The name Lord MacIntosh (or McIntosh) is a common Scottish surname, also the name of a well-known variety of apple. It is a reference to the Apple computer. Steve Jobs was a co-founder of Apple and played a big role in Pixar. The movie is dedicated to Jobs with this quote at the end credits: "Dedicated to the memory of Steve Jobs, our partner, mentor and friend". It is also a reference to the repeated image of Merida being interrupted while trying to eat an apple by biting into it, which her mother considers unladylike.
Two additional software programs were specially developed for this film by Pixar in the period of three years. One of them allows simulation of Merida's 1500 strands of hair curls to move together with her movements.
The reference to a long lost kingdom from days past where there was a king and he had 4 sons is a reference to the early French ruler Clovis, who had 4 sons and upon his death split the region of Gaul (modern day France) into 4 parts, one for each son to rule.
HIDDEN MICKEY: The belt that Queen Elinor wears in the first half of the movie forms a hidden Mickey when viewed from the front. You can see the distinct Mickey head and the two ears as connecting circles around her waist.
The film has faced several "controversies" upon its release, the first being that despite not wanting to get married to a prince, Merida was still made an official Disney princess which many people considered something of a hypocritical contradiction to the film's moral. It was also criticized for being a fairy tale film made by Pixar, not by the in-house Disney animation, and many long time Pixar fans saw this as further evidence that after being bought by Disney that Pixar had "sold out" and was now just Disney's tool for marketing and merchandising productions. The biggest but also most frivolous controversy was that because of her rebellious and tomboyish nature and her refusal to be in a relationship with a "prince or boy", many conservatives believed the character Merida was written as a lesbian. Disney and Pixar have denied this controversy on the grounds that Merida was more a strong independent girl who was meant to break age old stereotypes of girls and princesses but never intended to be a female homosexual character.
It took six years to make this film. Mark Andrews was initially the consultant, providing the Scottish themes for Brenda Chapman. However, by October 2010, Chapman left after four years of work with Andrews subsequently taking over but still keeping the intended story that Chapman wrote. Originally 80% of the film took place in snow, but when Chapman left the project so did much of the white stuff.
Dingwall is a town in Scotland which once contained the largest castle north of Stirling and was believed to be the site of a legendary battle between the Clan Mackay and the Clan Donald in 1411. The English name Dingwall means "meeting place of the local assembly." The town's Gaelic name Inbhir Pheofharain means "the mouth of the Peffery" but it is also known as Baile Chail ("cabbage town"), appropriate for Lord Dingwall's son.
Lord MacGuffin and his son are appropriately named. A MacGuffin (or McGuffin) is a film industry slang term that is loosely defined as an otherwise unimportant plot item/event that never the less drives the plot forward. In this case, the three suitors are only a means by which to escalate the tension between the princess and the queen.
One 14-person team of animators assigned to deal with duplicating the musculature in horses and Princess Merida's curly hair included six graduates of Brigham Young University's highly vaunted computer-animation program.
Merida's horse is named Angus, a common Scottish name, but also a possible allusion to a P.G. Wodehouse character named Angus McAllistor, a Glaswegian of described as "all the ingredients of a first-class mule simply thrown away."