In late February, Shanghai Disneyland announced the debut of Panda Mei as a meet-and-greet character for the spring season to celebrate Disney’s 100th Anniversary.
The mascot is based on the red panda version of Mei Lee, the Chinese Canadian protagonist from the movie Turning Red, directed by Domee Shi, a China-born Canadian director. In the movie, Mei Lee turns into a giant red panda, aka Panda Mei, whenever she experiences strong emotions due to a family curse.
The film was beloved by diaspora audiences in North America but received slightly mixed — albeit mostly positive — reviews in China. However, none of that excitement can compare to the level of hype Chinese netizens have expressed for the Red Panda to grace the grounds of Shanghai Disneyland.
Panda Mei made her entrance to Shanghai Disneyland on March 10 by doing a dance performance to ‘Nobody Like U’ by 4*Town, the pop boy band Mei is obsessed with in the movie.
The hashtag for Panda Mei’s debut at Shanghai Disneyland on Weibo, China’s most popular microblogging platform, has received 140 million views. Netizens gushed over how cute Panda Mei is and how excited they are for her to be at the resort.
You can visit and hug Panda Mei for only a limited time from March 10 to May 31 at Shanghai Disneyland Park. If you’re a big fan of Meimei, now is the time to book your ticket!