This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Disney references and Easter Eggs in Aladdin! One of the bigger surprises this summer at the box office was Disney’s live action Aladdin remake. The surprise wasn’t that the film made over a billion dollars worldwide. Nay Nay. The surprise was that it was actually good.
No one will ever be able to fill Robin Williams’ shoes as the Genie, but Will Smith brought his inimitable charisma to the table and gave us a completely different take on the character. A take that worked. The two leads playing Princess Jasmine and Aladdin had some charmingly cute chemistry together, and there are more good jokes in the film than in all the other Disney live action remakes combined.
But we’re here to talk about Easter Eggs. Those of us who enjoy Disney animated films know they are generally loaded with Easter Eggs. In fact, the original Aladdin film in 1992 was the first time many Disney fans probably noticed them. A couple years earlier, The Little Mermaid had come out and had a quick look at Mickey, Donald, and Goofy that most viewers probably never noticed. The following year brought Beauty & the Beast, which included a road sign in France that featured the names of five towns in Southern California (Ramona, Saugus, Newhall, Valencia and Anaheim.) However in an age before high resolution DVD, references like these were missed by most. Aladdin had references to both Mermaid and B&tB, done in a way where many viewers would notice.
The live action Aladdin is now available to watch at home, and it continues the tradition of being loaded with Easter Eggs. Today we’re going to look at some of our favorite references in the film, starting with..
# 6 – Cinderella Castle
No one is better than Disney when it comes to branding, and they have done an incredible job of letting movie audiences know immediately when they are about to see a Disney film by using the iconic reveal of a Disney castle to open every movie. Aladdin pays tribute to this by having Carpet build a sand castle. Except this isn’t just castle that Carpet is building, it’s Cinderella Castle. When finished, Carpet throws sand over the top of the castle to mimic Tinker Bell’s pixie dust that flies across the castle during the intro.
# 5 – Abu
To start the song Friend Like Me, Genie uses his power to put cymbals and a drum on Abu. This moment echoes the original animated film when Jafar transformed Abu into a toy monkey playing cymbals.
# 4 – Original Characters from Aladdin (1992)
As Genie explains the rules and limitations of Aladdin’s three wishes, he pulls out a visual aid in the form of a scroll. Genie explains he is the most powerful being in the Universe, and he points to himself on the scroll. The picture is of Genie, the Sultan, and Aladdin as they were drawn in the original animated film in 1992.
# 3 – Flight Attendant
During the original Aladdin (1992), Genie takes Aladdin and Abu out of the Cave of Wonders via Carpet. As the trio are about to land in the desert, Genie goes into full flight attendant mode, including the traditional “goodbye now” moment that Saturday Night Live would mock a year later with its “buh bye” sketch. (Today flight attendants are generally already in the process of cleaning the plane and preparing for the next flight in lieu of waving customers off.) The new Aladdin film pays tribute to this moment with Will Smith’s Genie also taking a moment to become a flight attendant (although he does it right before they leave the Cave of Wonders).
# 2 – Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, and Adventureland
Princess Jasmine, already skeptical of Prince Ali, asked where Ababwa is on a map. As viewers, we had already been shown that the Ababwa did not exist on the map. Aladdin called out to Genie for help, but before Genie used his magic to put Ababwa on the map, he created three other kingdoms….
Adventureland, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland.
# 1 Hidden Mickeys
It wouldn’t be Disney without Hidden Mickeys would it? Believe it or not, the original Aladdin film had a Hidden Mickey in the background that not every viewer notices. It is seen when Princess Jasmine leaves the castle and goes into the marketplace (where she eventually meets Aladdin for the first time).
The Aladdin remake also chooses to blend in its Hidden Mickeys so that they don’t take the viewer out of the film.
So there you have it: Six Easter Eggs in Disney’s ALADDIN! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles, or, for your listening pleasure, check out the E-Ticket Report podcast. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).
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Special Thanks to The Elite Brandon Glover, Captain Cruiseline Scott Sanders of the world famous Disney Cruise Line Blog, my personal protege Hunter “Elvey” Underwood, the bio-est of all reconstructs @bioreconstruct, the SAT SIX Fun Squad of Parkscope Joe and Nick, hot shot Michael Carelli, and Hermione Granger’s tutor Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. The SAT SIX is inspired each week by goofballs Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde and you Potterheads will enjoy Meg’s other blog work over at the Central Florida Slug Club.
FINAL PLUG! Did you know The 2019 Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando has a special edition of the SATURDAY SIX in it? That’s right, ANOTHER NEW ONE EXCLUSIVE TO THIS EDITION! Finally, someone came up with an actual reason to read a book. ORDER this baby now!