Today In Disney History ~ September 19th
In 2002 Duffy the Disney Bear started his career with the Disney Company as “The Disney Bear”. He came with the following story book on his tag:
“The Story of the Disney Bear: One night before the park opened, Mickey was sitting by the castle. The rest of his friends had not arrived yet, so Mickey brought along his favorite teddy bear to keep him company. Mickey was so excited to be in such a magical place that he wished he had somebody to explore the park with. Suddenly, Tinker Bell flew down out of the starry sky and saw Mickey sitting there with his stuffed friend. She had heard Mickey’s wish and sprinkled the bear with Pixie Dust. The Pixie Dust filled the bear and he miraculously came to life! Mickey was so excited and happy that he gave his bear a hug. As soon as Mickey hugged the bear, a magical Mickey head shaped impression appeared on the bear’s face, forever bonding him with Mickey. From that moment on, Mickey had a very special friend to share all his magical memories.”
“The Disney Bear” was sold at several Disney parks and retail locations and came in several styles, sizes and colors and was available with special edition shirts. “The Disney Bear” and Duffy the Bear have four “hidden” Mickeys, one on each of his back paws, on on his rear, and his face. Duffy only comes in tan, but is available in several sizes. Even in the US, special event Duffy’s and special event Duffy outfits are released.
In 2004 “The Disney Bear” was released as part of a special limited promotion at Tokyo DisneySea Resort for their Harborside Christmas celebration. Tokyo DisneySea guests went WILD for “The Disney Bear”, so wild Disney gave renamed the bear Duffy and releasing a new backstory for him, and declaring him the mascot for the Cape Cod area of the park in 2005. Duffy was so popular at Tokyo DisneySea Resort that he had five new costumes released to celebrate Tokyo DisneySea’s fifth anniversary in 2006. From then on Duffy special edition costumes and accessories became a HUGE release item at Tokyo DisneySea Resort.
Duffy was introduced in Hong Kong Disneyland and to the United States at Epcot and California Adventure Park in 2010, and Disneyland Paris in 2011 with his new story. The parks even air his story at night on Disney Resort TV channels as a bedtime story. Also in 2010, Duffy’s friend Shellie May was released in Tokyo DisneySea Resort. ShellieMay is a lighter colored bear, and is considered to be Minnie Mouse’s bear. ShellieMay can be purchased at Disney’s Aulani, Tokyo DisneySea, Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland. The popularity of Shellie May with Americans who love Duffy has spawned a huge problem with counterfeit bears on Ebay. This problem is so bad TMSM actually released an article with photos to help readers avoid buying “Shellie Fauxs.” In 2014 Duffy’s friend Gelatoni “a cool cat with an artistic flair for creating new masterpieces for all to enjoy” was released at Tokyo DisneySea.
In 2014, Duffy’s regular met and greet location at California Adventure was discontinued, but he started making appearances at Aulani. This August rumors about changes coming to the Duffy merchandise line in the U.S. started making their way around the Disney-blogverse. To date, Duffy is still available to meet and greet at Epcot, and has a new gift shop in Downtown Disney/Disney Springs.
*As a Duffy fan I wanted to share a few photos of my own Duffy and ShellieMay who like to travel around the U.S. with me.
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