10 Things You May Not Know About Moana

1) “Moana” means “ocean” in many Polynesian languages, including Hawaiian and Maori.

2) Moana was voiced by Hawaiian actress and singer Auli’i Cravalho. Curiously, Auli’i was initially apprehensive about auditioning for the role due to the sheer number of auditions already submitted on YouTube. Thankfully, an Oahu talent agent discovered her at a charity competition and encouraged her to audition anyway. And just in time! She was the last person to audition for the role out of hundreds of actresses.

Auli’I Cravalho

3) Moana bears a striking resemblance to Auli’I Cravalho, but that was a case of pure happenstance. By the time Cravalho auditioned, the design of the character had long been completed, so the physical similarities between the two were merely a coincidence. However, during the animation process, the animators did end up incorporating several of Cravalho’s mannerisms into the final character.

4) Cravalho went on to become one of the few people to portray multiple Disney Princesses when she performed as Ariel in ABC’s “The Little Mermaid Live!,” a live-action concert rendition of The Little Mermaid, on November 5, 2019.

5) In the film’s novelization, Moana’s age is given as 16. This makes her the only Disney princess to be voiced by an actress younger than herself. Moana was released on Cravalho’s 16th birthday.

6) Moana is the second original Disney Princess (in other words, she is not based on a historical or literary figure). The first? That would be Merida from Brave!


7) Moana appeared in Ralph Breaks The Internet along with the other Disney Princesses, though technically, she wasn’t a Disney Princess at the time! She was officially inducted into the lineup several months after the film was released.

8) As has been the case with many recent characters in Disney and Pixar films, new software was developed to bring Moana to life, specifically to give her hair a realistic look.

9) Moana has much in common with another Disney Princess, Pocahontas. Both are the daughters of a chief (though, unlike Pocahontas, Moana wasn’t considered a princess by her peers). The red in Moana’s clothing represents her royal heritage as the daughter of a chief.

10) Moana’s necklace symbolizes her connection to both the land and the sea, and more than 40 designs were considered before the animators settled on the final design. The stars on her necklace represent Moana’s navigation skills.

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