The festive season is one of the best times of the year to visit Hong Kong Disneyland. Not only can guests enjoy exclusive seasonal offerings, there are tons of photo opportunities around the resort which can double the festive cheer! As guests celebrated Christmas at the resort, the Facility Services and Entertainment & Costuming teams at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort had already moved on to perfecting the final touches of the resort’s 2023 Lunar New Year makeover and preparing for this auspicious time of year.
We had a chat with four cast members on the team who are actively involved in preparing for Lunar New Year 2023, who gave us an inside look into what it takes to pull off this transformation. Meet Keith Cheng, Horticulture Service Manager, Facility Services, Tiffany Yiu, Production Manager, Entertainment & Costuming, Mia Kwok, Senior Artist, Facility Services, and Fish Yue, Production Designer, Entertainment & Costuming.
When did the Lunar New Year preparations begin?
The team started planning the Lunar New Year project nine months ahead of time, shared Tiffany, thinking through everything from the design, production and application of decoration to the lighting and music for the park and hotels.
How did the team pull off this transformation in such a short time frame?
Facility Services worked hand-in-hand with Entertainment & Costuming to bring this seasonal makeover to life, shared Mia, who liaised with the relevant parties to ensure the installation progress went smoothly.
After dismantling Christmas décor around the resort, the Horticulture team removed all plants in the Town Square planter so that the Entertainment team could install the new Lunar New Year decorations, she explained. After ensuring everything was safely installed, the Horticulture team then installed new plants in the planter. Meanwhile, Entertainment’s technical team adjusted the lighting for the planter. All this hard work could only be carried out overnight once the park closed to guests!
What special decor is in store for Lunar New Year 2023?
There is a huge display in the Town Square planter every year. It is an iconic check-in point for every guest. Fish is responsible for designing this year’s Lunar New Year decor.
Lunar New Year marks the beginning of the calendar year based on the lunar calendar. Every year in the repeating zodiac cycle of 12 years is represented by an animal, each with its own reputed attributes. 2023 is the Year of the Rabbit – at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, it’s the year of StellaLou.
“I wanted to add water elements to represent wealth for the Lunar New Year,” Fish said. Blue coloring was infused and cloud patterns were added to represent the flow of water. To match StellaLou’s personality, Fish also added in some curves to invoke dancing — a favorite pastime of StellaLou’s!
Creating this décor is something Fish is proud of because “guests take photos with it and feel excited about the decorations. They feel connected with us,” she said. “Seeing their reactions made me feel a sense of pride and happiness.”
What makes the change in décor significant?
Cheerful and delightful flowers are symbolic of the Lunar New Year. You’ll notice Lunar New Year flower elements all around the park and hotels. Keith is the garden designer for this year’s Lunar New Year decor. He picked around 30 different species of plants and installed some 8,000 flowers for the seasonal event. As he used different flowering plants and colorful foliage, mixing and matching them, you will find the flowers also carry Lunar New Year messages.
Which is why the Floral Mickey changes every year and with each passing season. A professional garden designer always arranges the perfect combination in the park. They use a variety of trendy plants, ensuring that each new design is unique and never repeated.
What are the challenges you face when you plan seasonal decorations?
“Weather! It’s always our biggest challenge when we conduct onsite installations. Heavy rain and typhoons can greatly affect installation progress!” said Tiffany.
“We’re constantly racing against the clock to get everything done before the park opens to guests in the morning,” Keith said. Since everything needs to be done before the park opens, time is of the essence. Cast members need to transform every aspect of the park and hotels, so it’s definitely a challenge for them.
A huge thank you to all cast members involved with creating the magic at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort! Happy Lunar New Year!