Hong Kong Disneyland Resort (HKDL) will usher in the Year of the Dog with a Chinese New Year night market and other festivities. And since it will be the Year of the Dog, you can be sure that everyone’s favourite canines – Goofy and Pluto – will play leading roles in the celebrations.
From Bangkok to Saigon to Hong Kong, if there is one thing that the disparate cultures of Southeast Asia have in common, it is the street market.
Bangkok alone has several variations on the theme: the night market, the weekend market, and the floating market.
In Hong Kong, there is the Ladies’ Market, Stanley Market, and Temple Street. The first two are open all day long, but the third one only comes alive after dark.
I made my first trip to Taiwan after studying Mandarin for one year at university, taking part in a summer programme targeted at university students from the United States.
As soon as there was an evening when no formal activities had been planned, our Chinese hosts – who were studying at universities in Taiwan – invited several of us to one of Taipei’s most popular night markets.
I wasn’t sure what the big deal was. It was simply a mind-boggling collection of hawkers vending mostly cheaply made wares and countless eateries, which our hosts ostentatiously referred to as “sidewalk cafes”.
Believe me, they had NOTHING in common with their Parisian counterparts! But our hosts seemed to be immensely proud of them, and I’ve since learned that street markets are hugely popular across Asia, and especially in Southeast Asia.
I’ve always assumed that this had something to do with the climate. Nights can be a bit sultry across the region, and – if you don’t have to air-conditioning – it can be very unpleasant to remain indoors.
Air-conditioning is now practically universal in places like Hong Kong, but old customs die hard. Night markets continue to be almost as popular today as they were before air-conditioning was invented.
While night markets are a year-round activity in most Southeast Asian cities, temporary night markets are set up for special occasions such as Chinese New Year and the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Chinese New Year in Hong Kong
Chinese New Year – sometimes referred to as the Spring Festival – is the most important holiday of the year in Chinese societies the same way that Christmas is the most important holiday of the year in Western societies.
In East-Meets-West Hong Kong, both holidays are celebrated with equal enthusiasm so it is not surprising that Hong Kong Disneyland pulls out all the stops to celebrate Chinese New Year.
According to the Lunar Calendar, next year will be the Year of the Dog, so – again, not surprisingly – Goofy and Pluto are playing starring roles in the Year of the Dog celebrations Hong Kong Disneyland.
Main Street, U.S.A. will be decorated with festive Lunar New Year adornments, and many of the decorations involve Pluto. There will also be Chinese New Year Night Market in the park for the first time this year.
As with the Chinese new year markets that are held mostly in parks across Hong Kong, the market at Hong Kong Disneyland will be filled with mobile stalls selling snacks popular with Hong Kong foodies, and many of them will have a Disney theme.
Think Maltose Toast, Red Bean Pudding, and Egg Puffs. In addition to snacks, souvenirs such as Disney Greeting Windmills, Disney Blessing Ornaments, and goodie bags will also be on sale.
Main Street Corner Cafe will serve a Chinese New Year set menu. There will also be festive snacks such as Wishing Fish on sale at the Market House Bakery and Outdoor Vending Carts.
More than 40 kinds of merchandise will be on sale during Chinese New Year, including such newly launched items as “101 Dalmatians” plush toys and Pluto in a Chinese New Year outfit.
Stella Lou plush toys in traditional Chinese outfits will be available for the first time ever. You might even want to purchase Chinese New Year outfits of your own to wear when visiting friends and relatives during the festive period.
Mickey and friends will also appear at the Night Market to wish everyone Kung Hey Fat Choi, and you can be sure that Pluto and Goofy will play starring roles. New Year’s entertainment will round out the festivities.
Lai See Packets
God of Fortune Goofy will greet guests at The Annex on Main Street, U.S.A. to share blessings with guests.
Disney friends will appear in different festive outfits day and night to offer their best wishes, including Stella Lou, who will be celebrating her first Chinese New Year at HKDL. The cuddly rabbit arrived in Hong Kong last August.
Be sure to bring your camera or smartphone to take selfies with your favourite Disney pals for your photo album!
Park-goers visiting the park from the first to the fifth day of the Lunar New Year (16 to 20 February) will receive Year of the Dog red envelopes (while supplies last)! Each one will contain a chocolate gold coin and a merchandise coupon.
There are three resort hotels at Hong Kong Disneyland: Disney’s Explorers Lodge, Disney’s Hollywood Hotel, and Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel.
All three of the hotels at Hong Kong Disneyland will add yummy bites to the menus of their food and beverage outlets during the Chinese New Year period, including CNY special sets and snacks.
Guests staying at the hotels during the Chinese New Year celebration will receive complimentary sets of Chinese New Year-inspired amenities, slippers, and door decorations.
There will even be a full range of recreational activities across Hong Kong Disneyland’s three resort hotels, from arts and crafts to a new year market and Disney lion dancing.