Lunar New Year at Universal Studios Hollywood Review
Lunar New Year at Universal Studios Hollywood is once again upon us! Delicate and beautiful cherry blossom trees decorate the Universal Plaza while bright red and gold lanterns and signage adorn the main entry of the park. Lunar New Year at USH has got to be the most beautiful event of the season!
Like last year, USH is offering up a plethora of different food and entertainment offerings uniquely themed to Lunar New Year. We feel as though this years event is significantly stronger than previous years iterations for a few reasons. But we’ll get into that soon.
When you walk into the Universal Plaza, you are immediately met with signage with “fun facts” and the story behind Lunar New Year. Although passive, it’s nice to have the historical side of the event represented. As you pass under the archway, you’ll see the vibrant pink cherry blossom trees around the Universal Plaza. Each tree has red papers hanging from there, where people can write messages for a good and prosperous new year.
One of the major offerings at Lunar New Year is Mr. Ping’s Noodles. This is a fun, well themed, quick service restaurant specifically for Lunar New Year. If you’ve read any articles on our site prior to this, you’ll know that we love seasonally themed food items at all the parks. Needless to say, we love these items so much!
We had the opportunity to try the Pork Dumplings, Asian Sausages, Pork Ramen and Cherry Cheesecake. All were very good, but the Pork Ramen and Pork Dumplings were the standout favorites from the day. The Ramen is by no means restaurant quality, but significantly higher quality than your normal theme park food. I would have this over a slice of pizza any day.
In all honesty, having food this good just makes me want this food all year round!
USH (or Universal in general) arguably has some of the best meet and greets in US theme parks. Universal has a wonderful arsenal of characters at their disposal to incorporate into daily operations or special holiday offerings like Lunar New Year. At this even, the normal characters you’d see at the park are dressed in their finest Lunar New Year attire. You can also meet characters you don’t get any other time of the year.
For instance, especially for Lunar New Year, you can have a meet and greet with Mr. Ping from Kung Fu Panda! This consists more than just a quick picture. You actually get to have a small conversation with him, which he usually brings up his noodles and his secret ingredient. Lucky for me, I had already tasted Mr. Ping’s noodles, so we had plenty to talk about.
You can also meet Mandarin speaking Megatron, The Minions and Hello Kitty! Of course, you can meet Po or some of the other characters from Kung Fu Panda.
Returning from last year, you have the opportunity to learn how to draw characters from Kung Fu Panda. This is always fun, because you have a free souvenir to take home after the demonstration is finished.
Out of all the entertainment offerings this year, our favorite has to be the Traditional Lion dances. Not only was it visually beautiful, it was also very eye opening. Most of the time, at theme parks, you’ll get watered down cultural dances or experiences. But this is a wonderful opportunity to let the dance and culture speak for itself without the need of special animated characters or over the top music. People aren’t always exposed to different cultures, so it’s nice there is an opportunity to witness something new and different.
This was the highlight of Lunar New Year at USH and we highly suggest you get a seat for this incredibly entertaining dance before the crowds rush the stage.
USH has once again put together a wonderful Lunar New Year with plenty of improvements over last years event. Is it something worth the price of a ticket alone, no. But if you’re headed to the park, you’ll get tremendous value from your ticket with all these additional pieces of entertainment and food offerings. As I’ve said before, about many of the events at USH, it would be wonderful to see this celebration go outside the general bounds of the Universal Plaza. We understand the spacial limitations that USH has to work with, which is why this suggestion doesn’t hinder our current experience. We actually love what the celebration at the park has become, we are just looking at what the next step could be on expanding an already successful seasonal offering.