This year’s annual Lunar New Year festival at Disney California Adventure features six different kiosks serving Asian-inspired dishes, with the one-off food items running from January 20 until February 15. Anyone with a ticket to Disneyland’s sister theme park has access to the food and drink specials, which are meant to celebrate the Asian holiday season. The menu features plenty of Disney-specific preparations, like a Mickey Mouse-shaped hot dog or macaron, though most of the dishes are just tasty snack-sized portions for reasonable prices.
There are a few different ways to navigate the somewhat confusing and disorganized setup, so here’s the best method. First, step up to the first ordering kiosk located near the front of the park and place all your orders. Upon payment, take the receipt to each kiosk’s pickup line to breeze through and pick up each dish. This is a lot faster than waiting at each kiosk’s individual ordering line.
There are six kiosks sporting Lunar New Year names (like Bamboo Blessings or Red Dragon Spice Traders) spread across California Adventure, each serving two dishes and maybe a specialty cocktail. Here now, are the top six things to eat at Disney’s Lunar New Year festival.
Red spice fried chicken bites at Red Dragon Spice Traders
Kind of a mash between Panda Express’s popular orange chicken and Korean fried chicken, this tray offers the sweet-spicy punch of gochujang coated around crisp chicken chicharrones for $8.75. The bites will get a little soggy after time so it’s best to enjoy fast; given the separate pieces, it’s a nice one to share while walking through California Adventure’s main walkways. There’s a decent hit of spice, which seems surprising for theme park food, too. One only wishes it came with a side of fried chow mein (but it does not).
Quesabirria egg roll with guajillo pepper consomé at Lucky 8 Lantern
This cheesy, crispy bite pits one of California’s most popular dishes, quesabirria, into egg roll form. It’s easily the most inventive and fun idea from the Lunar New Year festival, though it falls just short of expectations once eaten. That’s not to say this dish is bad — quite the opposite, in fact. The rich, stringy cheese embeds tender beef birria while the tangy guajillo pepper consomé acts almost like a Mexican version of a classic Chinese egg roll dipping sauce, but with extra spice and umami. If the egg roll came straight out of the fryer, this would easily be the top dish. The $9 price feels a bit steep given the size of the egg roll.
Mickey Mouse-shaped hot dog bun at Bamboo Blessings
This weird hot dog situation is certainly unique, and very Disney-like. A plush mouse head-shaped brioche comes studded with hot dog cylinders, sesame seeds, and green onions. The whole dish is perhaps supposed to resemble a (very) loose version of a Chinese bao, but the dough’s brioche-like texture gives it a buttery richness instead. This dish is best broken apart to be shared, and enjoyed with some mustard or ketchup. A bonus is that the modest $7.50 price provides plenty of shareable bites.
Mickey Mouse-shaped red macaron at Bamboo Blessings
Easily the most visually fun bite of the festival, this Mickey Mouse-shaped macaron won’t win any awards from pastry chefs for its ridiculous buttercream-to-cookie ratio, but it does earn style points for the gold accent and color contrast. There’s a decent crunchy texture to the macaron, while the buttercream’s sweetness doesn’t overwhelm it. A bit of creme fraiche is supposed to keep it all together, but it can be hard to actually find in each bite. Still, this is arguably the tastiest dessert of the festival and one that should dominate social media.
Spicy pork dan dan noodles from Longevity Noodle Co.
Disney’s chefs did a nice job trying to replicate dan dan noodles here, using standard spaghetti noodles and a hefty dose of chile-laden ground pork. The results are solid for a theme park dish, and one never knew how pleasant it would be to slurp up noodles while walking around. The only wish would’ve been for maybe an ounce more of noodles to balance out the wealth of ground pork and vegetables. The kitchen isn’t shy with the green onions, providing a fresh crunch, while the dish mixes in crushed peanuts and pan-fried vegetables for extra texture. $8.50 for a single serving.
Mandarin mousse cake at Lucky 8 Lantern
This beautiful fancy patisserie-style dessert comes with a gelatinous coating of tangerine glaze and mandarin orange mousse around a vanilla cake and clementine compote. Inside, don’t expect Parisian-level pastry construction, but for a theme park, it’s almost remarkable to see something this well-decorated on a paper tray. The chocolate stem and edible leaf complete the trompe l’oeil look. This dessert is less sweet thanks to the balance of the fruit compared to the macaron, so if you’re just ordering one dessert, this would be the pick.