- “I know you don't want me to, but (...) I miss home. I miss Minnesota. You need me to be happy, but (...) I want my old friends and my hockey team... I want to go home. Please don't be mad at me.”
- ―Riley, explaining why she tried running away
Riley Elphaba Andersen is a major character in the 2015 Disney/Pixar film Inside Out, voiced by Kaitlyn Dias. She is a 12-year old girl who loves hockey. Riley was uprooted from her happy and simple life in Minnesota and taken to San Francisco, California, where she experiences various changes in her life. Her emotions Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger help her through this tough time, ensuring her well-being.
Riley's first name is taken from "O'Riley", her mother's maiden name.
Riley's emotions contribute to her primary behavior in the film. Overall, Riley is happy, honest, and goofy when she is content. However, at adolescence, Riley becomes more sentimental, a little bit shy, and uncertain of herself as her other emotions begin appearing. By the time her family moves to San Francisco, she starts to be more troubled, irked, and lonely. Her emotions at this point try to help her get adjusted to the new life. Riley can second-guess herself, but she doesn't always repent her actions.
Riley really misses Minnesota and is unable to cope with the transition. However, Riley fears letting her parents know she's upset since they want her to accept the new home and that she has always been their "happy girl". As time goes on however, Riley becomes emotionally vulnerable, entering a sort of apathetic depression and coming to the point where she tries to run away, almost losing herself in the process. But it is here she realizes she had almost given up on the things that matter most to her in life and realizes the risk just in time. Returning home and admitting to her parents that she's greatly depressed, she learns to accept San Francisco when her parents comfort her over the personal loss, and Riley (with the guide of her emotions) eventually adapts to her new home.
Riley is a 12-year old girl with a slender figure. Her hair is dirty-blonde and shoulder-length. Unlike both her parents, she has blonde hair and blue eyes, while both her mom and dad have brown hair and brown eyes. This implies that both the blonde hair and blue eyes are recessive traits. Riley has very faint freckles around her nose. She also has a noticeable gap between her two front teeth.
Riley is seen wearing a different outfit on a daily basis. When first shown in the teaser trailer, she wore a long-sleeved shirt with thin horizontal red, yellow, and green zigzag lines, brown pants, and red Converse sneakers. When Riley arrived to her first day of school, she wore the same outfit, but with a yellow jacket. When Riley suffered a brain freeze, she wore a solid pink short-sleeved shirt, blue jeans, and green Converse sneakers. When jamming to music in the second official trailer, she wore a long-sleeved rainbow shirt, blue jeans, and pink socks. Riley's pajamas consisted of a green short-sleeved shirt with blue trim featuring a koala or bear on front, and dark blue sweatpants.
Her mind is extremely large, and includes certain locations like:
- Headquarters: the central part of Riley's mind, where Anger, Disgust, Joy, Fear and Sadness all live and control Riley, and where her memories are produced.
- Islands of Personality: five personifications of different sides of Riley's personality, as determined by the core memories.
- Long Term Memory: enormous shelves of various memories forming the main layout of her mind.
- Imagination Land: a place where everything Riley imagines is built.
- Dream Productions: where dreams are filmed.
- Subconscious: contains Riley's worst fears.
- Abstract Thought: a place were ideas (or anyone inside) are simplified to an abstract concept.
- Train of Thought: a train that connects Headquarters and the rest of the mind.
- Memory Dump: an abyss surrounding Headquarters, where faded memories end up and eventually disappear to be forgotten forever.
Riley is a major character in the film. Her mind is the main location of it and the main priority of the movie.
When Riley is first born, Joy, her first living emotion is conjured up with baby Riley is smiling right at her parents. A few seconds later, another emotion named Sadness appears and makes Riley cry. Joy pushes Sadness out of the way and makes Riley happy again.
Over the years, Riley starts to grow up in Minnesota and her other emotions, Disgust, Anger, and Fear are born. Riley becomes happy and jolly pretty much all the time and hardly sad at all. Because of her happiness and joy, Joy unintentionally mistreats Sadness. Riley also becomes one of the best players on her hockey team.
When it is time for Riley and her parents to move to San Francisco, Riley becomes sad and misses her life in Minnesota. When school starts, Riley starts to go from joyous and happy to sentimental and a bit depressed, on account of she misses the good old days in Minnesota. Not to mention, their new house is horrible and the only type of pizza they serve is California pizza. Riley becomes even sadder, Joy does all she can to prevent this from happening. Things go from bad to worse when Sadness accidentally humiliates Riley by making her cry in front of the class while telling her class about the good old days in Minnesota.
This causes a new core memory to be created, which is a sad one. Joy doesn't want Riley to ever be sad so she decides to get rid of it. But during an argument, Joy and Sadness literally get lost in Riley's mind, the others try to keep Riley's head on straight, but it causes Riley to become reclusive, rude, and cantankerous.
The next day, Riley video chats with her old friend, Meg from Minnesota. Things go well until Meg tells Riley all about the wonders of her new best friend and Riley gets so angry, that she hangs up on Meg.
Riley figures that since everything in San Fran is horrible and she is so nostalgic about Minnesota, she decides to run away back to Minnesota. She steals her mother's credit card and skips school to go to the bus back to Minnesota.
When Joy and Sadness finally make it home, Riley finally realizes what she is doing is wrong and decides to run back home. When Riley returns to her worried sick parents, she confesses she was pretending to still be happy and that she misses the good old days in Minnesota. Her parents confess they miss Minnesota as well and Riley finally lets her feelings out.
Soon enough, things are finally looking up for the Andersens. Riley is part of a brand new hockey team and there are new islands in her mind.
Riley returns in the short film. She is up stairs in her room when a boy, Jordan, whom she met at the end of the Inside Out, arrives to take her skating. Her parents greet the boy at the front door and immediately suspect that Riley is going out on a date with him.
Riley's mom awkwardly tries to divine more information from Riley by trying to talk cool to her. This only confuses and disgusts the young girl. Meanwhile Dad and Jordan discover they have something in common.
Riley is eventually seen departing with Jordan.
Riley's mind is built at Hong Kong Disneyland during the Coolest Summer Ever event in 2015. Guests can enter her mind and meet Joy and Sadness from the Art of Animation exhibition in the Opera House on Main Street USA.
- Riley is the first Pixar character to be a location.
- In the teaser trailer, Riley with her mom and dad are eating from Chinese food boxes of the same type as the one seen in A Bug's Life and several other Pixar films.
- In said teaser trailer, the playground seen in Riley's Memory Orbs is taken from Sunnyside Daycare in Toy Story 3.
- Both of Riley's parents have brown hair and brown eyes, suggesting her blonde hair and blue eyes were inherited recessively.
- Riley is left-handed. This is shown when she is drawing Bing Bong on the walls as a toddler and how she shoots the puck in hockey. She also uses her left hand when she is eating.
- Riley used to stick her tongue out when she drew.
- Riley is the only character in the film to have emotions of different genders.
- According to Pete Docter, this was done to make them as diverse as possible, while the emotions of other persons were uniformized for quick readability. He states that it's "a little phony, but hopefully people don't mind."
- When going into the minds of various characters, the film seems to suggest that children and teenagers all have emotions of different genders while adults' emotions are all the same gender.
- Riley's yelling, screaming, and crying when she was a toddler are actually recycled recordings of Boo's shouting and crying from Monsters, Inc.
- Coincidentally, both Monsters, Inc. and Inside Out were directed by Peter Docter.
- Mary Gibbs, Boo's original voice actor, is even listed under additional voices for this film.
- Riley's original home in Minnesota might be a reference to director Pete Docter, who was also originally from Minnesota.
- Riley is inspired by Pete Docter's daughter, Elie (the voice of Young Ellie in Up). As a child, she was outgoing and goofy. When she turned eleven, she became more introverted and quiet.
- She is known to have coulrophobia and arachnophobia, a fear of clowns and spiders, respectively.
- Riley makes a cameo in Finding Dory when she and her class go see Destiny.
- (when drawing Bing Bong as a toddler) "Who's a friend that likes to play? Bing Bong, Bing Bong!"
- "Mom! Dad! Come kiss me goodnight!"
- (on being fed broccoli) "Yucky!"
- "Stop saying everything is alright!"
- "Just shut up!"
- "What is your problem?Just leave me alone!"