Disney Imagineers gives first look at new Epcot attraction Moana

Something is stirring at Epcot, and a certain favorite princess is involved! Earlier this week, Disney’s Imagineers teased the first look at Water Journey, inspired by Moana. The new pedestrian attraction will take visitors on a magical journey through the earth’s water cycle, while featuring special appearances from Moana and her friends in the form of sculptures in rocks and waterways. Reid Ekman, Lead Concept Designer at Walt Disney Imagineering, explains the inspiration behind the project.

Designed for all ages, Journey of Water will allow guests to explore and engage with water as it travels from our skies to our oceans and back again. Walt Disney Imagineering partnered with artists and cultural consultants from Walt Disney Animation Studios to bring this experience to life, and our team took on the task of capturing the beauty of the natural water cycle within the attraction. . We were also inspired by Moana’s fierce determination to protect her environment – her connection to water is unique, and we’re thrilled for guests to learn about the importance of water and experience her playful personality as she has. do.

The Imagineers also provided some behind-the-scenes insight into the upcoming landscape development. Jim Towler, pictured below, can be seen sculpting Moana out of foam. This will serve as an example for the team as they map out and plan the layout of the attraction before it begins official construction. Ekman gives a brief explanation of the number of steps involved in creating such an immersive and magical experience.

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Once the pose of the character is set, sculptors add detail and texture until the emotional expression of the sculpture is perfect. We then perform a painting study and often create large scale samples to test the final materials and sculpting techniques. This process ensures the alignment of the production and the creative vision of the experience.

The team also showed off a mock-up of the attraction’s entrance, which will have Moana’s signature spiral to mark its entrance. Fans will be able to recognize the design and know exactly where to go. It’s a delicate balance between the fantastic and the real!

Related: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Casting Moana

The power of water

From a very young age, Moana has always felt a call to the sea. The courageous young princess set off from her native island to discover what was causing fish to become scarce. With the ocean itself as her guide, Moana was able to team up with the demigod Maui in order to restore balance and save her people. The film premiered in 2016 and has since become a favorite among many for its beautiful animation, catchy songs, and daring princess hero.


Creating a water cycle attraction seems like a perfect job for Moana. After all, she just doesn’t have the power of water, she’s practically its best friend! Although the approach has fewer fireworks and dancing figures, it feels like a quieter, more relaxing way to pass the time while you recharge your batteries before the next ride. Fans can take in the natural wonder of water, while feeling closer than ever to the princess herself.

It’s certainly an exciting time for our project team as these elements come together on site now and in the months to come! Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana will come to life within World Nature – the EPCOT neighborhood dedicated to understanding and preserving the beauty, awe and balance of the natural world. Moana is the perfect role model to inspire us to protect and conserve water and guide us through the water journey.

Keith P. Plain