I approach searching for Easter eggs like Shang approaches training his ragtag troupe of soldiers in Mulan. There's no time for hesitation, and the only way to achieve the task at hand is with dedication, hard work, and unyielding commitment.
Only kidding. These hidden little gems are all about fun, like little winks from the animators, and should be spotted in moments of serendipity. Or, we can collect a few of the best ones and discuss them altogether! Here are 15 magical Easter eggs proving that you can watch the best animated movie a million times and still find something new.
15. A Muppet finds his way under the sea in The Little Mermaid
See that tiny little green blob among the rest of the merfolk? That's Kermit the Frog, hobnobbing with the people of Atlantica as if he's one of them. I suppose he's an amphibian, so he's not totally out of place, but what about the felt?
14. Mei and Little Totoro pop up in Kiki's Delivery Service
As Kiki is going through her bookcase, you can see Mei and Little Totoro in the windows of that house on the middle shelf.
13. One Lion King character makes his way from the Serengeti to Notre Dame
In the Hunchback of Notre Dame, one of the gargoyles that never gets to come to life looks an awful lot like a flatulent warthog I once knew. That statue is none other than Pumbaa, though he's gotten a bit stoic over the years.
12. King Triton gets the Mardi Gras treatment in The Princess and the Frog
King Triton gets more respect from these excited partygoers than he ever did from his own daughter. On the bright side, he's never looked so good!
11. Scar becomes a beautiful home furnishing in Hercules
Hercules creates an awesome Lion King throwback by casting Scar as the Nemean Lion, a monster in one of the Greek hero's many trials. In the end, Zazu is totally right. He does make a handsome throw rug (even if he was meant to be a headdress).
10. Jack Skellington cameos in Coraline
This one is very hard to see, but definitely one of my absolute favorites. Henry Selick directed both The Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline, so he decided to put a little reference to Jack Skellington hidden in an egg joke when he made his stop-motion beauty.
9. Princesses lose their raggedy clothes in Enchanted
In the early scenes of Enchanted, the giant troll pursuing Giselle wears a loin cloth comprised of many familiar dresses. The fashion-forward monster chooses Snow White's rags, Cinderella's maid dress, Belle's village dress, and Aurora's peasant garb. Not pictured are his glamorous earrings, which are actually the shells from Ariel's bikini top.
8. Lilo & Stich's Nani shows great taste in Disney movies
The poster in the background of Nani's room is the original artwork for Mulan, showing the intimidating Chinese soldier on horseback. Their town must really like the movie because another scene features a store with the name "Mulan Wok" emblazoned on the front.
7. Kiki's cat Jiji is all about pillow talk in Spirited Away
While Chihiro is investigating her new otherworldly surroundings, she passes a pillow emblazoned with Kiki's lovable cat from Kiki's Delivery Service.
6. Treasure Planet remembers a familiar alien
Speaking of Stitch, he turns up as a doll in the bedroom of a young Jim Hawkins in Treasure Planet. Forgive the potato quality of this image, it's a dark scene!
5. A villain from Toy Story 3 looks cute and cuddly in Up
Hopefully a less sinister Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear has found its way into this little girl's room, though he's easy easy to miss with Carl's flying house whizzing by. The Luxo Ball (Pixar's trademark yellow ball with a blue stripe and red star) also makes a cameo.
4. Margo is a big fan of the Lorax in Despicable Me
In our first cinematic introduction to Gru, Margo has a picture of the Lorax on her T-shirt (The Lorax came out two years after Despicable Me).
3. Beast finds his way into the Sultan's toys in Aladdin
In one of Aladdin's blink-and-you-miss-it moments, the Sultan is doing what he does best. No, not ruling his kingdom (he's pretty terrible at that). Instead, he's playing with some action figures. As the camera pans over his intricate pyramid, Beast is clearly visible among the rest of the animals.
2. An unexpected royal tapestry in Cars 2
In Cars 2, we get a brief look at the important tapestry from Brave, but here, all the characters have become their own versions of vehicles, of course. It appears in the Ye Left Turn Inn in London, and since Cars 2 came out a year before Brave, it was actually an early look at a major plot point in the Scottish mother-daughter story.
For comparison, here's how the family looks in [Brave](movie:22364):
Pretty sneaky, sis.
1. Hans faces major devastation in Big Hero 6
Even in a totally new universe (this time in the San Frasokyo of [Big Hero 6](movie:425271)), Hans from Frozen gets exactly what he deserves.
He appears as a beautiful and inviting statue... until he invites an annihilating punch from Baymax.
Ahh, so satisfying every time. Thank you, Disney Easter eggs, for making sure Hans gets what's coming to him no matter where he is.