Disney Confirms New ‘Moana’ Experience Is Coming to Animal Kingdom Very Soon

moana character
Credit: Disney

Disney’s Animal Kingdom could be on the verge of some massive changes; at least, that’s what some Disney fans have been speculating since news of potential replacements for DinoLand U.S.A. broke during last year’s D23 Expo.

During the event, Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products Josh D’Amaro shared “blue sky” concepts for the future of DinoLand U.S.A., which, if they come to fruition, could include a total retheme of the area to either or both, Zootopia (2016) / Moana (2016).

Both films have been getting much more attention at Disney Parks recently, with an entirely new land themed to Zootopia in the works at Shanghai Disneyland, and Moana receiving her very own attraction much closer to home in EPCOT, with Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana under construction now. As for experiences based on these films in Animal Kingdom, the Park added Zootopia characters to the Animation Experience at Conservation Station last year. Regarding Moana, the only update Disney had previously given was the blue sky concept art shown at D23 (pictured below).

Moana concept art from D23 at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Credit: Disney

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This morning, however, Disney confirmed that Moana will make her debut at Disney’s Animal Kingdom very soon on April 22, 2023. The first Moana experience in this Disney Park will take the form of a character meet and greet on Discovery Island to help kick off the 25th anniversary of Animal Kingdom.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened on Earth Day in 1998, and the Park has undergone several major updates in the 25 years since, including additions to DinoLand U.S.A., the opening of new attractions over the years like Expedition Everest and of course, the expansion of the Park into Pandora – The World of Avatar.

Moana Disney's Animal Kingdom

Credit: Disney

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As of this writing, the only new Moana experience (and the only new addition for the Park’s upcoming anniversary) is the new character meet and greet. Still, 2023 is a big year for the Walt Disney Company as a whole, and we are expecting to learn more about how this Disney Park specifically will celebrate 25 years soon.

Disney has also not shared whether or not Moana will greet Guests in a new location or if she will replace a current character meet and greet on Discovery Island. There are a couple of character meet and greet areas near the Tree of Life that are currently not being used as those characters (like Pocahontas) are featured in the Park’s flotillas, so it is possible that Moana will greet Guests in one of these spaces.

tree of life

Credit: Matthew Cooper –

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We at Disney Tips will continue to monitor updates to Disney’s Animal Kingdom as new details are revealed ahead of the Park’s 25th anniversary. If you have a trip to the Park planned after April 22, be sure to check the My Disney Experience app for the latest greeting times to see Moana on Discovery Island!

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."