Lunar New Year Celebration at Disney’s California Adventure

Southern California has no shortage of ways to celebrate the Lunar New Year between the Huntington Gardens Chinese New Year Celebration to the OC Fairground Tet Festival, this holiday is finally getting the coverage so many Asian communities in the south land are looking for to preserve a sense of culture for their American raised children. Not surprisingly, one of the best shows of the multicultural aspect of the Lunar New Year is found at the Disneyland resort. Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean communities are represented by food, performances and education. Cerritos even plays a special role in this celebration as the Cerritos Chinese School has teachers participating in different areas of the celebration in the park.

Start the day by heading over to the Vietnamese food options for a Banh Chung (rice tamale), Café Sua Da (iced coffee with condensed milk) and a Banh Khoai Lang Tim (taro macaron). Classic Vietnamese flavors in appetizing forms perfect for breakfast for even the pickiest of palates.

With bellies full, head over to the Wishing Wall where Disney provides the tags and guests provide their wishes for the New Year. Traditionally, Chinese families write their wishes and resolutions and attach them to trees in the Temples. In more recent times, in the Beijing Mall a beautiful Wishing Wall was created and this nod to that traditional is delightfully authentic.

What sets the Disney event apart from the multitude of other celebrations in the Southern California area, other than the long span of time the festival runs and the fact that it covers multiple cultures and has a lot of Disney Magic is the big name acts they were able to secure to perform. Dat Nguyen of Vietnam, Luna Lee of Korea, and the GuGu Drum Group from Shanghai all have regularly scheduled performances during the Celebration. Make sure to take some time to take in their amazing talent. 

By the afternoon, it’s probably a good time to head over to lunch on the Chinese food options. Xiao Long Bao, the magical soup dumplings that somehow manage to deliver a mouth full of broth and dumpling in one bite, are available. These are hard to get perfectly even by the best Chinese restaurants but worth trying to see the Disney interpretation. Dan Ta, also known as an egg tart interestingly originally adopted from Portuguese cuisine is also available Tsingtao is the featured beer for the Chinese food booth as well.

Cerritos Chinese School, along with others, help run the arts and culture section of the celebration. Guests are able to give their names to Chinese calligraphers who will beautifully write out each name in a very special complementary souvenir. There are also crafts for kids, like lantern making, and face painting to make the experience extra special.

No Disney celebration is complete without a parade and Disney characters. Appropriately, Mulan and Mushu have a New Year’s Procession featuring music from Mulan and a sea of performers to evoke the crowds and celebration in the streets of so many Asian cities during this holiday. Mickey and Minnie also walk around in red Asian themed costumes.

Lunar New Year merchandise kiosks feature Year of the Dog t-shirts, pins and even red envelopes. Definitely pick up some of those Hong Baos if you have Disney loving little ones you are giving Lai See to this year. Annual Passholders also have a special area where they have special photo opportunities, commemorative pins and exclusive merchandise as well.

The last food stop of the day has to be the Korean booth where the Disney chefs serve up bokkeumbap, a kimchi-vegetable fried rice and yang gaeng, a sweet red bean and raspberry jelly. The Korean beer available at this booth is Hite.

Round out the night with story of a little Chinese lantern. Hurry Home is a small show highlighting the musical score of the opening of the Shanghai resort by renowned composer Tan Dun played shortly before and in conjugation with World of Color. Make sure to get a fast pass to secure a seat as the area gets crowded and the show starts at 9pm.

Visitor Information
Disney California Adventure
1313 Disneyland Dr. Anaheim, CA 92802
Phone: (714) 781-4565

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