Trip Report: Disneyland 1/31 - 2/1/14 - Part 1: Happy Lunar New Year Celebration

I am dividing this Trip Report into two parts just because there are so many photos I want to share.  Anyway, I began this trip to the Disneyland Resort by making a bee-line directly to Paradise Garden at Disney California Adventure to experience the Happy Lunar New Year Celebration.

The day arrived was the actual Lunar New Year as we entered the Year of the Horse.

As I spent the bulk of my time at the Lunar New Year Celebration over my visit on both January 31 and February 1, for the purpose of the narrative of this particular part of my Trip Report, I am just going to combine the events and photos together.  If you want to see all the photos of my visits to the Happy Lunar New Year Celebration, check out my Flickr set!

When I got to the celebration, I was just in time for the Dragon Dance as performed by the Northern Shaolin Kung Fu Association.

The next day, I also got to experience Mulan's Chinese New Year Procession which included Mulan, Mushu, Umbrella dancers, cultural performers and Finn the horse...

After the processional, the Jung Im Lee Korean Dance Academy performed a traditional Korean dance...

After the procession and performance, you could go and take your picture with Finn who was the official horse for the Year of the Horse Lunar New Year celebration!

With the success of ¡Viva Navidad! Celebration over the holiday season in this location, Disney California Adventure made the smart move of moving the Happy Lunar New Year Celebration to Paradise Garden.  This not only offered room for the procession, but a stage area and a fun intimate feeling as if you are wandering through a wonderful Asian marketplace.

I also loved how the pathway was lined with the Umbrella dancers, who not only offered additional photo opportunities for guests, but really added to the festive environment.

When you first enter, you are greeted by signs explaining how the Lunar New Year is celebrated among Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese families.

One of the wonderful parts of the celebration is the station in which you can write down your New Year Wishes. Not only is it a beautiful display, but it's a bit cathartic to write down your wish and share with the world.

Near the New Year Wishes station, calligraphy artist Agnes Eng and her family and friends provided Chinese calligraphy to guests.  I had "Happy New Year" written for mine.

There's also places that you can get your face painted or make a paper lantern...

And, if you're not familiar with the Lunar New Year and don't know in what year you were born, you can check this Disney style chart!  But, remember, if you were born in January or early February, you have to know on what side of the Lunar New Year your birthday falls.  For example, while I was born in the year 1969, my birthday January 11 was in the previous Lunar Year.  So, instead of being Year of the Rooster, I am Year of the Monkey!  ABU!

On the Paradise Garden Bandstand, they offered various cultural performances.  When I was there, Korean drummers performed...

There's also fun food and merchandise! I just wish there were more of it! In terms of food, the bao was delicious as was the Ginger Milk Tea, but I wish they had other dishes that also highlighted Korean and Vietnamese cultures as well. Also, they had this wonderfully designed t-shirt and good fortune red envelopes (which I didn't take pictures of for some reason), but it would have been great to have seen more. The pin, which wasn't special to the Happy Lunar New Year Celebration but as the Disney Parks Lunar New Year pin, sold out on the first day of the celebration. Imagine if they had something special for it! Nontheless, it was a great first step in offering special merchandise.

And, finally, the thing that I love the most...the Happy Lunar New Year Celebration offered character greetings!  Greeting guests this year were Mickey, Minnie and Chip 'n' Dale in Chinese clothing as well as Mulan and Mushu.

Probably my biggest piece of constructive criticism about the Happy Lunar New Year Celebration would be about the character greetings.  Every time I was there, the line was over an hour long and there's no guarantee of which character to meet.  Because of the wait, I only got to wait in line for the characters once and, fortunately, managed to be there for a photo opportunity with Mulan, Mushu AND Chip 'n' Dale.

I remember in years past where they had different stations to meet the characters, although I can understand their wanting to duplicate what they did for ¡Viva Navidad! as using the Paradise Garden Gazebo for rotating character greetings worked so well.  I don't know if it was because ¡Viva Navidad! lasted a longer time, but the lines there didn't seem as crazy at the Lunar New Year.  So, if the Lunar New Year celebration stays this short in duration, it would probably behoove the Disneyland Resort to create more greeting spots.

Also, it seems there has been a missed opportunity in years in which Disney actually has characters of the animal being represented that year that they have not brought some of those characters out.  For example, this being the Year of the Horse, it would have been great to see Horace Horsecollar or Bullseye out.

That said, I think the Happy Lunar New Year Celebration was absolutely wonderful and I hope that the Disneyland Resort continues to grow this event even more next year.  I am so glad that the Disneyland Resort holds these cultural celebrations and am always impressed with the effort they put into them.

If you'd like to see all my pictures from this year's Happy Lunar New Year Celebration, please check out my Flickr set! up is the second part of my trip report!


Popular Posts