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A beloved Disney character is joining Disneyland’s Lunar New Year celebrations. See who it is.

  • January 21, 2022

On Feb. 1, more than 1.5 billion people around the world will celebrate Lunar New Year. 

Disneyland is already getting the festivities started.  

Lunar New Year celebrations return to Disney California Adventure Park Friday, for the first time since the park’s pandemic closure.

This year, Tigger from Disney’s Winnie the Pooh will help ring in the Year of the Tiger, along with Mulan, Mushu, Minnie, Mickey and more. 

The tiger is one of 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, but Lunar New Year isn’t just a Chinese holiday. It’s celebrated in several, but not all, Asian countries and among the Asian diaspora.

California Adventure park guests can learn how Lunar New Year is also observed in South Korea and Vietnam and revel in special Asian-inspired dishes, activities and performances Jan. 21 through Feb. 13.

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For Asian American guests and cast members, there’s an added opportunity: representation.

“I love people watching and being able to see our guests, no matter the age, to be able to really just embrace themselves and be reconnected to their roots and where they come from,” said Elizabeth Kang, associate art director at Imagineering Live Entertainment. 

Kang shares her heritage through a Lunar New Year mural she created for Disneyland’s Downtown Disney District. It’s inspired by the “minhwa” style of Korean folk painting and shows iconic Disney characters embracing the holiday with open arms.

California has the highest Asian American population in the U.S. 

“Sharing and celebrating tradition and my culture through the festival at Disneyland is really special to me personally because it allows me to connect with my culture and other people’s culture(s) in a way that is seen and embraced and loved by the world,” she said. 

“I would love for people, when they come see this mural, to feel like they’re being celebrated,” she added. “I think we’ve been through a lot over the past few years. And I want people to feel that for this coming new year, not to just survive it and get through it, but really take time to celebrate ourselves and celebrate how far we’ve come.”

Park tickets aren’t required to see the mural. Downtown Disney, like Disney World’s Disney Springs, is a shopping, dining and entertainment district open to all. However, guests heading to California Adventure will have something else to look forward to. Raya of “Raya and the Last Dragon” is making her park debut, apart from Lunar New Year festivities.

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