Duffy The Disney Bear
Duffy The Disney Bear is a stuffed teddy bear sold at Disney Parks around the world. The bear's popularity in Tokyo exploded into a full-fledged character, Duffy. The Duffy character was exclusive to the Tokyo Disneyland Resort until he made his official debut at the Disneyland Resort on October 14, 2010.
The Duffy is a unique Disney character in that he was not created from a Disney movie or story. Instead, the popularity grew from the simple fact that he was a plush bear created by the Walt Disney Theme Park Merchandise division. The actual character of "Duffy" was created in Tokyo for the Resort's 25th Anniversary.
Aside from being exclusive to the Disney Parks, the "Disney Bear" also features another Disney touch with a hidden Mickey of lighter fur around his eyes and muzzle. Duffy also has a Mickey-shaped birthmark on his backside to the left of his tail. Each of the bear's feet also have the familiar Mickey silhouette.
Once Duffy was brought to the US, his backstory was made the same for both US and Japan. The story begins on the night before Mickey was to embark on the high seas for a long voyage.
Minnie crafted a cute little teddy bear she snuck him into Mickey's duffle bag as a surprise memento to remember her while he was on his trip. Mickey named the bear "Duffy" after the dufflebag in which he found him and they became the best of friends.
The Disney Bear's Backstory
Although physically similar to Duffy, the American version of "The Disney Bear" was a little different. In the US, the plush was available for purchase but with no official name. He was instead known simply as "The Disney Bear."
"The Disney Bear" had a backstory that was slightly different from Duffy's including the removal Minnie from the story entirely and removing any reference of the sea voyage that was created to help Duffy fit into the American Waterfront section of Tokyo DisneySea.
The US Disney Bear came with a small paper storybook that explained the his story:
- One night before the parke 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 plush doll made a modest debut at Walt Disney World and Disneyland in the summer of 2002. The bear was available in grey, white, and beige. He was also released in a few different outfits including Easter Bunny and Santa Claus.
By winter 2005, the popular bear had been turned into a full-fledged meet and greet character, Duffy. In 2006, as part of the 5th anniversary of Tokyo DisneySea, an entire line of changeable costumes and accessories were created for the plush bear.
The small accessories proved popular and a phenomenon was born. Eventually, an entire collection of Duffy merchandise made its way onto Tokyo DisneySea store shelves including candies, charms, and handbags. Duffy even got his own website, the official Duffy Merchandise Page.
The Duffy character has proven quite popular and makes regular appearances at Tokyo DisneySea. His popularity meets—and some might even argue—exceeds that of the big cheese himself, Mickey Mouse.
In January of 2010, Shellie-May debuted as Duffy's friend. Shellie-May's introduction included her own line of clothing and accessories.