Disney promoted this movie with a series of trailers inserting Stitch into some of its "classic" titles. Examples: - The Little Mermaid (1989): Stitch surfs a wave that crashes down on Ariel. - Beauty and the Beast (1991): Stitch causes the chandelier to fall during the ballroom scene, nearly smashing Belle and the Beast - Aladdin (1992): Stitch steals Princess Jasmine from Aladdin during the "A Whole New World" magic carpet ride. - The Lion King (1994): Stitch takes Simba's place on Pride Rock during the "Circle of Life" opening.
Hawaii-born cast members Jason Scott Lee and Tia Carrere helped the writers with dialog and accents.
Chris Sanders, one of the directors of the film, also served as co-screenwriter, co-character designer, and provided the voice of Stitch, a character he first created in 1985.
A Dumbo doll appears in the easel in Lilo's bedroom. This is a nod to the inspiration of watercolor backgrounds that were used in the film.
A Chinese restaurant that the characters pass is called Mulan Wok, a reference to Disney's Mulan (1998). There is also a poster of Mulan on the wall of Nani's bedroom.
Earth is referred to as being in Section 17, Area "51" in the Galactic charts, one of several references to Area 51.
The character of Cobra Bubbles greatly resembles the gangster from Pulp Fiction (1994), Marcellus Wallace (both played by Ving Rhames). He even has the same earring.
Many of the aliens are inspired by Disney characters, including Piglet and Tigger from Winnie the Pooh.
When Lilo and Stitch walk past this store selling calendars with images from around the world, the "Orlando" calendar has a picture of the Magic Kingdom.
There are several "hidden Mickeys" in the movie - one can be seen in the Grand Council scene, on Jumba's platform. Another can be seen as a logo on the shorts of one of Lilo's photographic subjects on the wall of her room.
Near the beginning of the film, during the trial, Stich is asked by the council woman to provide some sign that he understands what's going on. Stitch responds by licking the inside of his glass cage. The saliva trail is in the shape of the famous 'D' in the Walt Disney logo.
Almost all of the landscape scenes in the movie are recognizable locations in Hawaii. This is especially true earlier in the movie when Lilo and Stitch are riding the bike around the island, and also in the closing sequence.
The sign on Lilo's door is the Hawaiian word "kapu". It has cognates in other Polynesian languages, including Fijian "tabu" from which English "taboo" is borrowed. In context, it could be loosely translated as "Keep Out."
The name of one of the shops is an obvious reference to Kiki, the main character of Hayao Miyazaki's Majo no takkyŻbin (1989) (Kiki's Delivery Service).
All of the license plates in the film (VW, Nani's car, the fire engine, and Cobra Bubbles' car) are A113. The same as Mrs. Davis's plate number in Toy Story (1995), Mater's plate number in Cars (2006), and also used in many other Disney and Pixar films. It is a reference to a room number at California Institute of the Arts, where many of the animators at those two companies received their educations.
The two hovercar presents given to Lilo and Stitch make the same sounds as the flying cars in "The Jetsons" (1962).
According to Stitch's dog license at the shelter, the adoption official is "Susan Hegarty", the name of the actress who voiced the character. Also, according to the license, Lilo and Nani's last name is "Pelekai".
The words on Stitch's dog license at the shelter are part of a resolution thanking people for their support during the making of the movie. The words are difficult to make out, but the last part reads, "as well as our partners at Disney MGM Studios for their participation and support during the making of Lilo and Stitch." You can see a close up of the end of the last few lines in the scene where "Susan" stamps the Seal on the form.
In one scene, a pink jeep car can briefly be seen in the lower left corner of the screen. This a reference to Elvis' movie Blue Hawaii (1961), in which he drove such a car.
The live action monster footage that Stitch watches on a television is from _Earth vs the Spider (1958)_.
The scene where Stitch is walking down a path after leaving Lilo is taken from Ugly Duckling (1939). The illustrations in Lilo's storybook are also based on scenes from that film.
"He Mele No Lilo" has caused debate regarding intellectual property rights. The "Mele" is a melding of two older chants to King David Kalakaua and Queen Lili'uokalani.
Although it uses computer-colored (but hand-drawn) digital cels instead of hand-painted ones, this was the first Disney animated feature to use watercolor-painted backgrounds since Dumbo (1941). A conscious effort was made to give the film a warmer, more old-fashioned look than most other modern Disney films: this film does not use the "Deep Canvas" technique used in Tarzan (1999), Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001), or Treasure Planet (2002); it only contains about five shots which use either a "multiplane camera" or "3D camera" effect; and the use of tone mattes (shading/shadows on the characters) was kept to a minimum.
Near the end, the tracking image Captian Gantu uses to track the location of Stitch on Hawaii is the icon for the Disney theme park in Florida, EPCOT Center - Spaceship Earth.
The name "Lilo" means "Generous One" and its origin is Hawaiian. It can also be interpreted as "Lost" and this would give the song title "He Mele No Lilo" a loose translation as "Lullaby of the Lost".
The name Nani means "Beautiful" in Hawaiian.
When Stitch awakes at the dog pound, there are a number of dogs shaking in fear in the corner of his cell. They are all the same breed of dogs that Lady encounters in her trip to the dog pound in Lady and the Tramp (1955).
Running Gag: Every time Pleakley looks at or attempts to show someone information about Earth, the device used is a "Viewmaster". Viewmasters create the illusion that the viewer is looking at a three-dimensional image that's actually created by each eye looking at a slightly different pictures. Its basic premise is that the person looking in it has two eyes to create the effect, but Pleakley is a one-eyed creature and therefore would not see the 3-D effects of the Viewmaster. Adding to the gag is when he hands the ViewMaster to Dr. Jumba - a one-eyed alien handing an four-eyed alien a viewing device intended for two-eyed humans.
In order to capture the traditional Hawaiian dance form - the hula - correctly Disney took a camera crew to a renowned halau, a hula school. All of the introductory hula dance is modeled (though not rotoscoped) on sequences captured at the halau.
The experiment number for Stitch is "626" which is an area code for the San Gabriel Valley in Southern California (Whether one of the writers for the movie lives or is from this area is not known).
The grocery store Nani tries to get a job at is owned by a "Mrs. Hasegawa", a reference to the famous "Hasegawa's General Store" in the town of Hana on Maui.
After Stitch breaks the water gun apart, Cobra is shown looking on disappointed, as a crowd of people run by in terror. The last two people to run by are cartoon versions of Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois. Chris is the guy with blond hair and sunglasses. Dean is the big guy with a beard.
In the subtitles for the Chinese version, a line spoken by Stitch in his alien language is translated into Chinese despite it having no corresponding English meaning. The reason for this is thought to be because Stitch's line sounded a lot like Ni Qu De (Go to your place) an offensive Chinese phrase used to tell somebody to go away. The actual Chinese translation was a lot more family friendly. The inclusion of this line show that Stitch is intelligent far earlier than in the English version. It also moves forward the first understandable dialog spoken by Stitch from the English version.
The voice of Stitch was a difficult one to dub for other languages and that's why Dutch voice artist Bob van der Houven does the voice of Stitch in the Dutch, German, Flemish and Italian version of the film.
The original version of the flying chase scene at the end movie included the space craft flying through Honolulu, crashing into buildings. The sequence was already animated with voices added early in production, but the whole chase was cut following the terrorist attacks on the USA of 11 September 2001. The chase had to be re-written and drawn again, and the second version of the chase was is what is seen in the theatrical version.
Producer 'Clark Spencer' has revealed the story was originally placed in an isolated town in Kansas rather than on Kauai.
During the ending credits the camera scans across various "photographs" of the characters. One of them is a "remake" of Norman Rockwell's 'Freedom from Want' Thanksgiving Day painting with Cobra as the grandfather and Stitch as the grandmother.
When Pleakley dresses in a female disguise it is an obvious reference to Kevin McDonald's days on Kids in the Hall.
Like the live-action monster movie that appears briefly in the movie, photographs of Elvis Presley are "real" pictures and not animated drawings.
The surfer statue featured in the end credits is a real Hawaiian landmark on Waikiki Beach. It is of Duke Kahanamoku, a native Hawaiian considered the father of modern surfing and an Olympic gold medal winner. Nani also has a Duke poster in her bedroom.
According to the map of the projected landing of Experiment 626, the story takes place in the island of Kauai.
In the hotel scene, Stich carrying a rose was inspired by an animation student that was known to give flowers to the animators (and other animation students) at the annual Disney Institute animation classes.
When Pleakley and the Grand Councilwoman go to the prison to visit Jumba, the figure in the cell to the right of the elevator bears an uncanny resemblance to Dr. Jacques Von Hamsterviel, a recurring villain later in the series.
In the scene where Lilo throws Scrump on the ground, she picks her doll up on walks away. Scrump begins to smile as she walks away.
The two small black and white dogs that were part of the first group of canines Stitch met at the pound resemble the two dogs that belong to Dean DeBlois. One of his dogs was recorded (breathing, grunting, etc.) and mixed in with Chris Sander's performance as Stitch.
When Stitch strikes Jumba with a car and sends him flying to Nani's room she has a poster of Duke on the wall. When Stitch delivers a second blow the facial expression on Duke's face changes.