Hurry over to the Disneyland Resort! They are celebrating the Year of the Mouse from January 17 through February 9. The Lunar New Year is steeped in customs and traditions. It falls on a different day every year, and each year, it is represented by a different animal of the Chinese zodiac.
The color red is symbolic in Chinese culture. When I stepped through the decorative Chinese-style archway that welcomed guests to the Lunar New Year marketplace, I felt uplifted to see vibrant reds and yellows – colors that symbolized happiness and luck – on balloons, cast member clothing, and merchandise. I could smell the scent of Asian-inspired dishes from a nearby food stall, Red Dragon Spice Traders. Did you know that there is a pass, namely the Sip and Savor Pass, that you can buy at the marketplace which allows you to enjoy the mouth-watering foods and drinks at a reduced price? Get in touch with your inner foodie because I really liked the Mickey-shaped Purple Yam Macaron with my Almond Milk Tea.
My next happy place was checking out the merchandise at the shops. While there are many superstitions associated with this time of year, it is customary to avoid buying new shoes during the first week of the Lunar New Year. The word “shoes” in Cantonese sounds very similar to the word “rough” so buying new shoes might usher in a very rough year! There were no shoes sold at the shops, but I loved the Mickey and Minnie plush characters dressed in traditional Chinese clothing.
I admired the hanging lanterns floating at the marketplace, as well as the hanging banners that displayed our beloved Disney friends in traditional Chinese garments. The sound of Asian musical instruments playing in the background was a reminder of the lively family gatherings from my youth to this day at Chinese restaurants. A time of the year to enjoy an abundance of food and sweets, exchange lucky red pockets, and watch lion dances.
The music grew louder from a distance – crashing cymbals and drums banging. In came Mulan’s entourage for the New Year Procession! Crowds gathered to get a glimpse of the incoming bright and bold cavalcade marching towards Paradise Garden Park. It was a dazzling display of color lead by lively dancers, Mulan, Mushu the dragon, Mickey & Minnie, Goofy, Chip & Dale – all in their traditional Chinese outfits, and a 50-foot Chinese dragon. What a magical sight!
I was smitten with celebrating the Lunar New Year at Disney California Adventure Park. While the event runs until February 9, I will have to return to catch the nighttime water show that follows World of Color. If you get a chance to visit this limited-time event, I would love to hear your thoughts on our social media pages.
Wishing you and your family the most auspicious new year yet!