Find Hidden Easter Eggs in Disney’s Cars!

I’m sure you are all aware by now that this is the week Cars 2 will officially be released in theaters!

We are counting down the days until Lightning McQueen, Mater, and all their friends return to the big screen for an all-new action packed adventure.

In the meantime, we are enjoying the original Cars movie. That is one movie that I just never get tired of. Since we are so familiar with this movie by now, I have began looking for Hidden Easter Eggs throughout the movie.

In case you are not familiar with Easter Eggs, let me tell you a bit more about what they are:

A virtual Easter egg is an intentional hidden message, in-joke or feature in a work such as a computer program, web page, video game, movie, book or crossword. The term was coined—according to Warren Robinett—by Atari after they were pointed to the secret message left by Robinett in the game Adventure. It draws a parallel with the custom of the Easter egg hunt observed in many Western nations as well as the last Russian imperial family’s tradition of giving elaborately jeweled egg-shaped creations by Carl Fabergé which contained hidden surprises.

There are actually many Easter Eggs hidden within Cars. Some are very easy to see and some are not– they are only on screen for a moment and if you blink, they’re gone. Let me know which ones you’ve seen and of any more that you know about!

  • Let the Menu screen stay up and run through 5 cycles of music and animation. You’ll notice a Dinoco image appear in the bottom righthand corner. Click on this to see Mater and Lightning McQueen at a drive-in watching a version of Boundin’, the Pixar short featured on The Incredibles DVD, featuring themselves.
  • Stanley, the founder of Radiator Springs, is the same make and model as the truck in the original Boundin’ Short.
  • In the opening race of the movie, Chic passes an all white car that features the Apple logo and the number 84. Pixar used to be owned by Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple Computers. 1984 was the year the first Macintosh computer was released.
  • At least two of the car numbers within the movie are significant. Chick Hick’s is number 86. Pixar was formed in 1986. Lightning McQueen is number 95. Toy Story was released in 1995.
  • The King is modeled after and voiced by legendary race car driver Richard Petty. The car is modeled after Richard Petty’s 1970 Plymouth Superbird.
  • The King’s crash at the end of the movie is a virtual frame-by-frame re-creation of Richard Petty’s crash in the 1988 Daytona 500.
  • Lightning McQueen was named after an animator that passed away during the filming of Finding Nemo. His name was Glenn McQueen.
  • While Lightning McQueen is in Mack’s trailer on the way to the race in California, they pass a sign that references the Miles to Andy’s House. This is a reference to Andy, the boy in Toy Story.
  • Lightning McQueen’s tired read “Lightyear”. This is a reference to Buzz Lightyear, one of the stars of the Toy Story movies.
  • In the opening race scene, a blue car is getting its tire changed on pit row. If you pause the DVD on the tire, you can see “Sector 4 Gamma Quadrant” written on the sidewall of the tire. This is another reference to Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story.
  • Towards the beginning of the movie, Lightning McQueen is leaving his sponsor’s tent after addressing all the rusted cars. When he’s leaving, two of the rusted cars say, one right after the other, “Don’t drive like my brother.” This is a reference to the radio show Car Talk, which is hosted by Tom and Ray Magliozzi, the voice actors for those 2 cars.
  • When Lightning McQueen finally makes it to the race in California, check out the cars on the platform while the two announcers are talking. One of them is from Pizza Planet. This is a reference to the restaurant in Toy Story.
  • As Mack is driving Lightning McQueen to California, just before Harv calls on the phone, you’ll see a shot of the truck driving down the road in daylight. For a brief second, on the telephone wire, you can catch a glimpse of the birds featured in the Pixar short For the Birds, which is in Monsters Inc.
  • Dinoco is the big sponsor the cars are competing to drive for, and the one that The King currently drives for. Dinoco is also the name of the gas station in Toy Story.
  • When Lightning McQueen is in California for the big race, the announcer is talking about how the entire country has shut down for the race. You’ll see scenes from around the country, showing things that have closed up for the day. One thing you might notice is a sign for the town of Emeryville that says “Closed for the Race”. Emeryville, CA is where Pixar is located.
  • Just before Lightning McQueen enters his sponsor tent at the beginning of the movie, we see him starring in a Rust-Eze commercial. Notice the license plate of the green rusty car in the commercial. It says EVILLE, a tribute to Emeryville, the home of Pixar.
  • John Ratzenberger has appeared in every Pixar movie. In Cars, he is the voice of Mack. At the end of Cars, there is a drive-in theater that shows John Ratzenberger as some of the parts of the movies, which are car-versions of Toy (Car) Story, A Bug’s Life, and Monsters (Trucks) Inc. Mack even notes that they keep using the same actor again and again.

This number can be seen in a number of Disney Movies, as well as some animated television shows. A113 is the number of a classroom at the California Institute of the Arts. Many graduates of the institution used this room, including Pixar directors John Lasseter and Brad Bird. You will find this letter/ number sequence numerous times throughout Cars.

  • Mater’s License Plate reads A113.
  • After Lightning McQueen is separated from Mack, he’s racing down the road and almost is hit by a freight train. That freight train has the number A113 on it.

Hidden Mickeys
At several points during the movie, you will see ordinary images come together to create the infamous Mickey Mouse head silhouette.

  • At Flo’s V8 cafe, watch the spinning wing nut on top if the cafe. There are several different times that it will stop spinning around the number 8 and form a Hidden Mickey.
  • When Lightning McQueen is paving the road for the first time, notice a small shop in the background. It’s brown and wooden. Check out the top of the shop. The signs will form a Hidden Mickey.
  • In the tractor tipping scene, one of the tractors that Mater tips releases a puff of smoke that looks like a Hidden Mickey.