One of the very first Disney Easter Eggs I remember discovering was The Little Mermaid’s Sebastian in Aladdin. Even as a girl, I loved the humor in finding hidden treats in Disney movies. After seeing Disney’s Zootopia last week I was invited to sit down with filmmakers and learn more about Zootopia including some of the hidden Zootopia Easter Eggs.
Zootopia Easter Eggs
There is much love given to Frozen in Zootopia, and my favorite Easter Egg is the homage paid to the Duke of Weselton. If you recall, in Frozen everyone pronounces it Weas-el-ton while he insists it is Wes-el-ton. Well, the clever filmmakers brought back Alan Tudyk (who played the Duke of Weselton) and cast him as the weasel named Duke Weaselton.
I love it.
Let it Go
Continuing with our Frozen Easter Eggs, screenwriter Phil Johnston told us that his favorite Easter Egg is the line Chief Bogo gives to Judy Hopps about following her dreams. He asks her if she thinks this is some cartoon musical where her insipid dreams will come true… Well, “Let it go.”
That nod is made even more clever by the connection between Phil Johnston and Jennifer Lee. Jennifer Lee wrote and directed Frozen and Johnston and Lee wrote Wreck-It Ralph together. Going back even further, Johnston and Lee met on the first day of film school at Columbia.
Tujunga and Vine
Some Easter Eggs are more like inside jokes such as co-director and writer Jared Bush’s favorite Zootopia Easter Egg – Tujunga and Vine. When Judy and Nick first enter the rainforest district there is a traffic sign for Tujunga and Vine. Tujunga is a reference to the Disney warehouse that has been home to Disney animators for the past two years as Disney Animation Studios are being renovated. Although the team did their best to make the warehouse home, it is a less than glamorous location with leaky plumbing next to a junky yard. So the reference is really for everyone who has worked in that building.
Tujunga is referenced again when Judy and Nick ask Assistant Mayor Bellwether for assistance in location traffic cameras in that ares in the clip below.
Bootleg Zootopia Movies
The Zootopia Easter Egg that made me giggle when I watched Zootopia for the first time appears when Duke Weaselton sells bootleg movies on the street corner. A quick pan of his selection revealed several Disney animated films with a Zootopia twist. Duke Weaselton mentions that he even has a few films not yet out and I spotted Gigantic in the lineup, a reference to Disney Animation’s upcoming story about Jack and the Beanstalk called Gigantic currently slated for 2018.
Kristen Bell Loves Sloths
If you know anything about Kristen Bell, also known as Anna from Frozen, you probably know that she is a huge lover of sloths. As in freak-out-on-Ellen huge sloth lover. (Google Kristen Bell sloth on Ellen, hilarious!) So it is absolutely adorable that Disney cast Bell in a cameo role as the female sloth Priscilla.
— Kristen Bell (@IMKristenBell) February 16, 2016
One more Zootopia Easter Egg giving nod to Frozen was released by Disney blogs in an image of Tundra Town. If you look carefully, in the bottom left corner you will see two baby elephants dressed up as their favorite Disney princesses — Anna and Elsa. So cute.
If you haven’t heard the Zootopia theme song, Try Everything by Shakira, go give it a listen. I promise you will be tapping your toes. And for $1.29 grab the MP3 and put it on loop. I listened to it over and over until I had it memorized while writing this post.