Ring in the Year of the Rabbit, as well as Year of the Cat (Vietnamese Zodiac Calendar), at the Disneyland Resort, with our guide to the 2023 Disney Lunar New Year celebration in California Adventure.
My birthday falls at the end of January, and I’ve always enjoyed celebrating at Disneyland. What started as a coincidental extra to birthday festivities, has turned out to be a Lunar New Year tradition we look forward to participating in each year!
Our guide starts with answers to the most frequently asked questions we receive about Disney Lunar New Year and moves into more detailed information about our favorite Disney eats and festival entertainment.
What is Disney Lunar New Year?
Lunar New Year marks the beginning of the new lunar calendar, which is based on moon cycles. The event is oberserved all over the world, with the most well-known celebrations occurring in east Asian cultures.
Disneyland’s Lunar New Year event is largely focused on Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese cultures. The nearly month-long party features fun festival foods, marketplace booths, multi-cultural entertainment and activities, as well as themed Disney Lunar New Year merchandise.
When is Disney Lunar New Year?
Disneyland’s 2023 Lunar New Year celebration runs Friday, January 20, through Wednesday, February 15.
Is Disneyland busy during Lunar New Year?
Even though January and February are considered “off-season” and attraction closures are the norm, Disney Lunar New Year will still draw crowds.
Disney Lunar New Year started as a small weekend event in Disneyland, but it has exploded in popularity since its move to Disney California Adventure and a subsequent expansion in 2016.
During the Lunar New Year Festival, Disneyland tends to be busy, though not overly crowded. Disney California Adventure has the most foot traffic, with food booths and character meet and greets maintaining the longest lines, during this special event.
Where is Disney Lunar New Year?
Disney Lunar New Year festivities are held in Disney California Adventure Park. Most of the activities are located near Pixar Pier in Paradise Bay and Paradise Gardens Park.
How do I purchase tickets to Disney Lunar New Year?
Disney Lunar New Year activities and entertainment are free with valid theme park tickets. While food, drinks, and merchandise are available for an extra fee. Don’t make the mistake of paying full price for your theme park tickets – snag official discounted tickets!
Authorized discount tickets are available through our travel partner, Get Away Today. They can be purchased as a part of a vacation package or tickets may be acquired as a stand-alone purchase, without hotel and travel accommodations.
Working with Get Away Today is easy. You can book online, or you can call and work with their wonderful vacation planners. They’re well-versed in events like Disney Lunar New Year and can assist with down-to-the-minute vacation plans.
Tickets purchased from Get Away Today are sent electronically to your email. You can enter the information into your Disneyland account, make your reservations and head straight to the gate, skipping ticket booth lines.
Be sure to use the Get Away Today promo code TE10 for an extra $10 off your ticket purchase.
Food at Disney Lunar New Year
Specialty Food at Lunar New Year
Disney Lunar New Year marketplace kiosks, featuring Asian-inspired snacks and beverages, open daily between 10:30 – 11:00 a.m. and remain open until 9 p.m. Items range in price from $6.50 to $14.99.
Purchase items from this fun tasting menu at the following booths:
- Bamboo Blessings – New in 2023
- Wrapped with Love – New in 2023
- Lucky 8 Lantern
- Prosperity Boa and Buns
- Red Dragon Spice Traders
- Longevity Noodle Co.
For full menus, food reviews and pricing, be sure to visit our Disney Lunar New Year Food post.
Several permanent restaurants located in Disney California Adventure Park offer Asian-fusion dishes, served as a part of the Disney Lunar New Year celebration including Lamplight Lounge, Lucky Fortune Cookery, Magic Key Terrace, Pacific Warf Café, Paradise Garden Grill, Sonoma Terrace, Goofy’s Churro Cart and small food carts throughout Disney California Adventure.
For more information on the fun fare provided at these restaurants during the festival, visit our article featuring Disney Lunar New Year food.
What is the Disney Lunar New Year Sip and Savor Pass?
The Disney Lunar New Year Sip and Savor Pass, is a commemorative lanyard featuring six coupon tabs redeemable for food and beverage offerings (excluding alcohol) at festival marketplace booths. They’re great if you’re traveling with a family or group and will be purchasing multiple snacks during your visit.
Sip and Savor passes are available at Seaside Souvenirs, Lunar New Year marketplace booths, Merchandise Pergola and special Sip and Savor carts. The passes are available for $45 ($42 for Magic Key Holders) and may be used through February 15, 2023.
We’ve done the math. To save money with the $45 pass, you will want to purchase six items over $7.50 ($7 for Magic Key Holders).
Skip the lines! Our favorite way to utilize the sip and savor pass is to visit the booth with the shortest line and order several foods at once. Once your food order is placed, keep your receipt, visiting individual booths throughout the day to collect your food (just don’t lose your receipt!).
Sidenote: On busy days, Disneyland has been unable to accommodate single line ordering, due to food shortages. On our last visit several booths were out of specialty food items before noon. If you want to enjoy specialty foods on the weekend, visit the festival booth early!
Disney Lunar New Year Entertainment
While you will find a variety entertainment – from traditional east Asian musicians to street performers – throughout the day and well into the evening, our favorite encounters are the character greetings and Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession.
Character meet and greets at Disneyland’s Lunar New Year party
One of the best things about Disneyland’s festivals and special events are the unique characters you will encounter. This year Park guests will meet Mulan, Mushu, Mickey, Minnie, Oswald and Ortensia dressed up in their Lunar New Year’s best in Paradise Gardens.
Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (Year of the Rabbit) and Ortensia the Cat (Year of the Cat) are expected to be among the most popular characters in the Park, during the festival. This marks Ortensia’s first appearance in a U.S. Park. The two characters will not appear together since they represent different cultures.
Characters typically come out between 10-10:30 a.m. and hold court in the Paradise Gardens Gazebo, just beyond Goofy’s Sky School. We recommend hopping in line early in the morning, when it opens, for the shortest wait. It’s not unusual for the wait for these specialty characters to grow up to an hour at peak times during the day.
Rumor has it, Pluto is walking around Paradise Gardens this year to greet guests at random. We didn’t catch him on our most recent trip, let us know if you do!
Raya, from “Raya and the Last Dragon,” is back at Redwood Creek Challenge Trail. She is usually available on and off between 2-9 p.m.
Raya is a fantastic meet and greet. She spends a fair amount of time engaging with each party. As a result, this line can run a little bit longer and is often capped around 7:30 p.m.
Redwood Creek Challenge trail is beautifully decorated with colorful lanterns that are stunning at night. It makes for a fun visit, whether you’re a big Raya fan or not!
It’s possible we may run into Rabbit (Winnie the Pooh), Judy Hopps (Zootopia), or even Thumper (Bambi) this year. Please let us know if you see them in the Park!
Wondering about which characters have been featured as part of Lunar New Year in the past? Here’s a list of the featured characters:
- 2023 (expected) Year of the Rabbit: Oswald (Oswald the Lucky Rabbit), Thumper (Bambi), Rabbit (Winnie the Pooh) and Judy Hopps (Zootopia)
- 2023 (expected) Vietnamese Year of the Cat: Ortensia (Oswald the Lucky Rabbit)
- 2022 Year of the Tiger: Tigger (Winnie the Pooh)
- 2020 Year of the Rat: Mickey and Minnie Mouse
- 2019 Year of the Pig: Three Little Pigs
- 2018 Year of the Dog: Pluto
- 2017 Year of the Rooster: Alan-a-Dale (Robbin Hood)
- 2016 Year of the Monkey: Abu (Aladdin)
Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession
This fun processional moves from Paradise Pier to Hollywood Land.
The highlight of the Procession is a float carrying Mulan, Mushu and a group of traditional drummers. Goofy rides (and dances around) on the back of this float. The float is decorated with golden firecrackers and red and cold lanterns that glow in the evening.
In addition to the float, enjoy warriors, lotus flow and fan dancers, a Chinese dragon, as well as a few traditional Disney characters like Chip and Dale. This year, keep an eye out for Oswald, who joins the parade on the back of a bike.
This parade can be seen multiple times a day during the Lunar New Year celebration at 12:20, 1:45, 4:15, and 5:45 p.m. We recommend lining up between Little Mermaid and Goofy’s Sky School about 15-30 minutes before the show begins.
Hurry Home – Lunar New Year World of Color
Just prior to the start of the Disney 100 Years of Wonder World of Color spectacle, enjoy “Hurry Home.” This six-minute World of Color pre-show takes place before the first showing at 9 p.m.
This show, featuring Mulan and Mushu, follows a little lantern on a quest to reunite with loved ones for Lunar New Year to celebrate good luck and fortune. The show features sky-high fountains, a variety of lighting effects and a musical score that was originally featured at the opening of Shanghai Disney.
World of Color takes place in Paradise Bay, in front of Pixar Pal-A-Round and the Incredicoaster. The show uses more than 1200 fountains, capable of shooting water 200 feet in the air. The fountains are equipped with LED rings that create the light and colors seen on the water.
Full World of Color shows typically last 20-25 minutes.
There are three different ways to secure a spot to view Hurry Home and World of Color during Disney Lunar New Year.
- Join a virtual queue at noon in the Disneyland app (free)
- Walk up and ask a cast member for available stand by viewing areas
- Purchase the World of Color Dessert Party Dining Package
Even if you have secured a spot through the virtual queue or the dessert party, we recommend arriving 30 minutes to one hour before the start of the show to secure a spot. There is little to no seating in the area, so be prepared to stand.
Lunar New Year Crafts
After visiting characters, consider participating in the free crafts offered at Disney Lunar New year. Complete a coloring craft outside the Little Mermaid ride or watch local artisans’ ink beautiful Chinese calligraphy.
Lucky Wishing Wall
One of the most popular stops in Disney California Adventure during Lunar New Year is the Lucky Wishing Wall. The Wishing Wall is in Paradise Gardens.
Guests of all ages are encouraged to write down a Lunar New Year wish under a bevy of ornamental lanterns and tie it to the Lucky Wishing Wall
Disney Lunar New Year Merchandise
The Disneyland Lunar New Year Festival offers a good deal of specialty merchandise. Lunar New Year merch can be purchased at World of Disney, in Downtown Disney, or at any of the merchandise carts scattered along the walkway to Paradise Pier.
The most popular items tend to be the Disney Lunar New Year spirit jersey’s, backpacks, and ears.
January and February are among the best months to visit Disneyland. Crowds are lower and the weather is pretty nice (at least for those of us traveling from the frozen tundra!). Take a chance on travel this time of year and enjoy the Disney Lunar New Year Festival!