Universal Studios Hollywood is celebrating Lunar New Year from now until February 9. We recently got a chance to check out the seasonal offerings. We took some pictures to give you a look at what you’re going to see, including the absolute highlight, Mr. Ping at his noodle shop.
Here’s a list of what’s happening for Lunar New Year!
Lunar New Year Offerings:
- Universal Plaza decorated in customary red Chinese lanterns and stunning plum blossom wishing trees along with the 12 zodiac animal signs and their symbolic attributes
- Mr. Ping’s Noodle Shop from Kung Fu Panda comes to life, including Mr. Ping himself who invites guests to enjoy his culture-themed fare
- Global Pop Icon Hello Kitty of Universal’s Animation Studio Store, adorned in her signature red bow and custom designed Lunar New Year attire
- Mandarin-speaking MEGATRON from Transformers returns to interact with guests, engaging them both in Mandarin and in real-time conversation characteristic of his persona
- Despicable Me Minions join the festivities in traditional Lunar New Year attire to meet guests and take memorable photos
- Guests can participate in a drawing demonstration and can take home their own drawing of Po as a keepsake
- Cultural performances will take place on select dates
As soon as you walk near the Kung Fu Panda area of the park, you’ll see the square decked out in red and gold. In the middle, there are beautiful plum blossom wishing trees, and a box of red cards for you to write your wish on. You clip them to the trees. While we were there, we saw a dragon dance, complete with music, and later, a martial arts master teaching kids different fighting poses.
The art class, where you get to draw Po from Kung Fu Panda was adorable. Though we didn’t take a pic of the kids in the class, here’s where it took place (see below). A drawing master worked on an iPad and transferred it to a screen so everyone could see what he was doing.
The square was gorgeous, and it was full of people. Inside the square was the highlight of the day – Mr. Ping! As we sat and ate our noodle bowls (there is even a vegetarian offering), we listened to Mr. Ping improv with all the guests who were waiting in line to see him. Someone needs to give this actor/puppeteer an Oscar. Note: All the lines were short, even though we were there on a weekend. There were plenty of people, but the costumed actors managed to get everyone through the lines very quickly.
You can get a glimpse of the menu below. The Secret Ingredient Noodle Soup is the vegetarian one, and it’s very good!
There were also costumed characters to get pictures with, including a Minion, Hello Kitty and a Mandarin-speaking Megatron, which had the crowd wooing with delight.
Again, the line was super short, and people got pictures within five minutes at the most!
Megatron wasn’t there for long on Sunday, but he was definitely a huge draw!
Yours truly and my better half (and frequent Legion of Leia podcast guest) Jeffrey Henderson hanging with Hello Kitty. She hugged and kissed every guest before and after each photo. You can find her hanging outside the Hello Kitty store. In fact, all the stores had Lunar New Year offerings, as you can see below. In the square, there was a stand where you could get plush Megatrons, Minions and Hello Kitty dolls, flower crowns and a number of other items.
Below you can see the entrance to the square where all the entertainment takes place.
Here is a list of other options. As you saw in the first pic, Po and Tigress from Kung Fu Panda were wandering around the recreation of Po’s village, as well as posing for pictures in front of a backdrop.
It was a lovely experience, and we definitely recommend waiting to chat with Mr. Ping. The food at Mr. Ping’s Noodles was excellent, so don’t fill up before you go. Make sure you tweet us @VitalThrillscom to show us what you wished for. Mine was the usual for the new year, but Jeff’s was a picture of Baby Yoda… I mean, The Child, with a wish for chickee nuggies. If you see that one on the tree in the center, make sure you let us know!
Jenna Busch has written and spoken about movies, TV, video games and comics all over the Internet for over 15 years, co-hosted a series with Stan Lee, appeared on multiple episodes of “Tabletop,” written comic books, and is a contributing author for the 13 books in the “PsychGeeks” series including “Star Wars Psychology.” She founded the site Legion of Leia and hosted the “Legion” podcast.