As guests walk down Paradise Pier at Disney California Adventure (DCA), they’re treated to the sounds of instrumental Chinese music. Every inch of the pathway is adorned with red and gold arches and each light post has a banner with Pluto, reminding guests that 2018 is the Year of the Dog.
The Lunar New Year celebrations are held at Paradise Pier for guests to experience the annual festivities and cuisines that are happening halfway around the world.
Along the marketplaces, guests are treated to all kinds of Asian cuisine: Korean, Vietnamese and Chinese with more options available at the Paradise Garden Grill.
Some of the featured dishes include kimchi bokkeumbap, a Korean vegetable fried rice, xiaolongbao, a Chinese pork dumpling soup and bánh chu’ng, a Vietnamese sticky rice cake with pork.
Kimchi bokkeumbap was also served during last year’s celebrations, and though it’s delicious, the serving size was as big as a handful of rice, and it cost $6. It may leave customers wanting more without the urge to spend an additional $6 for another serving.
Paradise Garden Grill offers more reasonably-sized dishes for guests to indulge in like Pho Bò, a beef noodle soup originating from Vietnam, Japchae, a Korean vegetable dish and Cá rô phi chiên giòn, a Vietnamese meal for two served with a whole crispy tilapia, soup, vegetables and rice.
The Galbi beef short ribs are also a featured dish at Paradise Garden Grill, served with steamed rice and a side of kimchi. The beef is rather fatty, but for a dish that totals around $15, it’s expected from an amusement park to be costly and decent at best.
Mulan and Mushu have their own procession to celebrate the Year of the Dog and are accompanied by lively performers, including Chinese umbrella dancers at the Performance Corridor near Goofy’s Sky School.
Disney California Adventure also has a segment during the beginning of “World of Color” called “Hurry Home,” a commemoration of the new year. In the show, a lantern gets lost on its way home to celebrate the festivities of good luck and fortune and includes appearances from Mulan and Mushu.
Guests can write their New Year’s wishes on a Mickey Mouse-shaped piece of paper and tie it to a string wall near Paradise Garden Grill in hopes that their 2018 wishes will come to fruition.
Disney annual passholders have their own new year celebration spot between Paradise Garden Grill and Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta where they can hang their written wishes and have their photos taken on a backdrop with Mickey Mouse and Pluto.
One of the many performances during the festivities is a group of drummers called the GuGu Drum Group originating from Shanghai, China. They bring high energy with their performances and showcase Chinese proverbs through their elaborate costumes and ancient percussive rhythms.
Vanessa Deguzman, a Garden Grove native, was thrilled with how Disneyland Resort embraces diversity.
“DCA always shows the cultural side whether it’s Asia, or from Mexico, or anything like that which I really like. And for a lot of people who aren’t from here, this is kind of like soft exposure to them,” Deguzman said.
Angela Buterbaugh, a 38-year-old annual passholder said that she’s seen “World of Color” numerous times since it first opened in 2010, but it was her first time seeing the addition of the “Hurry Home” segment.
“I think it’s really cool. It gives us a little bit of a taste of culture. And I have some friends that are Chinese, and they’ve been wanting me to take videos and stuff for them of what (Disney is) doing here for the Lunar New Year,” said Buterbaugh.
The Lunar New Year celebrations at Disney California Adventure will continue until Feb. 18.