Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Friday 1 December 2023 Dublin: -2°C
Top Secret

5 hidden secrets in Pixar and Disney movies that actually exist in real life

Need an excuse to watch your favourite Disney or Pixar film again?

AN EASTER EGG in the movie world is not in fact made of chocolate. There is no chocolate involved at all. An Easter egg, as it relates to movies, is when the creators hide something in the film that’s an intentional inside joke.

John Lasseter, co-founder of Pixar and now the man who oversees all animation projects at Disney, is no stranger to the Easter egg world. Both of the companies he’s led, particularly Pixar, have included dozens of Easter eggs in their movies. There’s even something called the Pixar Theory, where all the Pixar characters live in the same universe.

Some Easter eggs are based on real-world locations. There are obvious ones — in the beginning of the 2006 movie “Cars,” the announcer says the entire town of Emeryville will be closed for the race; Pixar Studios is in Emeryville, California — but some Easter eggs aren’t so obvious.

Earlier this year Pixar announced another sequel to Toy Story during Disney’s Q4 conference call. The film is due to come out in June 2017, so it’s a sure bet that even more Easter eggs are on their way.

1. References to A113

Screenshot Screenshot

Perhaps the most famous of all the Pixar Easter eggs are references to A113. References to A113 can be found in all Pixar movies, some Disney movies, and even in “The Simpsons” and other animated shows and films. References to A113 can also be found in video games. Chances are, if an alum from the California Institute of the Arts is somehow involved, A113 will be included in the animation.

That’s because A113 is the classrooms used by the graphic design and animation students at the school, including John Lasseter.

2. The Grand Lake Theater in “Up” can be found in Oakland, California.

Screenshot Screenshot

During the credit sequence, we see a photo of Carl and Russell going to see “Star Wars.”

This Easter egg is two-fold: many speculate that this was foreshadowing a new “Star Wars” film. In 2012 — three years after “Up” came out — Disney announced it would release a new “Star Wars” movie in 2015.

The second part of the Easter egg …

The movie theater marquee at the end of “Up” is actually the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland. It opened in 1926, and in 1981 the theater and its gigantic rooftop sign were designated historical landmarks. From this angle, you can’t see the enormous rooftop sign.

Karyne Levy / Business Insider Karyne Levy / Business Insider / Business Insider

3. The castle in Tangled is based on Mont Saint-Michel in France

Disney Disney

The castle in the film “Tangled” is based on various castle styles. It’s not really a secret, but the thing that stands out is that it’s on an island.

That’s because it’s based on Mont Saint-Michel, which is also on an island, according to the film’s supervising animator, Glen Keane.

And here’s the real Mont Saint-Michel…

Wikimedia Commons Wikimedia Commons

4. Elsa’s palace

In the movie “Frozen,” Elsa’s palace was inspired by a real-life frozen palace, the Hotel de Glace, in Quebec City.

YouTube YouTube

And the stunning Hotel de Glace in real life…

Matias Garabedian / Flickr Matias Garabedian / Flickr / Flickr

5. The Hidden City Cafe in Point Richmond, California, is where the ideas for several Pixar movies were born

Pixar Times Pixar Times

Without the Hidden City Cafe — which was located near Pixar’s studios, before they moved to Emeryville — we wouldn’t have “A Bug’s Life,” “Monster’s Inc.,” “Finding Nemo” and “Wall-E.”

The name of the cafe can be seen on a license plate in “Monsters, Inc.,” and the cafe itself also appears in the movie.

The real-life cafe doesn’t exist anymore — it shut its doors after 20 years — but it used to have a little Pixar section, featuring memorabilia from Pixar films.

Jeff Kays / Flickr Jeff Kays / Flickr / Flickr

And there you have it. Next time you sit down to watch your favourite Disney or Pixar movie, keep your eyes peeled for some delicious Easter eggs.

- Karyne Levy

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.