While it’s not uncommon for Disney to start casting for performers to fill in the roles of specific characters, particularly those featured in upcoming projects, there are a couple of tip-offs that suggest Disney Parks and Resorts may have something larger for Moana in mind than the typical meet and greet.
First, entertainment roles for characters are typically filled by ‘Disney Parks Talent Casting;’ meanwhile, for the role of Moana, the role is being filled by Disney Creative Entertainment (DCE). DCE is actually a division of Walt Disney Imagineering tasked specifically with creating larger scale entertainment-type productions at Disney’s theme parks worldwide as well as the Disney Cruise Line. Staged shows, parades and fireworks presentations all fall under DCE, whereas basic meet and greets do not.
Second, the wording in the casting calls is unusual as well. While the only role being cast for at this time is that of Moana (role description below), the exact wording of the notice reads: ‘Disney Creative Entertainment is seeking female performers to help bring to life Moana,’ suggesting that the aim is to bring the movie itself to life, not just one of its characters — and quite frankly, the only other ‘human’ likely to be cast is Maui as we can’t imagine Moana’s animal friends Pua and Hei Hei wouldn’t come along for the ride as well.
And third, the casting call specifically mentions that hopefuls should expect a ‘simple movement exercise and potential animation exercise,’ something relatively atypical for a meet and greet and more akin to an actual performance.
So while we are confident Moana’s (and Moana‘s) presence at Walt Disney World will be a significant one (Moana-rail, anyone?), the only questions is how big and where? Scott Sanders of The DCL Blog makes a valiant guess in perhaps a presence at Disney’s Spirit of Aloha dinner show at the Polynesian Resort, which seems a natural fit.
Beyond that, here’s what we do know: the role description for Moana herself as well as the ability to start work in 2-3 months.
Moana: Female, 5’3″ – 5’5″, with an athletic build. Moana is compassionate, spirited, tenacious, passionate, clever, and determined in her journey to become a master wayfinder.