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Disney California Adventure Park is decorated with vibrant red and gold lanterns and banners to commemorate the Year of the Pig — complete with a special appearance by The Three Little Pigs.
The 24-day Lunar New Year celebration, which began on Jan. 25 and continues until Feb. 17, is welcoming another year of good fortune with Asian-inspired food and beverages, entertainment and kid-friendly activities such as paper-lantern making and face painting. Guests can also purchase special Lunar New Year items from Shanghai Disney Resort — including Minnie Mouse ear headbands, lantern glow wands and traditional red envelopes for gift-giving — and leave personalized messages for health, luck and prosperity in the upcoming year on the Lucky Wishing Wall.
The unique multicultural event commemorates the moment when the sun and moon both begin their journeys for another year and pays tribute to Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese traditions. Food that represents each culture’s cuisine is available at multiple marketplaces (outdoor huts that also make an appearance during the holidays).
“We’ve had three marketplaces for the last couple of years, with each one focused on a different country,” said Gary Maggetti, general manager of Disney California Adventure Park West. “This year, we’ve added a fourth marketplace, and instead of focusing on the cuisine of a specific country, we focused on an ingredient or style.”
Restaurants are also getting into the Lunar New Year spirit.
At Lucky 8 Lantern, which features rice dishes, guests can try crispy-shrimp-fried rice, stir-fried vegetables, pineapple with soy protein and a colorful mandarin orange green tea tart. The menu at Longevity Noodle Company includes dishes such as pan-fried wheat noodles with savory chicken meatballs and crispy vegetable egg rolls with chilled sesame-garlic noodles, while the menu at Prosperity Bao & Buns features char siu pork bao (barbecue-pork-filled bun) and mango-pineapple pastry (plus, a winter plum-blossom gin mule). Red Dragon Spice Traders serves firecracker three-cup chicken, steamed short-rib shumai (a type of dumpling) and Mickey-shaped purple-yam macarons.
In addition, Paradise Garden Grill’s menu features vegan orange tempeh with stir-fried vegetables, a grilled pork belly banh mi sandwich, Korean grilled chicken and a mango-and-passion-fruit mousse. The Lunar New Year Festival Cart near the wishing wall serves gochujang (red chili paste) chicken wings and mini almond cookies.
“This festival challenges our culinary team to understand more about culture, about traditions, about flavors — things that maybe we’re not familiar with,” said chef John State, culinary director, food and beverage for Disneyland Resort. “And we get to bring another level of storytelling to life through Lunar New Year our way: the Disney way.”
To make the most of the culinary experience at the Lunar New Year celebration, clients can purchase a “Sip and Savor Pass” for $39 ($36 for annual passholders) that allows them to taste six items from the four marketplace menus, Paradise Garden Grill and the Festival Cart (not including alcoholic beverages).
The highlight of the celebration is the spectacular Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession led by Disney’s warrior princess and her faithful dragon Mushu. This year, the procession is making its way from Pixar Pier to Paradise Gardens Park, a longer route than in previous years. The colorful performance features more than 40 drummers, martial artists and dancers, as well as an impressive Chinese dragon puppet; all are accompanied by music from the Disney animated movie “Mulan.”
There’s also a special twist on the Year of the Pig: Practical Pig, Fiddler Pig and Fifer Pig — The Three Little Pigs from the classic Disney Silly Symphonies short — make a rare appearance as they join the procession along with Mulan and Mushu; Goofy in his “god of Good Fortune” costume; and Chip and Dale in bright-red vests. Plus, this year’s procession includes a brand-new firecracker finale.
The Lunar New Year event also features daily live performances by the Melody of China ensemble, Chinese musicians who perform classical, fol and contemporary music using the Chinese dulcimer (yangqin), Chinese lute (pipa) and Chinese fiddle (erhu). Also performing is Vietnamese artist Dat Nguyen, who plays both traditional and original compositions on guitar, lute, flute and melodica. On weekends, local community performing groups, including traditional lion dance companies and Korean drummers, will perform on the Paradise Gardens bandstand.
As an added bonus, clients visiting during the Lunar New Year celebration can take advantage of special limited-time ticket and hotel offers, which makes it a great time to experience Disneyland Resort.
“Lunar New Year is a time for families to gather together and celebrate the new year,” said Carla Carlile, show director for creative entertainment. “And the perfect place to be is at the Disneyland Resort.”
Items from all four marketplaces can be purchased from any marketplace cashier.
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