20 Disney Easter Eggs in Movies From Across 7 Decades

Disney easter egg for Nemo in Monsters, Inc.

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Disney is a pop culture juggernaut. This is in part due to the little wink they give their fans by hiding easter eggs throughout their animated films. Disney’s Wish is a testament to the deep roster of characters and stories that the have to pull from, as the film incorporates 100 Disney easter eggs and references to previous releases. (We’ve found over half of the Disney Wish movie easter eggs so far.) But what about all the movies that came before it?

Disney has been hiding easter eggs in their films since its very inception. Part of the fun of going back and rewatching Disney movies to spot them. Next time you watch Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, see if you can spot the Mickey-shaped bubbles floating around Dopey. For those after a quicker fix, we’ve assembled a list of 20 Disney easter eggs spanning seven decades.

Mickey Mouse and Pluto are snuck onto beach gear in The Three Caballeros

Disney easter egg
Image: Disney

The term “easter egg” didn’t exist until 1980, but that doesn’t mean these hidden gems didn’t exist before then. One early example, that’s also easy to spot, is in the underrated film The Three Caballeros. While the film’s focus is, of course, on the titular trio, the creative team snuck Mickey Mouse and Pluto onto the side of a sand bucket during a scene where Penguins are playing in the snow, as if it were a day at the beach.

Fun Fact: The cute penguin scene was released as an animated short, The Cold-Blooded Penguin.

Jose Carioca can be seen in the jury box during the Alice’s trial in Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland easter egg
Image: Disney

Since The Three Caballeros kicked off our list, it seemed fitting that one of the Caballeros, Jose Carioca, be the first character to cross over and appear in another Disney classic! Eagle-eyed viewers (no pun intended) will be able to spot the green parrot among the other, mostly feathered, jurors who are to decide Alice’s fate.

Lady and the Tramp hear the alert that goes out about to the missing puppies in 101 Dalmatians

Lady and the Tramp cameo in 101 Dalmatians
Image: Disney

Lady and the Tramp are two of the most iconic Disney dogs to hit the big screen, so it seems only natural they show up in the film based entirely around canines. The duo can be seen in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment during the iconic “Twilight Bark” scene in 101 Dalmatians.

Bambi’s mother grazes on grass inThe Jungle Book

Bambi's mother in The Jungle Book easter egg
Image: Disney

Bambi’s mother is one of the most tragic characters in all of popular culture. Her death is responsible for scarring the hearts of decades of children, but perhaps there’s some solace to be had knowing she makes a brief appearance in The Jungle Book. Sure, she’s depicted as the prey of the film’s antagonist, Shere Khan, but looks like she got away!

Bambi and his mother appear together in The Rescuers

Bambi and his mother in The Rescuers
Image: Disney

Bambi got a lot of attention in the Disney classic The Rescuers. Not only did the Disney deer make an appearance, during the song “Someone’s Waiting for You,” but Bambi’s mother and the bird from the 1942 film (the one seen during “April Showers”) also pop up for unexpected-yet-sweet cameos.

Tinker Bell hides in plain site in The Black Cauldron

The Black Cauldron easter egg with Tinker Bell from Peter Pan
Image: Disney

The Black Cauldron was made during a commercially tumultuous time for Disney, but time has been exceedingly kind to this dark fantasy. It doesn’t hurt that we get an appearance from none other than Peter Pan icon Tinker Bell during the scene in which Taran sees the Fair Folk. She blends in so well, she’s easy to miss!

Dumbo is a toy elephant in The Great Mouse Detective

Dumbo easter egg
Image: Disney

That last Disney easter egg was tricky to spot, so here’s one that’s a little easier to find. Dumbo, the beloved elephant from the 1941 masterpiece, gets repurposed as a toy that blows bubbles during a toy store sequence in the cult favorite The Great Mouse Detective.

Pongo rips free from his leash in Oliver and Company

Disney easter eggs
Image: Disney

More dogs! Lady and the Tramp appeared in 101 Dalmatians, so it was only fair that Pongo, the patriarch of the dizzyingly large Dalmatian family, pops up for a couple frames during a movie about one of our favorite Disney cats. Pongo can be seen pulling free from his leash to get in on the action during the “Why Should I Worry?” sequence.

Cinderella‘s King and Grand Duke attend a royal wedding The Little Mermaid

The King and Grand Duke from Cinderella appear in The Little Mermaid
Image: Disney

Disney kicked off its renaissance period with The Little Mermaid, but the studio made sure to tip its cap to the classics that came before. On the guest list for Prince Eric and Vanessa’s wedding were the King and Grand Duke from Cinderella. It’s not their first time at a royal wedding, but this one didn’t result in holy matrimony like it did for Cinderella and Prince Charming.

The Beast is one of Sultan’s toys in Aladdin

The Beast in Aladdin
Image: Disney

Aladdin (1992) had the benefit of the Genie bending space and time to accommodate for tons of Disney easter eggs and references. One of the most subtle happens to also be one of its most fun. During a quick shot of the Sultan’s pyramid of toys, you can one of the stacking toys is the Beast. Given that Beauty and the Beast had been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture the year before, this easter egg inclusion was a subtle reminder that Disney was back on top.

Jock blends in with the hyenas in The Lion King

Jock from Lady and the Tramp in The Lion King
Image: Disney

There is no shortage of animal characters in The Lion King, but Disney animators still found a way to squeeze in a reference to one of its golden age releases. Jock, the mischievous terrier from Lady and the Tramp, can be seen tucked in the background. He’s more or less a silhouette on a mountain of predatory hyenas. How he got to the Pride Lands of Africa from his home in quiet New England is a mystery that will likely never be solved.

Belle and Magic Carpet are hidden among the villagers in The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Belle and Magic Carpet easter egg from The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Image: Disney

As Quasimodo belts from the bell tower “Out there among the millers and the weavers and their wives, through the roofs and gables I can see them,” you might as well sing along with him, because you can see them too! And by “them” we mean Belle from Beauty and the Beast and Magic Carpet from Aladdin. Belle’s got her nose in a book and Carpet is draped over a villager’s arm.

Mrs. Potts and Chip are decorative teaware in Tarzan

Tarzan easter egg
Image: Disney

The Beauty and the Beast easter eggs keep on coming. The scene-stealers that were Mrs. Potts and Chip appear briefly at the Porters’ camp, though, without any facial features or speaking voices. That would have definitely distracted from the primate action, as talking apes would not have been as shocking in a world where inanimate objects break out into song.

Cinderella’s Castle is a vacation destination in Lilo and Stitch

Disney easter egg for Cinderella's castle in Lilo & Stitch
Image: Disney

Lilo and Stitch brought a raucous energy to Disney at the start of the 21st century, and it’s got a true-blue Disney easter egg for fans of the parks and movies. When Lilo and Stitch take to the town, you can spot Cinderella’s Castle on a postcard from Orlando, Florida (aka: Walt Disney World). It’s one of the more meta-references in a Disney film, but it still achieves the bottom line of rewarding its biggest fans.

The Jungle Book and Toy Story 2 movie posters can be spotted in Meet the Robinsons

Disney easter eggs
Image: Disney

In Meet the Robinsons, you get a double-dose Disney easter egg with nods to both The Jungle Book and Toy Story 2 in one scene. Goob can be seen on the baseball field walking past posters that feature both Baloo and Mowgli from The Jungle Book, and Woody, Jessie and Bullseye from Toy Story 2. The posters are faded so they don’t stand out against the greener “Go Dinos” posters, but pause the film on the right frame for a closer look.

In The Princess and the Frog, Magic Carpet undergoes a dust-cleaning

Carpet from Aladdin in The Princess and the Frog
Image: Disney

The Princess and the Frog was one of the last Disney films to feature traditional hand drawn animation, giving a particular charm to the easter eggs. There are nods to Jack Skellington and King Triton, but the quickest one to spot is Magic Carpet from Aladdin, which can be seen right before the movie’s title card appears.

Rapunzel and Flynn are in Arendelle to witness Elsa become queen in Frozen

Rapunzel easter egg in Frozen
Image: Disney

Laser-focused fans spotted Rapunzel and Flynn Rider during the coronation sequence of Frozen, even requesting confirmation from Tangled’s director (which he was happy to give). Elsa and Anna did tell the guards to open up the gates, so you can’t blame a Disney Princess for wandering in!

Flounder swims through Moana

Disney easter egg for Flounder in Moana
Image: Disney

Moana was another massive success for Disney, and it’s oceanic setting made it a no-brainer that we would be getting a fishy cameo. During Maui’s famed “You’re Welcome” number, Moana animators managed to sneak in a quick frame of Flounder from The Little Mermaid among the other beautiful tropical fish.

Aunt Cass spams Ralph Breaks the Internet

Aunt Cass in Ralph Breaks the Internet
Image: Disney

Ralph Breaks the Internet was a precursor to Wish in that it was overt in incorporating established Disney characters and easter eggs into the storyline. Keeping an eye out for them makes the film that much more fun to watch. But the one you may have missed is the appearance of Aunt Cass from Big Hero 6. She can be seen as a pop-up ad for “sassy housewives” during Ralph’s visit to eBay.

Frozen‘s earworm “Let It Go” has its moment in Encanto

Frozen‘s “Let It Go” was a pop culture phenomena that some were happy to, well, let go, while others still can’t get enough of it. Walt Disney Animation Studios is in the latter group, as they included a wink to the song during Encanto‘s heartwarming number “All of You.” Bruno sings “Let it in, let it out, let it rain, let it snow, let it go.” The reference is over before you know it, but it’s obvious enough that most Disney fans noticed the first time they heard it.

We can’t think of a better moment to end things on. For more Disney easter eggs, check out our list of Wish easter eggs or just keep an eye out in the next Disney film you watch, because they will definitely be there!

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