The Real-Life Maui from Moana Works at Costco in Hawaii

published Jan 15, 2018
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(Image credit: Trong Nguyen)

Imagine going to Costco to pick up paper towels and gym socks, and meeting your hero. That’s what two little girls were convinced had happened recently when they went to Costco with their mom and saw Maui from Disney’s Moana working at the register.

Radio host Rella Rivera took her two daughters to Costco in Kapolei on Oahu, Hawaii, and when they were checking out with their purchases, the kids’ jaws dropped because the Costco employee checking them out looked exactly like Maui. When he saw their faces, he happily played along.

The kids were ecstatic. Who wouldn’t be? They’re face-to-face with greatness, and it’s strange. They don’t even know how they feel. It’s adorable!

“Maui’s” real name is William Vaana, and he is tall and tattooed, just like Maui, and he even has the same long hair. Vaana says that after the movie came out, his first thought was, “Wow, I kinda look like that guy.”

He’s not the only one who thought that, either. He basically became an overnight celebrity — especially with children.

“It’s overwhelming, but it’s cool just to see the kids smile they light up,” Vaana said to Hawaii News Now. “They come screaming. It’s awesome.”

Vaana is used to kids shouting “It’s Maui!” when they see him. As soon as he saw Rivera’s daughters notice him, he grinned and called out, “Chee hoo!” just like Maui.

Rivera grabbed her phone and took a video as he lined up the bouncing kids to do it again with him, and her video went viral as soon as she posted it online. Now everybody wants to go visit the Kapolei Costco to meet the cool guy who will play along as Maui for kids.

Vaana actually has a full Maui costume with an enormous wooden fish hook and everything, because in addition to working at Costco, he plays Maui for kids’ parties. Rivera says he even played Maui at Disney’s Aulani resort in Hawaii.

Now Rivera says her kids always want to go to Costco with her. You’re welcome!