The get-rich-quick scheme doesn't work, but it leads them to another, in which Ralph becomes a YouTube -- sorry, BuzzTube -- star, and the likes he receives from adoring fans turn into actual profit. (The economics of this don't really make any sense. Kids, don't try this at home.)
Vanellope, still restless, decides to head to another corner of the internet: Oh My Disney, Disney's fake-BuzzFeed site. Seemingly every piece of corporate IP belonging to Disney shows up in a cameo, from the classic cartoons -- I spotted one of Snow White's dwarves -- to more modern additions to the portfolio. Stormtroopers patrol the grounds, and Stan Lee (RIP) appears. Eventually, Vanellope finds herself an interloper in a dressing room filled with Disney Princesses ranging from The Little Mermaid's Ariel to Frozen's Elsa to Moana's, well, Moana. This royal coterie is milling about before parading around a stage for a "What Disney Princess Are You" quiz. (The references go on and on and on.)
Even as an unabashed fan of the Disney Princess canon, I went in wary. The Princesses are all there, and most of them are voiced by the women who originally gave them life, making it on the one hand a shameless nostalgia play. Fortunately, they also add to the plot, as they're seduced by Vanellope's aesthetic and attitude, while seeing her as a kindred spirit: a girl whose life has been defined by her relationship to a man. Vanellope in turn introduces them to the comfort of athleisure -- keep an eye out for Ariel's T-shirt -- and they eventually come to her aid during the big showdown. (Ralph is a man they finally get to save.)
But most crucially, they introduce Vanellope to the concept of the "I Want" song. To the Princesses, it's the moment where you look in a body of water and sing about your hopes and dreams. It's also defined by lyricist Howard Ashman -- who wrote iconic princess songs such as The Little Mermaid's "Part of Your World" -- as when "the leading lady sits down on something and sings about what she wants in life."
It doesn't click for Vanellope until she hones in on what she really wants: to live and drive in Slaughter Race. Suddenly, she's launching into a song composed by Alan Menken, the Disney stalwart who collaborated with Ashman on several Disney tunes, including Academy Award-winning songs from The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.