Sparks of Magic

Moana

Magic Makers: A Coffee Chat with Auli'i Cravalho #MoanaBluRay

Disney, Entertainment, ThoughtsCamilleComment
 

I've been toying with the idea of interviews for the blog, focusing on people that are movers and shakers - ultimately, they are Magic Makers in my book, inspiring to many. I see it fitting to begin my first article with a well-known name and face, a young lady is who is as beautiful inside as she is on the outside: Auli'i Cravalho

I was invited to participate in the Moana PR Tour for the Blu-Ray & DVD release, and would be interviewing Auli'i Cravalho, the voice actress for the character "Moana." I had never attended a press junket before, and I went in with way too many assumptions. Long story short, I was prepared to maybe ask one question because I honestly assumed there would be a lot of journalists asking much more intriguing questions, and I probably wouldn't get a word in otherwise.

I arrived at the gorgeous Fairmont San Francisco a couple of hours early so I could scope out where I'd be going before Jeff & MeiLani left me (I tend to get lost). They ended up coming with me upstairs since it was only going to be 30 minutes of interview time so they were right outside the room.

I met two other freelancers, and we found out that this truly was a big press day & event, but it was not a big press room or a bunch of crazy journalists, like you'd see on Scandal in the White House Press Room. We were going to have some quality time with Auli'i, just the four of us. 

H E L L O. 

My excitement levels jumped a few notches because I really had no idea it would be such a close encounter. My inner child was freaking out, and then I literally thought "shit, I should have brought more questions." However, what happened next was an insightful, candid, and sweet conversation that I will never forget...

Thoughts from Auli'i

AuliiCravalho-Moana-Sparks of Magic

I will start first on how this sixteen year old has an amazing heart, is down to earth, wise, curious, humble and has a bubbly spirit. I knew the minute she walked in, that we'd have a fun time. She is truly an old, sweet soul sprinkled with the heart of a child, and it was an honor to spend some time with her talking about life, the movie, and her future.

Fun Facts:

  • Auli'i has music flowing in her blood, through her rich Puerto Rican, Portuguese & Hawaiian heritage.
  • She's pretty sure her strong vocals come from screaming as a child
  • She never had music or voice lessons until she became Moana
  • She has no intentions of watching her performance on the Oscars
  • She loves history, science & butterflies :)
  • She is a Junior in high school & would love to visit colleges in SF

On Moana

When asked what she appreciates the most about the character, Moana, or what resonates most with her, she mentioned the strength of Moana and being the heroine of her own story. Since Moana has no love interest in the film, it truly is about finding out who she is on her own, above anything else. I appreciate the direction that Disney took with this film, to encourage and empower our youth (kids and adults, too) to look inward first. 

As for similarities, Auli'i shared that she had a lot in common with Moana, growing up on the island of Hawai'i, with pigs and chickens - you know, like Pua and Hei Hei! She also paddled as part of her all-Hawaiian school's canoe club, and has a loving family. 

Auli'i appreciates the journey that Moana takes to figure out who she is. Moana's strength and resilience, and curiosity to find out who she is will always be inspiring. 

On Empowering Others

The next burning question began, "Did you ever in a million years think ..." to which Auli'i quickly interjected "Noooo..." and caused us all to roar with laughter. Her demeanor in that moment reminded us that she has not lost that sixteen year old spark!

Auli'i was only fourteen (14), when she landed the role of Moana. When asked if she ready for that? In a sense of - being ready to be a role model to people everywhere, of all ages? She said to a certain degree, yes. She knew the importance of the film, because of how important Moana was to her. However, she had no idea just how much this would empower people of all ages. She had us chuckling though, as she expressed her disdain for dishes and chores, which isn't surprising because who likes that? Although now I tell my kids, "See, even Auli'i has to do chores." LOL.

On Life, Hopes & Dreams

I asked Auli'i, courtesy of my daughter KaiLeia (14), what the theme song of her life is/would be. She smiled, and pondered for a moment. Then replied, "Moon River." She loves Audrey Hepburn and said that the song is full of hope and talks about dreams and while they might not happen quickly, it is about that journey. If you haven't heard "Moon River," and listened to the lyrics. Heck, if you haven't seen Breakfast at Tiffany's, you should add it to your "must watch" list. 

One of my favorite parts of our conversation focused on hopes and dreams, and the idea of truly knowing who you are. We began chatting about if she ever envisioned her life, how it is today - singing live at the Oscars, preparing for a new show, empowering so many, and she shared that while she is a role model, she is not perfect or complete. Her journey always continues. She will never be complete.

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So, how do we get to the point where we "just know" that we are complete? We don't. There are no absolutes and "we are not a complete person ever & we are never to stop growing." What we can do is explore and take a journey for ourselves, which Auli'i says "doesn't have to be across a vast ocean like Moana." It is merely listening to the voice you have inside, to be brave enough to see what else is out there and available to you. Finding who you are might be about leaving everything you know, but "the person you become is worth it." 

What's Next?

Auli'i will be starring in an NBC Pilot called Drama High, and will be playing the role of Lilette. She shared that this project is about youth coming together from all walks of life to express themselves through theater. 

We can only imagine the amounts of singing, and other talent that will be involved with this theatrical production. According to Deadline, the show, brought to us by Jason Katims (Friday Night Lights) and Jeffrey Sellers (Hamilton), is based on the true story of high school drama teacher, Lou Volpes – as told via the book Drama High, written by one of Mr. Volpe's former students, Michael Sokolove.  

For the rest of her visit in SF, Auli'i had her heart set on a bread bowl full of San Francisco's clam chowder and exploring museums, enjoying the city, and perhaps visiting some college campuses. Compared to Hawai'i and New York, she said SF has just enough hustle & bustle for her, plus the weather is colder so she can wear jackets, scarves, and mittens!

Auli'i shared that her family would be traveling from Hawai'i to visit her this weekend in San Francisco before heading to New York to film for three weeks. I hope she gets a nice relaxing family time and special moments before her travels. She has a great support system, and I hope that as she continues to thrive in the entertainment industry her family bond just keeps getting stronger!

Aulii Cravalho - MeiLani - Sparks of Magic
Aulii Cravalho - MeiLani - Sparks of Magic 2

Speaking of family, mine waited outside for me! After our interview, Auli'i made a quick surprise stop in the hall to say "hi" to my eldest, MeiLani - who is also 16, and they took some pictures. While she said adults are fun and all, she was pretty excited to see another teenager! I know that MeiLani will remember that moment for a lifetime.

I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to chat with Auli'i and share laughter, happy tears and hugs. Our family looks forward to watching her in Drama High and follow this bright star as she continues to spread her magic in the world!

You can follow Auli'i on her adventures via her Instagram – @auliicravalho!

MOANA Blu-Ray/DVD +Digital HD

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Make sure to catch more fun outtakes and features exclusive to the MOANA Blu-Ray/DVD, including more interviews with the cast of characters, musicians, writers and directors. We digitally downloaded the film on iTunes early, and our kids (ages 10-16) have watched it already a dozen times! 

MOANA Blu-Ray/DVD will be available in stores beginning Tuesday, March 7, 2017! Start planning that movie night!! 

Well, Mahalo for reading my experience, I had a blast & hope you enjoyed it, too!

As Maui would say, You're welcome. :) 

Like MOANA on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/disneymoana

Follow MOANA on Twitter: https://twitter.com/disneymoana

Follow Disney Animation on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/disneyanimation/

Visit Disney Animation on Tumblr: http://disneyanimation.tumblr.com/

Visit the official MOANA website here: http://movies.disney.com/moana

 

A Whirlwind Day at Disney Social Media Moms Celebration | On the Road at Disneyland Resort

Disney, EntertainmentCamilleComment
 

August 24th was an exceptional and magical whirlwind. I was invited to attend a special one day event: Disney Social Media Moms Celebration: On the Road at Disneyland Resort (you can check out the event using #DisneySMMCDLR). Just in time to experience the final weeks of Disneyland Resort's 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration. 

I love to catch up with old friends and make new ones, and Disney events bring all kinds of magic to the party, too! We enjoyed a delicious buffet breakfast, were gifted with lots of fun, Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park admission, Disneyland 60th swag; but most importantly to me, I left with my heart absolutely overflowing, and my mind blown by the Disney team, and surprise guests, who both inspired and empowered us to keep moving forward as moms and entrepreneurs.

NEW! and Coming Soon to Disney Parks

One of my favorite experiences about Disney influencer events is all of the magic that we get to hear about behind the scenes. There is so much to say about each, but I will just touch on the highlights. Thank you to Michele Himmelberg, Director of Public Relations - Disneyland Resort, for sharing all of the upcoming fun. Let's start with the holiday season that is almost upon us!

In case you missed it, Disneyland is currently undergoing spook-tacular Halloween season enhancements! The Haunted Mansion is currently closed, as Sandy Claws does his annual decorating. Don't fret though, because doors will open for the ghoulish attraction with a Nightmare Before Christmas theme on September 9th.

Image © Disney

Image © Disney

This will also be the FINAL Halloween at Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. For me, it is bittersweet. I will always love TOT, but I am looking forward to the new attraction in 2017. I highly suggest that you visit before TOT becomes Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission Breakout! The attraction will close its doors in January 2017.

GUYS - We were given complimentary FAST PASS tickets to experience the new enhancements of one of our family's favorite attractions, which is now Soarin' Around the World. Personally, I loved the new version and it gave me the travel bug! I've never been outside of the US, so flying over the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France might have gotten me a little teary eyed. It's beautiful. All of imagery coupled with the different scents :) within the attraction are pretty awesome! My girls rated it 5 stars! I will be honest, I was sad that I did not get to see Frozen - Live at the Hyperion, but it is on my "to-do" for my next trip!

Image © Disney

Image © Disney

Disney's Frozen – November ushers in my favorite holiday of all time - Christmas! In time for winter season, you will find Disney's Frozen - Live at the Hyperion at Disney California Adventure Park. If you're on the East coast, Frozen Ever After is the new attraction at Walt Disney World, and if you're setting sail, Frozen - A Musical Spectacular will be featured this fall on Disney Cruise Line's Disney Wonder.

Image © Disney

Image © Disney

Disney's MOANA – If you know me, you also know that our family has a serious love for the islands of the Pacific. We loved Disney's Lilo & Stitch franchise, and honestly I think MOANA will be one of my favorite princesses. The film will be released 11/23/16, the weekend of my 35th birthday!

We were treated to exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, and it was AMAZING. We were not able to take any photos or have our technology out, otherwise a very kind security guard would kindly remind and potentially remove us. All I can share with you, is that this is a MUST SEE film. I'm not talking about just a film for 2016, but a must-see for a lifetime. The themes of empowerment, following your heart, learning about who your ancestors were and who you are meant to be, are extremely strong in the film. 

We heard from Amy Smeed, the first female co-head of animation on a feature film and was interesting to hear how the animation process and story is developed. The amounts of research that the Studios put in to really capture the essence of the cultures presented is more than commendable. I am so happy that Auli'i Cravalho was cast as Moana. A native to Hawai'i, she truly embodies the Aloha spirit and she brings so much life and vibrance to her character. 

Image © Disney

Image © Disney

Disney Cruise Line – I've not had the pleasure to set sail with DCL yet, but we found out that the fleet will be adding two new cruise ships soon: one in 2021; another in 2023. They will also return to Galveston, Texas in 2017, with sailings to the Caribbean and the Bahamas. For West coast cruisers, the Disney Wonder will return to San Diego in September and October 2017 for sailings to Baja and the Mexican Riviera.

Image © Disney

Image © Disney

PandoraThe World of AVATAR – Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom is preparing for the opening of a new, beautiful world based on James Cameron's AVATAR, in 2017. It has been amazing to watch the ideas for this magical place take shape over the last few years. I had my first peek at Pandora's arrival when I explored Disney23 Expo in 2013. Then, when I worked the D23 Expo in 2015 with Imagineering, I was in even more awe as we walked through the exhibit and saw the creations and mini replicas of what was to come. The concept art is breathtaking. I can't wait to ride down the Na'vi River.

Social Media Tips

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What's a social media conference without touching on social media?! As always, Disney "does it better" and offered us insider tips on how they manage their conversations and content for the public, and gave insight on putting that into action for our own brands and blogs. The theme for me was really to work towards adding more video content to my blog and social media platforms. Before we get into the tips, make sure you bookmark: Disney Parks Blog - it is the ultimate site for Disney Parks news and events! The team is active on social media as well, so stay connected!

Here are highlights from our speakers and Disney team members:

Erin Glover (Social Media Director, Disneyland) is always fun to learn from. She is engaging, witty, and extremely knowledgeable. I had the pleasure of learning the basics about the process a couple of years ago, and I was excited to learn more. This time around, I really honed in on her tips for syndicating and sharing content. Many times, I write and then that's it. When I was doing work for other companies on social media, I ended up neglecting my own social media channels. Did you know that there are over 100 authors for the Disney Parks Blog?! That's a lot of writing! My ultimate takeaway: Syndicate, Integrate and Share. Ask myself, "how can I optimize my content to work well for each specific channel?"

Victoria Lim (Managing Editor, Disney Parks) shared on maximizing digital content through apps. I'm not a huge fan of being in front of the camera, but I do see the value and importance of it with my content. This was the first time I'd heard Victoria share, in real life (I've followed her presentations via social media)  and I was happy to hear her tips and tricks on video. My daughters are obsessed with video, and will be helping me get my booty in gear with producing for my blog. Some of the apps that Victoria talked about were Magisto, Videolicious, Quik, and WeVideo. My ultimate takeaway: Be ready to film content. Don't go TMZ style [when videotaping]. Have a steady shot. 

Surprise Guests

Drumroll, please... we were treated to chat with Tiffani Thiessen, (aka Kelly Kapowski - for you Saved by the Bell fans) and Ginger Zee (ABC News & Good Morning America). Listening to Tiffani and Ginger speak on motherhood, working outside (and inside) the home, balancing their passions and everything else was awe-inspiring. It was an honor to hear their stories and I left empowered as a mom with many hats. 

SparksofMagic DisneySMMCDLR Guests.png

As moms, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to have everything "just right." Honestly, when is it ever up to our standards and/or expectations? I'm contemplating these statements more and more since being home from this event, and I am excited to share my thoughts on them soon.

Thank you to my friend Jindy of   FlowersCroon.com   for the awesome picture!

Thank you to my friend Jindy of FlowersCroon.com for the awesome picture!

The entire day was such a treat. I was exhausted, inspired and bursting at the seams with excitement. I was blessed to not only be invited, but to have the ability to take the day off and make the 300+ mile drive down with my husband and two of our girls! We all had a fantastic time. I always look forward to participating in Disney events as opportunities arise. I hope there are many more in my future! Thank you to the Disney events team for including me!

I was hosted at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration On the Road at Disneyland Resort and my family received complimentary park admission and a swag bag. I paid for all travel costs incurred. All thoughts expressed are my own and I'd like to think they are pretty magical. Follow the fun on social media to see the many bloggers that experienced #DisneySMMCDLR! 

 

Meet MOANA – Disney's Newest Princess

Disney, EntertainmentCamilleComment

Aloooooha! I'm thrilled to announce that Walt Disney Animation Studios has finally cast its newest animated princess, MOANA! 

photo courtesy © Walt Disney Animation Studios

photo courtesy © Walt Disney Animation Studios

The voice of Disney's MOANA will be voiced by Hawaiian native and newcomer, Auli'i Cravalho! Auli'i is a 14-year-old from the island of O'ahu, and after three auditions, she landed the title role.

Here's a fun little clip of Auli'i, being told that she was going to be cast as Moana:

About MOANA

Moana is a 16-year-old, fearless princess that wants to take on the seas of the South Pacific, amongst the islands of her home – Oceania. Three thousand years ago sailors from all over the world voyaged across the South Pacific, but then a millennium went by and unbeknownst to anyone, the voyages stopped. So what is Moana's dream? To become a master wayfinder, like her ancestors, but this time complete their unfinished quest. 

Along the way, she meets demi-god, Maui (voiced by Dwayne Johnson), and together they embark on an action-packed journey filled with impossible odds that become the voyage of a lifetime.

I am looking forward to this creation from the filmmaking team of Directors, Ron Clements and John Musker; they've created three of my favorite Disney animated films (amongst many others), "The Little Mermaid," "Aladdin," and "The Princess and The Frog!" With such strong female protagonists in their films, I know that Moana will be a sure hit and I'm looking forward to sharing traits that make her a good role model. The film is produced by Osnat Shurer, who has produced or executive produced Pixar® short films.

Ready to see what the sea holds for Moana and Maui? I know I am!


Don't forget to like MOANA on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/disneymoana
Keep up with Disney Animation on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/disneyanimation
and Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/disneyanimation

Remember, MOANA sails into theaters on November 23rd 2016!