Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea celebrate the Year of the Boar in style with a fan-favorite Disney character in the limelight. 

Right off the heels of their spectacular Christmas celebration, Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea have turned on the magic once again with a New Year’s extravaganza. Our Japanese-language reporter Momo Momomura had the enviable task of reporting from the scene. Take it away, Momo.

Happy New Year!!

2019 is the Year of the Boar in the Chinese zodiac. It just so happens that there’s a certain boar causing a ruckus somewhere in Japan at this moment (note: not the one that knocked this guy down not too long ago), and that place would be Tokyo Disney Resort.

It’s customary for Disney characters that represent each zodiac animal to take the helm for limited-time New Year’s celebrations at the theme parks. It also gives many of the minor characters in the Disney pantheon a chance to shine. This year’s star of the show is none other than…The Lion King’s Pumbaa! OK, OK, so he’s not technically a boar, but close enough.

First up, notice how Pumbaa has been turned into a traditional kadomatsuNew Year’s pine decoration at each theme park’s entrance:

▼ Disneyland on the left and Disney Sea on the right

The Disneyland decoration is located at the entrance to the World Bazaar. Pumbaa’s image in the kadomatsu is coupled with a shimenawa rope to ward off evil. Meanwhile, the Disney Sea decoration is located at the entrance to Mira Costa Avenue along with some more whimsical illustrations of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck donning kimono and engaging in traditional Japanese New Year’s activities.

Speaking of kimono, the limited-time attractions at both parks definitely give off a traditional Japanese vibe. Disneyland is currently featuring a special parade and Disney Sea is host to a unique seasonal greeting from above the water. Let’s look at each in more detail.

When I visited, the parade began with the echoing sound of a flute and drums befitting New Year’s in Japan. Kimono-clad Disney characters began to appear one by one on top of floats that were gorgeously decorated to celebrate the advent of the new year. The entire parade lasted 35 minutes, and every now and then the vehicles stopped so the characters could give a short dance performance.

The Disney Sea New Year’s Greeting event began with notes of traditional Japanese instruments at the Mediterranean Harbor. Here the Disney characters appeared holding traditional New Year’s items such as kites and spinning tops.

▼ Mickey’s holding a kite that bears the kanji for “boar” in the Chinese zodiac.

The vessel circled the Mediterranean Harbor twice, so there wasn’t a bad vantage point in the house. The air was also full of the cheerful sounds of people yelling “Happy New Year!” to their favorite characters.

▼ Circle back a third time, please!

OK, now on to the shopping. I know you’re dying to check out the limited New Year’s merchandise, most of which features very Japanese-looking designs and characters disguising themselves adorably as wild boars.

▼ More boar and Japanese-themed goods galore!

In addition to all of the warthog wanna-bes, Pumbaa himself made his presence known with his powerful smile!

▼ His smile is so radiant that it’s almost blinding.

One thing I was surprised to find at the Disneyland shops were some Chip ‘n’ Dale stuffed animal accessories.

While all of the other characters were decked out in their most elegant kimono, these two were sporting mawashi loincloths in the sumo style! As far as cute and gaudy stuffed animal accessories go, I thought these ones were quite unusual in their simple design.

Another cool piece of trivia is that if you visit the stores on New Year’s Day the staff won’t call out “Welcome!” as usual but will instead greet you with a chorus of “Happy New Year!” It was an interesting change from the usual shop greeting.

▼ A visual summary of Momo’s feelings about Tokyo Disney Resort’s New Year’s celebration

These limited-time New Year’s attractions last from January 1-6 at Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea. They’re perfect for people who need to recharge their happiness levels moving into the new year, or for those who just really like Pumbaa. Once within the parks, I would caution you to time your trips to the bathroom, getting food, and buying souvenirs carefully because it’s quite crowded during this period. But there’s truly no more magical place to be to ring in the new year.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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