It has been well documented over the years that the animators for Disney love a good Easter egg – that is something within a movie which gives a nod or reference to something else (usually in this case another Disney movie or staff). In the past some of these have been controversial and caused a bit of a stir, but there doesn’t appear to be anything like that in Moana, although it is full of Easter eggs. Here are a bunch of them, but as you can see some of them can be very subtle indeed, so let me know if there are any more.
The colors might be a tiny bit off but the pattern is unmistakable as some of the villagers fold the carpet which comes to life in the story of Aladdin, as Moana and Pua walk past.
So this is one which I think you’d be hard pressed to actually notice or even know about had we not been made aware of this by Disney. There are 2 figures on a carpet early in the movie as it gets hung up to dry or be aired. These 2 figures are Ron Clements and John Musker who both directed Moana as well as Aladdin… All the Aladdin references starting to make sense now!
Apparently this is then another homage to the two of them as totems / figures outside the main hut of the village as you can see best during some of the night time scenes.
The lamp which the genie in Aladdin resides in can be seen amongst the treasures on Tomatoa’s back amongst all the other shiny trinkets. It’s most visible when Maui is standing on his shell.
Air Bubble Mickey
Unless someone working on the film told you about this one, there’s no way you’d catch this one! Its a Mickey Mouse silhouette made from air bubbles around its outline in the background when Moana first gets chosen by the ocean.
There are a few little nods in this film towards Frozen, and the time Moana wakes up on the beach with her hair all messed up, the hair looks almost exactly the same as Anna’s hair in Frozen when she is woken up on her sisters corronation day.
When Moana gets on the ship filled with coconut clad pirates known as the Kakamora, there is one with facepaint clearly based on Baymax from Big Hero 6.
Flash from Zootopia
Apparently represented in the realm of monsters is an absolutely outlandish version of Flash, the fastest sloth at the DMV in Zootopia!
When Maui is singing his famous song, You’re Welcome (which actually just so happens to be an awesome song) you can see a simplified version of Flounder from the Little Mermaid swim past on the tapestry.
Mad Max: Fury Road
Now this one seems like a bit of a surprise right! Actually when you watch the scene where they first flee the Kakamora with the little pirates launching off on ropes to play a huge drum and shooting arrows with ropes attached it actually is so much like the start of the chase scene that makes up 80% of Mad Max Fury Road. This homage was confirmed by the Rock. Whole new level of respect for this film!
Marshmallow from Frozen
Marshmallow (the snow monster in Elsa’s castle) makes an appearance as one of the monsters drawn on the tapestry in the school hut where Moana’s grandmother is telling them about Maui.
If he’s on the tapestry of course we need to see him in this universe as well, after all we see Ta-Ka and Tomatoa later in the film after having seen them on their respective tapestries / posters. We do then see Marshmallow lurking in the background of the realm of monsters. A lot of people speculate that this creature is actually Godzilla however Auli’I Cravalho confirms in a special feature on Disney+ that it is in fact Marshmallow.
Olaf Body Parts
When Moana gets on her boat to finally make it out to see and on her way to find Maui you can see her pack some supplies which includes a carrot in the same shape as Olaf’s (from Frozen) nose, right next to what I guess is meant to be a fork of some sort shaped like Olaf’s arm.
This one isn’t very subtle at all but I think it’s just a really nice little nod at the Rock (Dwayne Johnson) who plays Maui, and his career outside acting, as a professional wrestler. As we first meet Maui and he is just about to break out in to song he raises his eyebrow which is one of the Rock’s signature mannerisms.
Squirt & Crush
Moana saves a baby turtle right at the start of the movie and just a scene later you see it swim alongside from a top down view and then meet up with an adult. As Moana steps further in to the area cleared by the ocean you see the 2 turtles swim by and the baby one does a very familiar barrel roll while the 2 of them look very familiar – they clearly appear to be Squirt and Crush from Finding Nemo, just in very different time lines.
There is a really nice scene within the first few minutes of the movie where Moana as a toddler is seen helping a baby turtle get across the beach and protecting it from the sun and some birds by holding a big leaf over it. Stitch from Lilo & Stitch does essentially the exact same thing in that movie, making this scene a nice little homage to that.
Sven Body Morph
We already saw parts of Olaf earlier in the film, but another Frozen character makes an appearance as Maui morphs through a few animals on the back of Tomatoa, including Sven the reindeer.
I couldn’t get a good screen grab of it but apparently the flower by her wrist is also the same kind of flower as is featured in Tangled.
Wreck it Ralph
Ralph himself makes an appearance right at the end of the credits as a little illustration like we’d seen of the monsters at the start of the film.