Since I have become an Annual Passholder, one of my favorite ways to explore Disneyland is through the limited time events hosted throughout the year. In honor of the Lunar New Year last week, Disney hosted a special event in Disney California Adventure (DCA) celebrating the Year of the Sheep/Goat/Ram (I learned that it varies based on who you ask).
Traditionally, in my family growing up, we have celebrated holidays and cultures from around the world. Part of it was that my mom was a school teacher and had great information about the different events, but we were also taught to be inclusive of all beliefs and celebrations. To me, that is the normal.
I was thrilled to be able to experience the Feliz Navidad event during my parent's December trip, which was also held in DCA. I expected the Lunar New Year celebration to be similar, with special food, performers and activities available for a limited time.
Maybe it was due to the fact that the Lunar New Year celebration was a mere 4 days (compared to the longer engagement for Feliz Navidad), but this event was packed.
Events to Explore at the Lunar New Year Celebration
The interactive activities included coloring a paper lantern, getting your name drawn with Chinese letters, making a wish for the New Year, face painting, and meeting a selection of Disney characters.
The character meet and greets were the highest in-demand activity. We waited in line for nearly 2 hours with no knowledge of whether we would meet Mickey & Minnie, Mushu from Mulan, or Chip & Dale. There were many people trying to meet their character of choice, causing some line confusion. We were hoping for Mickey & Minnie, but Mushu was a fun, unique character that you don't see every day in the parks!
While we were waiting in line, my niece and I decorated a paper lantern with the provided crayons. The Cast Members were available to cut and assemble your lantern once completed (no scissors for the masses).
My favorite tip for experiencing these cultural events is to eat your food in the Garden Terrace area. We saw three different performing groups while enjoying Pork Bao and Almond Cookies brought in just for the Lunar New Year (both were delicious!).
There were also several local cultural groups that walked by on their way to perform on the main walkway. My niece was scared of the dragons, until my husband told her they were kitties, but be mindful of your little one's comfort level. The dragons came right up to greet and "eat" the guests in the front row!
Overall, the event was rather hectic but a great way to experience the Lunar New Year with some level of authenticity. I think Disney does a great job of including local groups, young and old, which brings a sense of community and spirit to the events. I look forward to the next special event at Disneyland!
Special thanks to my sister-in-law & brother-in-law for letting us borrow their child for the day. It's always more fun to experience Disneyland through the eyes of a child!