bing bong rocket

Rocket Wagon

Rocket Wagon

Feature films

Video games





Powers and abilities

Final Fate

The Rocket Wagon was a makeshift vehicle created by Riley Andersen when she was a toddler in the Disney/Pixar film, Inside Out. A special song has to be sung in order to make the rocket function.


The Rocket Wagon is a basic red wagon with two brooms on it, one taped on each side, representing the boosters. Above the brooms are pieces are cardboard, representing the wings.

Role in the film

When Riley was a toddler, she had an imaginary friend named Bing Bong. Bing Bong would occasionally take Riley on adventures with his rocket.

When Riley becomes a pre-teen, she no longer remembers Bing Bong as her childhood imaginary friend, but a manifestation of him still exists in her mindscape, and he would momentarily store his rocket away.

When Bing Bong is discovered by Joy, she instantly figures out who he is, and highlights all the amazing times Riley had with him.

After a harrowing trip through Riley’s Abstract Thought, Bing Bong offers to take Joy and Sadness through Imagination Land. At the House of Cards, Bing Bong reveals that he stored away his rocket under a pile of cards, and announces his next plan with it: take Riley to the moon.

After witnessing the destruction of Hockey Island, Bing Bong offers to take Joy and Sadness to the nearest train station to board the Train of Thought, Bing Bong witnesses the Mind Workers tearing down some of Imagination Land’s famous locations. He becomes even more shocked to discover that Mind Workers are confiscating his rocket. Bing Bong pleads the Mind Workers to stop, but his request falls on deaf ears, as the Mind Workers bulldoze a bunch of junk into the Memory Dump, one of which was the rocket. Because of this, Bing Bong falls into a deep melancholy. He explains to Sadness (who offers to help him) that the rocket was all that he had left of Riley, and because his rocket is gone, he feels like the Riley no longer remembers him. Luckily, thanks to Sadness consoling him, he feels better.

Later on in the film, Joy and Bing Bong fall into the Memory Dump after Family Island’s slow deterioration. Needing to escape, Joy and Bing Bong remember that the rocket fell into the Memory Dump earlier, so they decided to sing the song that powers the rocket, and they successfully find it. The two sing the song as loud as they can to get out, but they fall short at every attempt. On the third and final try, Bing Bong intentionally ditches the rocket to make it lighter, and allowing Joy to escape. When the rocket slams onto the ground, the rocket breaks apart, destroying what was once left of Riley’s childhood with Bing Bong, just before he fades away, forgotten, and no longer remembered.

The Rocket Wagon was a makeshift vehicle created by Riley Andersen when she was a toddler in the Disney/Pixar film, Inside Out. A special song has to be sung in order to make the rocket function. The Rocket Wagon is a basic red wagon with two brooms on it, one taped on each side, representing…

‘Take her to the moon for me’: how Inside Out’s Bing Bong became everyone’s hero

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  • Kat Brown 25 July 2015 • 8:00am

    Riley’s imaginary friend is Pixar’s secret weapon, and an instant Disney hero – CONTAINS SPOILERS

    Y ou probably didn’t think it was possible to cry more than you did in the first 10 minutes of Pixar’s 2009 film Up. I am here to hold your hand, look into your eyes, and tell you with infinite reserves of sensitivity and compassion that you are probably going to blow a tear duct watching Inside Out.

    Pixar’s latest film is its most ambitious yet – and close to its best. A sophisticated exploration of how the brain develops as you grow up, it sounds like a science lesson but plays out as an exploration of what it means to be “happy” when sometimes you just need to be sad.

    It takes place in the mind of 11-year-old Riley, a hockey-loving kid who begins to crack under the pressure of being her parents’ “happy little girl” when the family leaves her beloved Minnesota for San Francisco.

    The film’s trailers and festival appearances focused so hard on the five wacky, colourful central emotions (led by comedians Amy Poehler and Mindy Kaling as Joy and Disgust) that one character slid by almost unnoticed. This was quite an achievement: he is bright pink, cries sweetie tears and his cart-cum-rocket ship has rainbow boosters fuelled by singing. Oh, and he’s called Bing Bong. These are not factors that add up to being discreet.

    Yet this was the perfect way for Pixar to quietly underplay the character that would turn out to provide the film’s biggest emotional punch, because Bing Bong, Riley’s imaginary friend, is above all, forgotten.

    “It was a really smart move on our part, if I can pat ourselves on the back,” director Pete Docter told Entertainment Weekly. “We wanted to make sure he was a surprise to the audience because, as a filmmaker, I hate when you go and watch those trailers and they give away everything. You’re like ‘Okay, well, I guess I don’t have to watch the movie.’”

    Pixar kept Bing Bong off promotional materials to such an extent that press seeing the first hour of the film earlier this year expected him to turn out to be the film’s villain. Far from it – although to adults, his appearance might suggest otherwise.

    Bing Bong looks like pop culture’s worst nightmare: a worrying cross between the Cheshire Cat, a clown and one of those terrifying pink elephants from Dumbo. One of my colleagues flat-out called him creepy, and you can hardly disagree with that. Have you seen a child’s drawing lately? They look like the work of a deranged serial offender who may kill at any moment.

    Bing Bong is the perfect depiction of the harum-scarum mind jump of a child’s brain: a friendly, vague mix of favourite things – here, the colour pink, a cat, candy floss and a dolphin. “We started thinking: ‘let’s have an imaginary friend that still lives in the mind,’” co-director Ronnie Del Carmen told Yahoo! Movies. “And when that came up, it became obvious to us that it’s hard to create just one imaginary friend, so Bing Bong should be an amalgam of many things.”

    It’s a myth that it’s just lonely children who have imaginary friends. A 2004 study by psychologists at the University of Washington and the University of Oregon found that 65 per cent of children had had such a pal by age seven. Eldest and only children were more likely to have invisible friends, most of whom disappeared by the time children started school. If you think Bing Bong is unusual, friends of the children in the study included a squirrel, a panther, a seven-inch-tall elephant and a 100-year-old GI Joe doll.

    Joy and Sadness (voiced by Phyllis Smith, who acted alongside Kaling in the long-running American version of The Office) accidentally end up in Long Term Memory, and find Bing Bong, whom Riley loved at three, but had forgotten by four. Bing Bong has spent the years since trying to find a way to get Riley to remember him so that they can finally fly their rocket to the moon.

    According to Del Carmen, Bing Bong’s appearance was based on “vaudeville actors who used to play big theatres but after the invention of TV and movies, they’re out of work”. His drab hat and coat are reminiscent of the classic train-riding hobo, heightened by Bing Bong’s familiarity with illegally riding the Train of Thought that rushes through Riley’s mind.

    Really, the only unlikely thing about Bing Bong is the suspiciously lucid rhyming of the song that powers his rocket cart’s rainbow boosters. No three-year-old can rhyme that well. Yet it speaks for any among us who might dimly recall some sort of friend who wasn’t really there.

    “That’s the kind of imagination we see in our kids,” Del Carmen said. “When you see your kids sitting in the living room singing or talking to no one, and you ask them, ‘Who are you talking to, honey?’ and they say, ‘I’m talking to my friend.’ We just felt it necessary to create one for our story.”

    I never had a Bing Bong, but between the ages of eight and 11 my friends and I had enough imaginary horses to fill a yard. We lovingly groomed them with the brushes we spent our pocket money on, waiting for the day when we’d get a real horse of our own (needless to say, this day never came). Where Riley and Bing Bong would try to get to the moon in their rocket ship, we had showjumping courses, painstakingly assembled out of garden chairs and brooms raised and lowered to different levels depending on how ambitious our legs were feeling.

    At this point I was learning to play cards, and named my favourite horse Racing Demon. He was – I was also reading a lot of Enid Blyton – “as black as midnight”, incredibly proud, and probably – I was vague on the details – a stallion. Racing Demon was keen on rearing up and snorting, but amazingly, this was never quite enough to unseat his rider.

    I spent many happy times “riding” Racing Demon and his friends until, like Bing Bong, he became obsolete. I started spending my Saturdays at a real stable, and fell in love with a vast piebald monstrosity called Harry Batiste who had a penchant for standing on my feet and leaning just enough for the toenails to come off.

    Harry B was a worthy successor to my invisible stables. He taught me how to ride and be fearless, and to be grateful that nothing was broken if I did fall off. I loved Harry B so much that I once unthinkingly Googled him to see if he was on Facebook. The fact that he is very likely dead, 15 years on, is devastating.

    I hadn’t thought about my dream horses in years, but all of these memories came back in a burst as I watched Bing Bong slowly fading away in the Memory Dump, the place where old memories are discarded to make way for new ones, and where he and Joy have fallen, along with the rocket ship that is so painfully, clearly, an ordinary cart. Beautifully, and in such a subtle way that you barely notice until afterwards, Pixar shows Riley’s brain preparing for adolescence. Bing Bong will be followed by millions of other memories and experiences, all coloured by mixed emotions rather than the clear-cut primary colours of childhood.

    Bing Bong hatches an escape plan using the ship, but his and Joy’s combined singing isn’t enough to boost both of them to safety. He realises that Joy is crucial to Riley’s future well-being, whereas he can be left behind. The following scene where Bing Bong sacrifices himself to help Joy is simply devastating. It’s no wonder they cut it down.

    “The version that came out for the public was about 20 to 40 seconds shorter than the scene we recorded, because it got a little too hard-hitting,” Richard Kind, the veteran TV and Pixar actor who voices Bing Bong, told Yahoo! Movies. He first recorded his lines before the film was animated. “When I saw the scene I asked them for take after take after take because I was sobbing.”

    In this farewell, Pixar have made us all a cinematic “core memory” to match Riley’s. As he makes one final push on the cart to send Joy to safety, Bing Bong says the killer line: “Take her to the moon for me”. And with that, everyone who has ever loved a invisible child, a horse, or a 100-year-old GI Joe, weeps forever.

    Who’s your friend who likes to play?
    Bing Bong, Bing Bong
    His rocket makes you yell “Hooray!”
    Bing Bong, Bing Bong
    Who’s the best in every way, and wants to sing this song to say
    Bing Bong, Bing BONG!

    ‘Take her to the moon for me’: how Inside Out’s Bing Bong became everyone’s hero Shares Kat Brown 25 July 2015 • 8:00am Riley’s imaginary friend is Pixar’s secret weapon, and an