CELEBRATING THE YEAR OF THE PIG AT DISNEY'S LUNAR NEW YEAR
Edited by Ariel Landrum
Photos from Stefanie Bautista
Gong Xi Fa Cai! It’s that wonderful time of year where red envelopes start to get passed out, families gather to eat tables and tables worth of food, and firecrackers fill the air. Yup, Lunar New Year is upon us and to ring in The Year of the Pig, Disney’s California Adventure transformed it’s plazas into a Lunar New Year festival fit for any emperor and empress! This event ran from Friday, January 25 to Sunday, February 17, 2019.
In the same style of Disney’s Festival of Holidays, which showcases holiday foods from around the globe, the Lunar New Year festival followed suit. Kiosks offered different featured Asian dishes and drinks, such as Banh Mi, Char Siu Bao, and Vietnamese Iced Coffee. Other popular featured foods included Firecracker Chicken and Crispy Shrimp over Fried Rice. For dessert, patrons had the choice of Green Tea Mandarin Tarts or a super cute Purple Yam Macaron in the shape of - you guessed it - Mickey!
DCA also offered a “Year of the Pig Sip and Savor Pass” which, for $39.00 ($36.00 with an Annual Pass), gets you 6 perforated tabs on a souvenir lanyard which you can redeem for any food item or drink, excluding alcohol. Each dish averaged about $7.50, so it really was worth it if you wanted to create a Disney-style “dim-sum” experience of your own!
An area was reserved in the Paradise Gardens to write new year’s wishes, called the “Lucky Wishing Wall”. The area was beautifully decorated with lanterns and flowers, encouraging guests to write their own special message of hope, happiness, and health for the new year.
Adjacent to the Lucky Wishing Wall was the Paradise Garden Bandstand, which featured different Chinese musical performances throughout the day. The highlight of the event was the Lunar New Year processional, helmed by Mulan herself, and included a beautiful Chinese Dragon dance, drummers, and even included the Three Little Pigs dancing around in their Lunar New Year outfits.
Disney also offered limited edition collectibles for all you Disney merch fanatics. Lunar New Year Minnie Headbands, keychains, and shirts and jackets with Lunar New Year designs all literally flew off of the shelves. For all the pin traders out there, a limited edition Pua and Hei-Hei pin from Moana was made especially to celebrate The Year of the Pig. If you didn’t get what you wanted this year, be prepared next year to arrive to the festival early, as these items won’t be available again for purchase!
It was wonderful to see Disney embracing Asian culture and seeing the streets of DCA decked out in red lanterns, and banners featuring classic Disney characters in traditional Chinese attire. This was a great move towards inclusion, especially for the patrons of the park who call California home. The Golden state has the largest population of Chinese-Americans, with San Francisco being the home of the oldest Chinatown in the nation.
It is fitting that Disney’s California Adventure celebrates the rich heritage of people who helped make it the great state that it is.
The popularity of the Lunar New Year event at Disneyland seems to be growing, year after year. For those who missed it, fear not! Disney’s official website has announced it’s already scheduling the celebration for early next year, the Year of the Rat. We hope to see you there!