When Jessie first meets Woody (Tom Hanks), she exclaims, "Sweet mother of Abraham Lincoln!" Abraham Lincoln's mother was Nancy Hanks, a blood relative of Tom Hanks. Tom Hanks is a direct descendant of an uncle of Nancy Hanks.
In the scene with Rex in the car in Al's Toy Barn holding the How to Defeat Zurg book, there is one frame where a clear glimpse of the bottom corner of the book is seen. As a lighthearted jab at Canadians the cover price is shown as $4.95 and $50.00 in Canada. It should be about $6.95. In the waiting area for the new "Toy Story Mania!" ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Orlando, FL, there is a large replica of the book's cover that also reflects this joke.
There was some discrepancy with regard to the song "When She Loved Me" and its place in the film. Randy Newman expressed concern over whether or not young children would be able to sit through the three-minute ballad while both Tim Allen and Tom Hanks admitted to being moved to tears by the scene featuring the song.
At one point, while the toys are in Al's Toy Barn, Mr. Potato Head views Rex, chasing after the car, in a rearview side mirror, which parodies a scene in Jurassic Park, when the T-rex chases after the crew in a jeep. Additionally, the phrase made famous in Jurassic Park, "Objects in mirrors are closer than they appear," is also visible on the mirror of the car that the toys drive in the store.
When Hamm is flipping though the channels looking for the Al's Toy Barn commercial, all the other stations show clips from shorts and commercials Pixar produced through the years including Luxo Jr. (1986), Red's Dream (1987), Tin Toy (1988), and Knick Knack (1989). There is also a logo for the NeXT computer developed by Pixar's then CEO, Steve Jobs.
For the scene where Woody looks at the merchandise from Woody's Roundup, mock-ups of the toys were shown to Tom Hanks in the recording booth. Hanks' spontaneous reactions to the toys were recorded and used for Woody's dialogue.
The cleaner who fixes Woody for Al is Geri, from the Oscar-winning Pixar short Geri's Game (1997); some of the chess pieces he played with in the short are in one of the drawers of his case. Geri was based on renowned makeup artist Stuart Freeborn.
While driving around Al's Toy Barn, the gang drives down the Buzz Lightyear aisle. Tour Guide Barbie tells them "Back in 1995 short-sighted retailers did not order enough dolls to meet demand". This is an in-joke and a fact: When the original Toy Story (1995) was released, toy sellers did not think the movie would be a hit and they indeed did not order enough dolls to keep up with demand. The joke is also a self-deprecating dig at Mattel Toys, which denied use of the Barbie character in the first film, thinking it would be a flop.
When the toys are planning the rescue of Woody, Etch-a-Sketch shows a map to Al's Toy Barn located at 1001 West Cutting Boulevard. This is the address of Pixar Animation Studios in Richmond, California.
Many people think the Woody's Roundup sequence was filmed with real puppets. But really they took the same CG models and made small changes to make them look like puppets. Then they animated the puppet versions of the characters in a CG black-and-white set. Then they used this technique called the kinescope effect, which adds scratches, hairs, and pieces of grain to the image to make it look old.
During the opening credits (when "WALT DISNEY PICTURES" is displayed), the Pixar trademark lamp (from Luxo Jr. (1986)) can be seen as a constellation of stars in the stars in the upper right side of the screen. Andy's red lamp which is a colored version of this also reappears from the first film, as does Andy's Mickey Mouse "watch" clock.
Early drafts of the original Toy Story (1995) had a Barbie doll in the role that became Little Bo Peep, but Mattel refused to license the character to Disney. The huge popularity of the movie (and boost in sales for Mr. Potato Head and other featured toys) led them to agree to have Tour Guide Barbie included in this film. Naturally, Mattel released Tour Guide Barbie as an exclusive doll to tie in with the film.
When he "arrests" Buzz 1, Buzz 2 says he is "in direct violation of Code 6404.5 stating all space rangers are to be in hyper-sleep until awakened by authorized personnel." Code 6404.5 is actually California's state law that bans smoking in public places.
When a Barbie backpack with the Prospector emerges out into the baggage claim area, the announcement "LassetAir Flight A113 now arriving from Point Richmond at gate three" can be heard from the PA. LassetAir is a pun on director John Lasseter. Flight A113 is a reference to a classroom at CalArts along with A113. And Point Richmond refers to Point Richmond, CA, where the Pixar studio was located before moving to Emeryville.
The movie has several references to A Bug's Life (1998). In Andy's bedroom, Andy has a wall calendar that shows the ants from the film standing on a leaf. Mrs. Potato Head reads a "A Bug's Life" book when Mr. Potato Head shows up with the earring. Heimlich the caterpillar can be seen munching on leaves as Buzz karate chops his way through the bushes. (Buzz chops a branch, causing Heimlich to fall.) In Al's office, there is an abstracted version of a shot from "A Bug's Life." The shot was reputedly abstracted to prevent people from identifying the shot until they got the video version and looked hard at it. In the final scene of Jessie's flashback the tree in the background is the tree from "A Bug's Life". There are some "A Bug's Life" toys seen in the background in Al's Toy Barn. Among the objects in the background by Hamn in Al's car is the Chinese take-out box used in Gypsy and Manny's magic act. Flik and Heimlich appear in an "outtake" during the closing credits.
The baggage handler at the airport who shouts "Hold it! There's a couple more bags coming from the terminal!" is the voice of UK television personality Andi Peters. When filming a documentary on the making of Toy Story 2 (1999), he was offered this one small line in the film by John Lasseter himself. The recording almost didn't happen because Andi Peters did not have a US work permit, but was allowed to record the dialogue from a London studio, supervised by John Lasseter via satellite.
One of the items in Al's Toy Barn behind Rex before he and Potato Head board Barbie's car is a pink teddy bear which previously appeared as one of the silent toys on the shelf top during the staff meeting in Toy Story (1995) (that actually served as the basis for Lotso in Toy Story 3 (2010).
One of the inspirations for this sequel was when John Lasseter was traveling with his wife and kids. When they stepped of their flight into an airport, Lasseter saw a little boy holding a Woody doll and showing it to his dad. John Lasseter immediately knew that his characters are not just his but everyone else's. When he sees the movie, Lasseter always thinks of the little boy.
Production of this film lead to a major disagreement between John Lasseter and Disney chairman Michael Eisner. At the time of production, Pixar Animation was in the midst of a 5-picture deal with Disney. Pixar Animation had initially contracted with Disney to produce and distribute five computer animated films, three of which had already seen release: Toy Story (1995), A Bug's Life (1998)& Monsters, Inc. (2001). Though this movie was produced while Pixar and Disney were operating under the same contract, it was counted as its own entity since the original agreement specified five original films, not sequels. Consequently, production on the final two movies of the initial deal, Finding Nemo (2003) and The Incredibles (2004) was delayed. When Disney, which owned all the characters, decided to move ahead with a low-budget direct-to-DVD sequel, Lasseter intervened, offering Pixar's services to produce the film. Lasseter assumed it would be counted as part of Pixar's 5-picture contract, but Eisner refused, forcing a tense renegotiation between the two studios. It also led to Pixar's refusal to renew it's distribution contract with Disney, though Disney eventually bought Pixar Studios and integrated its creative staff into studio management. When producers saw the first results of the considerably lower-budget direct-to-DVD production they were dissatisfied and gave the project back to the makers of the original for a cinematic release.
The shot of Andy's Buzz Lightyear climbing up the display only to encounter the new Buzz Lightyear standing tall resembles the one of Woody climbing up Andy's bed only to encounter the original Buzz standing tall in Toy Story.
During the Al's Toy Barn commercial, one of the images of items on sale, also seen in the corner of the lobby when Al is about to leave with the toys in his bag, is the ball Buzz bounced off of in the original Toy Story, a trademark of Pixar's originally from Luxo Jr. (1986).
Al's car is actually a concept automobile never put into production. It was made by Ford as the 1955 Ford Mystere. Al's version bares minimal changes to the body design, including the exterior and interior colors.
In the scene where Andy is getting ready to go to cowboy camp, he is wearing a "Triple R Ranch" t-shirt. The Triple R Ranch, a boys' western style summer camp, was the setting for Disney's popular series Spin and Marty than ran as a serial during The Mickey Mouse Club from 1955 to 1957.
This sequel was originally going to be a 60 minute direct-to-video release on the market. But the screenplay was so great that Disney gave Pixar the upgrade to make the movie into a full-length theatrical film.
In the airport, an announcement is made for Lasset Air, Flight A113. That's two references in one: to director John Lasseter, and to room 113 at Cal Arts College, famous for its alumni, including many Pixar animators. A113 is also Andy's mom's license plate number.
When the toys enter the airport, the announcement "Passenger Leon Krich" can be heard from the PA, a pun on co-director Lee Unkrich. The subtitles for the above announcement reads "Passenger Twitch, passenger Leon Twitch."
The scene where Woody, Buzz and Bullseye are chasing the baggage tractor to save Jessie resembles a typical western film scene where the hero chases a train on horseback. In fact, the first trailer after the tractor is open-topped, to give it the appearance of the tender of a steam locomotive.
Al was based on John Lasseter and his toy collection. When Lasseter would take his youngest sons to work, they'd want to play with their father's toy collection which were basically antiques. Lasseter would be all nervous and tried to make them leave the toys alone.
Al the Toy Collector is partially based on Pixar animator and storyboard artist Matthew Luhn's father Mark who is a toy store owner and collector. A group of animators shadowed Mark Luhn for days to study his mannerisms and learn about toy collection. They also took references from his shop Jeffrey's Toys located in San Francisco.
Directly after Rex lands back in the car in Al's Toy Barn, Tour-Guide Barbie quotes "Remain seated please" then repeats it in Spanish. This is a reference to the safety spiel on the Matterhorn at Disneyland. (In the Spanish version of the movie, she repeats it in French.)
In the scene just seconds before Buzz walks into the isle full of Lightyear's in Al' Toy Varn, A Bug's Life toys can be seen briefly in the background on a shelf as a hint to the Pixar movie after Toy Story 2.