EPCOT welcomes Moana to her new meet and greet home in World Nature in October

Sep 09, 2023 in "Journey of Water Inspired by Moana"

Moana meet and greet at EPCOT
Posted: Saturday September 9, 2023 1:03pm ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Moana will arrive in World Nature on October 16, 2023, and make her first appearance in her own dedicated space near Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana in EPCOT in Walt Disney World.

The new meet and greet space carries over a similar look to Journey of Water, and is located just across from the Coral Reef entrance.

Disney has also announced that Journey of Water Inspired by Moana will also officially open on October 16, 2023.

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Virtual Toad26 days ago

I have to wonder if there ever was a commitment, even in the blue-sky phase, of a complete redo of Future World West into a full-on Adventureland or Animal Kingdom-esque exotic setting. It seems unlikely given the general lack of focus plus the already extravagant conversion of the central hub into a more natural setting. It boggles the mind further why there's no direct entrance to Moana from the hub as the thematic inconsistency would be a lot less jarring. Have it serve as the "gateway" to World Nature, like the Oasis area of AK, and that would begin to at least make a little bit of sense. Back to FW West, I just can't see modern Disney doing a full-on retheme of that scale in addition to the ton of money and time they already spent on everything else. Perhaps it could have made more sense to put the trees and natural elements they used in the hub in FW West instead, making the area look a lot more like what you'd expect from "World Nature," and leave the hub as it was. Still, there's the prominent architecture of the Seas and Land to deal with, not to mention Imagination still sticking out like a sore thumb. Plus, what ultimate value would there be in taking part of what sets (or used to set) Epcot apart and turning it into something you already did much, much better somewhere else? Tweak the Moana message more toward conservation of water (and the benefit for the ecosystem) and it's automatically a nice fit for AK, fitting in visually as well as thematically. The "theme" of Moana (water! conservation! nature! science! (ip)) might technically fit modern "Epcot" but the placemaking and location are a mess. The more likely scenario is that it's simply the result of an awkward but insistent IP mandate, shoehorned into the park and designed by committee, made up of individuals doing their best to interpret and follow orders which were flawed from the outset. Which is exactly why it's such a mess.

Bocabear26 days ago

I agree! That is exactly it...It is a sore thumb in the visual organization of the front of the park. It visually looks comepletely out of place... If indeed they had built a rockwork archway or monument at the hub with "World Nature" on it...and then added additional elements to the two pavilions that echoed the design and feeling of Jurney Of Water, it might have felt like it fir within the fabric of the land, but the entire attraction is visually at odds with the very modern pavilions with very manicured, modern looking gardens... Honestly some sort of a monument at the hub that would inform guests that they are heading into World Nature would have made a ton of sense and would have cemented the identities of the areas... If the monument matched a design motif for the area, even better...

TrainsOfDisney27 days ago

Yeah, that’s what I was saying - I’d like to see the original concept. Plenty of very expensive work was done at Epcot that has no direct ROI.

Bill Cipher27 days ago

I think the rockwork and pavement detailing in Journey of Water is, very intentionally, supposed to be a step towards shifting the setting of World Nature to have a lush, naturalistic visual identity. It looks like DAK or Adventureland because they wanted to change the setting. It feels out of place because the rest of World Nature was not updated to match this. This is pure speculation, but I wouldn't be surprised if more elaborate plans included expanding this visual identity throughout the area, but they would have likely been budget cut because that wouldn't provide any direct ROI.

Disstevefan127 days ago

No @MisterPenguin , I tried to answer the best I could as a consumer, not a theme park expert.

Disstevefan127 days ago

Not faulting you at all! I am sure Iger agrees with you and if he doesn't I am sure the imagination design committee who approved the EPCOT redesign agrees with you. I have only been going to EPCOT since 1984ish. I am only a consumer of the parks, not an expert like you are. As for articulating as to why Moana feels out of place, (for me and me only apparently) the bamboo motif Moana has, does not feel "EPCOTy" to me in the area my heart knows is Future World. While I understand this walk through is supposed to edutain about water cycles, to slap Moana on it was just to add IP for the sake of adding an IP, or make it recognizable for the little kids. Moana just feels out of place there for me. Remember Ice Station Cool? Yes, Ice Station Cool WAS OUT OF PLACE, but I thought it was so cool to have snow in EPCOT and I loved going into the super freezing tunnel and seeing the frozen man, so the fun outweighed it being out of place for me. Things I like - some of these were done for WDW's 50th but I will include them here: The removal of the tomb stones from EPCOTs entrance and I like the colorful walls thy put the memory tiles. The return of the spires in the entrance. The flags in the entrance. The points of light added to SSE, and the corresponding lighting in the entrance plaza. The removal of the pin trading spot and moving it where the camera spot was under SSE. I am even OK with the removal of the Electric umbrella and having Walt there in a little garden area. I am OK with innovations west becoming creations and connections and even the very sanitary club cool :( free soda is free soda. Things I do not like: The loss of the fountain of nations. I wish they modernized it with new fountains and maybe a water screen and come up with a show where SSE lights play along with the new fountain and as I said a water screen. The loss of innovations east. I wish they simply gutted it and made that space a festival center with a REAL STAGE and seating. Could you imagine watching a show in air conditioned comfort and seated - glorious! The stupid, awful rust elements all over the place. Rumor has it the rust comes off onto folks clothing. Good show Disney. As much as I dislike Guardians taking over The Universe of Energy at least the queue feels EPCOTy to me, like Space 220 feels very EPCOTy to me. It seems Guardians is a fun ride, but I would much have preferred they kept the very cool ride system UOE had and the attraction just be re themed to show is life beyond fossil fuels. I am not an expert. I am just a consumer.

lazyboy97o27 days ago

It was always intended for its location. The site had to become area development because they were making way for the Festival Center.

TrainsOfDisney27 days ago

I think the reason so many people mention DAK is the pavement, rockwork, and lighting all point toward DAK / Adventureland - since the rest of Epcot, even world of nature itself, has either 1980’s or 2024 modern / futuristic vibes. That’s why I keep saying I would like to see how the project evolved - because if all of works of nature had this adventure / DAK theming feel to it, I could see it being a much more natural fit.

lazyboy97o27 days ago

The difference between EPCOT Center and Disney’s Animal Kingdom can probably best be contrasted as “humans taming nature” vs “nature taming humans.” Journey of Water never really takes that step towards humans taming. It’s more abstracted. Oddly enough, by holding back on the Moana story they stay away from it because that is very much a story of conquering nature (like Zootopia it contradicts its intended metaphor). The big caveat though is that the new neighborhoods of Epcot are incredibly poorly defined. Anything vaguely earthly related would fit World Nature. More importantly though, it’s just incredibly poorly sited. It sits off to the side. There’s a reason so many for so, so, so long assumed it would be closer to the existing pavilions, because it’s actual physical placement doesn’t really make sense.

peter1143527 days ago

Yeah. I should know better than to expect them to actually make a valid argument

MisterPenguin27 days ago

Uh, oh. You're just going to get a larger meme!

peter1143527 days ago

Again. It’s not my fault you don’t understand theme parks. Can you articulate why it doesn’t fit?

Disstevefan127 days ago


peter1143527 days ago

In this day and age you are correct. Everything is debatable. But it objectively fits Epcot perfectly. Just because it looks different than other things in the park doesn’t mean it doesn’t fit the park.