Disney California Adventure, Anaheim, CA
After yesterday's shenanigans, we're here today with a more straightforward update that covers this year's Lunar New Year celebration at Disney California Adventure! The event kicked off last weekend, and this year brings an added weekend to the events, upping the total to three. This year also introduces a "Food and Wine Festival" element to the line-up, joining the entertainment, character meet-and-greets, and activity line-up. Lets take a look at some of what's going on, shall we?
This year is the year of the rooster, and as past Lunar New Year celebrations have occurred, the activity takes place over in Paradise Pier, which, has really taken on a bit of a mini-World Showcase (EPCOT-style) over the past year or so with the seasonal offerings the park has brought on. Guests can engage in face painting, buy holiday souvenirs, write their own new year's wish on a red tag, and make some arts and crafts.
Disney characters are also on hand in prosperous red for meet-and-greets. Bring some patience if you come on the weekend. The line to meet Mickey, Minnie, Mulan, or Mushu can be well over an hour, although Chip and Dale are around, roaming to meet guests here and there. It's a cool chance to see these Disney characters in seasonal garb for a limited time.
A very low-scale version of the Food and Wine Festival (and Festival of Holidays Marketplace food offerings) has been added this year, with three stands highlight cuisine from China, Korea, and Vietnam--the countries and cultures that traditionally celebrate the lunar new year. As with previous examples, the servings are tapas sized, designed for snacking rather than for filling, and the prices are more or less on par with recent patterns. This means there is a premium to sample the flavors, simply because they are specialty items. Those who want a little better value can head over to the Garden Grill, where full size dishes are available for the three weeks this event runs.
There are plenty of entertainment acts with this year's Lunar New Year celebration, including performances I wasn't able to catch and document.
At Paradise Park's center stage, the Acrobats of China give several performances showcasing impressive gymnastics, rope twirling, Chinese yo-yo, and silk dances. The show lasts nearly twenty minutes and attracts a pretty good crowd in front of the regular World of Color viewing area. The tricks and flips are dazzling, sure to elicit some wow's from the crowd.
At the Paradise Garden Bandstand, there are several acts that rotate throughout the day. This group of girls was not listed on the bill and might be a rotating or one-weekend act, but they showcased a selection of Korean and Vietnamese dancing and arts. First was an exhibit of Samgo-Mu Drum Dance, followed by a Geommu Knife Dance, culminating in a Vietnamese hat dance. It was certainly nice to see these cultural traditions showcased at DCA.
Also at the Bandstand are two billed rotating performers. Jie Ma, who I was not able to catch, showcases the traditional Chinese pipa instrument, which is a bit like a lute. Blind Vietnamese musician Dat Nguyen, plays guitar, melodica (the harmonica with keys), and also lute, and brings his infectious and charming optimism (having overcome the odds to pursue a career in music) to the stage.
Also part of the Lunar New Year DCA celebrations are Mulan's Lunar New Year procession--a not-quite-parade featuring everyone's favorite heroine of China, and the Hurry Home--Lunar New Year Celebration, which is effectively a mini World of Color style show commemorating this Asian holiday.
It's truly fantastic to see this event get larger and larger and celebrate the customs of Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese culture. Having personally grown up around Chinese New Year activities, I feel a bit of pride seeing that a bit of my own culture is on display for others to experience and learn about. It's also wonderful to see Disney California Adventure cultivate an identity of diversity. As various holiday seasons roll across the year, this area has shown a proclivity to produce overlays celebrating various cultures, and everyone could benefit from the exposure to the arts and ways of different human beings.
That's it for today. We'll be going overseas again the next two days for some more Japanese amusement park tours. And if you boys and girls are really good, maybe something colorful and classic to end the week.
Architect. Photographer. Disney nerd. Haunt enthusiast. Travel bugged. Concert fiend. Asian.