Disney’s Inside Out | A Love Letter to Our Kids and Fun Facts


At the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, we had the privilege of hearing Jonas Rivera, Producer of Inside Out, talk about the movie from its inception to delivery. To say that he was passionate and excited about the movie is a complete understatement.

It all started when Pete Docter, Director, wanted to know what was going on with his 11 year old daughter: “what’s going on in her head and why is she changing?” The shift that happens around this age required research studying human emotion and how it evolves during adolescence. What they came up with was Inside Out and as Jonas Rivera stated, “it’s a love letter to our children.”

Disney's Inside Out a review and notes from jonas rivera

So very true. Not only is it a love letter to our children, but it’s a movie for the parents raising these children. It’s a glimpse into their heads and what is going on with them at this very difficult and I’ll say it, awkward time.

“It’s a very personal story about what it means to be a parent,” says producer Jonas Rivera. “As a parent, there are so many perfect moments when I wish I could make time stand still forever. But that’s not right. That’s not our job. Our job is to be their guides.” 

They started with shapes to animate the emotions and then went on to how they would look like energy, not people, and have a “figment” feel to them. Not only did they think about the emotions and how they would animate them, but also animating the intricacies of the brain.  From the “islands” of emotion (like Goof-ball and Family Island) to places like Abstract Thought and Dream Productions, they don’t leave anything out.   

Inside Out Riley's Islands

The emotions staring at Riley’s “Islands.”

I really don’t like giving spoilers for movies, so I will just say this. It’s REALLY good! So very good. I think everybody should see it. Our three year old saw the first half of the movie at the conference and despite the PG rating, I had no issue with her seeing half or seeing all of it. Our 8 and 6 year olds really enjoyed it and have been saying some great lines from the movie ever since. 

Not only was it good now, but I think it will be great later to keep watching (yes, I will be preordering this movie!). We can use it as a discussion platform for discussing our emotions in an easier way. It will give us the common ground and the place of dialog to have discussions that might have been harder without seeing Inside Out. I know that sounds crazy, but I really do think it’s true. 

I think it’s a great movie for parents, adults and anybody that interacts with kids, too. Honestly, most of everything you learn from the movie can translate to any person’s life. We all have emotions and sometimes they get “lost” or we need to figure out what’s going on in our own head!

About Inside Out

Based in Headquarters, the control center inside 11-year-old Riley’s mind, five Emotions are hard at work, led by lighthearted optimist Joy (voice of Amy Poehler), whose mission is to make sure Riley stays happy. Fear (voice of Bill Hader) heads up safety, Anger (voice of Lewis Black) ensures all is fair and Disgust (voice of Mindy Kaling) prevents Riley from getting poisoned—both physically and socially. Sadness (voice of Phyllis Smith) isn’t exactly sure what her role is, and frankly, neither is anyone else.

When Riley’s family relocates to a scary new city, the Emotions are on the job, eager to help guide her through the difficult transition. But when Joy and Sadness are inadvertently swept into the far reaches of Riley’s mind—taking some of her core memories with them—Fear, Anger and Disgust are left reluctantly in charge. Joy and Sadness must venture through unfamiliar places—Long Term Memory, Imagination Land, Abstract Thought and Dream Productions—in a desperate effort to get back to Headquarters, and Riley.

Because I know people love their Disney “Easter Eggs” I’m sharing this list that they shared with me! You can impress your kids by telling them or pointing them out.

Fun Facts from Inside Out

PICTURE THIS – The background memories on shelves inside or outside of Headquarters are shots from the “Married Life” scene in “Up.”

ROAD TRIP – As Riley and her parents trek to San Francisco, they come across birds on a telephone wire from production designer Ralph Eggleston’s 2000 short film “For the Birds.”

GLOBAL DÉCOR – The globe in the Riley’s classroom has been used in all the “Toy Story” films.

FAMILIAR FASHION – One of Riley’s classmates is wearing a camo pattern made up of “Toy Story” characters.

STUCK ON YOU – Some of the background city cars of San Francisco have bumper stickers from “Cars.”

TECH SAVVY – Dad’s company, Brang, is a nonsense word intended to sound like a startup that would fit in in the San Francisco tech scene.

SIGN HERE – A sign on a parking meter in San Francisco reads, “Quarters and Dollar Coins or Barter During Burning Man.”

IT’S ALL ABOUT LOCATION – As a tribute to the Walt Disney Family Museum, the filmmakers set Riley’s hockey rink in the exact spot the museum is located in San Francisco.

Disney's Inside Out

Take home message

Go see Inside Out. And not because I got press passes to see it early but because it’s really good. I don’t even know if I can articulate how good it is. There were definitely some tears on my part and the girls (don’t tell them I saw them!). Also, the short film “LAVA” before Inside Out is also fabulous!

Will you see it?

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  1. I’m so glad I read this. The previews must not do it justice because I wasn’t thinking of taking the kids. Thanks to your review, I will definitely be taking them. 🙂

    1. Oh man…no pressure! But, seriously, I haven’t heard one single negative thing about the movie. And it really is great for parents, too. Make sure you bring a tissue!

  2. Smash Attack Ash says:

    I am truly excited to are this! I think it will also be a great tool, as a social worker, to urge families to see to help with understanding adolescence and open communication.

    1. Yes! So very much so. I think that’s why I got all choked up. I could even see parts of my younger kiddos and helping me understand them. You’d think we remember ourselves, but nope, pretty sure we blocked it out!

  3. Leigh Anne Borders says:

    I saw this today with my 16 year old. It was wonderful and we both cried!

  4. pat chance says:

    I can’t wait to see the rest of this movie. The part we saw at Disney was great.

  5. I really want to see this movie, but most likely will have to wait for the DVD. Can be tricky arranging a time to take my 5yo without the baby along and she’s definitely not movie ready. 😉

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