The month of May marks Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and we’re celebrating the cultures, experiences, and contributions of our Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) cast and communities. Today, we’re excited to share some of the meaningful ways Walt Disney World Resort is honoring the diversity and representation of our AAPI cast and activations.
A World of Voices, Honoring Asian Pacific American Heritage Month at Walt Disney World will share the creativity and contributions of some incredible cast members through experiences, entertainment, and food and beverage offerings. A World of Voices unites and spotlights these opportunities across Walt Disney World – from all four theme parks to Disney Springs to resort hotels. There are so many ways to recognize A World of Voices that you won’t want to miss throughout May! But don’t worry, if you aren’t able to visit Walt Disney World this month, most of these activations will last well beyond so be sure to check them out when you visit.
Magic Kingdom Park
At Magic Kingdom Park, Moana and Mulan have recently joined other favorite characters in appearances on character cavalcades and the upper level of the Main Street Railroad Station to interact with guests throughout the day. And while they’ll continue to make appearances after Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, their strength and inspiration is a key piece of A World of Voices!
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Mira, the royal detective from India, has joined the Disney Junior Motorcade, and you’ll be able to see her in special appearances through the end of June.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is celebrating A World of Voices with two experiences that infuse the beauty of art and Asian Pacific American heritage. Beginning in mid-May, don’t miss a Moana-themed Sand Sculpture on Discovery Island, and, at The Animation Experience at Conservation Station, featured sketches will include Tuk Tuk from “Raya and the Last Dragon” and Pua from “Moana.”
Mulan is also visiting EPCOT once again, where you may see her welcoming guests to World Showcase as part of the Princess Processional. We also encourage you to take in the architecture, exhibits and culture at the China and Japan pavilions in the World Showcase!
There, you’ll also have the opportunity to dive deeper into the rich cultures of both countries through art, entertainment, and, of course, delicious food! At Lotus Blossom Café at the China pavilion, you’ll find a staple of Chinese comfort food, Char Siu with Rice (叉燒飯). The dish is a Cantonese-style barbecue pork popularized in Hong Kong and in ethnic Chinese communities around the world, and now one of the best-known and most iconic items in Chinatown restaurants across the United States. The words “char siu” in Chinese (or cha shao in Mandarin) literally mean “fork roast,” referring to the variety and versatility in the dishes that use this tender and lightly sweet pork.
Throughout May, Lotus Blossom Café will also serve Red Bean Ice Float (Hong Dou Bing 雪糕紅豆冰), a classic dessert-drink originally popularized in Hong Kong and perfect for a snack or dessert at any time of day. Made with sweetened Chinese red beans, milk, crushed ice, and vanilla ice cream, it has become famous in Chinese communities, restaurants, and bakeries throughout the world.
House of Good Fortune spotlights the history and significance of Chinese Calligraphy (Shu Fa 書法), the stylized artistic writing of Chinese characters as an art form and a form of communication. There you’ll be able to see examples of the four key tools for Chinese Calligraphy, or the “Four Treasures of the Study”:
- Writing Brush (with animal hair nib) – Bi 筆
- Inkstick (ink in its solid state) – Mo 墨
- Ink Slab (made of stone) – Yan 硯
- Paper (rice paper) – Zhi 紙
A calligraphy demonstration is also held every Wednesday in May from 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET and 6:00-7:00 p.m. ET.
The Japan pavilion shares the Japanese culture all year round! Mitsukoshi Department Store not only showcases traditional Japanese architecture and design, but includes a wide selection of authentic items, from Kimonos to the Kawaii (Cute) pop items mostly imported from Japan. The store includes popular Japanese toys, unique apparel, incense, and snacks for a holistic shopping experience.
The Japan pavilion also shares Omotenashi, Japan’s unique and signature hospitality, through its restaurants and food kiosks. Teppan Edo serves sushi and hibachi, while Katsura Grill features items like miso-glazed chicken wings, okonomiyaki fries, ramen, sushi, and teriyaki chicken. The delicious food is a can’t-miss celebration of Japanese culture!
A Creative Fusion of Flavors: This month, Disney Springs is highlighting Chef Jessi Sudsa-nguan, Pastry Sous Chef at Amorette’s Patisserie. Originally from Bangkok, Thailand, Chef Jessi has been with Walt Disney World Resort for over 30 years and has worked at many our Disney Resorts including Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii. Today she lends her culinary talents in the daily production of the incredible cakes and pastries you know and love at Amorette’s Patisserie. For Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Chef Jessi has whipped up her Jasmine Tea Cream Tart — a light dessert with fruit gelee and a butter and nut cookie crust honoring her favorite Asian teas and flavors with a unique twist.
Other can’t-miss, limited-time sweet and savory offerings include:
- Mulan Petit Cake, Amorette’s Patisserie – Matcha chiffon, lemon chiffon, honey-ginger mousse, lemon curd, lemon-ginger streusel, and green tea simple syrup.
- Matcha Yuzu Ganache Square, The Ganachery – Green tea and yuzu dark chocolate ganache
- Korean BBQ Fries, The Daily Poutine– Korean-style bulgogi pulled pork and kimchi topped with Sriracha aïoli piled high on French fries
Every day, guests can experience a culinary journey at Morimoto Asia, Pan-Asian restaurant led by Japanese master chef Masaharu Morimoto at Disney Springs. The menu features his take on Chinese, Japanese, and Korean dishes offering an unforgettable palate for your taste buds. During the month of May, guests can enjoy a special dining menu featuring incredible dishes celebrating many flavors and cultures:
- Lomilomi – Salmon tartare with tomatoes, onions and scallions
- Loco Moco – a traditional Hawaiian burger rice bowl made with a blend of filet and A5 wagyu topped with a sunny-side-up egg and teriyaki mushroom gravy
- Saimin – a Hawaiian-style ramen with a dashi shrimp broth, thin noodles and roasted pork (available at Morimoto Asia Street Food.)
- Halo-Halo – a Filipino shaved ice dessert with flavored jellies and fresh fruit
- Cocktails & Mocktails – Pair your dishes with a Morimoto Mai Tai, Japanese Old Fashioned, Toki Highball, or a Sago at Gulaman Mocktail
If you’re looking to grab something quick, don’t miss YeSake – the ultimate destination for Japanese street food and Asian-inspired beverages such as Karaage, taiyaki, chicken buns, ahi tuna poke bowls, bubble teas, sake slushies and more.
While you’re shopping this month, be sure to check out the artist spotlight series at The Art of Disney located at Disney Springs Marketplace with a focus on Asian Pacific American filmmakers, artists, authors and screenwriters who work or have worked at the Walt Disney Animation Studios including: Qui Nguyen, Mohit Kallianpur, Fawn Veerasunthorn, Willie Ito, Gyo Fujikawa, Milton Quon, and Disney Legend Tyrus Wong.
Also in the Marketplace, shop for a purpose this month at Basin and invigorate your senses with their Eucalyptus Mint Soap — a portion of proceeds will benefit the AAPI Community Fund. (See store for more details.)
At Disney Springs West Side, don’t miss the beautiful art installation piece inspired by Disney’s “Raya and the Last Dragon” and designed by Walt Disney Imagineering Concept Designer, Xiao Qing Chen outside of AMC Theatres. The piece draws inspiration from her Malaysian heritage and celebrates the beauty of diversity.
Walt Disney World Resort Hotels
Finally, the Walt Disney World Resort hotels will integrate films into the “Movie Under the Stars” series that highlight AAPI communities and culture. Throughout the month, resort guests can catch “Big Hero 6,” “Moana,” “Mulan,” and “Lilo and Stitch” on select nights each week.
We are thrilled to celebrate A World of Voices, recognizing and spotlighting our amazing AAPI cast and community. We hope you’ll join us in experiencing some of the amazing art, food, and entertainment throughout the month of May and beyond!
And be sure to check out the Disney Parks Blog and social channels for more #AsianPacificAmericanHeritageMonth stories throughout the month for more on APAH from Walt Disney World, Disney Imagineering, Aulani, Disneyland Resort, and Consumer Products Games and Publishing. You can follow along with #AWorldofVoices on Instagram (@DisneyParksBlog), Twitter (@DisneyParks), and Facebook (@DisneyParksBlog)!