by Emily Sims
Emily Sims of Magical Kinda Mama is a Disneyland Resort expert. From tips on traveling to the Parks with little ones to the best spots to eat and everything in between, Emily offers insider knowledge to make your next trip effortless.
The annual Lunar New Year celebration recently began at Disney California Adventure, and this year, we celebrate the Year of the Mouse! The Lunar New Year Celebration offers limited-time entertainment, traditional Asian cuisine at marketplace food booths, special merchandise and more. There are enough activities to keep guests entertained all day long! The Lunar New Year Celebration runs from now through February 9, 2020, so we still have plenty of time to partake in the festivities.
I’m excited to share all of the Lunar New Year fun that guests of all ages can enjoy!
The fan-favorite, Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession featuring Mulan and Mushu, has returned to Paradise Gardens Park this year, and it’s just as beautiful and magical as ever. The show features dancers, warriors and drummers, along with character favorites like Goofy, Chip ‘n’ Dale, and new this year, Mickey & Minnie Mouse! Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession has daily showtimes at 11:45 am, 1:00 pm, 2:45 pm, and 4:00 pm.
The best spot to watch this cavalcade from is on the steps facing the Mickey wheel (aka the Pixar Pal-A-Round). Even if you have a view off to the left or right of the steps, the area where the performers are is so big, you will still be able to see the whole show.
Guests can also enjoy live entertainment at Paradise Gardens Bandstand located at the very west end of Disney California Adventure. The Melody of China performs Monday through Friday, and Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese folk dancers perform on weekends. The Disney California Adventure daily entertainment schedule lists showtimes for these performances.
And lastly, if you plan to stay at Disney California Adventure into the evening, grab a FASTPASS (FASTPASS means reserved viewing) in the morning near The Little Mermaid - Ariel’s Undersea Adventure attraction for World of Color, a big water fountain and projection show that happens on Paradise Bay.
During the Lunar New Year celebration, there is a 6-minute long pre-show before World of Color called, “Hurry Home.” It’s beautiful! World of Color is one of the best shows at the Disneyland Resort, so I highly recommend making time for this.
If you do not obtain a FASTPASS for World of Color, you can still enjoy the show in standby viewing areas.
Marketplace Food Booths
If you have plans to celebrate the Lunar New Year at Disney California Adventure, be sure to bring an empty stomach. There are four marketplace food booths to choose from that all serve up delicious, traditional Asian cuisine. The booths include Longevity Noodle Co., Lucky 8 Lantern, Prosperity Bao & Buns and Red Dragon Spice Traders. There are also some specialty food and beverage offerings at Paradise Garden Grill in Paradise Gardens and at Lucky Fortune Cookery on Pacific Wharf. You can now mobile order food from all of these locations in the Disneyland app. This will save you a lot of time waiting in the long lines that can form at these popular locations.
Another tip: find the shortest line to order all of your food from any of the menus, then go to the booths you ordered food from to pick up each item - such a time saver.
A few of my favorite food items from this year’s food offerings include the Smoked Beef Bulgogi Short Rib and Mandarin Orange-Green Tea Tart from Lucky 8 Lantern, Mickey Chinese Hot Dog Bun and Mango-Pineapple Pastry from Prosperity Bao & Buns, Firecracker Three Cup Chicken Wings and Honey-Lime Green Tea from Red Dragon Spice Traders and, if you like fish, try the Whole Fried Tilapia from Paradise Garden Grill (it's a really big, whole fish that can definitely feed two people).
I highly recommend taking advantage of the Sip and Savor Pass! This pass will save you a little bit of money when purchasing special Lunar New Year food or beverage offerings. The Sip and Savor Pass is $42 (Annual Passholder discount applies), and comes with a souvenir lanyard & six tabs to use on select food and non-alcoholic beverage options at the participating food booths and restaurants. It is definitely worth it! You do not have to use all of the food and beverage tabs in one day either. Just use them all by February 9, the last day is the Lunar New Year Celebration.
Character Meet and Greets
Paradise Gardens is home to some very special Lunar New Year character meet and greets. In the gazebo near Paradise Garden Grill, guests can meet Mulan and Mushu, Mickey and Minnie (in their new Lunar New Year outfits), Pluto, Goofy and the Three Little Pigs! All of these characters rotate for photos, and the lines to meet them can get long, so try to line up a little early if possible.
Lucky Wishing Wall and Chinese Brush Painting & Calligraphy
Stop by Paradise Gardens to write down your own wish for the new year, then add it to the Lucky Wishing Wall. This is such a beautiful sight, and it’s really special to be able to add your own wish to the thousands of wishes on display.
In the middle of the Lucky Wishing Wall area, you can choose your own complimentary Chinese Brush Painting & Calligraphy and watch it be painted. Such a special souvenir!
Fun for Kids
If you have kids with you, be sure to stop by the complimentary craft and coloring tables located in front of The Little Mermaid - Ariel’s Undersea Adventure attraction. And of course, this is not just for kids, anyone can color if they’d like.
Another fun thing for all ages, but definitely a kiddo favorite, is the Lunar New Year face painting, located right next to the coloring tables. You can choose from quite a few different face paint designs to celebrate the Year of the Mouse!
The Lunar New Year Celebration means plenty of new souvenirs! Merchandise can be found at Los Feliz Five & Dime on Buena Vista Street and at the Lunar New Year souvenir stand located in front of The Little Mermaid - Ariel’s Undersea Adventure attraction.
A few of my favorite Lunar New Year souvenirs include the Lunar New Year spirit jersey, the Annual Passholder t-shirt, the Minnie ears, the toy light-up lantern and plush Mickey & Minnie Mouse.
The last day to enjoy the Lunar New Year Celebration at Disney California Adventure is February 9, 2020. It’s such a fun way to ring in the new year, and honor & learn more about the beautiful Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean cultures. Here’s to a peaceful, healthy and happy year!