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  1. #586

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    Re: New Duffy Merchandise

    Quote Originally Posted by DuffyDaisuki View Post
    I know I can come off kinda harsh sometimes, but I love Duffy. It really breaks my heart and infuriates me to think that so many people around the world will think they understand what Duffy is all about from the US releases and dismiss him as a cheap attempt to cash in. That's not Duffy! And before the US releases, such a thought wasn't even imaginable. It was simply and clearly apparent that love was at the center of everything Duffy, every step of the way. There was no question because there was nothing to question. The US is eroding that understanding that lies at the heart of Duffy as a character. Part of the character's innocence and sincerity is directly related to this unspoken contract that works as a bond between creator and audience. It is something I thought Disney had forgotten and the Disney brand was no longer capable of, until I met Duffy.

    Of course I want everyone to love him, too, and it always makes me happy to see him, especially by chance outside the parks. But if the American approach becomes legitimized, the brand and the character's essence are fundamentally cheapened. Duffy is unique in that his merchandise in a very real way defines the character. I don't mean to insult collectors outside Japan, but when the quality standard is not upheld, you get a teddy bear that is simply about "fluffy fun." Isn't every teddy bear about that? I strongly feel that extreme quality and sincerely heartfelt park-integration in marketing strategy are what gave Duffy a home here and created his booming success. Duffy is much more than just cute and fun, or perhaps, through creative and technical quality, he takes cute and fun to magical depths and heights. The quality thing is important. "Cheap Duffy" is like "cheap Ferrari;" brands have to be protected and consistent or they are meaningless. And the "Duffy brand" is an essential element to Duffy as a character.

    Without that standard, we insult the labor of the unsung Japanese artists and designers who worked so hard to conceive Duffy and create all the mythos and mystique that surrounds him today. You know, the uncredited labor of love they all devoted to birthing and growing this character before Monty Maldovan watered down both their story and design concepts and started signing everything. I think of all the people who will never see the TDS Storybook or the TDS Pumpkin costumes, just Maldovan's dumbed down "inspired by" imitations…I think of it and I just feel terrible. The problem with accepting what the US is doing is that it makes Duffy less. I can't find it in my heart to celebrate or even condone that. It would be better not to know him at all – and be able to still discover him someday – than to see a shadow of a copy, dismiss it, and never look back. As much as I want the whole world to know and love Duffy, I want them to know the real deal.



    I want them to feel like this.
    I don't think you were harsh and I definitely don't think you were insulting to collectors at all. You have a very valid point of view. It's clear you are absolutely filled with love for Duffy and want the best for him. And I really agree with you for the most part. My thought though is that the bear is the bear and it's better to be able to get the naked bear than no bear at all. He's still a Ferrari and not the cheap imitation variety. Then just ignore that horrid Disney clothing selection and make up your own stuff and your own stories. That's part of the fun. That's part of the fun of a really good teddy bear. Duffy is a really good teddy bear.

    I could be wrong but I feel like American Disney sees Duffy as a kid thing and not a collector thing. And from my experience, most of the people who decide this stuff for Disney are really out of touch with what the fans are clamoring for anyway. Half the time, they don't even set foot in the parks to see what's going on. And unfortunately, everything seems to be money-driven — if it doesn't make a profit, it's out. If it does, let's reproduce it in every way possible till we beat it into the ground.

    Anyway, even if you're a person who cannot sew, you can still visit a thrift shop & re-imagine (and there's a glue called FabriTac that works like a charm for the sewing-challenged), you can shop at Build A Bear, or buy doll clothes ... or just leave Duffy naked. He's furry, I don't think he minds. It's the bear that matters not the clothes. And Duffy is so charming, he will shine through all the baloney. I see it happening all the time.

    And also, I know Duffy isn't just for kiddies, but sometimes it starts with the littlest ones. Kiddies don't let boundaries the adults set up get in the way of imagining things. All those kiddies I see with Duffy (and lately there have been a lot) are going to go home and dress Duffy in something they have laying around. They'll make it work, as Tim Gunn says. And they will grow up loving Duffy and thinking up stories for him and giving him a life. He will go on trips with them and have big adventures — isn't that what Duffy is about? And Duffy will be their favorite childhood thing that they will hold onto forever.

    Take away Duffy because American Disney isn't treating him right and you take away all those stories. I wouldn't wish that for the world, not even to save the brand and keep it as it should be. Also, I think there will always be people who get "it" no matter what "it" is, and people who don't. It's hard to change that. No matter how well-intentioned Monte Moldovan is when it comes to designing stuff for Duffy, I guarantee his hands are tied by people who don't get "it".

  2. #587

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    Re: New Duffy Merchandise

    Thank you. Sometimes I'm hardheaded, but fortunately softhearted. And that touched it.

  3. #588

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    Re: New Duffy Merchandise

    We are talking about japan duffy and us duffy, but, does anyone know how it goes in paris and hong-kong ? is it popular? is it cheap looking? is the same of the us parks?

  4. #589

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    Re: New Duffy Merchandise

    Quote Originally Posted by SailorDuffy View Post
    We are talking about japan duffy and us duffy, but, does anyone know how it goes in paris and hong-kong ? is it popular? is it cheap looking? is the same of the us parks?
    I can only speak about the 20th Anniversary Duffy that's being sold at Disneyland Paris right now. Though his jacket has embroidered buttons, it's very nice quality & I like it a lot. The jacket fabric is a nice velour that makes it kind of like a faux suede and the sleeves are creamy white faux leather. There are little pocket flaps (again made of the creamy white faux leather) just like a real letterman's jacket. All the patches are actual patches that are sewn on and his hat is a real, bear-sized baseball cap with real sewn-on logo patches — no iron-on anything. He's terrific.

    Maybe someone in Paris can chime in on whatever other Duffy merch being sold is like.

  5. #590

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    Re: New Duffy Merchandise

    Mostly it's the same as the US parks. Duffy's inaugural Christmas release at HKDL included restickered Tokyo merchandise, and Halloween had their own interpretation of the Tokyo Pumpkin series. It was better than the US, not as good as Japan, in my opinion.

    Paris has had one unique release, the 12" Letterman 20th Anniversary bear in Sue's photos, which also seems to be of higher quality than any of the US 12" bears. There was also a series of "designer" outfits, but that was just for a promotion and there were no interpretations available to buy, even in limited quantities. In hindsight, to me it seems like someone really had a vision for Duffy in Paris and started him off with a bang. Either the market didn't respond or Disney (which owns and directly manages all the parks except Tokyo) decided not to invest further in that direction. Maybe it just takes time. Who knows?

    It's not just that the US sees Duffy as a "kid thing;" it's that they don't seem to care about the quality he represents at all. The Mother's and Father's Day T-shirts come to mind as something that can't be explained away by "safety regulations" or "for kids," especially since one assumes that these bears would be gifts for parents. Parents who gave life. But those designs did not seem, to most of us I think, to represent any real emotion or investment at all, much less celebratory gratitude. It's not any one thing; it's the overall message, and the fact that the message WDC sends with their merchandise is in four of the five parks in three of the four countries that have Disney parks and now sell Duffy.

    I guess I should just be happy that Japan/DisneySEA/Cape Cod - Duffy's home - is special. For all I know, the quality difference is even orchestrated by the Oriental Land Company in order to maintain their own pricing structure, because the market here will pay the premium for it, even in the mainstream. But I really doubt that; Duffy merchandise seems to be worth what it costs as far as I can tell, and often even feels like a bargain.

    I just can't help feeling sad about one thing, over and over. I strongly doubt that the majority of the people outside Japan who even know Duffy at this point in time ever really get a glimpse of how special he really is and what he means to the people who made and nurtured him, creators and fans included. Lessening the impact by lessening the quality makes the only dedicated fans who even really know about the Japanese version (the ones who post on chatboards and import merchandise,etc are not the majority) look like fanatics about "some teddy bear" and then the naysayers never even have curiosity about why someone would love Duffy so much. They think they get it. They think Duffy fans are just sheep, being herded toward Disney's latest cash cow. Many of them actually resent him, and I think it's precisely because they just don't know. That's not really their fault when the Walt Disney Company is sending the same message, and it makes it very hard for fans to do all the heavy lifting (in my case, literally) with getting out the real message.

    Whatever. I guess I just have to notice that it's not like that for some and I'm lucky to be in Japan and play my part, and I should be happy. But, y'know, I just always envisioned the US design team (and the Paris and Hong Kong teams^^) really competing with the Japan team for quality, driving quality up and prices down in all markets and filling the world with the same wonder at what all these seriously talented people would do next, giving Duffy a unique, exclusive flavor at every park. And it really isn't like that. The only name we hear is still Monty Maldovan's, and official references to Duffy being from Japan have all but disappeared. Maybe it's for the best, though. Maybe that protects him. I dunno.
    Last edited by DuffyDaisuki; 06-24-2012 at 08:17 PM.

  6. #591

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    Re: New Duffy Merchandise

    I completely whole heartedly agree with you DuffyDaisuki. Even though I owe finding out about Duffy to Disney bring him here to the states, it was what I learned about what Japan did with him that really grabbed my attention. The care and soul they put into the products are insurmountable and can not be replicated anywhere else. I've just decided to boycott anything Disney throws at us Duffy related(and more of their merch too, I just don't like a lot of the stuff at all!). I do feel like you, that Duffy should just be kept to Japan, like a mystery, than be tarnished in the states. It just makes me sad to see people with US Duffy without really knowing or seeing real Duffy. It's no comparison at all! And for Disney to continue to spew mediocre merchandise over and over is just insulting to us fans.
    I know people say that we should support it so that the quality gets better, but I just really don't see that happening. I have seen Disney first hand, only giving a crap about the bottom line. Nothing more. It truly is sad. And to support it is just encouraging Disney to produce more mediocre items. I'm not trying to offend anyone, and if you love US Duffy, I applaud you for seeing past the greed. But for me it's to get past that when I've seen what Disney can truly do if they tried(in Japan).

  7. #592

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    Re: New Duffy Merchandise

    Here are the Hidden Mickey pins featuring Duffy wearing different hats. Disneyland and WDW will each be getting their own set that is completely different than the other park. On top of that, there will also be a chaser pin. Disneyland will have two and WDW will have one. The chaser pin will be a solid silver pin featuring Duffy in one of the hats. For those of you that don't know a "Hidden Mickey" is a pin that is only found on Cast Members laynards. After about a month or so, a mystery pack will be released with two random pins from the wave for about $10. It is a mystery pack so you will not be sure if it is a pin set that you are trying to complete.

    Disneyland:
    http://cdn.dolimg.com/eventservices/...BChecklist.pdf

    WDW:
    http://cdn.dolimg.com/eventservices/...BChecklist.pdf

    Happy Pin Hunting!!!!


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  8. #593

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    Re: New Duffy Merchandise

    The "construction fence" pins made me giggle. They turn anything and everything into a pin these days!

    They are cute, though.

  9. #594

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    Re: New Duffy Merchandise

    Oh the pins seem awesome. I can't wait to try and collect them.

    ---------- Post added 06-25-2012 at 07:36 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by NRubus View Post
    I completely whole heartedly agree with you DuffyDaisuki. Even though I owe finding out about Duffy to Disney bring him here to the states, it was what I learned about what Japan did with him that really grabbed my attention. The care and soul they put into the products are insurmountable and can not be replicated anywhere else. I've just decided to boycott anything Disney throws at us Duffy related(and more of their merch too, I just don't like a lot of the stuff at all!). I do feel like you, that Duffy should just be kept to Japan, like a mystery, than be tarnished in the states. It just makes me sad to see people with US Duffy without really knowing or seeing real Duffy. It's no comparison at all! And for Disney to continue to spew mediocre merchandise over and over is just insulting to us fans.
    I know people say that we should support it so that the quality gets better, but I just really don't see that happening. I have seen Disney first hand, only giving a crap about the bottom line. Nothing more. It truly is sad. And to support it is just encouraging Disney to produce more mediocre items. I'm not trying to offend anyone, and if you love US Duffy, I applaud you for seeing past the greed. But for me it's to get past that when I've seen what Disney can truly do if they tried(in Japan).

    When I was at Epcot I was posing Duffy and Shellie for pictures near Duffy's M & G by his store and these people saw me doing that. I overheard a girl say to another like that Duffy was a kids things and that it was a stupid bear and Disney just "came up" with him to make money. That's so not true at all. Duffy is loved by his true fans and his true fans made him for who he is now a wonderful companion to travel and see the world with, thats how I see him. I love him and I even got a Duffy and Shellie from TDS since the Duffy quality over here is bad and they don't really care for him.

  10. #595

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    Re: New Duffy Merchandise

    Quote Originally Posted by messica View Post
    Here are the Hidden Mickey pins featuring Duffy wearing different hats. Disneyland and WDW will each be getting their own set that is completely different than the other park. On top of that, there will also be a chaser pin. Disneyland will have two and WDW will have one. The chaser pin will be a solid silver pin featuring Duffy in one of the hats. For those of you that don't know a "Hidden Mickey" is a pin that is only found on Cast Members laynards. After about a month or so, a mystery pack will be released with two random pins from the wave for about $10. It is a mystery pack so you will not be sure if it is a pin set that you are trying to complete...
    Thanks, Messica!^^ And there goeth my hopes for having a complete set of these. I bet they'll cost a fortune on eBay. The one US release I was really excited about, and it's gonna be almost impossible to get. Bummer. Maybe it will raise excitement about Duffy among pin collectors, though, and that's a fairly firm base, right? That's good.

    Quote Originally Posted by DCfan92 View Post
    Oh the pins seem awesome. I can't wait to try and collect them.
    I'll take your dupes! Actually, since they're different at WDW and DL, and we have a lot of Duffeteers in each place, it might be really fun for folks to trade. This should be exciting to watch! I actually envy you guys in the US for this!

    Quote Originally Posted by messica View Post
    When I was at Epcot I was posing Duffy and Shellie for pictures near Duffy's M & G by his store and these people saw me doing that. I overheard a girl say to another like that Duffy was a kids things and that it was a stupid bear and Disney just "came up" with him to make money. That's so not true at all.
    That does stink. When I was taking those photos at TDS last week, there was a Japanese girl who said to her friend, with no attempt for me not to hear (I guess she thought I couldn't understand, or maybe she just didn't care), "Wow, look! That's really cute...but...what?" In this case, "what" meaning "what is that guy doing" or "what's up with that freak" or "what is that (meaning me)." All of these interpretations are possible.

    Last time when I bought stuff, two Japanese guys came up behind me, pointing and laughing at the total and excitedly entertaining themselves for about three minutes. That was embarrassing enough, but the real kicker was that the CM totalling my stuff looked up at them and smirked and giggled to himself, too, then looked at me and looked down, still smirking...and then I had to wait for almost 20 minutes while he and two more CM recounted everything in every bag they had just sealed. I kept asking what the problem was and all they would see is "Wait." Finally, I demanded to know what had happened, and that same CM had neglected to charge me for one of the ShellieMays. The bears are big enough that this should have been a simple fix, but I guess he wasn't confident that he had been paying attention since he was so busy laughing, so they recounted everything. Three people and "the foreigner." Needless to say, it created a scene. By the time I left, worried I was late for work and having paid him more money for the last ShellieMay, I was really kinda frustrated. No CM has ever laughed at me (at least not to my face) before, and none of them have ever made a mistake about money.

    But the thing is, Sue is right. Everybody won't get it. That's just the way it is. The only way people who don't get things learn to get them is by people who do get it putting out the message. It was that way with abolition, with women's suffrage, gay rights as human rights, the list goes on. People who don't understand something don't understand it. Until they do. In the US, I think WDC bears a lot of responsibility for this, since they control the message. And even in Japan, Duffy has seemed more and more childlike and "for kids" since the launch of My Friend Duffy although the quality, pricing, merchandise variety and design still strongly supports the much larger Duffy collectors' market. The collectors haven't gone anywhere, but there do seem to be a lot more kids with Duffy now, and if it didn't seem to make people think the adult collectors are now "weirder," I'd be all for that. It's not always easy to be ahead of the curve - or even better - choosing to just not run the same race as everyone else. Living life on one's own terms is a gift, and if everybody doesn't get it, it's precisely the gift of the self-directed life one should turn back to.

    That said, I was talking to my friend about this "not getting it" last night. And she said the only really tough thing is that women get a "pass" for something like Duffy. For a man, liking something like Duffy is seen as emasculating, weak, and potentially perverse by many people she thinks. Still, she stayed with me in the hotel and allows me to get excited telling her about Duffy stuff. But she understands my concerns. It's not just that people think a guy taking photos of a teddy bear is "eccentric;" I could handle that. It's that many people are likely to think he's "weird" in a big "not good" way.

    I've said before that if I had other Duffy-loving pals to take photos with, that would work. But Disney fans in Japan are often in their small groups at the parks. I imagine it's true in the US, too. It's not really a place you join up with people. I've actually made two new Japanese Duffy friends during Spring Voyage, but we have yet to meet again, as we're all working and have very different schedules. And they are hardcore Duffy fans, like us. But still I'm not sure they'd wanna spend the day doing photos. With the schlepping and time involved, it really is better as a one-person thing, creatively, for me. Most days there are lots of people coming up wanting to take the pictures I set up, and that seems to make people feel more relaxed about it. Other days, people marvel at the "gaijin" taking photos of Duffy. In Japan, I really think it's mostly that. My age and gender are definitely issues, too, but the "gaijin factor" is really the thing that people just can't understand. Most non-Japanese don't go all out in the parks the way the Japanese do, so it seems more weird maybe?

    I hope someday we live in a world where we really give each other not just the benefit of doubt, but the comfort of loving kindness. It would be nice to live in a world in which we could walk down the street and see people wearing whatever they want, hair however they want, being whoever they really are and conforming to nothing - and not feel put off by it. I agree with my friend, though. For men, this is very, very difficult to do. Women have a lot more flexibility about how they choose to define themselves and how they are perceived.
    Last edited by DuffyDaisuki; 06-25-2012 at 05:23 PM.

  11. #596

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    Re: New Duffy Merchandise

    Oh, I want a couple of those pins! I assume I'll have to go to eBay...I'd love the sailor one and the pirate one. I'm not a fan of the chasers, so that's lucky, I guess.

    DuffyD, I would imagine the girls meant nothing bad by it (though I'm notably oblivious). They may have never seen a foreigner who loved/had adventures with their Duffy.

    But I am HORRIFIED at how people treated you in that store. And a CAST MEMBER! How terrible that bullying transcends culture. How immature of them, never mind STUPID. It didn't cross their minds that they may not all be for you? Do they really think your entire living space is filled to the ceiling with Duffies, or what??? (Never mind that so what if it were; that's your business and I couldn't think of a cuter way to decorate.)

    Out here, men your age and older seem to regularly buy large numbers of Duffy things...though they're destined for eBay. The CM I saw observing them didn't seem pleased, but she certainly didn't laugh or mock.

    I agree that women seem to get more of a pass as far as toys and have thought that before. Of course, plenty of people seem to find it childish or weird for a woman to be carrying a Duffy, but I think it's easier.

    Quote Originally Posted by DuffyDaisuki View Post
    I hope someday we live in a world where we really give each other not just the benefit of doubt, but the comfort of loving kindness. It would be nice to live in a world in which we could walk down the street and see people wearing whatever they want, hair however they want, being whoever they really are and conforming to nothing - and not feel put off by it.
    Preach on! Our value as people has nothing to do with our clothes, hair, appearance, hobbies, etc. (Though I find it hard not to have a bit of extra love for anyone who loves Duffy. )

  12. #597

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    Re: New Duffy Merchandise

    "That said, I was talking to my friend about this "not getting it" last night. And she said the only really tough thing is that women get a "pass" for something like Duffy. For a man, liking something like Duffy is seen as emasculating, weak, and potentially perverse by many people she thinks. Still, she stayed with me in the hotel and allows me to get excited telling her about Duffy stuff. But she understands my concerns. It's not just that people think a guy taking photos of a teddy bear is "eccentric;" I could handle that. It's that many people are likely to think he's "weird" in a big "not good" way."

    Man...this is exactly how I feel. It's also a reason I haven't done many "public space" Duffy photos myself. Guys doing something like this in the US are looked at as possibly mentally disabled, crazy, or a pervert. I just don't get why people jump to such conclusions. We've been forced into these acceptable roles for adults, male and female, that anything outside of the "normal" is really discouraged and judged heavily.

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    Re: New Duffy Merchandise

    The creative spirit has a lot of obstacles to overcome if we choose to keep it set free. Most people let their imaginations wither and die without even putting up a fight. Thing is, imagination is power. Giving it up, by increments, makes us all much easier to control. Duffy don't play dat!

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    Re: New Duffy Merchandise

    I was just looking at the new ParkWise column here on MC about the Storybook Circus/Casey Junior water play area and noticed something. At the nearby cart selling towels, sunscreen and the like... the towels have DUFFY on them!


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    Re: New Duffy Merchandise

    Aaaaaand.... we got some more Duffy merch coming in the US:

    Duffy the Disney Bear Adds International Flavor to His Wardrobe at Disney Parks « Disney Parks Blog

    I gotta admit the Brazil shirt is kind of cute and is a smart/sneaky way to get the bazillion Brazilian tourists that come to the parks to hopefully get them to buy a Duffy.

    2012 Food & Wine 12" Chef Duffy is cute. I loved last year's and this year's version is different enough I'll probably get him... plus... BOW TIE! Duffy always looks awesome in a bow tie!

    The pins... The Christmas party one is ugly. The other 2 pins are a little better. I don't really collect or trade pins though, but we'll see.

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