Friday, February 16, 2018

Happy Chinese New Years at Universal Studios Hollywood

 Sometimes I wonder what we are going to do with all our free time when we are not living in the land of the theme parks.  If there is one lesson I will take from our time here in Southern California it would be that ten hours in the car is no big deal if you have a destination.  Add that to the fact that sometimes the journey is the destination and there you have it.  This time next year I will be planning a garden.  I will be chasing chickens and shoveling snow.  I will also be jumping in the car for ten hour drives instead of one hour drives when these incredible theme parks are doing something magical.  Universal Studios Hollywood will be celebrating The Year of the Dog now through February 25th, 2018. 

Today is the beginning of the Chinese New Year.  This is the festival marking the start of the new year.  This begins on the second New Moon after the Winter Solstice.  This ends on the next Full Moon 15 days later.  This year it is the year of the Dog.  There is a 12 year cycle for the Chinese Zodiac.  Each year is represented by an animal and its attributes.  In Chinese tradition its told that the dog helped the monkey and rooster defeat evil spirits.  The dog stands for loyalty, the dog is a good friend who understands his master.  Turns out the Year of the Dog is a pretty good year to be in.  You can check it all out in the center of the park at the Universal Plaza. 

When we first entered and looked around we saw Mr. Pings Noodles.  In the movie Kung Fu Panda we meet Mr. Ping and his noodles as the father of the main character, Po. Mr. Ping is a lovable character in the movie and you can meet him and chat him up in person.  In addition to meeting the noodle master himself you can go around the corner and feast.  You can get Secret Ingredient Noodles in beef, chicken, tofu or shrimp varieties.  We tried the beef and chicken.  Faith's main complaint was that there mushrooms hidden through out the dish that were not optional.  You can also get BBQ pork rolls or pot stickers.  It was simple and yum.  

In the center of the Plaza you will see a bunch of Plum Blossom plants. Here you can write your wish for the new year on a red tag and clip it to the trees.  Good Luck!

While you are in the Plaza you can also learn to draw your favorite characters from the Kung Fu Panda movies.  I tried to draw Tigress.  They make it look so simple but really it isn't.  You can also learn a little Kung Fu.  On the stage Po and his friends pick a few friends from the audience to teach them a routine and bow.  Its a quick cute show worth waiting around for.  You can also meet a Mandarin speaking Megatron, Meet Minions dressed in Chinese Attire and get lots of photo opportunities.  

While I was there I learned that I was a goat.  The plaza is surrounded with Chinese Zodiac flags that tell you which sign you are under based on the year of your birth.  I also got a fortune cookie telling me that my most memorable dream will come true.  This worries me slightly.  When I was a kid I would dream that the entrance to my Grandmas house was a dungeon lined with suits of armor.  These suits of armor would randomly come alive and I would need to fight them to get through the room.  If I was successful at fighting all the haunted suits of armor I could pass through the door at the other end of the room and then I would get to spend time with my Grandma.  I think of all my dreams I've ever had this is my most memorable.  I had it over and over again.  I really like to spend time with my family.  I would be quite upset if I had to fight through a haunted dungeon to see any of them.  I'm choosing to think that it means that I will get what my heart dwells on most and if that is the case my family and I will be seeing every National Park we can drive to in the next year.  Cross your fingers for us.  National Parks are way better than haunted dungeons.  Time will tell, but I will keep you posted.  

Happy Trails, 

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