Meet Duffy The Disney Bear
Have you been to Disney recently and wondered with this bear that seems to be all over the place? Who is he? Where did he come from? Was there a movie you missed? It's Duffy The Disney Bear and he's taking Disney Parks by storm!
Though originally created in 2002 for Walt Disney World's 'Once Upon a Toy Shop' Duffy was originally known simply as "The Disney Bear" with a back story that was a little lackluster and uninspiring. The tag on his ear simply said that Mickey had brought his favorite bear to the Magic Kingdom and sat in front of the castle wishing he was real. Tinker Bell granted Mickey's wish turned him into a real friend. When they hugged Duffy's face took on the shape of Mickey's head and they were bonded forever. But Duffy didn't really capture the imagination of American fans.
Across the sea however, Oriental Land executives grabbed onto him and began an aggressive marketing campaign for Duffy at Tokyo Disney Seas with a brand new story. This time the story said that Duffy was created by Minnie Mouse for Mickey as he was packing to go on a long sea voyage. Minnie snuck the little bear into Mickey's duffel bag so that he wouldn't be lonely and would remember her while on his long voyage. Get it? Duffy... in the Duffel Bag. Anyhow! The story fit in perfectly with the Park and the Japanese fans loved him. Duffy's rise to Disney stardom began in earnest.
By 2005 Duffy had his own Meet and Greet at Tokyo Disney Sea, and for the Parks 25th Anniversary in 2006 he got an entire line of fashionable clothing to change into. Duffy merchandise flew off the the store shelves at Tokyo DisneySea including candies, charms, and handbags! By 2010, not only did Duffy have his own stage show, but he also gained a girlfriend named Shellie-May with her own clothing line.
The American executives took note and thought that that could give good ole Duffy another chance. So in Fall 2010 Duffy was relaunched in Epcot took Walt Disney World by storm! Suddenly you could find Duffy with his hidden Mickey face and friendly, snuggly character just about everywhere. Duffy is unique in that he's one of the few Disney Characters that wasn't seen first in a movie or television show before being brought to the parks. None the less, Duffy merchandise is selling well and his meet and greets always have a heavy line. Like Mickey, Duff's creative costumes have a way of helping him fit in all over the parks and create unique merchandising opportunities.
Duffy has caused a fair bit of controversy within the world of Disney fans, it seems that people either love him or hate him without much in between. I've always been a Teddy Bear fan, so I happen to love Duffy and have several versions of him hanging around my house. From a mini-Duffy with magnet paws hanging on my refrigerator, to my pins, and even a 17" Duffy in a sorcerer Mickey costume. It's hard to be in a room of my house that Duffy hasn't lent his charm.
So what do you think about Duffy? Leave a comment and let us know!