In the Valley of Peace, a land in ancient China inhabited by anthropomorphic animals, Po Ping the giant panda is a kung fu fanatic who idolizes the Furious Five – Tigress, Monkey, Mantis, Viper, and Crane – a quintet of kung fu masters trained by Master Shifu, the red panda. However, Po is unable to pursue his dream of learning kung fu as he helps his adoptive father, Mr. Ping the goose, in his noodle restaurant.
Grand Master Oogway, an old Galápagos tortoise and Shifu's mentor, has a vision that Shifu's former student and adoptive son, the evil snow leopard, Tai Lung, will escape from prison and return to the valley to exact his revenge for being denied the Dragon Scroll, which is said to hold the secret to boundless power. Panicked, Shifu sends his messenger, Zeng the goose, with a request for the prison to tighten its security. He then holds a tournament for the Furious Five so that Oogway can identify the Dragon Warrior, the one kung fu master worthy of receiving the Dragon Scroll. Po arrives too late to enter the arena; desperate to see the Dragon Warrior, Po straps himself to a set of fireworks and launches himself into the middle of the arena in front of Oogway as he points towards the Dragon Warrior. To the astonishment of everyone present, Oogway proclaims Po as the chosen warrior.