A Controversial Character Is Making Her Disney Parks Debut

in Shanghai Disneyland

Rosalie Chiang as Mei Mei

Credit: Pixar Animation Studios

Shanghai Disneyland is “turning red” with excitement for a brand new character meet-and-greet coming this spring.

Shanghai Disneyland castle with Cast Members and Disney characters
Credit: Disney

There are a lot of rare characters that Guests can only meet at the international parks, whether that be due to licensing issues, costume scarcity, or popularity. For example, Guests who want to meet the beloved Roger Rabbit and his wife, Jessica, will have to go to Disneyland Paris to do it. Duffy the Disney Bear and his friends (including ShellieMay, Gelatoni, and StellaLou) can almost only be found at Tokyo DisneySea. Now, another rare character is about to be added to the ranks of Shanghai Disneyland.

Shanghai Disneyland made the announcement this morning:

Red Panda Mei from Pixar’s Turning Red will make her first-ever Disney parks appearance in Shanghai later this spring! With her cute and fluffy look and fun-loving attitude, Red Panda Mei is sure to charm her way into the hearts of all guests.

The character meet-and-greet costume for Mei from Turning Red
Credit: Shanghai Disneyland

Mei, in her red panda form, will be meeting Guests from March 1 through May 31 as part of a larger spring celebration, which will also include other new characters, including Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, and special celebrations for International Women’s Day, Earth Month, and Chip ‘n’ Dale’s birthday.

Turning Red (2022) is a coming-of-age film about a thirteen-year-old, Mei, who is torn between honoring her mother’s family traditions and staying her dutiful daughter, or bonding with her friends and the charges of adolescence. Oh yeah, and when she gets too excited or overwhelmed, she turns into a giant red panda.

Turning Red Mei Mei party
Credit: Pixar

The film was met with some controversy upon its release due to the film’s content surrounding adolescence and puberty. However, the film’s fans were quick to defend it and praise it for painting a realistic depiction (besides the red panda part) of what it means to become a teenager and helping pre-teens feel less embarrassed about their bodies. The film was received well critically and was nominated for several awards, including the upcoming Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, and a Grammy for Best Song Written for Visual Media (For “Nobody Like U”).

Prior to this character meet-and-greet, Mei’s appearance in the Parks has been limited to select merchandise and some attraction decor, like the Pixar Pal-A-Round at Disney’s California Adventure.

in Shanghai Disneyland

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