Did you know that sailing across the ocean in a voyaging canoe isn’t just something Moana did in a Disney animated feature? And that some of Maui’s Wayfinding teachings are inspired by real-life Polynesian navigational techniques?
It’s true. All of it.
Welcome to true stories of Hōkūleʻa – Hawaii’s voyaging canoe – as told by her crew, our real-life Moanas. Traditional wayfinding had gone extinct in Polynesia until Hōkūleʻa was built by the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) in 1973.
With hard work and sacrifice, Hōkūleʻa and her crew became the first to navigate across the seas as their ancestors did over 600 years ago, using only traditional wayfinding techniques. Read more about Wayfinding like Moana here.
Feel the cool sea breeze brush across your face. Smell the salty mist as waves lap against your canoe. Squint into the mesmerizing glare as a thousand blazing suns reflect off the water. See the possibilities beyond the horizon, where the sky meets the sea. Be as one with the ocean, and the myriad of species she nurtures within her. This was the inner calling of a Wayfinder named Moana.
This was also the calling of ancient Polynesian voyagers who populated the islands of the Pacific Ocean. Europeans who ‘discovered’ the Pacific islands (on their large ships) found it miraculous that the Polynesian islanders had sailed thousands of miles across open ocean in canoes. They navigated without GPS. Or a sextant. Or a compass.
As we start out a new year, we reflect on the one we just wrapped up. How were your holidays? If you’re like us, Disney usually plays a large role in your holiday traditions.
Are you tired of the cold and the snow? Have you ever considered a Hawaiian Christmas? It’s never to early to start planning for the next holiday season!
This is our article, originally published on LaughingPlace.com, about the magical combination of Disney, Hawaii, and the Holidays!
What are some of your most treasured holiday traditions? Christmas trees, halls decked with lights and garland, or fresh-baked gingerbread cookies? Of course, everything is better when shared with your favorite Disney characters! You’ll find all of these – and so much more – at Aulani during the holidays.
Aulani – a Disney resort on the sunny southwest coast of Oahu – has been welcoming guests since August 29, 2011. The resort presents a delightful marriage of Disney magic and Hawaiian aloha. And it is all the more enchanting during the holiday season.
From the beginning, Aulani was designed with guidance from Hawaiian elders to accurately represent the native culture. The Hawaiian word ‘Aulani’ translates to ‘messenger of a chief.’ Talented local artists were commissioned to tell the story of the Hawaiian Islands, and record music for this distinctive resort.
Native Hawaiian-speaking cast members serve as cultural ambassadors, and create an authentic island experience. And true to Disney heritage, you’ll find something for everyone in the family.
Holiday Enchantment at Aulani
Ready to escape the snow and cold? Aulani is a great destination to celebrate the holidays! Enjoy tropical weather (an average 73o F) without sacrificing any of your favorite Disney holiday traditions. Dive right into the Christmas spirit with festive decorations in the lobby entrance.
As if I needed another reason to love the Big Island of Hawaii… I just learned about HawaiiCon. The Big Island is not just full of palm trees, beaches, and resorts. It is home to Kilauea, one of the longest-erupting volcanoes in the world. And, it is one of the few places on earth where you can ski and surf in the same day. The Big Island has numerous cultural festivals – and HawaiiCon is one of them!
HawaiiCon caught this fangirl unprepared. We found out about it while vacationing on the Big Island, thanks to a featured article in Ke Ola Magazine. I had packed some Hot Topic tank tops, but not my wardrobe of Her Universe dresses. Nevertheless, I welcomed the opportunity to see a new con.
Even though I’d been to many conventions including San Diego Comic-Con, Star Wars Celebration, and D23 Expo – I found many reasons to love HawaiiCon. Here are my Top 10 reasons why you should put HawaiiCon on your calendar next year.
This article was originally published on LaughingPlace.com
1. Opportunity to really get to know celebrity guests
Celebrity guest stars were scheduled at multiple panels and activities over the HawaiiCon weekend. This allowed a rare opportunity to really get to know them, and interact in a more informal setting.
It was personal ‘story time’ with your favorite celebrities. This was my first encounter with Temuera Morrison (Chief Tui, Moana / Jango Fett, Star Wars Ep. II). And Paul Blake (Greedo, Star Wars Ep. IV), who answered the question ‘Who Shot First?’ We enjoyed ‘solo’ time with Daniel Logan (young Boba Fett, Star Wars Ep. II). Q&A was amazing during these small panel sessions.
How many of you love Pirates of the Caribbean? Was your first memory of Pirates from Disneyland? Or perhaps Disney World? For younger generations, their first Disney pirate may have been Captain Jack Sparrow from the blockbuster films. Well, if ye come seekin’ adventure, keep a weather eye open. There be pirates in these waters as we explore their history through Disney Archives.
This article was originally published on Laughingplace.com after D23 Expo.
A Tribute to Disney Pirates at D23 Expo
Pirates have been such an integral part of Disney history, even before the landmark attraction at Disneyland (now commemorating its 50th year). D23 Expo celebrated Disney pirates in a special exhibit, showcasing treasures from the Disney Archives. These are highlights from the D23 Expo and “A Pirates Life for Me: Disney’s Rascals, Scoundrels, and Really Bad Eggs.”
The queues snaked on and on for this exhibit. The mood was set with music of Disney’s pirates – from X Atencio’s classic ‘Yo Ho! Yo Ho!’ to the Hans Zimmer film soundtracks, to songs from Muppet Treasure Island and Hook’s solo “Revenge! Revenge!” from Once Upon a Time.
Moana is the first Polynesian Princess to join the Disney ohana. Director and Producer team Ron Clements and John Musker (Little Mermaid, Aladdin, The Princess and the Frog) were joined by screenwriter Jared Bush (Zootopia), co-head of Animation Amy Smeed (Tangled, Frozen, Big Hero 6), and producer Osnat Shurer (Pixar shorts) on the “Moana: Art of Story” panel July 21, 2016 at San Diego Comic Con.
In Part One of this article, we learned about the story of Moana, as she set off on an epic journey to save her people from the darkness caused by Maui. We also learned about the research that directors Ron and John did to create an authentic Polynesian story.
In this article, we will explore the main characters in depth, as well as the authentic Polynesian details that truly distinguish this film.
(This article was originally published on LaughingPlace.com on July 28, 2016).
Maui is the demi-god of the wind and the sea, self-dubbed the “greatest demi-god in all the Pacific Islands” and the “hero of man.”
Maui is a shape shifter, and wields his magical fishhook: ‘he slowed down the sun, pulled islands out of the sea, battled monsters.’ He has a bit of an ego too, carving his autograph on canoe paddles with a heart and a hook.
All this does not impress Moana, as she is on a quest to get Maui to restore the heart of ‘Te Fiki.’ Maui is surprised to find that he is inadvertently the ‘bad guy.’ By stealing the heart of ‘Te Fiki,’ he had caused a darkness to spread across the seas.
Maui goes shirtless through the film, which made modeling accurate muscle movements an important aspect of his character development. He sports tribal tattoos all over his body that “tell of his exploits.” He literally can “give you his backstory” says producer Shurer.
Moana is the first Polynesian Princess to join the Disney ohana. Director and Producer team Ron Clements and John Musker (Little Mermaid, Aladdin, The Princess and the Frog) were joined by screenwriter Jared Bush (Zootopia), co-head of Animation Amy Smeed (Tangled, Frozen, Big Hero 6), and producer Osnat Shurer (Pixar shorts) on the “Moana: Art of Story” panel July 21, 2016 at San Diego Comic-Con.
We were lucky to get a closer glimpse into the next Disney Animated Feature, Moana.
(This article was originally published on LaughingPlace.com on July 27, 2016 as part of our Comic-Con coverage)
The Story of Moana
“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 why.”
This is a tale of how Polynesians came to navigate across the seas again, and how one person made a difference.
Princess Moana Waialiki (Auli’i Cravalho) is the 16-year old daughter of Chief Tui (Temuera Morrison, Jango Fett, Star Wars). She is strong, independent-minded, “spitting vinegar” and a bit of a “Bada$$” as described by our panel.
With generations of sea-faring ancestry, Moana cannot resist the call of the ocean, despite her father’s decree that “no one goes beyond the reef.”