There’s A ‘Toy Story’ Easter Egg In The New ‘Inside Out’ Trailer


While I was writing a trailer breakdown for the upcoming Pixar film, Inside Out, I came upon something that may link this new world to the one we see in the Toy Story trilogy.

It’s not rock solid and could be open to interpretation. For my full argument on the matter, you should check out the breakdown I linked to above. But if you’re too curious to click away, the easter egg essentially boils down to location.

inside out easter eggSee, we know that Inside Out takes place in San Francisco. Big deal. Almost every Pixar movie takes place in California because that’s where they’re headquartered.


Pixar likes to use fictional locations along with real ones. For example, The Incredibles takes place first in Municiberg and then in Metroville. These are fictional cities confirmed as being located somewhere in California.

But Pixar uses real places too (they’re sort of like Marvel comics in that respect). Up, for example, opens in Oakland, and it contains many landmarks that exist in real life.

inside out easter egg

All three Toy Story movies take place in Tri-County, California. It’s also known simply as “Tri-County Area.” We see this when the gang goes to Tri-County Airport, Woody looks at a map that says Tri-County, and Sid works for Tri-County Sanitation.

This is clearly a play on “Tri-County Area,” which isn’t something specific to one place, and I think the point is that Pixar made a fictional place that sounds as generic as possible. Well, that may not be the case because part of Inside Out apparently takes place near Tri-County.

In a quick frame where Riley is playing youth hockey, you can see a banner that says “Tri-County Youth Division.” Now, you could argue they just mean the general Tri-County area, but then it’s weird how the banner next to it says that the Tri-County Youth League has won the All-State Division.

inside out easter egg

Since we know that Toy Story takes place in the Bay area, along with Inside Out because it’s in San Francisco, it’s pretty clear that the banner is a subtle nod to the first Pixar movie being in close proximity to this new one. After all, you don’t see “Tri-County” in any of the other Pixar movies.

Or Pixar just really likes the name, Tri-County. Or both.

21 thoughts on “There’s A ‘Toy Story’ Easter Egg In The New ‘Inside Out’ Trailer

  1. Damn they’re already at it.

  2. So yeah, Tri-County is a general term, but I think you lay out a decent case. Really, the fact that San Francisco and Toy Story’s Emeryvillish location are so close is the only reason this easter egg works. Well done, sir.

  3. How the actual f*** did you catch that.

  4. Pixar Theory Update, The Tri-County area is San Francisco, San Mateo or Marin, and Santa Cruz or Sonoma, and Inside Out takes place sometime before Toy Story 3 and maybe Up because I don’t see animal influence in a large way.

    P.S. Brave takes place in Scotland, Finding Nemo is in Sydney, Australia, Ratatouille in Paris, Both Cars movies take place in Radiator Springs (In Route 66), with one of them being across the world. We don’t know where Bug’s Life takes place or WALLE begins (Could be anywhere) and both Monsters movies are implied. In conclusion, around half the Pixar Movies, maybe less, would take place in San Fran or influenced by California.

    • Too early to speculate on the time frame of Inside Out, and I doubt it’s before TS3 and Up, but we’ll see. Finding Nemo’s sequel will take place in California, and you have to remember the first Cars also takes place in California (the final race). A Bug’s Life most likely takes place in California because of the “tree” shared in Up and Toy Story. Also, the grasshoppers migrate to Mexico, which is pretty close by. I personally believe WALL-E takes place in California, maybe even in Metroville (Incredibles).

      • Incredibles I get, and maybe WallE. I get that Cars does have California, but that’s not the main location, just used near the end of the movie. Radiator Springs is the true location of that movie.

        If WallE takes place in Incredibles Metroville, then you should verify that in your theory.

  5. I thought the Toy Story films took place in Michigan, that’s what a lot of people agree with.

    • Toy Story definitely takes place in California. Just one example is in Toy Story 2, when the toys see the map of Al’s Toy Barn. It has an address that references Cutting Blvd, which is in Richmond, California (where Pixar was originally headquartered). This address shows up later in Toy Story 3.

      Some people think the movie takes place in Michigan because there are small easter eggs referencing the hometown of Lee Unkrich, but they don’t necessarily point to the movie actually being in that location.

      • Fair enough. What about Wall-e and Cars? In Wall-e, the opening pans down to somewhere in the Mid-Atlantic area. It’s not real proof, but it would one someone’s first thought it takes place there. As for Cars, Radiator Springs is based on multiple towns on Route 66. The Art of Cars book also says it located between Gallup, New Mexico, and Kingman, Arizona. Sally also said “Good Luck in California”. That could mean nothing, but still. Also, are you going to update the theory when The Inside Out and Good Dinosaur come out?

        • One question, did you get the idea of Up’s location being Oakland because of the retirement home? Also is Tri-County near the locatons of A Bug’s Life, The Incredibles, Up, and possibly WALL-E?

          • Up’s location is revealed by several Oakland landmarks shown in the film, including Fenton’s Creamery and Grand Lakes Theater (all real places).

            I believe A Bug’s Life and WALL-E take place in a city near here, probably Tri-County but they could also be Municiberg, which is the “other” city in Incredibles. Pixar revealed on their own that Municiberg and Metroville are cities in California within close proximity.

            As for the reason I tie all these places together, it really comes down to the tree we see in so many of these movies. It’s the same tree shown in Toy Story 2, Up, A Bug’s Life, and (arguably) WALL-E.

            And of course, it makes sense that Pixar would base their fictional locations where they live and work.

  6. Wait, I thought Metroville was like New York or Detroit, and now I’m being told its California? Explanation?

    • oh yes. The filmmakers explain that Metroville, Municiberg, and Westburg (which is only mentioned) are all cities in California.

  7. From the trivia on about Toy Story 3: 1225 Sycamore Street (Bonnie’s house) and 234 Elm Street (Andy’s house) do exist together in 2 cities: Cincinnati, Ohio and Denton, Texas.

  8. I grew up in the east bay and our sports teams in high school were part of the TCAL (tri county athletic league) it was reclassified as EBAL (in 2001 to East Bay Athletic League). Don’t know if that helps

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