do you think he can fly?

The Black Cauldron (1985)

Nowadays, The Black Cauldron has a pretty tragic reputation, owing to the fact that it was both one of Disney’s biggest flops and one of its biggest labours of love. However, even though this unwieldy cult classic had to cut numerous corners to deliver on its ambitious scale and world while still coming in reasonably close to budget, the team did manage to sneak in a subtle Tinkerbell cameo during a scene with a multi-coloured cloud of fairies.

Treasure Planet (2002)

Disney’s 2002 Treasure Planet does not take place in our solar system, that much is made clear by the presence of the Etherium, a layer of space with breathable air and adapted marine life. However, it is similar to Lilo and Stitch in that it is one of a few Disney movies to take place in space. Maybe that is why young Jim Hawkins has a plush Stitch, complete with an adorable teddy-sized spacesuit, on his bedroom shelf.

Lilo & Stitch (2002)

Lilo and Nani’s beautiful bond is half of what makes Lilo and Stitch such a brilliant film. However, while the two sisters are amazing at depending on each other, looking after the strange blue alien that joins their family and even convincing an intergalactic government that they deserve to keep their pet, they’re not so good at keeping their house tidy. In fact, their home is so messy that you might not even notice the Pixar ball resting on a stool!

Oliver & Company (1988)

When working in an organic cameo, Easter egg or reference, it helps if the two movies in question have some kind of similarity. That’s why there are so many crossovers between Lady and the Tramp, 101 Dalmatians and Oliver and Company. Specifically, Tramp and Jock appear in both 101 Dalmatians and Oliver and Company, and there’s no telling where those pups will pop up next!