We frogs are squeaking with excitement for Lunar New Year at Disney California Adventure because 2020 will be the Year of the Rat! Lunar New Year celebrates the traditional turning of the Chinese lunisolar calendar. Disney has seen this festival explode (it's a firework thing) in popularity since it began. The Lunar New Year Festival runs Jan. 17 to Feb. 9, 2020, to celebrate the Year of the Rat!
The number of days for the festival has expanded in recent years, and we have been toadally excited about the new foods and entertainment. You can taste traditional foods, beverages and sweet treats from Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and other Asian cultures at four Asian marketplaces and other dining locations. While you nibble your treats, you can enjoy music and shows. The year 2019 was the Year of the Pig. We enjoyed seeing the The Three Little Pigs in Mulan's Lunar New Year's Procession. We can't wait to see what 2020 brings.
Lunar New Year at Disney California Adventure
Lunar New Year Entertainment
You will generally find festive Lunar New Year entertainment throughout the day and well into the evening between 10:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. The array of musicians, acrobats and other performers is diverse and fun.
While all of the entertainment is exciting, our favorite spectacle is Mulan's Lunar New Year's Procession. The procession took place on the waterfront in 2019 and was led by Mulan and Mushu (with Chip and Dale, Goofy and The Three Little Pigs) in their full holiday garb.
Be sure to check the entertainment guide for specific performance times and locations, but there are typically about four shows per day, every hour from noon until 4:00 p.m.
You can catch musical and artistic performances inside Paradise Gardens while you enjoy some of the tasty foods from Paradise Garden Grill or any of the festival marketplaces. Look for signs with the showtimes.
You can typically meet characters Mulan, Mushu, Mickey, Minnie, Pluto and Chip and Dale, all dressed in their New Year’s best at Paradise Gardens, and this year we hope to meet some famous Disney rats. Perhaps Remy? Disneyland has not announced any special characters for 2020 yet, but we can hope.
Hop in line in the morning for the shortest waits. Before or after visiting characters, you can do free crafts (like color and create a paper lantern), add a message to the New Year’s Wishing Wall or get complimentary face painting.
Most years, before the nightly World of Color show, you can enjoy a six-minute pre-show called “Hurry Home — Lunar New Year Celebration.” This story of family and friendship features Mulan and Mushu, and is told with fountains, lights and music. When it is running, be sure to pick up a World of Color FastPass early in the day.
Lunar New Year at Disney California Adventure means there will be exclusive Lunar New Year merchandise. You can purchase some souvenir Mickey Mouse red envelopes to bring home to family, filled with wishes for good fortune and happiness in the coming year. There are red lanterns, t-shirts, ears and all kinds of goodies to help you celebrate Lunar New Year Disney-style.
Lunar New Year Festival Food
One of our favorite parts of Lunar New Year is getting a taste of the Asian cultures by trying the delicious foods. The Paradise Garden Grill gets a fresh Asian-inspired menu during the event, and the four Festival Marketplaces offer Asian dishes with a Disney flair. Here’s a look at the 2019 Festival foods and beverages:
Lucky 8 Lantern
• Crispy shrimp friend rice with garlic, bacon and edamame
• Stir-fried vegetables and pineapple with soy, steamed rice and crunchy noodles
• Mandarin orange tea tart
• Vietnamese iced coffee
Prosperity Bao & Buns
• Mickey Chinese hot dog bun
• Char siu pork bao
• Mango-pineapple pastry
• Winter Plum Blossom gin mule
Longevity Noodle Co.
• Pan-fried noodles with chicken meatballs, cabbage salad and apple-ginger sauce
• Vegetable egg roll and chilled sesame-garlic noodles with toasted peanuts and cilantro-cashew sauce
• Egg tart
• Orchid spritz
Red Dragon Spice Traders
• Firecracker chicken and steamed rice
• Steamed short rib shumai with a spicy Korean sauce, Sriacha-mayo and cucumber salad
• Purple yam macaron with crème fraiche
• Raspberry lychee chia tea
Paradise Garden Grill Restaurant
• Whole fried fish (served family style for two)
• Vegan Orange Tempeh with vegetables
• Korean Grilled Chicken
• Banh Mi (crispy baguette with marinated pork belly)
• Mango Mousse
• Tsing Tao Beet
If you can’t decide — and we admit it will be very hard to choose what to eat — you can get a Sip and Savor Pass for $39 ($36 with an Annual Pass) that comes with six coupons that can be redeemed for food and nonalcoholic beverages. The Sip and Savor Pass is good at any of the above Festival Marketplaces, the Festival Food and Beverage Cart and Paradise Garden Grill.
Whether you usually celebrate Lunar New Year in your home, or you want to know more about this holiday, you will love experiencing Lunar New year at Disney California Adventure. We learned a lot of about the celebration last year, and we look forward to an even bigger event in 2020. Happy Lunar New Year!
Have you celebrated Lunar New Year at Disney California Adventure? Let us know in the comments if you've joined in on this festive celebration, and what your favorite activities were.
Related: Complete Guide to Disneyland Events