Dumplings arrive at Disneyland: Din Tai Fung opening in Downtown Disney California

Outside of their locations in Hong Kong and Shanghai, one doesn’t think of dumplings when planning a trip out to Disneyland. But this all changes this week as one of the world’s best, Michelin star winning, dumpling spots Din Tai Fung opens at Downtown Disney in California.

With the soft launch taking place earlier this week, and the Grand Opening planned for Monday, July 1st, the Downtown Disney location will be the 8th to open in California, and the first within a Disneyland Park and Resort.

It’s also massive, sitting at 700 square meters (7,500-square-feet). Impressively, it’s the first ever Din Tai Fung location to be completely built from the ground up, with designs from Rockwell Group that pay homage to the company’s Taiwanese heritage. Even in Australia we generally will find Din Tai Fung in shopping centres and malls, and this has, to now, also been their approach in California.

“Opening our first standalone location in Downtown Disney District is an exciting chapter for us. We are immensely honored and excited to bring Asian-focused dining to the Downtown Disney District,” said Aaron Yang, Vice President of Din Tai Fung USA, in a statement. “We’re looking forward to serving guests from around the world as they visit during their theme park adventures and we hope to invite them along on the Din Tai Fung journey celebrating culinary excellence and authenticity.”

A suspended, beaded installation over the circular central bar will greet guests upon entering the restaurant, with traditional style Chinese pendants softly illuminating the space. Like at their shopping centre locations, a viewable kitchen serves as a backdrop, inviting guests to witness the artistry behind the dumpling-making process firsthand.

The location features a climate-controlled patio area, with bamboo screens and landscaping contributing to guests feeling as though they were sitting in a garden. The dining rooms, one on each side of the central bar, are enhanced by exposed, curved ceiling beams that mirror the shape of the exterior roof and green tones that connect to the lawn outdoors.

Not a bad place to enjoy some of their famous Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings).

I had the chance to check out the build a couple of months ago, when I was in town for the launch of Pixar Fest, and the imprint they’re making on the Downtown Disney strip is an impressive one. As mentioned, it’s a completely new build, and it sits down at the Monorail / Disneyland Hotel end of the shopping district. Not from from the iconic LEGO store or Star Wars Outpost, and next to a brand new lawn and stage that’s opened up in the West End of the district. It will be an easy walk from any of the Disney Resort hotels, including the new Pixar Place Hotel.

Photo of the new stage in Downtown Disney, taken late April 2024 by Larry Heath, with Disneyland Hotel and the in-progress build of Din Tai Fung in the background.

The opening of Din Tai Fung sets the stage for the launch of the upgraded section, with a number of new builds. This includes the new lawn and stage pictured above, which will provide concerts and even screen sports matches, as well as the Parkside Market, which will serve up quick, high quality meals.

Earl of Sandwich – currently sitting closer to the Disneyland Park entry, will move down into the new Parkside complex, joined by Seoul Sister, serving Korean food; Sip & Sonder, a black women-owned cafe that serves up Caribbean treats (named one of the best in the city); and GG’s Chicken Shop, founded by James Beard Award-winning restaurateurs Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz, alongside Michelin Star Chef Lee Wolen. This will be joined by a bar on the second floor, and continues on with the district’s move to become dining and shopping focused, with many of the older attractions (like House of Blues) moving to nearby areas in Anaheim.

No opening date has been announced for this section, but we can expect it to not be too far away.

Also worth mentioning about Din Tai Fung’s Disneyland opening, is that on July 1st they will also be launching two new, limited collections of brand apparel and accessories, exclusively for sale at the Anaheim location.

The first collection, titled DTF Essentials, is composed of streetwear-inspired apparel with unisex fits featuring an embroidered image of the original Din Tai Fung storefront in Taiwan. The Anaheim Collection, meanwhile, is a fun, character-driven line that features the restaurant company’s mascot Bao Bao prominently across items of clothing and various accessories. The company will also be launching sets of three collectible enamel pins, a much loved collectors item for Disney fans, to be released later this summer in the collection’s second drop.

Come for the incredible Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings), stay for all the treats.

Din Tai Fung opens on July 1st, with reservations available. Head to their official US website for more details.

For more details about Downtown Disney head HERE,

Photos by Christian Thompson, Disneyland Resort, unless otherwise mentioned. Artwork rendering provided by AO

The author visited Downtown Disney as a guest of Disney Parks and Resorts. While at Disneyland the author stayed at the Pixar Place Hotel

Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. Currently based in Toronto, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.