- Shanghai Disney debuted its new plush pink fox character LinaBell in September.
- Chinese fans quickly became obsessed.
- Scalpers have started selling LinaBell toys for huge profits on reselling websites.
Shanghai Disneyland may be having too much of a good thing on its hands.
In September, the Chinese theme park introduced a pink fox character called LinaBell — a fox “with an inquisitive mind and the intelligence that supports it. She finds joy and excitement in solving problems and mysteries,” according to the park’s website.
“When I saw LinaBell, my brain released so much dopamine. She is such a hardworking and energetic female celebrity!” exclaimed one LinaBell fan in a Weibo post in early November, per Radii China translation.
But she’s become so popular — amassing more than 410 million mentions on Weibo, according to Radii China — that scalpers have taken to clearing out Disney Shanghai’s shelves of LinaBell toys to make a killing on the secondary selling market.
On Sunday, the situation came to a head after Disney began requiring advanced reservations for three specific LinaBell toys. Only those who managed to reserve online would be able to buy the toys on-site later in the week, Disney said on its Weibo social media account. It said the sale plan was to comply with pandemic control measures.
Disney did not release prices for the LinaBell plushies during its online reservation exercise, but items in the theme park’s permanent range typically cost between 100 to 300 Chinese yuan ($16 to $47) each, according to Shanghai Daily.
When the reservation window opened Sunday night, eager consumers overwhelmed the network. Many took to Weibo to complain that they could not click through to reserve or that the page was simply not loading.
They were further angered when they discovered LinaBell stuffed toys had been relisted on reseller websites at exorbitant prices. In one case, a set of all three LinaBell toys were priced at 10,000 Chinese yuan ($1,570,) Shanghai Daily reported.
Apparently, people are willing to pay for the toys, too. The outlet reported that one fan offered a Rolex watch, and another a gold bar, to get their hands on a LinaBell set.
Angry fans hit out at Disney for not making more toys and accused the company of hunger marketing by producing such limited quantities. They also asked how scalpers were able to get their hands on so many LinaBell plushies, and questioned if the reservation link had been leaked in advance.
“Wouldn’t you not be having so many problems if you just f****** produced a bit more?” asked Weibo user with the handle “Speaking Secretly,” whose comment garnered more than 40,000 likes.
It got so bad the Shanghai Consumer Council stepped in to ask Disney to account for the situation.
Disney apologized and attributed the shortage to production bottlenecks amid the pandemic, according to a statement from the company posted to the Wechat account of the Shanghai consumer watchdog. The huge demand was also a factor, the company added. It pledged to restock the toys in large quantities over the next few months.
Shanghai Disneyland did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.