Wildlife Wednesday: Disney’s ‘Moana’ Helps Connect Us to the Magic of Nature

Dr. Mark Penning

by , Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks

Today, our company introduces “Moana” to the world, and I hope you are as excited as we are about this beautiful new film. The magic of nature is truly represented on screen in a unique and authentic style that encourages audiences of all ages to explore the natural world around them.

The story of “Moana” is inspired in part by oral histories of the people and cultures of Oceania, where filmmakers traveled to learn as much as possible. For centuries, the greatest navigators in the world masterfully navigated the vast Pacific, discovering the many islands of Oceania. But before there were compasses, navigation apps or even GPS, voyagers who wanted to travel long distances relied on nature to know where they were and what direction they were going. Navigators trusted the wind, waves and stars to guide them at sea, and undoubtedly, these talented individuals mentored the next generation of wayfinders, teaching them the importance of connecting with nature to read the sky and waters.

In honor of its 20th anniversary, this year the Disney Conservation Fund announced its initiative to “Increase the Time” kids and families spend in nature to inspire them to care for the planet.

Although you may not be embarking on a quest across the ocean like Moana, there are many opportunities to experience nature throughout Walt Disney Parks and Resorts – including sea turtle night walks at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, up-close encounters with ocean animals at The Seas with Nemo & Friends or incredible outdoor events like the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.

And don’t forget, one of the best places to spend time outdoors can be your own backyard! If you’re looking for fun “Moana” games and activities, be sure to download the free “Moana” Educator’s Guide and Activity Packet available at www.disney.com/moana.