This past Friday, the Lunar New Year Celebration at Disney California Adventure kicked off and we made sure to be there to celebrate.
2020 is a very special year for our favorite couple, Mickey & Minnie, because this year is the Year of the Mouse. DCA will celebrate with 24 days of delicious food, colorful decor and multicultural entertainment to make for the perfect celebration during Disneyland’s “slow season”. The festival will run from January 17 to February 9 this year.
As a parent who frequents the Disneyland parks alone with a 4 year old, 3 year old and infant, I absolutely love this annual celebration. And here is why, the entertainment! I am limited to what I can experience with ALL of my kids at DCA. I definitely feel like this park is geared towards older guests. The majority of rides have a height requirements that both Olivia and Rachel do not meet yet. But with all of the live shows, crafts and special meet & greets happening throughout the day during the Lunar New Year Celebration I feel like we can enjoy a full day of fun without having to focus on rides for enjoyment. Olivia and Rachel took an epic 4 hour nap while we checked out the celebration so Brooke pretty much had the festival to all herself. Here is what this festival offers:
Character Meet & Greets
If having a chat and snapping a pic with your favorite characters (wearing their festive Lunar New Year attire) is at the top of your list like it is ours, you want to make sure to head to Paradise Gardens first. Characters can be visited between 10:30 AM and 5:00 PM daily. Characters will rotate throughout the day so if you are looking for someone special, make sure to ask a cast member when that characters will be out. The lines can get long, so the earlier you get there the better. Some characters you will see are: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Mulan, Mushu, Pluto, and new this year the Three Little Pigs! My girls love the Three Little Pigs (they dressed as them for Oggie Boggie’s Bash this past year) so this is a big deal for us. Chip ‘n Dale can be see wondering around Paradise Gardens so it will be easy to snap a quick pic of the duo as well.
Kid-friendly crafts and activities
Paradise Gardens will also host complimentary arts and crafts, including dragon’s pearl coloring craft and Chinese calligraphy with local artisans. This spot is great with toddlers because sometimes they just need a break from the busy park. It is also helps allow a break for myself to sit and relax or nurse Rachel while Brooke and Olivia can sit quietly coloring. The craft tables always have the kindest cast members that will help guide your kids with creating and finishing their craft.
Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession
Now this is a show you do not want to miss. The cavalcade will begin at the Pixar Pier Luxo Ball doors (bewtween Pixar Pier and Paradise Gardens) and it will end at Paradise Garden Park (just across the way from The Little Mermaid ride). The show will happen multiple times a day so make sure to check the app for performance times. Now you can watch the processional as they enter through the Pixar Pier doors or along their route, or you can do what we like to do and that is to get a spot, preferably front and center on the steps, at Paradise Gardens. This way you and especially your littles wont miss a beat of the show. The colorful outfits and dances are breathtaking and you will experience a variety of Asian cultural dances throughout the performance. With a Chinese dragon puppet, warriors, drummers and dancers your toddlers will be sure to be fully engaged during the entire show.
Hurry Home – Lunar New Year Celebration
During this visit we did not get to check out this show. But here is what we had experienced from years past. This is a nighttime water show at Paradise Bay prior to “World of Color,” which tells the tale of a little lantern’s quest to reunite with family for the annual celebration of good luck and fortune. The show will happen every night at 9:45 PM. You can book Fast Passes for the show near The Little Mermaid ride to ensure getting a great viewing spot. The earlier you get your passes, the better viewing area you will get. Booking this Fast Pass option is perfect if you have young kids because you won’t have to worry about spending a ton of your time trying to keep your kiddos entertained while staking out a spot. Instead you can wait just minutes before the show and head to your viewing area and still get an amazing view. There are also dining packages available if that is something that might interest you. Check those out here.
Paradise Garden Bandstand
Grab a bite or drink and sit back and enjoy some live entertainment from Melody Of China. And if your toddlers need to get their wiggels out, why not do it to the sounds of a live music band. Check the app for performance times.
Asian Cuisine Offerings
There are four festive marketplaces to experience food and beverages inspired by Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese cultures. These marketplace food booths are like the ones from the the Food and Wine Festival and Festival of Holidays. They are Longevity Noodle Co., Lucky 8 Lantern, Prosperity Bao & Buns and Red Dragon Spice Traders. Just like the other two festivals at DCA, you can purchase a Sip and Savor pass to indulge in all the yummy eats. There is a discount for annual pass holders on the Sip and Savor pass so make sure to take advantage of that if possible.
Aside from the food booths there will be festive food offerings available at Paradise Garden Grill and Lucky Fortune Cookery. You can also mobile order your food at these two restaurants through the Disneyland app which is a life saver when you young kids. Honestly, I do not know how I did Disney days before mobile ordering came into the game.
Check out the full Foodie Guide here.
Lucky Wishing Wall
Here you can write down wishes and tie them to the wall in hopes for a prosperous future. With all the strings of colorful wishes, you will be sure to have the best photo backdrop.
The decorations and colors of the festival are gorgeous. Make sure to take a step back and just look around. There are plenty of spots to gather with your family to capture a beautiful photo, or take a selfie for the gram. You will find the Paradise Gardens pavilion decked out with bamboo, golden flowers, peach blossoms, ornamental lanterns and banners.
There are always great merch picks during this festival. You will find shirts, Minnie ear headbands, pins, toys and even red envelops to celebrate in true Lunar New Year style. They also have these great red festive balloons for purchase (cash only). If you’ve never purchase a Disney parks balloon, they will last for weeks on end. And if your balloon pops while in the park that day, just take your balloon to a balloon merchant for an exchange for free!
I hope your inspired to take a trip to Disney California Adventure park and experience the Lunar New Year first hand!