One imagines there are many secrets contained within the corridors of Disney. Was Walt really cryogenically frozen? Just who was responsible for ‘Treasure Planet’? How come Donald Duck doesn’t wear pants? One thing we do know the answer to is ‘What is A113?’
A113 (sometimes A-113 or A1-13) is an inside joke, an Easter egg in animated films created by alumni of California Institute of the Arts, referring to the classroom used by graphic design and character animation students including John Lasseter and Brad Bird.
Brad Bird first used it for a license plate number in the “Family Dog” episode of Amazing Stories. It has appeared in other Disney movies and every Pixar movie. Bird said, “I put it into every single one of my films, including my Simpsons episodes—it’s sort of my version of Hirschfeld’s ‘Nina.’
American Dad! – Stan’s neighbour’s license plate when he pulls into church, in episode 7 of season 1, Deacon Stan, Jesus Man at 1:40.
American Dad! – The license plate of the yellow ‘Hummer’ car, in Season 8, Episode 1 Love, American Dad Style at 2:13.
American Dad! – On a boxcar rode by a hobo former co-worker of Stan’s, in the Season 9, episode 18 “Permanent Record Wrecker” at 19:13.
The Family Dog episode of the Amazing Stories (TV series) series. It is on the license plate of the red van. It is also on the top of the clipboard the cop holds
Family Guy – In the crossover episode with The Simpsons, The Simpsons Guy, A113 is a license plate number for one of the police cruisers at the car wash held by Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin to find the Griffins’ stolen car.
Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law – In Deadomutt Part 1, Birdman is moved to office 113-A (which is really a restroom).
Rugrats – Season 1, Episode 4, the room number of the Home Economics class.
The Powerpuff Girls – The number of the Stealth Fighter when Blossom flies as she reaches and touches the tail with her hand.
The Simpsons – Krusty the Clown’s prison uniform number, in episode 12 of Season 1, Krusty Gets Busted, at 10:45.
The Simpsons – Sideshow Bob’s mugshot number, in episode 2 of Season 5, Cape Feare, at 9:30.
The Simpsons – Mug shot of Bart Simpson from Do The Bartman.
Tiny Toon Adventures – In Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation, when Plucky and Hamton arrive at Happy World Land, a license plate reads “A-113” on one of the cars in the parking lot.
South Park – On the side of a helicopter in the episode Prehistoric Ice Man, “A-113” is clearly visible.
Bobby’s World – In the episode “The Visit to Aunt Ruth’s”, the number on the card of Bobby’s imaginary mugshot.
The Adventures of McGee and Me! – In the episode “The Big Lie,” A113 is seen as the license plate number for the paddy wagon that takes away a small child in an animated vignette.
It can also be seen in other TV Shows
Doctor Who – In “Flatline”, the ninth episode of season 8, the first train carries the headcode A113
Firefly – In episode two, the registry number of the train is A113.
But the A113 trope is best noted for its appearance in Disney and Pixar films
Toy Story trilogy – License plate number on Andy’s mom’s cars (a minivan in Toy Story and a Crossover in Toy Story 3).
Airport announcement for “LassetAir Flight A113” (also a reference to director John Lasseter).
A Bug’s Life – Code on cereal box as Flik enters the bug city.
Finding Nemo – Model number of the camera used by the scuba diver.
The Incredibles – Room number in Syndrome’s lair (not seen, mentioned by Mirage) The prison level where Mr. Incredible is held is “Level A1” in Cell #13 (A1 & 13). The power level control room monitors “Level A1” section “13”, which is where the rocket is.
Cars franchise – The number on Trev Diesel, the freight train that Lightning McQueen outruns while he is first on his way to Radiator Springs. Trev Diesel was also made as a carrying case for the die-cast line and has A113 on it. It is Mater’s license plate number in the related short film, Mater and the Ghostlight, Cars Toons, and other Cars merchandise. The minor character Dexter Hoover’s diecast version has license plate number “A113CA”. And the beginning of the image file name for the leader of the lemon cars. The number on Siddeley’s tail (shown as A113), as well as on Mater’s license plate again. On the tail of the plane in the airfield that Mater and McMissle escape on.
Ratatouille – Git, the lab rat, has a tag on his left ear that reads “A113”.
WALL-E – The code for the directive given to the Axiom ’s autopilot to never return to Earth, the first (and currently, only) time A113 had any real significance to a Pixar film’s plot. It also seems to spell out part of WALL-E’s name, wA11-3 (partial Leet). Also, when Eve and WALL-E arrive on the Axiom, as they leave the docking bay, the doors are marked Deck A-224 – 1 added to each digit of the reference.
Up – The number of the court room that Carl Fredricksen goes to after he hits a worker to protect his mailbox.
Brave – written in Roman numerals (ACXIII) above the interior of the door to the witch’s cottage.
Monsters University – The lecture hall where Mike and Sulley have their first class has this number on the door.
Pier Pressure – When the character Jamie puts her 50p piece into the Mystical Maria coin slot, A113 is etched into the machine underneath.
Neighbours – When Seth Rogen is fighting Zac Efron it is visible on the transmission box.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – At the bottom right corner of the monitor when President Snow is watching Katniss decide whether to kill someone in the arena.
Alpha and Omega – On the back of Garn and Debbie’s truck, seen when Humphrey is talking to Marcel and Paddy
The Iron Giant – License plate on car partially eaten by the Giant; the 3 is bitten off. Also in Dean’s house there is a painting which has A113 on it.
Lilo & Stitch – License plate number on all vehicles, including Cobra Bubbles’ rental car, Captain Gantu’s spaceship, Nani’s car, fire truck, tanker truck, and license plate in Lilo’s room (used in Stitch’s model of San Francisco). Also in direct-to-video film Leroy & Stitch.
Bugs Bunny’s Lunar Tunes- In the scene with the Key Witness, one of the videos the Witness shows is “Satellite View A-113.”
The Brave Little Toaster – The apartment number where “The Master” lives.
Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers – The license plate number of the carriage that has Mickey held as captive.
The Princess and the Frog – A trolley is labelled number A113.
Meet the Robinsons – The license plate of Cornelius ‘Lewis’ Robinson’s adoptive parents.
Terminator Salvation – Seen on the computer screen (as a login override code) during the assault on a Skynet base. Timeframe – 00:09:32
Planet 51 – License plate on Lem’s car is A113.
DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story – Continuation rule for deathmatch is read as number 113 [sic]. This may or may not be coincidence because the A was forgotten.
Terra Nova – In “Genesis (Part One)”, the security camera showing Jim Shannon in unauthorized areas is labeled “CAM A113”
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol – Josh Holloway/Hanaway’s weaponized “class ring” has A113 emblazoned on the side, and it is Tom Cruise/Ethan Hunt’s extraction access code given over the phone and on the plate of a car in front of the Kremlin during the big explosion, time at which the bomb’s deactivation button is pushed “1.13 seconds”.
The Avengers – A113 can be seen in the top left corner of a news video feed near the end of the film, when a hostage is recounting Captain America’s rescue.
In Prototype, the poison Bloodtox is officially written as Substance A-113A though pronounced A1-13 Variation A.
In A Vampyre Story, it is the position of Mona’s grave.
In Back to the Future: The Game, it is a convention booth.
In Beyond: Two Souls, it is the number of a room in the building Jodie grows up in.
In Kinect Rush: A Disney-Pixar Adventure, it is on a license plate in the ‘Day Care’ part of the game.
In Outlast, it is the name of a locked room in the earliest stage of the game.
In Sunset Overdrive, it is seen while Walter is working on his glider during a cutscene.
A113 may well be an inside joke, (probably the nerdiest ever) but it is also a tidy reminder of the sheer breadth of the influential talent that came from the California Institute of the Arts and how they came to shape a generation of filmmakers.