Ringing in the Year of the Pig at Universal Studios Hollywood for Lunar New Year
On a stormy and wet Tuesday morning we ventured up the hill to Universal Studios Hollywood to check out the Lunar New Year Celebration. We knew it was going to be a wonderful day because just at we parked the car and made our way to the Park the rain stopped! Yippee!
Not far from the front gates and just beyond the giant gold Foo Dogs, traditional Chinese decorations adorned the Universal Plaza. Below the gray and white cloudy sky, red paper lanterns were strung up high throughout the courtyard creating a memorizing design. Sprinkled in the center of the plaza were cherry blossom trees and dangling from the branches were red cards. Scribbled on these red cards were wishes wished by the guests for New Year. Chinese New Year would not be complete without adding our own wishes for 2019 to the trees, so that we did.
Circling the wishing cherry trees were huge banners displaying each of the 12 Chinese Zodiac symbols. Each of the banners featured an animal representing that year and the related birth years as well as couple of characteristics of that zodiac. Once every 12 years, a different zodiac is the featured one and this year is the Pig. We observed a family wandering from banner to banner trying to figure out which symbol they were based on the year they were born. I am the Dog, but I will let you try to figure out which year I was born. LOL.
Each Meet & Greet featured a specific character and they each offered a little something special for the Lunar New Year Celebration. Hello Kitty, the newest addition to the Animation Studio Store, greeted guests in her signature Red Bow while twirling around in her custom designed Lunar New Year dress. She was adorable, but of course it is Hello Kitty and she is always adorable. Po and Tigress took a break from Kung Fu teachings to pose with the guests. The Minions joined the celebration dressed in traditional Chinese attire as well. The highlight of the Meet & Greets was Megatron from Transformers. The amazing part- he spoke Mandarin Chinese. We don’t know what he was saying, but those who could understand sure were laughing.
Circling the courtyard, there were artists from the Jade Palace teaching drawing lessons to create your very own Po or Mr. Ping or various other characters. The Main Stage showcased Po and Dragon Warriors from the Kung Fu Academy. They were recruiting and training guests on various Kung Fu techniques.
In a hands down amazing interactive experience, we got to meet Mr. Ping. He was nestled into his Noodle Shop and we were delighted to interview him. We talked about him creating a franchise for his Noodle Shop and what his favorite noodles were. Mr. Ping also gave a big shout out to Theme Park Duo! He was very funny and quite a chatty goose. He reminded us to stop by next door and eat some of the noodles. Meeting Mr. Ping was totally awesome and a must see!
Speaking of food- throughout the Park various Lunar New Year dishes were available to taste. From Asian Bowls to various Baos, from Lunar Popcorn to Year of the Pig cookies and Green Tea churros with white chocolate dipping sauce and even PB&J dumplings were part of the Chinese cuisine extravaganza. There is vast variety for every taste bud out there and many of the dishes are available for a limited time only. My favorite dish of the day, were some of the yummiest noodles I have ever eaten from Mr Ping’s Noodle Shop. We scarfed the Oogway Chicken Egg Rolls, the Dragon Warrior BBQ Pork Baos and the Secret Ingredient Chicken Stir Fry noodles. One very special note- my noodles were able to be customized to not include onions due to my allergy and that was pretty cool.
What’s a celebration without souvenirs? Universal Studios produced exclusive Lunar New Year merchandise all in traditional red of course. There was a t-shirt and a mug adorned with the Universal Logo and chinese characters in glistening gold. A Year of the Pig pin with a dangly tassel and a 2019 calendar to celebrate Year of the Pig all year-long.
2019… The Year of the Pig. Universal Studios created a fun interactive celebration with a little something for everyone. You still have time to grab your family and go celebrate Lunar New Year at Universal Studios Hollywood before it draws to a close on February 18th.