Sunday, February 26, 2017

Hidden secrets in Disney movies

Disney animated movies always had an abundance of inside jokes and Easter eggs. Some of these “secrets” were the material of fan theories for years. Here’s a few of them that you may have missed…


In 1992’s Aladdin, there’s a character at the beginning  whom you never see again after he introduces the story to the audience: it’s a short, wacky-looking peddler. For years, the fans have theorized that this peddler is actually the Genie (after he’s been set free), as the two characters share some features. But beside both of them having four fingers on their hands and same curly beard, perhaps the strongest evidence is that both characters are voiced by Robin Williams. This fan theory was confirmed in 2015 by the co-directors of Aladdin, Ron Clements and John Musker, so that’s one instance where a fan theory turned out to be true.

The Lion King

There’s an interesting trivia about 1994’s The Lion King. Two of its voice actors already worked together in similar roles before the Disney movie. Namely, James Earl Jones, who provided the voice for Simba’s father Mufasa, and Madge Sinclair, who voiced Simba’s mother, Sarabi. The two have played a royal couple in the 1988 movie starring Eddie Murphy as Prince Akeem, Coming to America – Jones played the role of King Jaffe Joffer, and Sinclair was his wife, Queen Aoleon. Obviously, Jones and Sinclair make a perfect royal match.


One of the many Disney references that are easy to miss comes on in 1997’s Hercules. While Meg sings “I Won’t Say I’m In Love”, the singing Muses quintet at one point transform into five stone busts, arranged like Grim Grinning Ghosts – the five stone busts from Disney’s Haunted Mansion ride.
Also in Hercules, we’re treated to an unexpected cameo by another movie character. During “Zero to Hero”, we see Hercules overcoming some of his legendary tasks, among others, killing the Nemean lion, a fearsome beast that no man could slay. But if the Nemean lion looks familiar, he should – that’s Scar, the villain from The Lion King. Too bad Mufasa never hired Hercules.

Big Hero 6

A lot of Disney fans may be unaware of the fact that Big Hero 6, a movie made in 2014, featured Marvel Comics characters. The origins of Big Hero 6 are in a comic book that debuted back in 1998, but the most interesting thing about this is that there’s a cameo featuring Stan Lee in Big Hero 6, during the movie’s post-credits scene. For those who aren’t huge Marvel fans, Lee is the co-creator of Iron Man, the Hulk, Spider-Man, and the Fantastic Four, among others, and has been in almost every Marvel movie since 2000 and X-Men.

Wreck-it Ralph

In 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph, there’s an abundance of video game characters and references. Obviously, appearances of Sonic the Hedgehog, King Koopa and Zangief are hard to miss, but there are also references that are hidden better. During the scene where Sgt. Calhoun and Fix-It Felix are preparing to enter Sugar Rush, you can see the graffiti written on the walls have various inside-jokes from games. There’s a tag saying “Sheng Long was here”, which is a reference to Street Fighter II, then “Aeirth Lives”, which, of course, references Final Fantasy VII, and also, there’s the inevitable “All your base are belong to us.”

The reference that stands out the most in Wreck-It Ralph is certainly the one when King Candy wants to hack Sugar Rush’s code. Entering the vault, he looks at the napkin he pulled out that contains these instructions: up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, Start. Anyone who played Nintendo games during the ‘80s will probably know what this is: the “Konami Code,” a sequence of commands that appeared first in 1986 in NES games Contra and Gradius, used to get extra lives and power-ups. The Konami Code later found its way into many games and earned almost a mythical status among fans.

Disney AND Pixar favorite

You might have noticed the appearance of a combination of letters and numbers, A113, in many Disney movies (and all of Pixar’s). To name a few: Meet the Robinsons, The Brave Little Toaster, Lilo and Stich, The Princess and the Frog. The reason is that A113 is the classroom number at the California Institute of Arts, a place where many of the Disney and Pixar animators started out. First-year graphic design and character animation class was held in the classroom A113, and the code also appears in some episodes of The Simpsons and Family Guy.


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