I don’t know if you know this, but the task of animating a movie is a long and complicated one. To complete only seconds of a movie, animators need to spend hours and hours on the scene! Obviously, this can be very stressful, so they’ve come up with a way of making their work more fun by playing with the audience. They do this by placing hidden messages in the films they create.
And while they often refuse to respond to comments about these hidden messages, and even deny they do this, during the past few decades, Disney and Pixar have created more than enough easter eggs and cameos to keep fans on the lookout.
However, finding these references without help isn’t always easy, and that is why we went ahead and found them for you.
15 Finding Nemo
Finding Nemo is one of Pixar/Disney movies with the most amount of cameos in it. According to our research, it has at least eight, but some are really difficult to find. Here are the ones we did notice: In one of the dentist scenes, there is a shot of a kid reading a comic book, and if you look carefully, you’ll notice it is actually a copy of a Mr. Incredible comic (referencing to the movie The Incredibles, of course.)
Now, in that same dentist office (where Nemo is being held captive by humans) Buzz Lightyear, from Toy Story, can also be seen, located right in front of a toy chest, which by the way, it’s filled with interesting toys like Boo’s teddy bear, from Monsters, Inc., and the Luxo ball and a plane from Toy Story.
We also noticed that at the end of the movie, when the credits are rolling, you can see Mike Wazowski, from Monsters, Inc., casually swimming in the water. No biggie. Just two Disney worlds colliding.
14 The Little Mermaid
Disney animators are really into filling crowd scenes with characters of other movies. Take The Little Mermaid for example. At the beginning of the movie, when King Triton is getting everyone together for an underwater concert, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy can be spotted among the crowd (even Kermit the Frog is there somewhere.) Now, this is very cool and all but we can’t help but notice that them being there makes absolutely no sense!
We get that this is a movie, but even movies need to make sense within their own world, and last we checked, animals that live above ground can’t breathe underwater -- this is even true in the universe of The little Mermaid. Isn’t that the whole point of the movie, anyway? That Ariel wants to be with Eric but can’t because she’s a mermaid? But if humans and pets can breathe underwater then what is the freaking problem?
If you watch the coronation in Arendelle carefully, you’ll notice two arriving villagers that look very familiar. That’s because you’ve seen them before in another Disney film: Tangled. Rapunzel and Flynn make a very short appearance right when Ana steps out of the gates during her sister’s big moment.
Now, the fact that the animators included the main characters of Tangled in Frozen wasn’t just by chance. The two movies have a lot in common, starting with their artistic style. Both movies have a unique combination of computer-generated imagery and traditional hand-drawn animation that most Disney/Pixar movies don’t have. Also, Idina Menzel, who was cast as Elsa, had formerly auditioned for Tangled, but did not get the part. Guess things happen for a reason, huh?
12 The Hunchback of Notre Dame
There aren't many Disney movies that can compete with The Hunchback Of Notre Dame when it comes to the number of cameos. Only five minutes in, Belle, from Beauty and the Beast, can be seen reading a book; a few minutes later we see Aladdin's magic carpet and Pumbaa, from The Lion King, who's been carried by a hunter. And yes, we thought seeing Pumbaa in one of Disney’s darkest films was pretty weird too, but he actually makes two appearances in the movie. His first appearance occurs in the opening scene, and in his second one, he is proudly standing guard as a stone gargoyle right when Quasimodo is trying to protect Esmeralda from being killed by Frollo--after she refuses his proposal of her becoming his mistress. I guess it’s only fitting that he’s dead in both scenes, right? Why else would he be in this movie?
11 Big Hero 6
I don’t know if you noticed, but there are a boat load of Frozen cameos in this movie. The first one is hard to catch, but it’s there. Do you remember when Hiro and Baymax fly over San Fransokyo? Well, if you look closely, you can spot Olaf on the streets. He appears to be selling something. (How is it that a snowman can casually hang under the sun, we don’t know.)
There’s also a statute of the evil Prince Hans outside of what appears to be a castle, but luckily, Baymax destroys it with its flying fist. And finally, in the police station, a wanted poster for Hans can be seen in the background.
Now, if you’re wondering how these Frozen items appeared in Big Hero 6--when technically these movies have nothing to do with each other--you’re in luck, because we actually have the answer to that. According to some Disney fans, you can see a ship, located in the San Fransokyo harbor, bringing the statues and Olef over from Arendelle! Why? Well, that we don’t know.
Wall-E is set in a future where mankind has turned Earth into one major dumpster and left Wall-E, a maintenance robot, behind. The cute little robot does his job during the day and in his spare time collects junk and stores it at home. (Clearly, time well spent)
Some fans also believe there’s a hidden Mickey in the background of a scene on Earth, since a subtle formation of a silhouette of the head of Mickey and his two ears can be found in so many Disney films, but we think that’s a bit of a stretch.
9 Brother Bear
Brother Bear wasn’t the hit Disney expected it to be, but it certainly was an amazing movie. But unlike many of the Disney films featured on this list, it only has one cameo.
You know that scene where two guys are in the stream trying to catch salmon with a net, but then Kenai, the protagonist, and a mammoth, hit the fishnet and prevent them from getting any fish? Well, Nemo, from Finding Nemo has a brief appearance in this scene. However, it is not an easy cameo to catch, so you will probably have to go frame by frame if you really want to see it. Pause it in the exact moment the mammoth hits the fish net; only then you’ll be able to see the clownfish getting thrown back into the river along with the red sockeye.
It certainly doesn’t take a lot to notice that Mrs. Potts and Chip Cup are part of the tea-set that Terk, Tarzan's friend, is playing with. But what if this is more than just a cute cameo? What if this is a way of the animators to let us know that maybe, just maybe, Jane is related to Belle? (Is your head exploding right now? Ours certainly is.)
Hear us out. What if this tea-set has been in the Porter's family for centuries? Jane's father probably inherited it and he gave it Jane when they decided to take the trip together. Now, if this is a family heirloom, that makes Belle and Jane family, right? I mean, that would make sense, since they both clearly have the same dress-sense, they both also have an eccentric father, and don’t even get us started on their slightly wild taste in men!
Aladdin is probably one of the Disney movies that is frequently brought up when it comes to hidden easter eggs, since there are at least three very obvious cameos in the movie. The first one happens when Genie is granting Aladdin his first wish and pulls Sebastian, from The Little Mermaid, out of a recipe book. Then, when Aladdin tells Genie that he will use his last wish to free him, Genie turns his head into Pinocchio’s head. And during the scene when the Sultan is stacking his toys, if you look closely you can see the Beast, from Beauty and the Beast, at the top of the pile.
Also, remember the scene when one of the first suitors for Jasmine is arriving at the Palace, and there’s two people talking in front of Aladdin? That’s actually John Musker and Ron Clements, the writers/directors of the film!
6 Lilo and Stitch
Did you notice that Nani is a huge Mulan fan? Here’s why we think so. During the scene when Lilo is in Nani’s bedroom to show her Stitch’s ability to become a living record player, we can see the official movie poster for Mulan behind Nani’s bed, (you know, the one where Mulan is wearing her father’s sword and armor.)
Then, in a later scene during Stitch and Jumbas’ fight, Stitch hits Jumba with a “blue punch buggy” and sends him flying into another Mulan poster-- the one where she’s sitting on her horse, Khan.
And then, at some point in the movie, Nani and Lilo walk pass a Chinese restaurant named “Mulan Wok.” Coincidence? We don’t think so!
Now, we think Nani is a fan because the two guys that directed Lilo and Stitch also directed Mulan, but that’s just our humble opinion.
5 The Lion King
Remember Jock, the scottish terrier from Lady and the Tramp? Well, turns out this little pooch makes a handful of cameos in quite a few Disney movies, including The Lion King. When the hyenas look down on Simba, right after Scar says that the hyenas think he is the king, Jock can be seen at the top right.
Of course this makes very little sense because why would a cute little dog like Jock hang out with hyenas in the middle of the desert? Are we seriously expected to believe he ran into them and was like “from now on, I’m hanging out with you guys. You seem like a fun crowd”? And why was he in the desert in the first place? I guess literally everything is possible in movie land.
4 The Fox and the Hound
Anyone who grew up with The Sword in the Stone knows who Wart is, but for anyone who has no idea who we’re talking about, Wart--best known as King Arthur--is an orphan boy who becomes King of England because he pulls a sword from a rock. At some point in the movie, Merlin transforms Wart into a squirrel to teach him a lesson about male-female relationships.
And as it turns out, Wart, in squirrel form, makes a cameo appearance in The Fox and the Hound. Now, how did Wart get all the way from Camelot to the forest where Widow Tweed leaves Tod, we will never know!
3 Wreck-It Ralph
Being a movie focused on video games characters, Wreck-it Ralph is obviously one of the movies with the most amount of cameos, not only from Disney characters, but all kinds of video games.
Tiny the T-Rex, from Meet the Robinsons, appears as a generic video game dinosaur in Game Central Station--where all the video games characters congregate while not in their games. In that same scene, viewers can spot Vladimir, one of the strongest and most menacing of the Pub Thugs, from Tangled, and Maximus, the cute horse, also from Tangled.
Mickey Mouse can also be seen on a Double U Dee’s billboard, located behind Litwak’s Arcade and Family Fun Center. And some fans believe that Aurora, from Sleeping Beauty, and Belle, from Beauty and the Beast, can also be found during the same Game Central Station scene. They look more like wannabe princesses to us, but you can be the judge of that.
Moana, believe it or not, is the 56th film Disney makes, and it follows a 16-year-old chieftess-in-training whose goal is to deliver a demigod, Maui, across the sea. In a scene where Maui uses his magic to take Moana into a 2D world, Flounder, from The Little Mermaid, can be spotted swimming across the screen.
Sven, the reindeer from Frozen, also has some screen time when Maui tries to become a giant bird. And even Olaf--also from Frozen--appears very briefly. (What is it with the Frozen characters appearing in almost every Disney movie?) Actually, the movie’s co-director, Ron Clements told ComingSoon.net that “Olaf is much harder to find than Sven. In fact, we need to give a prize to anyone who finds him.” I personally couldn’t find him, but maybe you can.
1 Oliver & Company
In the “Perfect Isn’t Easy” scene, where Georgette, the antagonist (later the anti-heroine,) is first introduced in the movie while singing a song that emphasizes her vanity and selfishness, viewers can see Ratigan, from The Great Mouse Detective, in her photo collection, right behind her. (Scooby-Doo can also be seen there, but he’s not part of Disney)
Then, when Dodger sings “Why Should I Worry,” Peg, Jock and Trusty, from Lady and the Tramp; and Pongo, from One Hundred and One Dalmatians, can be seen on the street.
Princess Aurora can also be seen in the background of a scene, shopping in New York City. She pretty much got the same screen-time in this movie than she did in her own, but at least in this one she is awake for her part.