The Little Mermaid is my all time favorite classic princess movie, so getting the chance to sit down and chat with its directors Ron Clements & John Musker who also directed Moana was really cool!!!! Given their resume (and their Golden Globe Nomination for Moana), I think they are pretty brilliant. Here are 6 Moana Fun Facts from Directors Ron Clements & John Musker

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  • Moana was five years in the making.
  • They spent like three weeks in Samoa, Fiji, Tahiti. They met with cultural ambassadors, linguists, anthropologists, sailors and chiefs as part of doing research for the film. While doing their research, they were told “For years, we’ve been swallowed by your culture. One time can you be swallowed by our culture?” and that became their mantra as they did the movie over the course of the years.
  • They had an oceanic story trust that they would bounce story ideas off like costume ideas and the way the characters looked throughout this process.
  • Maui was initially bald. He had no hair and looked more like Dwayne Johnson but when the “people saw it from Tahiti particularly they said no, no, no, long hair is part of his power. So, he’s got to have long hair.” so they gave Maui the great hair you see his character with in the film.

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  • “Mighty Maui”, was sort of the original title. But after doing research they “heard about navigation and all this and it was really Ron’s idea, what if we have a character called Moana, which means ocean and we built it around her, someone who wants to be a navigator like her ancestors…”

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Fun Fact: There are various Easter Eggs found in the film:

  • Sven
  • Olaf is in there a couple of times
  • Flounder from Little Mermaid
  • Flash, the sloth from Zootopia
  • Baymax
  • McGilla Gorilla
  • Wreck-it Ralph

*Wreck-it Ralph is in the credit because “…there’s been a little tradition in the last few years that, that there’s something acknowledging the next film…our production designer at the last minute said, let’s put Ralph in the credits because he’s going to come up.  So, we saw and we liked it and said yeah, let’s leave it in there.”

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Want know what the other Moana cast members had to say? Check out my interview with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and read about that time I made The Rock sweat & blush. We also chatted with Lin-Manuel Miranda, Auli’i Cravalho and Nicole Scherzinger.

Here are 6 Reasons Your Family Should Watch Moana

Moana is officially in theaters

Moana Poster

Three thousand years ago, the greatest sailors in the world voyaged across the vast Pacific, discovering the many islands of Oceania. But then, for a millennium, their voyages stopped – and no one knows exactly why. From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes “Moana,” 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 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.

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*I was invited by Disney to attend a press junket covering Moana. All opinions are my own.