Moana fans are finally getting a chance to experience the movie in real life at Walt Disney World. This highly-anticipated attraction was first announced in 2019 and will be officially opening to guests in October. It's a walk-through path, called Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana, that lets you immerse yourself into the animated film while you play, dance and interact with water, just like Moana.
Good Housekeeping recently got to try out this attraction, and had an exclusive interview with Chelsea Whikehart, Senior Creative Producer at Walt Disney Imagineering, who has been bringing the creative vision to life throughout its year-and-a-half long construction process.
Here, we share everything you can expect from the attraction, which we found to be a breathtaking experience, regardless of whether or not you’re familiar with the movie.
What is Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana?
Whikehart described it as a “self-guided exploration trail on the journey water takes from the skies to the earth and back again.” As you walk through the trail, you’ll see water throughout its lifecycle, from rain falling down to vapor rising to the clouds. There are also interactive areas to stop and play. For instance, you can run your hands through strings of water to hear music, wave to water in a stream to make it jump and walk through waterfalls that part for you.
“It’s really all about engaging with water,” said Whikehart. “We hope that when guests leave our attraction, they’re going to have this desire to protect one of our most important resources.” We also found the path to be very serene, bringing a sense of calm and relaxation within a Disney theme park.
How much Moana is involved in the attraction?
The entire experience is inspired by Moana, but the movie presence can be subtle at times. Whikehart says “there are a lot of nods to Moana along the way,” and notes there are hidden characters throughout the rockwork, so make sure to keep an eye out for your favorites. There’s also a stunning and not-so-subtle Te Fiti along the trail, which Disney Parks Blog describes as “a symbol of how we should protect and nurture water.” It’s also a can’t-miss photo opportunity for Moana fans.
Where is the attraction located?
You can find Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana at EPCOT in Walt Disney World Resort. Specifically within the park, it’s located in the World Nature area, with its entrance right by The Land pavilion. For those not as familiar with EPCOT, it’s fairly close to the park entrance.
How wet do you get on the trail?
It’s really up to you. While you might feel a few splashes along the way regardless, you can get as wet or stay as dry as you prefer. In fact, there are dry paths specifically for those who want to experience the water from a distance. Most people that walk through will get misted and just a bit wet, which we found to be the perfect amount in the hot Florida weather.
What ages is it best for?
“This is an attraction that the whole family can enjoy,” Whikehart told us, and added, “Our youngest guests and oldest guests can experience this together.” When we walked through during a preview with just adults, they were all blown away by the beauty and engaging with the playful opportunities — even without kids present. But for those with kids, it’ll be a big hit. Besides all of the ways to interact with water and find characters from the movie, there’s a small splash pad towards the end of the trail.
How long does it take?
It’s self-paced, so it depends on how much time you spend at a stop along the way. Whikehart shared that if you were to just walk straight through then it could take you as little as 10–20 minutes, but we spent nearly an hour exploring during our visit.
Will Moana be there?
Though the Moana character won’t be in the attraction itself, Disney just announced that you can meet her nearby. There will be a new area set up for this meet and greet, so fans can take photos and interact with Moana. Just note that it will be a separate attraction, which means there will be a separate line.
When does Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana open?
Both the attraction and the Moana meet and greet will open on October 16, 2023. Walt Disney World Annual Passholders will be able to get a first preview of the trail during September 24-29 and October 1-4.
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