Hidden details in Pixar movies you totally missed

It's a time-honored tradition for animators to slip their own little jokes into the background of whatever project they're working on at any given moment. But the folks at Pixar have practically made a cottage industry out of it, adding tiny references to their own past works—and occasionally even to future works—into each of their films. It's virtually impossible to narrow it down to only a few instances, given how often they've done this over the years, but these are definitely among the best of the best. 

The books behind Woody

At one point during Toy Story, Woody is addressing the "troops," so to speak, and as he's doing so, he has a bookshelf directly behind him. If you examine the titles of the books on the shelf very closely, you'll spot a few familiar titles: The Adventures of Andre and Wally B., Tin Toy, and Knick Knack are all the titles of short films that Pixar produced prior to Toy Story.

A cameo by the Overlook Hotel's carpet

There's a tension-riddled scene in Toy Story where Buzz and Woody are desperately trying to find an escape route out of Sid's house, lest they join his menagerie of misfit toys. But what makes it just a little bit more disconcerting is the fact that Sid's carpet is intentionally designed to resemble the carpet in the Overlook Hotel, from Stanley Kubrick's 1980 thriller The Shining. As it happens, this is in no way the only Shining Easter egg to be found within the film. Remember the room where Jack Torrance had a close encounter with a corpse? Well, the next time you're watching, keep your eyes open for a security camera, a license plate, and an online user name which all feature "237."

The Lion King is everywhere!

This is one of those Easter eggs that appears so quickly and from such a distance that it's really not going to be crystal clear no matter how hard you try…but make sure you try anyway. In A Bug's Life, if you look very closely during the course of Flik soaking in the ambiance of Bug City when he first arrives in the teeming metropolis, you'll see just how far the phenomenon of The Lion King's Broadway adaptation has traveled.

Mrs. Potato Head reads a Bug's book

When Mr. Potato Head makes his inaugural appearance in the first of the Toy Story sequels, he's in the midst of attempting to hunt down his beloved wife's missing earring. Thankfully, his quest proves to be a successful one, and when she realizes that he's found it, she immediately throws down the book she's been reading: a storybook of A Bug's Life.

A sneak preview of Nemo

There are Easter eggs, and then there are next-level Easter eggs. Pixar delivered the latter in Monsters, Inc., although you wouldn't know that to watch the film now. After all, when you see Boo handing Sully her stuffed Nemo, it's worth a quick chuckle (as, for that matter, is the fact she hands him Jessie from Toy Story 2 immediately before that). What you have to remember, though, is that Finding Nemo didn't come out until two years later. See what we mean about next-level?

An Incredible Cameo

Apparently emboldened by their decision to tease Finding Nemo in Monsters, Inc., Pixar opted to pull a similar maneuver while animating Finding Nemo. During the last quarter of the film, when Nemo's new friends in the dentist's office aquarium attempt to help him escape his fate and bust out of the tank, there 's a raucous, pelican-related commotion in the office, one which can be heard all the way in the lobby. As the volume of the noise increases, the dread of the boy waiting in the lobby for his appointment grows proportionately. But just before he drops the magazine he's reading to stare in horror toward the sounds of screaming, it's visible—provided you're really paying attention—that he's reading a Mr. Incredible comic book…a year and a half before The Incredibles hit theaters.

Rex Isn't Extinct!

Of all the things you'd expect to survive our planet's self-induced ecological disaster in Wall*E, you'd probably be surprised that one of Andy's toys from Toy Story would be on that list of items, let alone the one that's been extinct for millions of years. Nonetheless, when we're given a look into Wall*E's sanctuary and see all the junk contained within its walls, there's a shot of a couple of bowling pins, and lo and behold, right between those pins, there's Rex's toothy grin smiling at you.

A Postcard from the Fredricksens

As we know from the opening credits of Up, Carl and Ellie Fredericksen got around pretty well when they were both still of an age and a physical condition to do so. In the process, they apparently made a few friendships that we've yet to see explored. If you take a very close look at the bulletin board in Andy's room in Toy Story 3, you'll see that the Fredericksens sent Andy a postcard. That's considerate of them.

Monster in the Woodwork

When Princess Merida takes it upon herself to stroll through the forest, she finds herself winding her way through the woods and eventually finds herself at the house of a witch. Sorry, a woodcarver. (She's not a witch. Too many unsatisfied customers.) After getting a nasty scare from a crow that was far more real that she'd realized. Merida watches in awe as a broom moves around the woodworking studio on its own power. But what's more fascinating is that its path takes it—and the viewer—past a log which has Sully from Monsters, Inc. carved into it.

A113 Marks the Spot

If you've watched your fair share of movies, then you may already be aware of how "A113" has a tendency to show up in just about every film produced by Pixar (not to mention a few that aren't), and once you're in on the joke, you find yourself on the lookout for the number whenever you watch. But what is "A113"? It's a classroom at the California Institute of Arts where many a Pixar animator attended first year graphic design and character animation. It's shown up on a license plate in Toy Story, a scuba diver's camera in Finding Nemo, on a courtroom in Up, on a tag attached to Git the rat's ear in Ratatouille, and so on and so forth. For Pixar fans, it must be a little bit like Alfred Hitchcock fans trying to spot the director's cameo in each of his films, but the emotional payoff is tremendous whenever an "A113" catches your glance…so keep your eyes open!