The Continuing Search for A113

Last night, Lisa and I were watching Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (highly recommended, even though I struggled a bit to keep up with all the twists and turns!), when suddenly my ears perked up. Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) calls for help and says “Agent A2 delta echo requesting immediate evac…Confirmed. Alpha 1-1-3.”

“Hey, that’s A-113!” I exclaimed. Why was I so excited? Well, as most of you probably know, this cryptic number pops up throughout the Pixar universe. It’s an inside joke that has found its way into the films of Disney and Pixar. Its origins go back to the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), and refers the classroom once used by graphic design and character animation students. (Today it’s home to a first-year graphic design studio.) The school itself was created in the early 1960s by Walt Disney, the result of a merger of the Chouinard Art Institute and the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music. The Chouinard Art Institute is where Walt had many of his early studio artists trained. Past students who attended classes in the legendary room A113 included John Lasseter, Tim Burton, Michael Peraza, and Brad Bird.

But why did the number show up in a Mission: Impossible film? A quick check of the credits solved the mystery, the movie was directed by none other than Brad Bird! A113 pops up on another occasion, where we can see it on an agent’s poison ring.



A113 first appeared in the TV anthology series Amazing Stories. Brad Bird directed and wrote the season 2 episode Family Dog, and he included A113 as a license plate number in the show.

The number made its big screen debut in 1987’s The Brave Little Toaster where it was seen on a door.



A113 Cameos


Let’s explore some other Pixar films to see where they’ve snuck in this fun little detail. To begin with, you can spot A113 on the license plate of Andy’s mom’s minivan throughout the Toy Story movies.


Speaking of license plates, you’ll also find it on Mater’s plate in Cars.


A113 is printed on a cardboard box that Flik passes as he enters Bug City in A Bug’s Life


…and in Finding Nemo, A113 is the model of the camera used by the diver.


It’s also the code for the secret directive that Auto tries to enforce in Wall-E.


If you look very closely, you can spot the number on Git’s eartag in Ratatouille. (He’s the big rat who’s always hungry!)


In The Incredibles, A113 is the prison level where Mr. Incredible is held (Level A1 – Cell # 13)


You’ll find A113 on the sign outside the court room in Up


…and in Monsters University it is the classroom number of Scaring 101.


In Inside Out, A113 appears as a graffiti in the streets of San Francisco when Riley receives a phone call from her mother. It is also the number of Riley’s classroom.


It’s a bit hard to find, but in The Good Dinosaur you’ll find the number formed out of sticks on the wooden fence surrounding the area of the “cluckers” on Arlo’s family’s farm.


In Finding Dory, the license plate number on the truck containing quarantined fish reads: “CAL A113” (which adds a bonus reference to California in the bargain!).


A113 appears on Coco on the office door of the “Bureau of Family Grievances” in the Land of the Dead’s Grand Central station. It can also be found on one of Ernesto’s albums.


A113 crops up several times in Incredibles 2. It can be seen spray painted on a dumpster that Frozone crouches behind after the Underminer’s attack, on the front of the Metrolev hover train, on the door of the editing room at DEVTECH where Helen watches the Screenslaver footage, and on the far right corner of the International Superhero Accord contract, among other places.


In Luca, the number can be seen on Luca’s train ticket to Genova as his seat number.


An unsual instance of A113 can be seen, or rather heard, in Onward. At the end of the film, Colt Bronco gets a call from dispatch saying, “We got a one-one-three in progress”. This is the first time A113 is referred to in audio form only.


In Soul, when Joe and 22 go into the Hall of Everything, the number can be seen on a street sign.


In Turning Red, A113 can be spotted on “The Chalker.”


A very clever of A113 can be found in Elemental. If you look at the Wetro transit sign in the film’s teaser, you’ll see the symbols A H Al. If we refer to the periodic table, we find that “H” (hydrogen) is element #1, while “Al” (aluminum) is element #13! A-1-13, get it?!



Believe it or not, this is just the top of the iceberg when it comes to A113 sightings (we haven’t even talked about the parks, yes, you’ll find it there too!). See how many you can find as you watch your favorite film, but remember, it’s a secret!

Enjoy the magic of Disney all year ’round with Celebrations Magazine!

1 year/$49.95!

Click here to order!