Disney celebrates Asia with California Adventure's Lunar New Year

January 25, 2019, 3:48 PM · The Disneyland Resort kicked off its annual celebration of Asian cultures today with its Lunar New Year event at Disney California Adventure.

Balloons

The special event runs daily at the park through February 17 this year, including Lunar New Year-themed merchandise, special performance and, of course because it’s DCA special event, a whole lotta food.

(It looks we finally did get our west coast "Westcot" after all!)

California Adventure has four festival marketplaces serving Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and other dishes, as well as a Lunar New Year menu for the Paradise Garden Grill. Prices range from $6.50 to $8 for savory options at the marketplaces, but if you want six items, you can get those prices down to $6.50 each with the $39 Sip and Savor Pass.

Annual pass holders pay $36 for the pick-any-six-items pass, which gets the price per item down to just $6. Just stay away from the cheaper desserts and drinks, and you can save money with the pass. (Alcohol is not included on the pass.)

Note that even though the pass is good at the Paradise Garden Grill, you’ll get only half-sized items using a pass ticket, and not the full-sized, full-priced menu items offered with cash or card payment.

I picked one item from each of the four marketplaces and from the Garden Grill. From my favorite to least:

1. Bahn Mi, Paradise Garden Grill ($8. $11.99 for full size)

Bahn Mi

The best thing I’ve had in the park in a while, the classic Vietnamese sandwich features grilled pork belly, pickled daikon and carrots, and cucumbers, garnished with cilantro and jalapeños, served atop a perfectly baked demi baguette.

2. Crispy Shrimp Fried Rice, Lucky 8 Lantern ($8)

Crispy Shrimp Fried Rice

The fried rice came a close second for me, with bacon and edamame accompanying the garlicy fried rice and lightly crisped shrimp.

3. Steamed Short Rib Shumai, Red Dragon Spice Traders ($7.75)

Steamed Short Rib Shumai

The two shumai are generously stuffed with delicious short rib, but Sriracha Mayo doesn’t do anything for me, knocking this dish to third in a tight race.

4. Pan-fried Wheat Noodles, Longevity Noodle Co. ($7.25)

Pan-fried Wheat Noodles

There’s a big jump down to fourth, where this dish gets a point for a surprisingly tasty set of chicken meatballs that make up for some forgettable noodles in what is supposedly an apple-ginger sauce.

5. Char Sui Pork Bao, Prosperity Bao & Buns ($7.75)

Char Sui Pork Bao

I wanted to like the char sui, but there just wasn’t nearly as much flavor here as with the other dishes, save for some jalapeños.

The main entertainment is Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession, which this year plays as a stage show in the World of Color viewing area, across from The Little Mermaid.

Mulan show

And kids can enjoy arts and crafts in Paradise Gardens Park as well as character meet and greets near the Garden Grill. Lunar New Year runs daily at Disney California Adventure through February 17, 2019.

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