It’s no secret that pandas are super popular at Everland’s Zootopia, where they live in their own Panda World. Ever since the 2016 arrival of Le Bao (m) and Ai Bao (f), then the birth of daughter Fu Bao in 2020, and now the arrival of as-yet unnamed twin sisters, these fuzzy, furry, black-and-white animals have been must-see attractions at Korea’s premiere theme park.
Pandering to panda fans
The overwhelming popularity of these pudgy power-eaters has led to two recent phenomena: the release of limited-edition panda-themed merchandise items and the introduction of time-limited viewing at Panda World.
The limited-edition panda merchandise released by Everland is festooned with photos of furry Fu Bao.
To celebrate Fu Bao’s third birthday, Everland last month released a limited-edition range panda-themed items. Each one incorporates images of Fu Bao, the first panda born in Korea, in her stages of growth from when she was still a newborn to the cuddly prankster beloved by fans around the world today.
Among the merchandise items are smartphone strap keyrings, photocard sets, calendars (including an augmented reality card), diaries, fridge magnets, keyrings, and more. They are bundled into 3 sets, each with a different selection of items.
Fu Bao has done a lot of growing up in the last 3 years; it is captured in these pictures.
An Everland official said, “After receiving numerous comments containing requests for Fu Bao goods posted on online fan communities, we designed these new products based on customer preferences to put together three limited edition sets.”
Separately, Everland is preparing to release a second set of cute emojis featuring pictures of pandas. After the success of the “Fu Bao at 1 year old” set released in April 2021, it is no surprise that a follow-up one should come. In September a new set will be launched, titled “Fu Bao at 3 and the Bao Family.” This second emoji set will contain images of the Bao panda family that are screenshots from popular YouTube videos, such as Fu Bao arm-in-arm with a zookeeper or playing with her mother Ai Bao, with fun and playful captions. These emojis will be available in the KakaoTalk messaging app, and can even be used by overseas readers if they are KakaoTalk users.
Panda growth can be celebrated in so many ways!
Beginning this month, the way that visitors to Everland can watch the pandas Le Bao, Ai Bao, Fu Bao, and the twins has changed. In a recently released statement, Everland explained, “We must limit the viewing time from Sept. 1 to provide a safe and pleasant Panda World environment for the Bao Family and for our visitors.” This is because of the endless stream of humans who want to gaze upon the cute pandas with the news of Fubao’s soon return to China. According to Everland, there is already a 30-minute wait to enter Panda World.
There’s something in those eyes. Fu Bao’s black-eyed gaze enthralls so many fans.
Zookeeper Kang Chol-won, known affectionately as “Fu Bao’s granddad,” gave further details in a recent video on YouTube channel Talking Zoo PPUPPA TV, saying that visitors will be able to stay in the viewing area only up to five minutes before moving on. This new change is necessary to make a safe and comfortable environment for the pandas – especially the newly arrived twins –and to create a fair and equal system for all visitors.
Meanwhile, to celebrate the miracle that is the natural birth of the twin pandas, Everland is offering free entry to all twins under high-school age on Sept. 11 and 22, as those are the days of the month with twin digits.