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When Sully and Mike are banished to the Himalayas they discover the closest village is a three-day hike away. Sully uses a sledge to get there quickly, then uses a child's closet door to return to the Monster's Inc factory. Then, just a few minutes later, Mike appears.

How did he get back to the factory so quickly?

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That has always bothered me. – System Down Apr 14 '14 at 17:00
up vote 5 down vote accepted

This isn't shown or answered in the film.

Likely, Mike followed Sulley to the village and used a different door to return (or found a door that was nearer). This explanation seems the most plausible and doesn't require too much explanation on the writer's part (allowing viewers to believe for a short while that a "wedge" really has been driven between the two protagonists, before Mike's sudden reappearance).

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I think we have to assume Mike got back the same way Sully did, through a door. As you said, there isn't anything definitive as to the how, but I think this is the best guess. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Apr 14 '14 at 21:34

There are multiple ways in which Mike could have gotten back to the Monster World (powering the door from the outside is shown to be possible in the prequel, Monsters University), but for me the most likely way is that he simply traveled to the nearby village and used an active door to return, in precisely the same way that Sullivan did a few minutes earlier.

Although the Yeti said that it was a three day hike, there's plenty of ski gear in the Yeti's shack that Mike could have used to make the journey more quickly:

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We also know from the film script that there's at least two other active doors in the village when Sullivan arrives:

Sulley lies motionless in the snow, the wind howling through his fur.

A child SCREAMS in the distance. Or was that the wind? Sullivan slowly lifts his head.

Another SCREAM, this one louder than the first. Sullivan's eyes widen. Through the snow, Sullivan can barely make out a SMALL TIBETAN VILLAGE.

INT. SCARE FLOOR George Sanderson leans on his crutch, nervously trembling as he stands in front of his door with his assistant, Charlie.

CHARLIE: Oh, come on now, George. I know you can do this! I picked out an easy door for you, in Nepal! Nice, quiet Nepal.

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That was always the implication I got... that George was going back to work after being shaved and Sully and Mike came through the door to the room George was about to go into while it was active. – Catija Dec 21 '15 at 19:37
    
@Catija - There are multiple screams. That implies multiple doors. On top of that, what's to stop Mike from using the same door? Presumably Charlie needed to come back as well... – user7812 Dec 21 '15 at 19:38

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