As a child, I wanted to be Ariel from The Little Mermaid.
I used to watch The Little Mermaid every afternoon, and I would beg my Mom to watch it with me. She would bring down her sewing or some other busy work and try to get a few things done while we watched this movie for the umpteenth time. To this day, one of my most listened-to stations on Pandora is Disney music. The magic has just never worn off for me no matter how many times I listen to the songs.
Once we have kids, I cannot wait to share all my favorite Disney princess movies with my daughters. And that is why I am so beyond excited for the newest Disney movie coming out this year–Moana.
Moana is coming to theaters in late November, and the story-line centers around a young Polynesian girl in the South Pacific who yearns for adventure. Her name, Moana, means “ocean” in Maori and Hawaiian, and the ocean itself is a character in the story along with the demi-god Maui (voiced by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who is half Samoan) as well as assorted other characters.
Any future children I have will be half Polynesian, and I am so thrilled that my future daughters will have a Disney princess with the same culture as their Daddy.
Growing up white in the Midwest I really did not see any racism first hand until I began dating my Tongan hubby. I wrote a little about our experience with being an interracial couple in this post. I want our kids to grow up with a strong cultural identity steeped in both their Daddy’s culture as well as my own. I am just excited that there will be a strong, Polynesian princess who will be there to inspire them just as a mermaid with bright red hair and a penchant for independence sparked awe in me.
7 Reasons I am Can’t Wait to Seeing Moana
- Moana is not a story about Hawaii (even though the lead actress is from there) it is a story based in the South Pacific around the Islands of Samoa, Fiji, and TONGA! This is so neat to me, that there will be a Disney movie set in the islands that my hubby was born. I had never really heard of Tonga before I met him, and I hope this movie will shed a bit of light on that part of the world.
- Moana is Disney’s first Polynesian Princess. Disney has become more diverse in recent years. As they try to provide stronger role models for young girls their main characters have started gaining more independence and chutzpah. I can’t wait to see the character they have created for this film.
- Moana has the same director duo as The Little Mermaid. Ron Clements and John Musker have teamed up for only three other Disney movies (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, The Princess and the Frog) and I am so happy that they will be in charge of telling this story.
- They are reportedly emphasizing the Polynesian culture. I have learned so much about the Polynesian culture since meeting my hubby. This culture is so beautiful and rich in history, music, hard work, and family values. I am so excited for a movie that will showcase these values on the big screen.
- Moana is a musical which includes songs in Samoan. For the film, they are having the Samoan band Te Vaka write some original music. I can just picture little kids walking around singing some Samoan Disney songs. How cool is that?!
- The sidekick is, of course, a baby pig. It just would not be a true Polynesian movie if it did not highlight their animal (meat *cough*) of choice: the much admired hog. Pua (Moana’s pig) promises to be a fun, and humorous character.
- The merchandise will be so fun! I can already picture my future daughter’s baby room with a mix of Disney princesses including many fun toys involving Moana. I would love to do a themed room involving the ocean, Moana, and other Maui items. By the way, no I am not pregnant but yes I have baby fever, and even bought a few pregnancy tests…
I have big expectations for Moana. I really hope that they celebrate the Polynesian culture rather than just use it as a backdrop for the story. Frozen was set in the indigenous Scandinavian culture, but besides using some of the clothing styles of that time there was nothing else in the story (as far as characters or culture) to show that. Brave, on the other hand, did a better job celebrating a culture as the movie is celebrates all things Scotland from the music to the mythology.
I don’t usually plan this far ahead, but you can bet on November 23rd I am going to be sitting in a theater, with popcorn in hand, ready for some magic.