Friday, October 22, 2010

Duffy the Disney Bear

my interpretations of what a Duffy movie blu ray cover could look like

The other day while visiting Disney California Adventure and Disneyland, I noticed that a lot of the characters were out and about.  And almost all of them had some sort of wait at their character meet and greet. That is, all but one... Duffy.

the queue to meet Mickey at Paradise Pier gazebo. taken at 12:56pm

no demand for Duffy. taken at 12:57pm

At Tokyo Disney Sea, Duffy is widely popular. Some may say he is more popular than Mickey Mouse due to the long queues to meet him and to buy his accessories.  Because of the popularity of the Duffy in Japan, Disney is trying to recreate the phenomenon here.

Duffy made his debut in the U.S. Disney parks, first known as "The Disney Bear". The back story dealt with Mickey had his favorite stuffed animal while waiting for his friends at Sleep Beauty Castle. Tinkerbell flew down and sprinkled the stuffed bear with pixie dust and as soon as he gave the bear a hug, a Mickey shaped impression appeared on the stuffed bears face. And with that, he now had a special friend.

Fast foward to 2004 and "The Disney Bear" makes its debut at Tokyo Disney Sea. This time with a new back story.  Because Tokyo Disney Sea is themed to nautical exploration, the new story takes place one night before Mickey goes on a long voyage, Minnie made Mickey a teddy bear so that he wouldn't be alone. Minnie placed the new bear in Mickey's duffel bag as a surprise for Mickey.  Mickey liked it so much that he named the new bear "Duffy" after the duffel bag he found him in. 

Duffy was placed in the Cape Cod section of Tokyo Disney Sea.  Of course, Duffy was not an over night success. It took a while for Duffy to take off. Eventually Duffy became a huge hit they started to publish meet and greet times for him, a show called "My Friend Duffy" created just for him, and at the start of the 2010 year, he got a new friend, Shellie May. 

Will Duffy be as widely popular as he is over in Tokyo Disney Sea? I am not to sure. In Japan, anything "cute" can easily become popular. But "cute" over here in America doesn't seem to get too far.

Maybe if they create a movie based on him, he would become a bit well known.

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