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!

Who Is This Disney Bear?Who Is This Disney Bear?
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.

Duffy Gets A New StoryDuffy Gets A New Story
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.

Be Prepared to Wait In Line for a Duffy Meet & GreetBe Prepared to Wait In Line for a Duffy Meet & Greet
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 Dressed for Epcot's Food & Wine Festival Duffy Dressed for Epcot's Food & Wine Festival
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!

Kristina wrote on Thu, 07/19/2012 - 17:37:

Kristina's picture

I can't say that I hate what that bear stands for, because everything that is Disney is to bring in cash.

I hate that bear b/c he is EVERYWHERE!!! Come on, he taking over the Mouse himself. It would be one thing to have him in a few select areas (say....maybe Fantasyland), but to have him seep into EPCOT and I've seen him on a Hollywood Boulevard shop in HS.

Give him...give us a rest.

Kat Resciniti Brooks wrote on Thu, 07/19/2012 - 18:11:

Kat Resciniti Brooks's picture

We love Duffy in our family, my 4 yr old nephew asked for one for Christmas and when they went to DW in Dec, my brother got one to give him. I have collected bears for years and my favorite is the chef costume since we are all chefs in our family.

JeffC wrote on Fri, 07/20/2012 - 00:49:

Hate's probably a strong word, but I can say for sure I don't love him! Haha.

But now I really want to see your Duffy in a sorcerer Mickey costume! Maybe that will bring me around =:o

Dean Finder wrote on Fri, 07/20/2012 - 05:06:

Dean Finder's picture

Meh, the whole Duffy push feels like some marketing folks saw a Build-a-Bear Workshop and though they could cash in on the trend.

I certainly don't hate the fellow, but without cartoons/movies/etc. to establish the character, it seems a little hollow.

Honestly, I think most of the vitriol expressed by the fan community is that Disney introduced a character at Epcot after they banished Figment. It's kind of salt in the wound to essentially hear Disney say "we need a mascot for Epcot" when there was an EPCOT Center mascot that they unceremoniously dumped.

Kristen K. wrote on Fri, 07/20/2012 - 12:53:

Kristen K.'s picture

TsuKata - I love that you use your Duffy the way he was intended for Mickey in his new story. That's fantastic!

JeffC - I'll try and take a picture of Duffy in his Sorcerer Mickey Costume later today.

Alan wrote on Mon, 07/23/2012 - 13:59:

Alan's picture

I don't like Duffy. It really just feels like a marketing gimmick to make some money. Disney characters have background stories that are well developed from movies or attractions.

You need to fall in love with a character because of a movie or a ride. An experience that causes an attachment. Not just a new toy that shows up in a store and is given a meet and greet. Now he needs to be accepted into the Disney family of characters?

I have no problem with Mickey having a teddy bear but don't raise the teddy bear to the same stature as its owner. Sorry, I'm not buying Duffy as a Disney character.

It's nothing personal but I am on the side of the Down with Duffy camp. LOL

Duffy Bear wrote on Mon, 09/10/2012 - 22:16:

Duffy Bear's picture

Hi Miss Kristen! That's me!!! Me and my Grandmommy in the picture at the top of the page! My Disney Cast Member friend took that picture of us on the day of my big Debut! Well.... I thought it was my debut, but that's another story. - Mommy & Grandmommy got special pins from the photographer. I forgot to ask for one of those pins for myself - drat! Anyway....

The picture was taken on October 14, 2010! My 2nd year Anniversary is coming up in a few weeks and I am doing a MeetUp at EPCOT for the Duffy fans.

You can join us too! Even from Illinois. If you check out my site, I put a few pages up about the MeetUp and how anyone from all over the world can join us that day.

Thanks for mentioning me on your Blog!

Duffy Bear

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly. If you have a Gravatar account associated with the e-mail address you provide, it will be used to display your avatar.

More information about formatting options