Disneyland Paris will welcome a brand new Disney character to its catalogue of famous famous next weekend, its first in three years. Moana, titular star of the new Walt Disney Animation Studios film, will begin meet and greet appearances at Walt Disney Studios Park from Sunday, 20th November 2016.
It’s believed the South Pacific heroine, known as Vaiana in France, will be meeting guests in the Animation Station interactive post-show area of Art of Disney Animation.
This large covered space in Toon Studio will be perfect for the character, likely dressed for warmer climes, especially as its own exhibits begin to show their age.
With the Drawn to Animation “Mushu” show element of the attraction featuring a preview of Moana itself, as is usually customary for new releases, this will also provide an ideal lead-in as guests can then exit and meet the latest Disney character for real.
This situation is actually reminiscent of former sister attraction The Magic of Disney Animation in Florida, where the latest Disney characters were always stationed in the post-show area.
It’s remarkable Disneyland Paris hasn’t used the attraction for this in the past, though the resort’s record of integrating new Disney animation characters has been hit and miss.
Though Anna and Elsa arrived from Frozen before the film was even released in 2013, they were only available to meet for the duration of that year’s Christmas season before being withdrawn due to their overwhelming popularity: three hour queues were the norm.
Even today, the royal sisters can only be seen out in the park safely within a horse-drawn carriage during Frozen: A Royal Welcome or in Frozen Sing-along, to manage their popularly. The stage show is also the only place to see Olaf, despite the resort having the hugely popular snowman available 365 days a year.
Since the Frozen stars are blocked from causing meet ‘n’ greet chaos, then, the most recent Disney character available to meet before Moana has been Merida, star of Pixar’s 2012 feature Brave.
Characters from Big Hero 6, Inside Out and Zootropolis (Zootopia) were all passed over, despite appearing at other Disney resorts.
Does Moana’s timely appearance signal a turn around for Disneyland Paris, or has the resort simply more confidence in the appeal of a more classic Walt Disney Animation Studios heroine?
The announcement of Moana’s arrival was made before incoming Disneyland Paris Présidente Catherine Powell took her post, but going forward we have to hope Powell’s company record in distribution — simply getting the latest Disney properties out there in the eyes and minds of people — sees the resort continue to capitalise on its parent’s successful franchises.
Walt Disney World issued a casting call for its own Moana back in August, but otherwise no announcements seem to have yet been made about Moana appearing at the five other Disney resorts. Could Disneyland Paris get a rare “first”?
Moana will be released in France, Belgium and the Netherlands on 30th November, followed by the UK and Spain on 2nd December.
Just last week, the studio released an excellent “The Way To Moana” behind-the-scenes featurette, to go along with a couple of song previews.
From the partnership of Ron Clements and John Musker (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, The Princess and the Frog), initial reviews are suggesting the movie will, at the very least, successfully continue the recent welcome renaissance of Walt Disney Animation Studios.
Could Moana make an appearance in next year’s new Disney Stars on Parade, or Disney Illuminations? The character will certainly be on shore at Disneyland Paris for the duration of Disney’s Enchanted Christmas, but beyond this nothing has been confirmed — the official website simply states of the character meet: “end date to be confirmed”.
Disneyland® Paris will surf the Vaiana wave this Christmas!
The good news just keeps on coming!
Following the unveiling of superb images from Disney’s new Christmas film Vaiana last week, Disneyland® Paris has now revealed that the character of Vaiana will arrive at Disneyland Paris in November as part of the Disney’s Enchanted Christmas season!
Vaiana is an adventurous, tenacious and compassionate 16-year-old. She sets out across the ocean on a daring mission to save her people and discovers the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity. Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, The Princess and the Frog), Vaiana from Walt Disney Animation Studios sails into French cinemas on 30 November 2016.
About the film
Vaiana, the new feature film from Walt Disney Animation Studios, tells the exciting story of an adventurous teenager who sails out on a daring mission to fulfil the ancient quest of her ancestors and save her people. During her journey across the vast ocean, Vaiana (voice of Auli’i Cravalho) meets demi-god Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson). Together, they will complete a voyage packed with action and encounters and facing impossible odds… By fulfilling the ancient quest of her ancestors, Vaiana will discover the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity.
Vaiana is directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, who made their writing and directing debuts in 1986 with the feature film The Great Mouse Detective. They then wrote and directed Disney classics such as the underwater adventure The Little Mermaid in 1989, the hilarious Aladdin in 1992, the epics Hercules in 1997 and Treasure Planet in 2002, and The Princess and the Frog in 2009.