Life Lessons In Disney’s ‘Moana’

Happy New Year  from the DiBlasi Family-We all are looking forward to a fantastic 2018

Our family watched the Disney movie Moana, over the Christmas holidays, and I was amazed at the life lessons that are taught in the film.  Many time we get the happy ending or that the prince finds the princess, but Moana has many life lessons to teach us.

Moana, Disney’s latest addition to the Princess family, takes place in the Pacifica Islands. “Moana is a movie about an adventurous teenager who sails out on a daring mission to save her people. The inspiring story of a girl from the Pacific Islands who partnered with the demigod Maui to restore the heart of a goddess has captured the heart of many.

Like every Disney movie, Moana comes with great moral lessons. There are so many life lessons we can learn from. The lessons from this movie inspired me and they are wonderful lessons I want to teach my Grandchildren.  Disney has told a story that will excite young children and their parents for generations to come.  Disney movies have a way of engaging our hearts and souls through their music, characters, and story lines. They truly are magical.

During her journey, Moana meets the once-mighty demigod Maui, who guides her in her quest to become a master way-finder. Together they sail across the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds. Along the way, Moana fulfills the ancient quest of her ancestors and discovers the one thing she always sought: her own identity.”

It Is All About Family

My kids and grandkids are fortunate in that they have been able to spend time with their grandparents and their great-grandparents. This is an incredible lesson of family and the bonds of generations.  Family time need to be a priority for all of us.  Moana’s grandmother knows  what is  inside Moana and she tells her to follow her heart. She does it in a gentle way that helps Moana discover who she is.

Having a close relative

Many of us can relate to having a special relative or role model in their life that they go to and guide them in life. Moana’s bond with her grandmother reminded me a lot of my bond with my own Uncle.    Moana’s grandmother guides her in following her heart and taking chances. Moana’s grandmother provides advice that plays an important role in the story.

Never be afraid of being different.

Grandma Tala shares with Moana that she was never afraid of what other people on the island thought of her and the ways in which she lived her life differently than the others. She had decided early in her life that she would do the things that made her happy and tried to teach others to do the same.

Some Boundaries Are Meant To Be Broken:

The island that Moana lives on forbids anyone from venturing past the reef because of its’ great danger. However, when a new plague-like disease affects the crops and resources of her home, Moana takes it into her own hands to find the solution to her village’s issue. Without giving too much away, there seemed to be a heavy dose of symbolism as Moana ventured past the reef and began her adventure. This scene could inspire us to push through whatever’s holding us back, whether it may be our own fear of moving forward, what other people might think, or writer’s block, which is something I have all too often.


Be Brave

Moana’s father and mother did not want her to travel past the reef. All the villagers feared the unknown.  Moana knew that she must go beyond the island to help restore the heart of Te Fiti and save her people. Moana’s journey is new and unexpected.  She travels to places that are unknown.  Many of the biggest decisions you will make take the biggest risks.

Don’t be afraid to take risks that you might think are not possible  Try things that you are afraid of and act brave even when you may be scared to death. Be an example for your kids.


Listen to your heart and follow it

There is a moment in the film where all parents’ can identify.  Moana struggles with the expectations of her father and who she is. She feels a responsibility to her family as well as to herself and she questions who she is.  That moment is when the  mother has to let Moana follow her dream.

For many mom and dads, it will be the most emotional moment to come but also defines your children and who they are. You may be sending them off to college or on a career path.  It will be heartache and may be the proudest moment.

Moana always felt the ocean calling her name but it wasn’t until she finally listened to it that she was able to learn why it had been calling her and where it was taking her.

Face your fears

As children grow they face the unknown mnay time with fear, and it stays with us for a very long time.  At the beginning of the movie, we see that the ancestors of Moana’s village were actually voyagers.

The voyagers sailed from island to island and were always searching for new places to inhabit. Because  of the fear of the unknown and of what lay beyond the reef, they stopped navigating. We watch in the movie as the villagers hid their sailboats and settled down on the island.  Moana parents always discouraged from traveling beyond the reef.  Fear doesn’t let us move forward.

As long as fear holds you, nothing can happen. Your strengths, your dreams and your passion will lie like a pile of rocks.


We need to step back from all the noise and influences to really know the desires of our heart and to make sound decisions. The very reason why Gramma Tala sent Moana alone inside the cave, to make her own sense of their tribe’s past and tradition.

If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try Again

No part of our life’s journey is easy.  Moana knew she needed to go beyond the reef.  When she  set sail, she hit large waves and was thrown back on shore.

Moana’s grandmother believed in her. Many times in our lives there are setbacks, BUT it does not mean it wasn’t meant to be.  It is possible it was not the right time.  Maybe you were not quite ready.

The ocean chose Moana. But, she needed to learn her family’s history as voyagers before she set out on the journey to attack the rocky open seas once again.

Throughout the movie, Maui felt defeated, but he kept getting back up and in the end he  became the strongest and best demigod he has ever been.

Fear holds you back:

They were a great voyaging tribe, but now they no longer traveled on the sea. They stayed safe on their island.  If any tribe members thought of leaving, they would tell them they would perish by pushing off into the waters. They held those who had great vision back.  When we let fear take hold in our lives, it does the same thing the villagers did. Know that fear only holds you back because you listen to it. With a proper examination of the situation, you can tell whether or not you need to fear.

Lifelong Learning-Being a student for life

Learning is the key stepping stone in life. It helps us to move forward and put to use our talents and skills and passions.  Information and knowledge on everything is increasing every day. You must also increase to keep up.

Moana had the open mind of a student and a learner. She did not know how to sail so she said “Teach me to sail”. She kept persevering with Maui to teach her how to sail.   Her desire and passion was to become an expert way-finder just like Maui.

Explore the vast range of sources available to achieve personal goals.  I discovered many years ago  how to learn on my own.  The self-paced learning opportunities are there for the asking. These opportunities will provide a springboard for continued learning and exploration.

Your ability to expand your mind and strive for lifelong learning is critical to your success. By dedicating yourself to learning, you can get ahead in every aspect of your life. All it takes is a commitment.

The best to you and yours for 2018

All images provided courtesy of and used with permission

  • About the author:
  • Howie DiBlasi is a retired educator, business owner, author and an Ed Tech consultant.  He is a life long Disney fan that began in 1959.  He has been blogging about Disney, travel and technology for the past 8 years.
  • His e-Mail is:
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