15 Behind-the-Scenes Secrets of Wreck-It Ralph


All images (c) 2012 Disney Enterprises, Inc

As a Disney geek and former Nintendo addict, I was fired up for Wreck-It Ralph when I heard about it at the D23 Convention last year. Here are 15 facts about the movie that will get you just as pumped as I am, whether you were the world’s best “Tapper” bartender or consider yourself more of a “Dance Dance Revolution” phenom.

1. There are more than 188 characters in the movie.

Most Disney movies have only 40-60. You probably won’t spot all of the videogame cameos on your first viewing, but here are a few to watch for: Dig Dug, Root Beer Tapper, Pooka, Fygar, Frogger, Peter Pepper, Dr. Eggman, Bowser, Neff, Zangief, Sonic, Q*bert, Clyde and Yuni.

2. If some of your old favorites sound spot on, that’s because Disney was able to get some of the original voice talent.

M. Bison, Ryu and Ken from “Street Fighter” and Sonic The Hedgehog are all voiced by their original actors.

3. The production team was encouraged to log lots of controller and joystick time to get the feel of various in-game environments.

They also visited videogame production houses to study how games are created.

4. The team also visited a bakery, candy factories and the World Confectionery Convention in Cologne, Germany.

The sweet tooth field trips helped ensure that the Sugar Rush candy-themed racing game was designed with realistic treats.

5. Another production-related outing: a trip to Detroit to see how trucks are made.

Filmmakers wanted to make sure they had the right process down for when Sugar Rush character Vanellope (voice of Sarah Silverman) built a car.

6. Professional football players served as models for the muscular guys in Hero's Duty.

Filmmakers needed to watch big dudes in action to serve as reference points for how the soldiers in the Hero’s Duty game should move, so they went to a game. Then, to get ideas on how to build the game battleground, the team visited Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California.

7. To make sure each of the three game worlds were distinctly styled, filmmakers assigned each one a shape.

Fix-It Felix Jr. is full of squares and rectangles, Hero’s Duty features triangles and sharp angles in general, and Sugar Rush is packed with circles.

8. Disney geeks, rejoice: there are plenty of sly Disney references sprinkled throughout the movie.

Here are a few to try to spot:

  • The teams in the “Hoop Jamz” game are Rutland and Medfield, the basketball teams from The Absent-Minded Professor.
  • There are at least two Hidden Mickeys. One appears as dials in a helmet in the Hero’s Duty game and another one can be spotted masquerading as a mint cactus in Sugar Rush.

  • Maximus, the horse from Tangled, makes an appearance in Game Central Station.
  • Tiny the Dinosaur from Meet the Robinsons shows up in both Game Central Station and the arcade game “Fatal Assault.”
  • 9. Video game geeks, rejoice: there are video game and arcade game references for you, too.

    The code to unlock the vault in Sugar Rush is the famous Konami Code. Say it with me: up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A.

    During the Litwak montage, a gamer can be seen getting through the infamous Pac-Man kill screen. (This has never actually been done.)

    10. Ralph's principal actors regularly recorded together in the studio so they could improvise and ad-lib off of one another.

    In most animated movies, actors record their parts separately.

    11. A Disney first: filmmakers consulted architects for accuracy as they were building the Sugar Rush environment and the tower in Hero’s Duty.

    12. The look of Sugar Rush was partly inspired by the work of Antonio Gaudi and other modernist architects.

    Designers felt his whimsical details and unusual shapes went perfectly with candy architecture.

    13. One of the racers in Sugar Rush is named Minty Zaki in tribute to Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki.

    Even anime non-enthusiasts will recognize Miyazaki's works Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle.

    14. Filmmakers visited Grand Central in New York to soak up the atmosphere and watch traffic patterns.

    The bustling station served as the model for


    ’s Game Central Station.

    15. You can actually play Fix-It Felix Jr., Sugar Rush and Hero’s Duty.

    I may or may not have lost a good chunk of an evening to trying to best Snowanna in the Sweet Ride Grand Prix. Have fun!

    Look for a big Wreck-It Ralph giveaway later today! Details soon.