Inside Out 2’s 21 Easter Eggs & Pixar References Explained


  • Inside Out 2
    is packed with over 20 Easter eggs and references to past Pixar films and pop culture, keeping viewers engaged.
  • John Ratzenberger makes a cameo in the film as Fritz the Mind Worker, adding a touch of Pixar tradition to the sequel.
  • The movie is a worthy addition to Pixar’s library, offering new elements and Emotions to delight audiences of all ages.



The much-anticipated sequel Inside Out 2 is the latest Pixar movie to feature a litany of fun Easter eggs and hidden Pixar references. Nine years after the original Inside Out delighted audiences of all ages, Inside Out 2 expanded the roster of entities that control the mind of now-13-year-old Riley Andersen by introducing 5 new Emotions. As was the case with its predecessor, Inside Out 2 has generated a high Rotten Tomatoes score, which was sorely needed after the last few Pixar movies fell short of the production company’s lofty standards.

Ever since it burst onto the scene with 1995’s Toy Story, Pixar Animation Studios has crafted a tradition of loading their movies with Easter eggs and references to both past and future Pixar films, along with other relevant pop culture nods. The new sequel is no different, as by the end of Inside Out 2, eagle-eyed viewers can catch more than 20 different Easter eggs, some more obvious than others. It can be incredibly difficult to spot everything while trying to enjoy the movie, as many are only on the screen for a few seconds at most, so a guide can be helpful both pre- and post-viewing.

Joy and Anxiety stand next to each other in headquarters in Inside Out 2
Inside Out 2 Review: Anxiety & Envy Breathe New Life Into Formulaic Pixar Sequel

Inside Out 2 leans more towards greatness than redundancy & though it falls short of being one of Pixar’s best, it’s a worthy addition to the library.

21 A John Ratzenberger Cameo

The iconic Pixar veteran

John Ratzenberger's Mind Worker from Inside Out 2

One of Pixar’s oldest traditions returns in Inside Out 2, as legendary voice actor John Ratzenberger makes a voice cameo for the first time in four years. Known for roles throughout Pixar’s filmography, including Hamm from Toy Story, the Abominable Snowman from Monsters, Inc., and John from Wall-E, the former Cheers actor has a blink-and-you’ll-miss it cameo mid-way through the movie. He voices Fritz the Mind Worker, who calls the original Emotions “jerks” after misinterpreting their tone thanks to the Sar-chasm.

20 A Tough-To-Spot A113

Not a traditional appearance

The original Emotions trapped in a glass jar in Inside Out 2

The famous A113 Easter egg can be found somewhere in each Pixar movie. A113 is the room number used by character animation students at the California Institute of Arts; some CIA students went on to be founding members of the Pixar animation team, and the tradition has continued. While it used to be written out and hidden in earlier movies, recent Pixar creations have gotten more clever in how it’s hidden. Elemental’s A113 Easter egg involves the periodic table, while Inside Out 2 labels the vault that the original Emotions are trapped in with the Roman numerals for A113: ACXIII.

19 A Pixar Self-Acknowledgement

Riley’s relevant jersey number

Riley Andersen about to take the ice in her hockey gear in Inside Out 2

One of the earliest Easter eggs requires just a bit of Pixar knowledge to recognize. The movie opens with Riley playing hockey for the Foghorns, the local team she joined upon moving to San Francisco. Her jersey number on the team is 28, which is no coincidence. Inside Out 2 is Pixar’s 28th feature film, and the jersey number is clearly a nod to the longevity of the animation studio’s storied history.

18 Riley’s Rainbow Shirt

Evidence of her growth

Riley Andersen in her rainbow shirt in Inside Out

As Joy narrates Riley’s transition into teenagerdom, there are many pieces of proof flashed across the screen. One such clip involves Riley trying to put on a rainbow shirt that is now far too small for her, and illustrates how much taller she is from the first movie. Inside Out fans will recognize Riley’s iconic rainbow t-shirt, which she famously wore in the first movie.

17 A Bing Bong Memorial

Joy remembers Riley’s imaginary friend


The self-sacrifice and subsequent disappearance of Riley’s imaginary friend Bing Bong in Inside Out has been the source of more than a few adult tears over the last nine years. Unfortunately, Bing Bong doesn’t return for Inside Out 2 with Riley having permanently forgotten him. Joy, on the other hand, clearly has not forgotten his sacrifice for Riley; on the shelf by her bed, Joy has an origami figurine of Bing Bong and his rocket.

16 Riley Brangs It Back

A t-shirt references her dad’s company

Riley Andersen and her parents in Inside Out

Early in the movie, Riley can be seen in a Brang! t-shirt, which Inside Out aficionados will recognize as her father’s company. It’s a small callback to the first traumatic experience of Riley’s life, her move from Minnesota to San Francisco due to changes to her father’s job. As she wears the shirt in casual/sleep settings and it seems a little big, it could very well be the same shirt her dad wore in the first movie.

15 A Toy Story Throwback

Lenny makes an appearance

Lenny from Toy Story cameo in Inside Out 2

Pixar is never shy to toss in references to their other movies, both past and future. Early in Inside Out 2, they reference their very first movie in Toy Story. As Riley’s priorities have shifted since the events of Inside Out, her Islands of Personality have changed dramatically. Friendship Island has completely overtaken Family Island, and when Sadness claims she can’t even see Family Island, Joy gives her a pair of binoculars to help pick it out. The binoculars are actually the walking pair of binoculars Lenny from Toy Story.

14 4*Town Is Popular As Ever

A brief Turning Red reference

Riley turns off the light in her room in Inside Out 2

As a newly minted teenager, it’s only natural that Riley’s wall is covered in band posters as opposed to more childish imagery. One of the bands she has a poster of is 4*Town, which is the boy band that acts as the major common interest between Mei and her friends in Pixar’s Turning Red. The Toronto-based boy band is depicted as an international sensation in Turning Red, and it appears their influence has reached the West Coast if Riley has a posted of them in her room.

13 A Cheeky Onward Reference

Joy struggles with French

Adèle Exarchopoulos's new Emotion Ennui in Inside Out 2

One of the new Emotions accompanying Anxiety in Inside Out 2 is Ennui, the French-accented representation of teenage boredom and apathy. She can’t even be bothered to get up to use the console, and operates it from her phone. As Joy is introduced to her, she attempts to pronounce her name, and one of the incorrect attempts is simply “onward”, which is a reference to Pixar’s 2020 fantasy adventure Onward.

12 A Pre-school TV Parody

An amalgam of popular shows shows up


While trapped in the back of Riley’s mind after Anxiety suppresses them, the original emotions encounter a collection of similarly-trapped entities from Riley’s past. One is the two-dimensional character Bloofy, from a pre-school show from Riley’s youth. Bloofy breaks the fourth wall, much like real preschool shows like Dora the Explorer and Blue’s Clues, and is accompanied by a sentient fanny pack named Pouchy, who provides materials and solutions to problems like Dora’s Backpack or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse’s Toodles. Bloofy is an obvious reference to all of those shows, and his name and appearance are also reminiscent of Disney’s Goofy.

11 A Popular Video Game Crossover

A Final Fantasy reference

Disgust and Lance Slashblade, one of Riley's crushes from Inside Out 2

Another of Riley’s nearly forgotten characters trapped in the vault is Lance Slashblade, who is from a fighting game that Riley and her friends used to play. Riley has a crush on the character, who is very obviously a stand-in for Cloud Strife from the Final Fantasy video game series. His early Playstation-style graphics and overly dramatic voice and personality are straight out of the early 2000s.

Lance Slashblade is voiced by Yong Yea, a professional video game voice actor who has contributed to the actual Final Fantasy video game series.

10 Riley’s Personal Movie Studio Pops Up

A quick Dream Productions reference

Fear at the console of Riley's mind in Inside Out

At one point in Inside Out 2, Fear is holding a coffee cup that contains a reference from the original movie. The cup features the Dream Productions logo, which is the internal movie studio in Riley’s mind that is responsible for all of her dreams. While it would have been fun to revisit the chaos of Dream Productions in the sequel, the coffee cup reference is all that the audience really gets.

9 Legendary Puppeteer Cameos

Two of the biggest stars in kids’ movies and TV are hidden

Frank Oz and Dave Goelz as Mind Police officers Frank and Dave in Inside Out 2

Two of Riley’s Subconscious Guards from Inside Out reappear in Inside Out 2, and are responsible for trying to recapture the escaping Emotions as they break out of the vault that Anxiety put them in. The two guards are named Frank and Dave after the actors who voice them, Frank Oz and Dave Goelz. In both movies, the two are shown arguing about whether they are wearing the correct hat.

Frank Oz is one of the most famous puppeters in American cinema, as the original voice and puppet actor for characters like Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear from The Muppet Show, and Cookie Monster, Bert and Grover from Sesame Street. Dave Goelz is one of Frank Oz’s close friends and coworkers, as he voiced Gonzo, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and more characters from the original The Muppet Show among countless others.

8 Triple Dent Gum Is Still Stuck In Riley’s Head

The infamous jingle resurfaces

Triple Dent gum commercial from Inside Out

Inside Out referenced songs getting stuck in a person’s head with the commercial jingle for Triple Dent Gum, which Joy and Sadness discover will be periodically sent up to headquarters (much to Anger’s chagrin). The jingle comes up again in Inside Out 2, as it’s one of the items that the original Emotions send up to headquarters in their attempt to get back themselves. It’s one of the most universally identifiable elements from the first movie, so it makes sense that they would bring it up again in the sequel.

7 A Sesame Street Icon

A major influence for the director is referenced

The original Emotions ride a slice of pizza down the Stream of Consciousness in Inside Out 2

Per Collider, during a press conference leading up the film’s release, Inside Out 2 director Kelsey Mann made specific mention of some of the Easter eggs she thought were fun to hide in the movie. One such Easter egg she told fans to be on the lookout for was a reference to Carroll Spinney, the original puppeteer behind Sesame Street‘s Big Bird. Mann noted that meeting Spinney in person was one of her greatest thrills, as Sesame Street had a big influence on her career (Frank Oz and Dave Goelz’s cameos also reference this).

Mann managed to sneak the reference in very briefly, and it’s one of the easiest-to-miss Easter eggs in the movie. When Riley goes to hang out with Valentino and her teammates after Hockey Camp, the girls order pizza. The pizza shop they order from, whose name is on the box, is “Spinney’s Pizza.”

6 Can’t Forget The Forgetters

Two famously-voiced characters return

Forgetter Paula and Forgetting Bobby in Inside Out (Paula Poundstone and Bobby Moynihan)

The very Mind Workers responsible for the Triple Dent Gum commercial remaining forever stuck in Riley’s head make another appearance in Inside Out 2. Joy and the other original Emotions attempt to use the Mind Workers’ vacuum tube in reverse, blasting themselves back to where they need to go. The two workers are named Forgetter Paula and Forgetter Bobby, after the comedians who voice them: Paula Poundstone and Bobby Moynihan.

SNL alum Bobby Moynihan also voiced another Pixar character: Roar Omega Roar fraternity’s second-in-command, Chet Alexander, in Monsters University.

5 Mt. Crushmore Nods To A Pixar Short

A familiar face from Riley’s past

Riley's first date, Jordan from Inside Out

As the original emotions explore Riley’s mind in an attempt to get back to headquarters, they encounter how much the landscape has shifted since Joy and Sadness got lost in the stacks of memories in Inside Out. One of the new features they encounter is Mt. Crushmore, which is a visual representation of four different boys carved into rock, much like the real Mt. Rushmore. One of the faces is the aforementioned Lance Slashblade, but on the other end of the monument is Jordan, the boy that Riley went on a date on in the Pixar short Riley’s First Date?

4 Anxiety Through The Lens Of A Popular Meme

One of Anxiety’s plans references the Distracted Boyfriend Meme

Anxiety's workers drawing potential outcomes in Inside Out 2

Further in their exploration, the original Emotions discover that the once-fun Fort Pillow Town has been taken over by Anxiety, who has a bunch of workers (who may be other, less prominent Emotions) who are drawing up potentially disastrous scenarios to send up to Riley’s mind as she attempts to fall asleep. In one instance, Riley mentions that her coach could like her better than Val, the hockey team captain, and the image that’s shown is clearly meant to emulatethe famous Distracted Boyfriend internet meme (via KnowYourMeme).

3 A Deep Cut 1984 Reference

An iconic Apple commercial is parodied

Anxiety and her army of planners in Inside Out 2 (1984 scene)

Anxiety’s Fort Pillow Town panic factory hides a reference that will only land with Gen X viewers or older. The setup, with Anxiety’s giant face on a screen overlooking dejected, fearful workers, is eerily reminiscent of a famous commercial that Apple produced in 1984, which in fact referenced George Orwell’s dystopian novel titled 1984. The commercial was designed to introduce the Macintosh computer, and like in Inside Out 2, features an object being thrown at the giant face to destroy the screen. In the commercial it’s a sledgehammer, but in the movie it’s a chair.

2 A Dark Inside Out Memory

One of Riley’s lowest moments resurfaces

Riley's sense of self from Inside Out 2

In a last-ditch effort to get back to headquarters, Joy and the original Emotions trigger an avalanche of all the “bad” memories that they have been sending to the back of Riley’s mind every day. While their intention was to craft a personality for Riley that was happy and ultimately good, they were misguided, and unleashing the bad memories into the pool where her personality forms allows her to be her true self.

While thousands of bad memories make up the avalanche, one is spotlighted as it hits the pool and sends up a thread. It’s footage of Riley stealing the credit card from her mother’s purse so that she can purchase a bus ticket and run away from Inside Out. That memory of dishonesty is one that Joy attempted to suppress, but encapsulates Inside Out 2‘s ultimate message about our personalities being far more complex than five simple Emotions.

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