Disney's 56th animated feature film, Moana, was released in November 2016 and has since become a new classic for the next generation. Following the tale of a Polynesian chief's adventurous daughter, the film is very much contrary to your typical damsel-in-distress princess story. When vegetation on her island village of Motunui begins to die, teenage Moana embarks on a wild journey across the sea in search of Maui, a demigod legendary for stealing--and losing-- the heart of Te Fiti and invoking a demon who spreads darkness across the islands. Along the way (and with a quirky pet rooster sidekick), Moana and Maui battle other demons in the ocean vying for Te Fiti's heart.
Not only does the movie tell a unique story inspired by real Polynesian legends, but it also includes everything Disney does best: beautiful animation, catchy songs... and, yes of course, the ever-present and anticipated Easter eggs. If you didn't catch them the first time around, try spotting these cleverly hidden images that are sure to blow your mind.
15 Sven from Frozen
You may have caught a glimpse of our favourite reindeer (move over, Rudolph), Sven, from the 2013 award-winning Disney film Frozen. If not, get that pause button ready. In the hilarious scene where Maui is finally reunited with his magical fishing hook on the back of a creature in Lalotai (Realm of Monsters), he has a little difficulty transforming into the animal he would like (in this case, a giant hawk) in order to escape. He begins as a fish, a shark, and briefly transforms into Sven, before defaulting back to a man. Probably one of the most identifiable Easter eggs in the Moana movie, any Frozen fan can definitely appreciate this cameo.
14 Flounder from The Little Mermaid
It's been almost 30 years since the release of the Disney classic The Little Mermaid--the timeless and original under the sea movie--but Moana was sure to include a number of fan favourites into the mix. Ron Clements and John Musker, the directing duo behind Moana, were also the creative minds behind The Little Mermaid in 1989, so it comes as no surprise that they would include nods to old characters. In the scene where Maui sings to Moana ("You're Welcome") and the animation style switches to a dream-like 2-D world, you can briefly make out the image of Ariel's best friend and animal sidekick Flounder in the centre of this shot, surrounded by other fish.
13 Marshmallow from Frozen
Another cameo from Frozen, this creature's image was adapted to the Polynesian style of art presented on the tapestries in Moana's village. Early in the film, after Moana's grandmother Tala shares the story of Maui stealing Te Fiti's heart and endangering the rest of the islands, we're introduced to Moana as a young child. While all her classmates are terrified of this legend, Moana is intrigued and is eventually picked up her father, Chief Tui. At one point in this scene, you can make out the form of Mashmallow--Elsa from Frozen's snow monster bodyguard--on one of the tapestries hanging in the hall.
12 Baymax from Big Hero 6
Baymax was the lovable healthcare robot protagonist from the action-adventure Disney movie Big Hero 6, and somehow has found himself on the pirate ship belonging to the Kakamora. The Kakamora are a tribe of pirates who appear to be coconuts with armour and are one of the numerous monsters Moana and Maui must defeat on their voyage to restore Te Fiti's heart. Although they cannot vocalize, these little guys are sneaky and fearless despite their adorable appearance. In the scene where Moana confronts them, you can pick out a certain white robot face among the others. This is clearly a nod to Baymax, though he still looks as harmless as ever.
11 Ralph from Wreck-It Ralph
You would only have caught this Easter egg if you're the type of person to wait till the end of the credits before leaving the theatre. This is a quick foreshadowing (as Disney is well-known for) to the upcoming sequel to Wreck-It Ralph. At the very end of the credits, if you're quick you can spot a Polynesian-style sketch of Ralph in the right hand side of the screen, right underneath the list of "Production Babies" from the film (staff babies born during production). Wreck-It Ralph 2 is set to be released in March 2018 in anticipation after the success of the first film in 2012.
10 Sebastian from The Little Mermaid
Leave it to Disney to create a crab character that references the original crab we all know and love, Sebastian from The Little Mermaid. Though portrayed as an antagonist in Moana, Tamatoa from the Realm of Monsters is just as musically inclined, but with a penchant for anything shiny and a desire to eat everything--and everyone. Maui ends up finding his magical fishing hook embedded in the jewels on Tamatoa's back, and after a tussel and a song, the crab is flipped on his back and defeated. If you catch it at the end of the credits, an additional clip of him appears, still on his back and asking for help. In a nod to The Little Mermaid, he says: "Can we be real? If my name was Sebastian, and I had a cool Jamaican accent, you would totally help me. You know you would." Yes, we probably would.
9 Olaf from Frozen
The inanimate snowman sidekick to Anna, this Olaf Easter egg was hinted at by Ron Clements during an interview, but it took some digging to figure out where he actually appears in the movie. There may be other Easter eggs hidden, but for the time being, we've found his carrot nose in the cupboard of Moana's vessel. This makes sense considering it may be a bit too warm for Olaf to appear in full form. If you're careful, you can see that the carrot is no ordinary shape--it definitely belongs to the snowman. But you can't blame the guy for wanting a tropical vacation, can you?
8 Genie's Lamp from Aladdin
The Little Mermaid wasn't the only old-school Disney film Clements and Musker worked on that was referenced in Moana; Aladdin is another classic. We've seen the Genie's lamp from Aladdin appear embedded in other films, but this one was almost lost amidst the shiny pile of trinkets collected by Tamatoa in the Realm of Monsters. If you look really, really hard, you might be able to catch it at the bottom left of the pile when Maui finally claims his beloved magical hook off the crab's back. Unfortunately, Moana didn't spot it either--she could've definitely used the Genie's help on her voyage.
7 The Magic Carpet from Aladdin
Appearing at the very beginning of the film when Moana has grown up and is walking through the village during the song "Where You Are," see if you can find the similarities between the pattern on this blanket and that found on the Magic Carpet. Yes--it's the exact same as the carpet in Agrabah from the film Aladdin. Though Moana's design is printed on tapa--a traditional Polynesian cloth made from the bark of a mulberry tree--and not quite as colourful (or airborn) as the Magic Carpet, there's no denying that they're one in the same.
6 Clements and Musker Cloth
While Moana was Ron Clements' and John Musker's first CGI film, it wasn't their first Disney film directed together. As mentioned before, the pair also worked on The Little Mermaid and Aladdin, to name only a few from their impressive Disney resume. Their first cameo in Moana can be seen on the tapa hung out on a clothesline following the appearance of the Magic Carpet from Aladdin. The likeness is spot-on with these illustrations, but isn't the only appearance they make in the film.
5 Clements and Musker Totem
Not shy to sneak their faces into the decor, Clements and Musker didn't stop at one Easter egg. Harder to find than the first, but equally as cheeky, we can see both the director's faces embedded in the Polynesian totems at the side of screen during the scene when Chief Tui and the villagers assemble to discuss the state of the dying crops on the island. Clements and Musker are known to have revitalized Disney animation in the 1990s, and we definitely don't mind paying a little tribute to the work they've done over the years. We can only imagine that Moana is one of many cleverly evolved Disney stories they have to tell.
4 Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid
The last reference to The Little Mermaid (we think) comes in the form of a familiar statue. Though not identical to the statue of Prince Eric that Ariel kept in her cave of trinkets, this statue is found in Maui's cave after he traps her there, on the island where Moana's vessel washes up. The statue is posed differently, but brings back memories of Eric's wrecked ship and when Ariel first fell in love with him. It seems in Moana, however, that our heroine had only one use for the statue of Maui--and that was to help her escape.
3 Stitch 's Frond from Lilo and Stitch
Another carefully hidden nod to Disney's original tropical film, would only have been noticed if you're a a die-hard fan. During the beginning of the credits of Lilo and Stitch, the audience is given a sneak peek into life after the adventure with a montage of family photographs. In one of the photographs, you can see Stitch holding a palm frond over a pair of turtles making their way to the ocean. Coincidentally, at the beginning of Moana when, as a baby, she finds Te Fiti's heart and is chosen by the sea, she also helps a baby turtle reach the ocean by shading it with a very familiar-looking frond. The baby turtle also bears resemblance to a little dude we can't help but love--Squirt from Finding Nemo.
2 Squirt and Crush from Finding Nemo
Speaking of Squirt, is it just a coincidence that the sea turtle Moana saves seems to have a parent that looks very similar to the iconic surfing dude Crush from Finding Nemo? We don't see his face, but there's no mistaking him if that was the animators' intention. Though Crush and Squirt are just passing by, this Easter egg is one of the first to appear in the movie, but as we can already tell, is certainly not the last. Along with the other fish that appear in this scene, can you spot any other familiar fish from Finding Nemo?
1 The War Boys from Mad Max: Fury Road
Perhaps the most obscure reference in the entire film (that we've discovered so far, anyway) and that which appeals to an adult audience, may very well be the pirate ship scene with Moana and the Kakamora. Not only do the Kakamora coconut warriors sport the same war paint on their faces as the War Boys in Mad Max: Fury Road, but John Musker himself reportedly admitted that it was a favourite film of his, and one reason this parody was included. In addition to the War Boys, parts of the scene are reminiscent of the chase scene in the Mad Max movie. The score and beats of the Kakamora drum can also be attributed to the directors' love of the movie, and their love of Easter eggs in general.