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Five Things to Know About Journey of Water – Inspired by Moana

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Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana, is a self-guided trail filled with interactive water features, lush greenery, and opportunities to learn about the cycle our planet’s water runs from sky to oceans and back again. If you’d like to learn more, read on. Or, to splash ahead to the nuts and bolts, here’s your shortcut.

1. Your own journey with water begins here.

Journey of Water has no real queue. There is only one way in, clearly marked with a huge sign. Once inside, Journey of Water shows the different stages of the Earth’s water cycle, from clouds and rain to rivers and oceans. Each stage of the water cycle is explained through large displays that you can play with.

For example, the “rain” part of the cycle includes a “water harp” – small strings of running water that play different musical notes when you run your hands through them. Other features include waterspouts, “jumping” water fountains, river run-offs, and misters to keep you cool. A favorite of most visitors is the water “curtain” that parts to let you through without getting wet at all. Several areas also allow folks to play alone or encourage groups to play together, collaborating to create bigger, higher, more dramatic responses from the water features.

An interactive “Water Harp” invites you to play its “strings”

At about midway through the attraction, there’s a restroom. It’s a good spot to change kids into bathing suits for the wettest parts that follow, like the splash pad. It’s worth noting that our team has observed this path affords some of the best spots for photos anywhere in EPCOT. At various points in the attraction, you’ll have gorgeous backgrounds of Spaceship Earth, the EPCOT monorail, or lush, green landscaping. A walkthrough will take between 10 and 20 minutes, depending on how much you play with interactive features, take photos, or just sit on a bench to admire the surroundings.

2. This is an authentic EPCOT experience, fun and educational.

We were delighted to see how Journey of Water keeps with the original spirit of EPCOT, which has always focused on education and interactivity. It would be easy to make your way through Journey of Water and experience the interactive features without ever connecting them to the water cycle beyond the labels. But each area includes explanatory placards, helping guests to understand the science of how the cycle works.

A plaque discusses Rain as part of the water cycle

3. Pro tips to enrich your Journey. (You’re welcome.)

Don’t just play with the interactive features, take time to look around and appreciate the Imagineered detail of the attraction. You will feel Moana’s influence and inspiration everywhere as you walk along the Journey of Water.

The iconic Moana spiral dominates one view, carved into the rock overlooking the path. Moana herself is carved – fittingly – into the rock where the water arrives at the ocean. The woodwork, too, is filled with nods to the movie, so keep a sharp lookout. The large sails providing shade in areas along the path are nods to Moana’s sails, and the railings and structures all share Polynesian “tiki” styling.

At Journey of Water. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Listen to the soundtrack that’s playing; some of the melodies will sound familiar. Most dramatically, there is the large figure of Te Fiti, perhaps the most iconic symbol in Journey of Water. When you see it in person, it’s a truly remarkable testament to the work and care the Imagineers have put into this attraction.

(photo by @bioreconstruct)

If you have time, visit during the day and again at night. The lighting package is really special and gives the attraction a different vibe.

4. Journey of Water had a journey of its own.

Inspired by the 2016 animated feature Moana, Journey of Water was originally scheduled to open in 2021. But when the COVID-19 pandemic created construction delays, the completion, testing, and ultimately the opening of the attraction were delayed until October 16, 2023. This somewhat fortuitously allowed Disney to bill it as both part of EPCOT’s 40th anniversary celebration, as well as the Disney 100 Years of Wonder anniversary celebration.

Monorail view of the signature rock work in Journey of Water during construction. December 3rd, 2022. Photo by @bioreconstruct.

To create and develop the attraction, Disney Imagineers worked with both artists and cultural consultants from the Disney Animation studios. Moana’s concern about protecting her island and the environment were guiding principles as Journey of Water was developed. And because the ocean itself acted as one of the main characters in the movie, guiding and helping Moana on her trip to restore the heart of Te Fiti, the goal of the Imagineers was to ensure that water in the attraction behaved as a character. By creating so many areas where water responds to interactions from the guests as they walk through, we think they’ve succeeded admirably.

5. The Nuts and Bolts.

Journey of Water is in the World Nature section of EPCOT. It sits on the walk from the center of Future World to The Seas with Nemo and Friends Pavilion. The entire attraction is outdoors, and some aspects may close during inclement weather.

There’s no height requirement, so the whole family can enjoy the attraction. (But diaper-aged kids will need swim diapers if you take them on the wet path and let them splash around.) And since there is only the one way in – and one way out – it’s not difficult to keep track of kids.

Jets of water spurt into the air from a flat surface surrounded by rockwork.
Journey of Water’s splash pad

Guests may remain in a wheelchair or ECV, but access is available only on the dry path. Service animals are permitted with caution in some areas and must also remain on the dry path. Audio Description is available.

You can expect a short wait to enter, especially during the hotter times of the day (and year), as Journey of Water’s capacity is around 150 people at a time. If it looks like your wait will be a long one, try coming back in a bit; guests tend to move on into the World Showcase in the afternoon, leaving World Nature less crowded.

Journey of Water is open for Early Theme Park Entry and Extended Evening Theme Park Hours. There’s no Lightning Lane access, but you won’t need it. You can tour it at any time on most days without a too-long wait.

The Bottom Line.

Journey of Water is more than just a nice way to cool off while walking to your next attraction in World Nature. It features some of the best nuanced Imagineering in any park. It embodies the original spirit of EPCOT, inviting all ages to play and learn at the same time. And yes, it’s a way to slow down your touring, enjoy a change of pace, and feel surrounded by some of the wonders of nature our planet is home to. We think it’s definitely worth the time on your next visit.

Have you been through Journey of Water? What did you think? Let us know in the comments.

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Bob Jacobs

Bob Jacobs lives in Wisconsin where he retired as Editorial Director for a well-known catalog company. He and his wife Cristie have four children, seven grandchildren and a cocker spaniel named Penny the Dog. They’ve visited Walt Disney World regularly since 1992.

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