Celebrating Chinese New Year the Disney Way

Disney Cast Pose for a Group Photo to Celebrate Chinese New Year

If you caught our ultimate guide to Chinese New Year, you know this year’s celebration has been one of our best with amazing only-at-Disney experiences at Shanghai Disney Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland. Today, we’re switching gears and taking a special look at two unique Disney cast member celebrations that are actually beyond the parks – they’re backstage and in the middle of a city.

At Shanghai Disney Resort, frontline night shift cast members gathered for a warm meal together backstage in celebration of the Laba Festival. In fact, this is just the third year of the tradition at the resort and has become one the cast look forward to each year!

The Laba Festival celebrates the end of the year and is a prelude to Chinese New Year, typically about three weeks prior. Families come together to eat Eight Treasure Congee (Bā bǎo zhōu) made of eight ingredients — rice, millet, red dates, lotus seeds, nuts, dried fruits, and beans — as they wish for good health, luck and prosperity for the upcoming year.

Not only were the cast able to celebrate this special day together, it was also the perfect opportunity to thank those who work overnight for their hard work. Warm and sweet Laba porridge, delicious chicken rolls and special gifts were on the menu as an appreciation for all they do!

“I was so surprised to receive warm Laba congee at work on the night of Laba Festival! I was able to eat with my fellow cast members and get to know each other better, sharing Spring Festival plans and wishes for the new year,” said Dai, a Food and Beverage cast member.

The fun didn’t stop there! More than 50 VoluntEARS from Shanghai Disney Resort continued to spread the festival spirit, packing and delivering more than 6,000 gift bags to local children’s hospitals and participating in Spring Festival traditions with those in elderly homes.

In Hong Kong, cast members took the celebration from park right into the heart of the city, bringing the magic and characters to downtown! As this is THE celebration in Hong Kong to celebrate the new year, there were just 40 spots for cast to join and landing one could be a sign of good luck.

“If I am fortunate enough to join the parade, it would also mean that I am destined for good luck throughout the year,” shared Addy – F&B Business and Operation Integration Manager.

This year’s float design, “Momentous Year of the Dragon Celebration,” takes inspiration from the parks stunning nighttime spectacular, “Momentous,” and the recently reimagined Castle of Magical Dreams. Not only is it a new year, the show also celebrates family and the precious moments we have with one another. It’s the perfect way to celebrate the year ahead!

From initial design to completion, the float took about three months and even features a remastered, Chinese New Year version of the show’s song “Love the Memory,” shared Barry, Art Director from Entertainment.

“We have integrated all the essential elements into the floats, symbolizing the spirit of Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and captivating our guests with the allure of Disneyland,” said Entertainment Show Director, RM.  “Even those who have never visited the park before will undoubtedly feel the Disney magic when they encounter our float and witness our performance.”

Whether bringing the magic to each other backstage or into the city, you can be sure the cast members will be there celebrating! If you’ve ever wondered how they also celebrate in the park, check out our complete guide to Chinese New Year at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Shanghai Disney Resort.