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Friday, September 15, 2023

Pictures & Evaluate: Moana’s Journey of Water Exemplifies EPCOT Edutainment!

Journey of Water Impressed by Moana is a brand new water exploration path, formally opening in October 2023 as one of many remaining items of the EPCOT overhaul. This Walt Disney World attraction overview shares our ideas on the expertise, evening pictures, comparisons to different points of interest, and commentary about the way it suits into EPCOT.

Let’s begin with some fast background for many who are unfamiliar with Moana’s Journey of Water within the EPCOT’s newly-rebranded World Nature space, which is devoted to understanding and preserving the sweetness, awe, and stability of the pure world. Along with Journey of Water Impressed by Moana, World Nature consists of The Land and The Seas with Nemo & Mates pavilions.

Moana’s Journey of Water is basically on the outer fringe of World Nature, and the bottom of the walkthrough abuts World Celebration. Most of that space of EPCOT continues to be behind a sea of development partitions, and would be the final space accomplished. That features CommuniCore Corridor, which is actually the one factor of substance left to debut after Moana’s Journey of Water. The remainder of World Celebration is principally simply timber and stuff.

Turning to the overview, there are a whole lot of other ways to strategy Moana’s Journey of Water and opinions of it could actually (and can) fluctuate broadly based mostly on the context and concerns. Usually, we overview issues in a vacuum. Which is to say that the encircling circumstances, development, and operational realities are ignored.

That is how Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance has been our #1 attraction Walt Disney World (technically, tied for #1), regardless of it utilizing a digital queue, having frequent downtime, and different frustrations. Similar goes for TRON Lightcycle Run scoring nicely regardless of being a clone that took method too lengthy to construct.

Our basic view is that every one of those variables can inform views and colour opinions, however they’re extra worthy of debate previous to opening. A primary-timer strolling into Magic Kingdom at the moment most likely gained’t care how lengthy TRON took to construct–it’s immaterial to them. However somebody who visited the park final October whereas it was one way or the other nonetheless beneath development and missed it would really feel in another way.

In any case, we do wish to briefly tackle just a few such concerns with Moana’s Journey of Water…

The primary is just about the identical frustration followers have confronted with all current Walt Disney World additions: development length. Journey of Water was introduced over 4 years in the past, and like the remainder of the EPCOT overhaul, it has been suffering from delays. A few of that is attributable to the pandemic, closure of the parks, and the plans for World Celebration altering consequently.

Though Moana’s Journey of Water just isn’t a part of World Celebration, it’s shut sufficient to the central backbone that it completely has been impacted by that. Frankly, whereas 4 years is method too lengthy to construct an interactive water walkthrough, many of the blame for the delay is attributable to the uncertainty with World Celebration and the CommuniCore development.

Regardless of it being practically completed for months, I think Walt Disney World has hesitated in opening Moana’s Journey of Water because of the development partitions across the Large EPCOT Dust Pit™️. That’s as a result of there probably had been/are operational considerations about crowd movement by this space as soon as Moana’s Journey of Water opens.

Particularly, the massive query marks with Moana’s Journey of Water are hourly capability, overcrowding, and the place to place the standby line amidst the ocean of development partitions surrounding the Large EPCOT Dust Pit. The present hall is already cramped because of the development, and there’s not a ton of house for a bodily standby line on this space till extra partitions come down.

Hopefully, these are solely points within the near-term. For those who go to within the subsequent couple months, you would possibly encounter chaos and crowds that colour your opinion of Moana’s Journey of Water, and decide that it’s “not price it.” For those who go to in 2024, you would possibly encounter zero crowds or development partitions, no line in any way, and a totally comfy expertise.

In terms of the situation of Moana’s Journey of Water relative to World Celebration, there are additionally everlasting concerns. One of many complaints we’ve heard on this entrance is that the walk-through destroyed the symmetry of the previous Future World–specifically, the Innoventions or CommuniCore buildings.

For those who have a look at an aerial earlier than/after view of World Celebration, you’ll see that is true. The buildings behind Spaceship Earth had been beforehand good symmetrical, and that has been carried over on the opposite aspect, with the reimagined Connections Cafe and Creations Store. In the meantime, the Moana Maze and CommuniCore Corridor aren’t.

This can be a bizarre one. After I’m navigating a theme park, I’m not fascinated with aerial symmetry. As a lot as I favored parts of the previous central backbone and Innoventions, its symmetry was not one of many issues that made me a lifelong fan. Perhaps I’m only a simpleton, however the symmetry complaints strike me as a ‘Very On-line’ perspective, and one that will solely come to thoughts when taking a look at idea artwork or overhead pictures. Is anybody really pondering this whereas strolling by the park? (Perhaps I’m the minority.)

I’ve many complaints about World Celebration (many!), however symmetry just isn’t one in every of them. Not solely that, however I feel complaining about Journey of Water changing symmetrical buildings requires taking a really idealized and even summary view of EPCOT and ignoring what it was really like in 2019. Innoventions could have been symmetrical, nevertheless it additionally had severe lifeless mall vibes. One thing needed to be accomplished.

I don’t assume the World Celebration plan was the very best, or perhaps a good “one thing” given the 4 years it took to perform. However we’re beginning to veer off into reviewing that as a substitute of Moana’s Journey of Water. I’ll simply say that I’d’ve cherished to see a extra bold plan that had a counterpart to Journey of Water on the opposite aspect of Spaceship Earth. How cool wouldn’t it have been to have a water exploration path right here, and an interactive fiber optics walkthrough reverse it?!

With all of that out of the best way, let’s flip to the substantive overview of Moana’s Journey of Water in isolation. From my perspective, this walkthrough is a superb attraction that exemplifies the spirit and authentic mission of EPCOT Middle. It was additionally very a lot wanted.

As a part of the overhaul, there have been plenty of issues which have tried to strike the correct stability between edutainment and mental property, appeasing each diehard EPCOT Middle followers and informal visitors anticipating to see characters. I’d argue that no different addition accomplishes this in addition to Moana’s Journey of Water.

Journey of Water is an ‘edutainment’ attraction at its coronary heart, strolling visitors by an setting that engages and educates visitors in regards to the water cycle and the way it sustains our world. In basic EPCOT style, it does so by each displaying and telling.

For individuals who wish to have enjoyable or study by doing, merely work together with the water shows all through the expertise. You could not essentially study in regards to the water cycle in an educational method, however Journey of Water nonetheless informs and engages in probably the most elementary sense, and may act as a basis for understanding how water ‘works’ for youths.

You would possibly even say that there’s a little bit of studying by osmosis for youths in exploring Moana’s Journey of Water. It jogs my memory of taking part in with LEGOs or Zelda Tears of the Kingdom, for instance, which may educate structural engineering, utilized physics, and problem-solving expertise. Considerably comparable concept right here.

For individuals who wish to good ole normal e book data, there are graphics all through Moana’s Journey of Water that educate in regards to the water cycle. These share the important hyperlink we’ve got with water throughout our planet, and encourage the vital position all of us share in preserving this life-giving and life-sustaining treasured useful resource.

I’ve seen some Walt Disney World followers criticize these placards and, frankly, I can’t perceive why. Studying signage has been a staple of EPCOT Middle since I used to be a child. All this does is add a layer of depth for many who wish to study extra, or in much less of an summary method. I can’t fathom how it is a damaging–you’re free to disregard these graphics should you don’t wish to learn or are illiterate. Nobody goes to pressure you to study something–that is nonetheless America!

My largest shock was really how a lot Journey of Water leans into edutainment and away from the animated film characters. Though it options mental property, Journey of Water is simply Impressed by Moana. Other than the doorway and the towering Te Fiti determine, the references to Moana are minimal–largely simply Easter eggs carved into the rockwork. You would undergo many of the walkthrough with out ever realizing it’s associated to Moana in any respect. (I do know the pictures right here counsel in any other case, however that’s as a result of I targeted totally on the photogenic parts, that are these that includes Moana stuff.)

This is likely one of the most pure incorporations of mental property into EPCOT in years, with Moana being an natural match for this expertise. If something, Moana is a little bit of a pretense–a conduit for “tricking” youngsters into studying in regards to the water cycle, having enjoyable, and taking part in with water.

For those who informed me that Imagineering conceived of this as an IP-free water exploration path however may solely get funding with Moana connected, I’d consider you. It very a lot appears like an genuine EPCOT expertise, slightly than a thinly-veiled excuse for extra characters and movies within the park.

As a lot as I like Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, this virtually feels just like the reverse of that. Whereas the queue and preshows of Cosmic Rewind do an awesome job of weaving collectively a story framework that makes the attraction a believable match for EPCOT, it’s nonetheless shoehorned. It’s a matter of constructing lemonade out of lemons, and to their credit score, Imagineers did an admirable job with making the Wonders of Xandar really feel “shut sufficient” to an EPCOT pavilion.

Against this, Journey of Water is an EPCOT Middle attraction at its coronary heart. It’s completely at house within the former Future World, and appears like an natural match to the park. If something is shoehorned in, it’s the Moana references. Journey of Water may drop these with out shedding something. (Truly, nothing is shoehorned into this–the characters and the edutainment high quality meld flawlessly with each other.)

Not solely that, however Journey of Water appears like the proper outside counterpart to each the Land and Seas pavilions, showcasing the intersection of the 2. It’s a superb solution to spherical out the World Nature neighborhood, and makes for the proper little self-contained space. Journey of Water is actually a greater counterpart to these pavilions than no matter was beforehand inside this space of Innoventions.

With that stated, Moana’s Journey of Water is fully separate from these pavilions when you’re contained in the water exploration path. It’s secluded from each World Celebration and Nature, and the one time you see the remainder of the park is when Spaceship Earth is completely positioned as a backdrop. I’m certain one thing might be stated in regards to the symbolism of this man-made image of the Water Planet juxtaposed in opposition to the (additionally man-made) model of earth’s water cycle. However actually, I simply assume it seems cool.

To that time, the structure and staging of Moana’s Journey of Water is great. Initially, I used to be skeptical about this being a self-contained space slightly than a water space you may come upon whereas strolling by EPCOT, however they made the correct name. (This isn’t a path which you can minimize by to get from level A to B in EPCOT. It’s a horseshoe-shaped path, with the doorway and exit in the identical basic space.)

A number of of the interactive areas function Spaceship Earth as a backdrop, and are completely picturesque consequently–far more photogenic than they’d be in the event that they had been merely water options and rockwork. After all, there’s the Te Fiti in the direction of the tip, the reveal of which with Spaceship Earth within the background is about as a lot of a ‘wow-moment’ as you may probably get from a walkthrough path.

Talking of the rockwork, it’s very properly accomplished. Imagineering has turn into extremely adept at designing rockwork within the final decade-plus, with Vehicles Land, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Pandora – World of Avatar, and even areas of New Fantasyland coming to thoughts as exemplars. Most of that is attributable to Imagineer Zsolt Hormay, however I’m uncertain whether or not he was concerned with Journey of Water. Regardless, the rockwork in Journey of Water is nice.

One other factor Imagineering does nicely is lighting, and that’s additionally on full show in Moana’s Journey of Water. The sunshine fixtures provide a gentle, heat mild; focal factors have a greater variety of colours and are evenly lit; the water itself is cooler colours; mercifully, they don’t overdue it with deep blues in all places.

The tip result’s an expertise that, like so many issues at Walt Disney World, is significantly better at evening. Moana’s Journey of Water completely nails the unreal lighting, with a serene and moody high quality. Whereas pleasurable through the day–particularly the 47 weeks of the yr when Florida is sizzling–you completely should do Moana’s Journey of Water at evening. It’s beautiful when illuminated, and with Spaceship Earth’s Beacons of Magic dancing within the background.

From my perspective, the largest query mark within the medium and long-term is interactivity. Moana’s Journey of Water has options which are eerily harking back to these present in interactive queues at Walt Disney World from the final decade. For those who’re unfamiliar with these interactive queues–precisely. Most of them had been disabled way back.

My worry is that Journey of Water will undergo the same destiny. Already, my visits to the water exploration path have seen a number of stations quickly unavailable as a consequence of points. In equity, that’s to be anticipated as a result of the attraction continues to be in previews, and Imagineering at all times has to work out pesky issues pre-opening.

Nevertheless it’s additionally not troublesome to examine a state of affairs the place park ops decides sure guest-triggered interactivity is extra bother than it’s price, or is inflicting pinch-points and crowding, and places them on a timer. That actually wouldn’t be the tip of the world, however it will make the interactivity much less spectacular.

With a lot gushing, it’s vital put Journey of Water Impressed by Moana in context to appropriately set expectations. As ought to be clear from the above, it is a walk-through water path and never a giant funds thrill trip or family-friendly darkish trip. Nobody ought to plan a visit round this, and it’s not practically nearly as good as Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and even Remy’s Ratatouille Journey. (It being a greater thematic match for EPCOT isn’t the identical because it being as large of a draw.)

The factor is, that’s effective. Not the whole lot must be a blockbuster addition. Walt Disney World wants a greater variety of issues to do, and particularly tactile experiences the place individuals can actively play and have enjoyable. In that regard, that is an unbelievable addition. Past that, one in every of Future World’s largest points was that it was a concrete jungle with little shade, water, and lushness. This cures all of these complaints, whereas additionally providing youngsters a spot to play and blow off some steam.

Really, it’s not simply youngsters–it’s adults, too. I had a blast exploring and photographing Moana’s Journey of Water. Way more than I anticipated, in truth. My view on this beforehand was that it will (most likely) be a wanted addition to EPCOT, even when it didn’t enchantment to me, personally. Because it seems, it does enchantment to me personally. My group of mates had a blast going by on a Saturday evening at EPCOT, taking within the views, partaking the interactive options, and seeing each other get hit by the water.

Beneath are extra pictures I took of Moana’s Journey of Water through the daytime, sundown, nightfall, and evening. Its look and ambiance change tremendously over the course of the day, and I’d advocate visiting in the direction of the start of the morning and finish of the night if in any respect potential.

Suffice to say, Moana’s Journey of Water is a much-needed addition to the park that embodies the spirit of EPCOT Middle and its edutainment roots. The water exploration path is splendidly executed and far more enjoyable than I anticipated. It’s the most effective additions at Walt Disney World in current reminiscence (whereas including the compulsory “for what it’s” asterisk).

I can’t wait to do Moana’s Journey of Water once more, and I actually hope the group of Imagineers behind that is given extra tasks within the EPCOT portfolio. The at occasions underwhelming overhaul is certainly in want of a section 2 already!

Planning a Walt Disney World journey? Study resorts on our Walt Disney World Motels Opinions web page. For the place to eat, learn our Walt Disney World Restaurant Opinions. To save cash on tickets or decide which sort to purchase, learn our Suggestions for Saving Cash on Walt Disney World Tickets put up. Our What to Pack for Disney Journeys put up takes a singular have a look at intelligent objects to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Trip Guides will assist. For complete recommendation, the very best place to begin is our Walt Disney World Journey Planning Information for the whole lot you could know!


Are you excited for Moana’s Journey of Water? For those who’re additionally an EPCOT Middle purist, are you apprehensive that this can match the park, or do you assume studying in regards to the water cycle makes this exploration path match? For those who’ve skilled Journey of Water, what did you consider the attraction? The place does this rank among the many EPCOT overhaul additions for you? Do you agree or disagree with our overview? Any questions we might help you reply? Listening to your suggestions–even once you disagree with us–is each fascinating to us and useful to different readers, so please share your ideas beneath within the feedback!

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