Right behind Marvel and Pixar, the Easter egg king of Hollywood movie making is most certainly Disney. The animators work on these films for years at a time, and like to sneak in little jokes and references for fans to discover for years to come. People scour these movies with a fine tooth comb, looking for any clever Disney Easter eggs and hidden nods that throw back to Disney’s storied history. This list includes all kinds of fun facts and little details you might not have noticed in Disney’s animated classics.
Disney has been planting Easter eggs (by hand and frame by frame, back in the day) since before the term was even relevant. From Genie’s many, many references to other classic Disney movies in Aladdin, to the many Lady and the Tramp nods in 101 Dalmatians, Easter eggs in Disney movies are everywhere, if you’re only paying attention!
This list contains Easter eggs from classic Disney animated films (all pre-1995). So, whether it’s Sebastian showing up in Aladdin, Bambi’s mother being resurrected and appearing in flashback in a few films, or Goofy, Mickey and Donald popping up in the strangest of places, these are the best Easter eggs in classic Disney Films!
Sebastian from The Little Mermaid Has a Cameo in Aladdin
The Little Mermaid’s Sebastian makes a cameo as the Genie looks for a royal recipe to transform Aladdin into a prince.
Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy Have Little Mermaid Cameos
When Triton’s enters the amphitheater, he passes three special guests in the audience. Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy appear just to the left of Triton’s back.
Lady and the Tramp Make a Cameo in 101 Dalmations
The canine stars of Lady and the Tramp (1955) appear in the Twilight Bark scene. The cocker spaniel in the middle of the street is Lady and The Tramp is the mutt barking from the top of the parked car.
The Genie Dons Goofy’s Cap in Aladdin
After earning his freedom, the Genie prepares for his trip to Disney World by donning a Hawaiian shirt and Goofy’s cap.
Three Lady and the Tramp Characters Appear in Oliver and Company
As Dodger travels through New York City streets, he passes three familiar dogs – Peg the Lhasa Apso, Jock the Scottish Terrier, and Trusty the Bloodhound are all characters from the classic animated feature, The Lady and the Tramp.
The Genie Impersonates Jack Nicholson in Aladdin
The Genie channels Jack Nicholson and tells Aladdin to be a straight shooter.
Dumbo Blows Bubbles in The Great Mouse Detective
Dumbo, Walt Disney’s famous flying elephant, makes a cameo as a bubble-blowing toy.
The Genie Morphs Into Pinocchio in Aladdin
Bambi’s Mother Grazes in The Jungle Book
The grazing deer stalked by Shere Khan is actually Bambi’s mother, who also makes a cameo in The Rescuers.
Bambi and His Mother Appear in The Rescuers
Bambi and his mom make a quick cameo in the swamp, just outside of Madame Medusa’s riverboat.
Peter Pan’s Tinkerbell Has a Cameo in The Black Cauldron
As Taran, Eilonwy, and Fflewddur Fflam discover the Fair Folk and their underground kingdom, Peter Pan’s famous fairy Tinkerbell makes a quick cameo.
The Beauty and the Beast Road Sign Points the Way to Disneyland and Cal Arts
As Maurice and Felipe try to find their way, two of the routes on the road sign direct travelers to Anaheim and Valencia, CA The original Disneyland Resort is located in Anaheim while Valencia, is home to California Institute of the Arts, commonly known as CalArts. The school, founded by Walt and Roy Disney, has trained most of the directors and animators working at Disney Pixar.
The Incredible Mr. Limpet Pops Up in The Little Mermaid
Don Knotts’s bespectacled fish Mr. Limpet, makes an under the sea cameo in The Little Mermaid. Although The Incredible Mr. Limpet was a combination live-action/animated film produced by Warner Bros., Knotts appeared in numerous Disney films, including The Apple Dumpling Gang (1975), Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977), and Chicken Little (2005).
The Infamous Nude Woman in a Window in the Rescuers
As Bianca and Bernard fly through the city in a sardine box strapped to the back of Orville, the Rescuers pass the photographic image of a topless woman in a window. Added to the film in post production, the photo wasn’t discovered until home videos were paused or played in slow motion. Those early home video releases were recalled and later versions of The Rescuers have been edited to omit the naughty image.
An Iconic Voice Actor Makes His Debut as the Stork in Dumbo
The stork who delivers the baby elephant to Mrs. Jumbo was voiced by actor Sterling Holloway. He was Holloway’s first Disney character, and would go on to voice dozens more, including Bambi‘s Flower, The Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland, and Winnie the Pooh.
Directors Clements and Musker Have Cameos in Aladdin
Aladdin‘s directors, Ron Clements and John Musker, make an appearance during Prince Achmed’s ride towards the Sultan’s palace.
The Genie Impersonates Groucho Marx in Aladdin
Genie channels legendary comedian Groucho Marx while trapped in the Cave of Wonders.
The Lion King’s SEX Scene Really Reads SFX
A conflicted Simba and a gust of wind create The Lion King‘s infamous “sex” scene. However, the pollen and dust do not actually spell “sex.” Instead the secret message is “SFX,” a common abbreviation for Special Effects.
The Jungle Book Vultures Are Modeled After The Beatles
Buzzie, Flaps, Ziggy, and Dizzy (L-R), the quartet of singing Vultures from Disney’s The Jungle Book were actually modeled after The Beatles. Though John, Paul, George, and Ringo did not provide their voices, the vultures were still caricatured with shaggy hair, matching postures and Liverpudlian accents.
King Triton’s Phallic Palace in The Little Mermaid
Parents who bought the home video of The Little Mermaid were shocked to see a rather phallic looking spire on King Triton’s Palace. Rumor had it the spire was placed there by a disgruntled former artist. However, this was not true. In reality, the artist was simply pressed for time and inadvertently drew one spire that bore a rather close resemblance to a penis. The offending spire was airbrushed out of later versions.