On September 19th, Disneyland played host to a special AP preview of one of their upcoming pieces of merchandise–Duffy the Disney Bear.
Duffy, or a reasonable facsimile, has been sold around the parks before as “The Disney Bear,” but only reached superstar status in Japan, where he and his associated outfits and other merchandise are the subject of some devoted and often frenzied purchasing. Hoping to inspire similar interest in America, Disney is planning to introduce Duffy with the same backstory and copious wardrobe in DCA and EPCOT next month.
At the event (where photos were prohibited,) the story of Duffy was related, which is basically this: Minnie stitches him together to accompany Mickey on an ocean voyage. After traveling the world, Mickey returns with Duffy, and they are all friends. It doesn’t appear to be that complicated.
Later, Disneyland Resort Ambassador Quinn Shurian came out and chatted about Duffy’s popularity in Tokyo DisneySea, and displayed some of the many costumes Duffy will enjoy–a Chinese outfit, a sailor suit, pajamas with bunny slippers, and much more. He then related that Duffy will start being available for purchase October 14, 2010, in the Treasures in Paradise shop in DCA.
Manager of Merchandise Synergy Dana Trujillo was then introduced, who let us know that Duffy will soon have his own Facebook and Twitter account. They plan to begin constructing photo ops for Duffy around the park, which will be designed for you to pose your bear and take its picture, and will also have meet and greets with Duffy around Paradise Pier. Different merchandise they’re bringing out include rice krispy treats, Duffy cake, mugs, popcorn buckets, placemats, flocked pins, ear hats, and special Duffy-shaped vinylmation. Duffy will also be featured in this year’s ABC Christmas parade.
After giving out two Duffys to the audience, Duffy himself made an appearance. Afterwards, everyone was given a Duffy rice krispy treat, and invited to purchase their own Duffy and sailor suit in advance of general release.
If you’d like more information about Duffy, and you read Japanese, you can visit his official page at the Tokyo Disney Resort website: http://www.tokyodisneyresort.co.jp/tds/duffy/index.html Otherwise, a quick google yields any number of webpages dedicated to Duffy, including some complete translations of his origin story.