The end of November is going to be pretty cool. Not only because my hubby turns 40 but also because the day after his birthday, Moana hits theaters (11/23) and I am super excited to see that movie. While in LA for Pete’s Dragon Event, we were able to sit down with some of the Moana team; Amy Smeed (Head of Animation), Dave Derrick (Story Artist), Dave Pimentel (Head of Story), Jessica Julius (Development Sr. Creative Executive), and Eric Goldberg (“Mini Maui” Disney Animation Supervisor). I loved learing more about Moana.

After chatting with them, here are 7 Things I Learned about Disney’s Moana

  • Moana means ocean.
  • The people of the Pacific Islands believe that the ocean is alive and that it unites the islands, not divide them.


  • The music of Moana is written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, world music guitarist Opetaia Foa’i, and Mark Mancina. Because music is a big part of their culture, Disney wanted to make sure that Moana had music that blended contemporary with deep rooted music from the pacific.
  • A “story trust” was formed to make sure that Moana remained true and authentic to the people it portrays and represents.


  • The team visited several pacific islands to truly understand the history, culture, people and the food of the Pacific Islands.
  • The character “Heihei” (the rooster) was almost cut from the film but they found a way to save him by using him in the storyline. Plus, he was originally going to be stern but is now more laid back


  • The short film, Inner Workings, appears in front of Moana


* Inner Workings is the internal struggle of man’s (Paul) brain and his heart. This is no ordinary journey as we see the struggle take place from the inside. It is really cool to watch the animation of his organs and how they work together (or against each other) to make him function. The main characters are the brain and the heart and their struggle find balance touches home with everyone who is trying to balance responsibility and relaxation.

While we were there, Disney Animator Eric Goldberg taught us how to draw Mini Maui…what do you think?



Don’t forget that Moana sails into theaters November 23rd!

Moana Poster

“Moana,” is a sweeping, CG-animated feature film about an adventurous teenager who sails out on a daring mission to save her people. During her journey, Moana (voice of Auli’i Cravalho) meets the once-mighty demigod Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson), who guides her in her quest to become a master wayfinder. Together, they sail across the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds, and along the way, Moana fulfills the ancient quest of her ancestors and discovers the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity.