Not liking 2022 so far? Well, let's see if the Lunar New Year can help us find some better times ahead.
Disney's Lunar New Year celebration began today at Disney California Adventure. Disneyland places food at the heart of its Lunar New Year festivities, so I chatted with Chef Jeremiah Balogh before heading into the park today. I asked him to highlight a couple of his favorite dishes, so he introduced the park's Impossible Lion's Head Meatballs and Whole Fried Fish.
The scratch cooking that Chef Balogh touted can deliver tasty results, but the promise of tempting food draws long lines of fans throughout the festival. For the Whole Fried Fish ($24.99, serves two) and other festival items at Paradise Garden Grill, Disneyland's Mobile Order system can help reduce the time standing in line, but physical queues are the only way to order at the four festival marketplaces this year.
If you want food from the marketplaces, check the menus for all four, then order everything you want from the booth with the shortest queue. You then can present your receipt at the others' pick-up windows to get your items at your convenience.
Beyond the food, though, this is the Year of the Tiger, so Winnie the Pooh's friend Tigger gets the call to lead Mulan's Lunar New Year Procession this time. The three-minute parade this year heads from the Silly Symphony Swings up to the end of Paradise Park near The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure, before making a U-turn and heading back.
When he's not leading the parade, Tigger is greeting guests in Paradise Garden, where you also can watch Chinese calligraphy artists or write your own wish for the Lucky Wishes wall. Melody of China is playing at the bandstand there on Mondays through Fridays, too.
Over at Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, fans now can meet Raya from Disney's Raya and the Last Dragon, who is making her Lunar New Year debut this year. And free festival craft tables are available in front of The Little Mermaid ride, too, if you would like to color some "Year of the Tiger" fans.
The Lunar New Year festival continues through February 13 at Disney California Adventure.
For discounted tickets to the Disneyland theme parks - including the current Southern California resident deal at a price lower than on Disney's own website - please visit our travel partner's Disneyland tickets page.
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Update from Universal. There's nothing yet, but a USH spokesperson said, "This year, guests can enjoy a variety of Lunar New Year food and merchandise offerings throughout the month of February."
Back to Disney, just to reiterate, the lines at Lunar New Year were nuts yesterday. The queue for the one register at Paradise Garden Grill stretched all the way back to (the now-apparently-permanently-closed) Boardwalk Pizza entrance. Use Mobile Order there, or forget about it.
As for the booths, Prosperity Bao and Buns (in front of Little Mermaid) appeared to have the shortest line, but it was still long. I would order for all marketplace booths there. Let's hope that Disney can ramp up supplies and kitchen staff to help things run better in the days ahead. Getting past the opening day demand rush should help, too.
But, to be honest, with the number of unmasked coughing kids I saw at Disney yesterday, I was not comfortable removing my mask for any reason while inside the park, so I did not eat anything. Maybe in a week or so.
Robert, thanks for the update about Universal's LNY event.
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Any news from Universal Studios Hollywood about their Lunar New Year event being held (or not held) this year?
If there's not an event this year, what is Universal's explanation why?