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First Look: New Design Details from Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana Attraction at EPCOT

Reid Ekman

by , Lead Concept Designer, Walt Disney Imagineering

Many exciting things are happening across our parks and resorts in celebration of World Princess Week, and today I’m excited to share a first look at some design details within Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana. This upcoming attraction at EPCOT is taking shape before our eyes, as our Walt Disney Imagineering team and crew of artisans have already begun sculpting the rockwork in this immersive exploration trail.

Imagineer working on Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana attraction at EPCOT

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 tasked themselves with 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 bond with water is unique, and we are excited for guests to learn about the importance of water and experience its playful personality just as she did.

Fans of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Moana” will be delighted to see familiar shapes and characters carved into the rocks and waterways throughout Journey of Water. A great example of this is Moana herself, who will be positioned proudly – celebrating water’s arrival to our ocean. 

Principal Dimensional Designer, Jim Towler, sculpting the foam maquette of Moana for Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana attraction

As part of our design process, Imagineers create models, mock-ups, and maquettes to bring our beloved characters and stories into the parks in sometimes unexpected ways. Above is a behind-the-scenes look for World Princess Week of Principal Dimensional Designer, Jim Towler, sculpting the foam maquette of Moana for this attraction.

This gives you a glimpse into the earliest stages of our design process, before paint and additional details have been added. Once the pose of the character is defined, sculptors add detail and texture until the emotional expression of the carving is just right. We then do a paint study and often create full-scale samples to test final materials and carving techniques. This process ensures the production and creative vision for the experience align.

Below is another making-of example, showing a sample from the mountain-like forms that will soon mark the entrance to the attraction. Fans will recognize Moana’s iconic spiral, which we portrayed in one of the first concept renderings for Journey of Water.

Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana attraction at EPCOT

Every detail helps tell our story.  Here, you can see how artisans use paint, scenic treatments, and foliage to bring even more life to our worlds and environments.

It’s certainly an exciting time for our project team as these elements are coming together on site now and in the coming months! Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana will be brought 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 Journey of Water.

Rendering of the World Nature neighborhood coming to EPCOT

There’s a lot more to share in the coming weeks and months, so be sure to keep following along here at Disney Parks Blog, and @waltdisneyimagineering and @thezachriddley on Instagram for the latest on this exciting part of the EPCOT transformation!

Comments

  • Welcome to the blog Mr. Reid!