If you’re a big fan of Disney movies (and who isn’t?), you’ve probably come across one or two Easter eggs over the years. If you haven’t noticed, every film has them. Disney Pixar is known for hiding recognizable images in their films, like the Luxo ball from the first ever Pixar short in 1986, the Pizza Planet Truck from Toy Story, and other inside jokes from the animators (does the combo A113 look familiar?).
Disney Animation has also been sneaking well-known images of beloved and upcoming characters into their movies, although it might take more than a few views to spot them. Aside from the ubiquitous Hidden Mickeys and that myth of lewd subliminal messages we always tried to pause on-screen as as kids, plenty of characters have made appearances in other movies.
Eagle-eyed Disney lovers are always on the lookout for hidden images, and the official Disney blog even released a video of some of them. To save you the time of searching each movie frame by frame, we’ve assembled 15 Disney character Easter eggs you probably missed but need to know about.
15 Stitch in Treasure Planet
You’ve got a keen eye if you spotted Stitch, the lovable blue alien from the 2002 animated feature Lilo and Stitch, in the movie Treasure Island. Though it may not have been the most popular of Disney movies (it bombed at the box office), it’s one of the few films that takes place in outer space--so it makes sense that Stitch would make an appearance here. You can see a toy version of him in the top left corner of the shot where Jim Hawkins is sleeping. In a previous shot, you can see him on the shelf when Jim’s mom comes in while he’s reading in bed. Stitch as a toy makes a number of other appearances in Disney movies, and they are equally hard to find. But if you’re really persistent, you can see him in the Lion King 1 ½, during the outtakes in Brother Bear and in Big Hero 6. Happy hunting!
14 Dug in Ratatouille
You may have missed it, but that dog chasing Remy in Ratatouille is none other than the beloved Dug from Up. His shadow can be seen early in the movie when Remy is racing between apartments after leaving the sewer in a brief--but welcome--nod to the upcoming Pixar film. Perhaps two of the sweetest Disney animal characters in one room? Since Ratatouille was released in 2007--two years before Up--perhaps Paris is where Dug was born, or at least where Alpha and Charles Muntz from the movie stopped on their way to Paradise Falls? We can only speculate. And of course, we know now that fun-loving Dug was probably just trying to befriend Remy, but you can’t blame him too much for barking.
13 Sulley in Brave
Did you catch the carving of Sulley, the big blue monster from Monsters Inc. in the home of the witch/wood carver in Brave? This is a sneaky addition to Pixar’s 2012 epic tale set in the Scottish Highlands. Monsters University was slated for release in theatres in 2013, so Sulley’s image is a nice foreshadowing that few people probably discovered. Having nothing to do with Princess Merida’s universe at first glance, when you think about it, children everywhere are afraid of monsters under their beds… Clever, Disney, very clever.
12 Aurora in Oliver and Company
Sleeping Beauty is worlds away from New York City in the 1980s, but Disney couldn’t help sprinkling a few throwback characters into the mix. You can see Aurora strolling sleepily (how else?) the streets of NYC--a little out of place, but probably in desperate need of adventure after all that time in a magic-induced coma. Oliver and Company was released in the mid-1990s and had mixed reviews at the box office, but ultimately did what Disney does best: adapted a timeless classic (in this case, Oliver Twist) into 2-D animation (one of the last from Disney for a while), with the addition of all the nostalgic goodness that we’ve come to love and expect--including cameos we never expected. We’re sure Aurora felt the same.
11 Dumbo in Lilo and Stitch
Another shot that’s easily missed--the plush Dumbo toy under Lilo’s easel is even less noticeable than the Mulan poster she had hanging on her wall. In the scene, Lilo runs to her window to see Stitch’s crash, and if you pause at the right moment, you might catch it. The generation gap is huge here: Lilo and Stitch was released in 2002 by Walt Disney Feature Animation as Disney’s 42nd animated feature film, while Dumbo was Disney’s 4th and was released in 1941. Even though things may have changed in the 61 years between these movies, Dumbo is a classic that never dies, and clearly Lilo appreciates that.
10 Princess Merida in Cars 2
There are many, many Cars cameos and Easter eggs hidden throughout Pixar films, and this embedded image of Princess Merida and her family is no exception. Cars 2 came out in 2011, and featured a glimpse into Brave, which released the next year. In this chase scene in London, the Lemons crash into Ye Left Turn Inn pub. If you look closely, on the pub wall you can see a Celtic woodcut of what appears to be three members of royalty. These are, of course, none other than Merida and her family, a shout out to the forthcoming Pixar movie--a similar image is seen on a tapestry in Brave.
9 Pumbaa in The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The Hunchback of Notre Dame came out in 1996, two years after The Lion King. Even though one story is set in 1482 Paris and the other in the Pride Lands of Africa, we can see how every Disney movie can influence another. In this shot, the stone gargoyle on the right of the screen looks exactly like Pumbaa (of Timon and Pumbaa)--a character that looks coincidentally a lot like one of the gargoyles in the movie. In another scene of the movie, we can see two men carrying a warthog that also carries very Pumbaa-esque resemblances.
8 Mowgli and Baloo in Meet the Robinsons
In this shot of Meet the Robinsons, when poor Goob is visited by Lewis on the baseball field, we can see in the background a faded banner of the 1967 Disney film The Jungle Book. It appears to be a scene with Baloo and Mowgli, and may simply be a throwback to the classic feature, or a clue for the later-released live action version in 2016. Behind Goob’s hat, during a pan of the same scene, you can see another banner for Toy Story. Again, this Easter egg could be hinting at the release of Toy Story 3 released three years after Meet the Robinsons.
7 Little Brother in Tarzan
An extremely odd character to have making any cameos in a Disney movie, if you were lucky you caught a glimpse of Little Brother from Mulan falling from the pockets of Professor Porter (Jane’s father) in the 1999 movie Tarzan. The tiny doll version of the dog appears to fall with other random objects while Tarzan’s apes shake him free of his belongings. Little Brother could easily have been forgotten during his very short-lived appearance as Mulan’s pet in the 1998 film of the same name. Why Professor Porter was carrying around a stuffed dog is anyone’s guess.
6 Heimlich in Toy Story 2
A Bug’s Life cameo makes its way several times throughout the movie Toy Story 2. In this shot, we can see Heimlich the caterpillar on screen directly in front of Buzz Lightyear while he’s chopping through branches. In other scenes of the movie, you can see a poster sporting an image of A Bug’s Life, as well as in a shot where Mr. Potato Head is reading a book with A Bug’s Life characters. However, this Pixar Easter egg of Heimlich is a favourite for many of the Pixar fans who’ve spotted it--did you?
5 Bambi's Mom in The Jungle Book
Perhaps a little known Easter egg (and a rare sighting) of Bambi’s mom, she makes an appearance in both The Jungle Book as well as in The Rescuers. But we can’t deny the similarities in this side-by-side shot of Bambi’s mom (but no Bambi) at the moment she realizes she’s being hunted. She’s being stalked by The Jungle Book’s Shere Khan, but luckily escapes before she can meet the same fate as she did in Bambi. Both old-school movies, we love how Disney hid Easter eggs even back in the '60s. Cheeky, cheeky.
4 Rex in WALL-E
We can all admit that this Easter egg is almost impossible to see unless you’re searching for it. Rex the neurotic tyrannosaurus we all grew to love in the Toy Story trilogy, can be seen with his head peeking out between two bowling pins in the 2008 tearjerking WALL-E. It happens at the beginning of the movie (set 700 years in the future) on WALL-E’s conveyor belt of toys and trinkets, as well as in the end in his truck with Hamm--another beloved Toy Story character. Although it’s a bit dark and dusty, you can definitely make out Rex--who somehow managed to survive (from what we can see) intact.
3 Esther and Bolt in Big Hero 6
Keep your eyes peeled for this one the next time you have a Disney Easter egg viewing party. Take a look at the small picture frames in the bottom right hand corner at the front desk of the San Fransokyo Police Department. Definitely a flash Easter egg if there ever was one, it seems as if one of the police officers in Big Hero 6 (2014) may have had a connection to Bolt (released in 2008). Alongside the canine photo is a framed portrait of none other than Esther, the animal control officer from the same movie.
2 Chef Colette in Inside Out
Getting down to the smallest detail, one Disney character Easter egg you definitely missed is from this wide shot of the 2015 Pixar film Inside Out. In the montage scene of Riley jumping around the living room while pretending that the floor is lava, you can quickly spot a magazine in a basket on the coffee table. If you pause the shot and look very closely, you’ll make out that the character on the cover of “Haute Dish” magazine is Chef Colette from Ratatouille! Maybe Riley’s mom is a fan, but nevertheless, it’s nice to see the only female character in Ratatouille getting a shout out.
1 Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in Zootopia
Did you miss it? We won’t judge, but there’s almost no way you were able to pick out the faint graffiti stencil of Disney studio’s 1927 animated character Oswald the Lucky Rabbit on the abandoned subway train where Doug from Zootopia operated. Oswald is little known, though he featured in 26 animated one-reelers back in the 1930s before Walt Disney left the project to create the iconic (but similarly designed) Mickey Mouse. Not quite a Hidden Mickey, Oswaldo may be the oldest Easter egg in the Disneyverse and lives on even 90 years later.