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  1. #1

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    Disney Insider Newsletter

    I got the new Disney Insider Newsletter today in my email and... this one was all about Duffy!

    March 13, 2012 | Disney Insider | Newsletter

    They actually go and credit TDR for Duffy's real success, mention how over there he's known as "the bear of happiness and luck" and even mention Shellie May (just a little info about her, no "she's coming here" announcement).

  2. #2

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    Talking Re: Disney Insider Newsletter

    Where did he come from? We spoke to Disney Theme Park Merchandise Communications Manager Steven Miller to learn more. "Duffy, as we now know him, is a unique Disney character in that he wasn't created from a Disney movie or story. He originated from the creative minds at Tokyo Disney Resort ... they took a merchandise item, named it, created a backstory, and ended up with an extremely popular, immersive entertainment experience. Fans went crazy for him and really embraced the character." ...

    I actually am tearing up a little…. FINALLY! Way to go, Disney! Telling the truth!

    Fluff and stuff! I wanna read the whole article, but it's Flash and in on iPhone. Help a brother out?

    Oh, but confound it! I just realized they still didn't mention Oriental Land by name and VERY FEW people actually understand that Tokyo Disney = OLC.

  3. #3

    • Tokyo Disney is life!
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    Re: Disney Insider Newsletter

    Here you go, Daisuki:

    Who's Duffy?

    He's huggable, adventurous, and even has a popular Facebook page – but WHO is Duffy the Disney Bear? If you don't already know, you'll be charmed to discover that Duffy is Mickey Mouse's very own teddy bear (not to mention travel companion!) ... and the newest character that Disney Theme Park Guests around the globe are clamoring to meet.

    Where did he come from? We spoke to Disney Theme Park Merchandise Communications Manager Steven Miller to learn more. "Duffy, as we now know him, is a unique Disney Character in that he wasn't created from a Disney movie or story. He originated from the creative minds at Tokyo Disney Resort ... they took a merchandise item, named it, created a backstory, and ended up with an extremely popular, immersive entertainment experience. Fans went crazy for him and really embraced the character."

    Duffy was initially introduced in 2002 for the opening of "Once Upon a Toy" at Downtown Disney in Orlando, and was known only as "The Disney Bear" – but at the time, he had an entirely different backstory involving a trip to the Magic Kingdom, Mickey, and the magic of pixie dust. It wasn't until 2004-2005 that Duffy was expanded upon by the Tokyo Disney team. Steven sets the record straight on Duffy's "official story."

    "When Mickey was leaving on a long sea voyage, Minnie didn't want him to be lonely so she made Duffy to keep him company during his travels. Minnie presented her hand-sewn bear to Mickey in a duffel bag, which is how he came up with the nickname 'Duffy.' Mickey and Duffy visited many exciting places together and made lots of new friends along the way. At the end of their journey, they sailed back home to be reunited with Minnie."

    So what has Duffy been doing ever since? Mickey's BFF is quite the busy bear, making live appearances at Disneyland Resort Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, and Tokyo Disney Resort. Duffy's also found a home at Disney Parks in the United States, where Guests can snap pics with him at his Friendship Gazebo in Epcot near the Mexico Pavilion, or at Paradise Pier's Treasures in Paradise, located in Disney California Adventure Park. (See if you can spot the hidden Mickey!) Steven adds, "Duffy loves taking photos with new friends and giving tons of hugs!

    Although Duffy has sported holiday-themed costumes at various Parks' parades, he's known for rocking the sailor suit that reminds him of his travels with Mickey. "Guests can purchase different outfits for their Duffy bears, including some that represent the different countries at Epcot – we're even coming out with a Jedi costume! Some of Duffy's clothing (and other merchandise) varies, depending on the country, as each culture has a different point of view."

    Disney Parks' very first character-related merchandise item to have its own Facebook page, Duffy has almost 45,000 active followers who comment, interact with other fans, and post pics on his wall. According to Steven, "One of the most popular things to do is take photos with your Duffy bear at Disney Theme Parks or anywhere in the world – just like Mickey did. Guests have posted pictures from as far away as the Sydney Opera House in Australia as well as the United Kingdom ... I took my Duffy to a concert in the Arizona desert!" he laughs.

    Steven also provided some additional Duffy trivia. Did you know ...

    *Though he never speaks, there's no question about who Duffy belongs to by the "Hidden Mickeys" on his face, paws, and back On the Tokyo Disney web site, Duffy's been dubbed the "bear of happiness and luck."

    *Introduced several years after her beau, ShellieMay is Duffy's girlfriend (and, yes, she's a real Disney Character!). Currently, this bow-clad bear can only be seen at Tokyo DisneySea.

    *"The My Friend Duffy" Show, which replaced a Donald Duck-themed show at the American Waterfront at Tokyo DisneySea, includes a special Duffy theme song, various characters, and lasts approximately 10 minutes.

    As Mickey can confirm, Duffy's the perfect pal for small children (or kids of all ages!) to take along and share their Disney Parks' experiences with. Where will you take YOUR Duffy???
    "ShellieMay is Duffy's girlfriend" Oh Disney...

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    Sad Re: Disney Insider Newsletter

    "…Some of Duffy's clothing (and other merchandise) varies, depending on the country, as each culture has a different point of view."

    Riiight…

    "Steven also provided some additional Duffy trivia. Did you know ...

    *Though he never speaks, there's no question about who Duffy belongs to by the "Hidden Mickeys" on his face, paws, and back On the Tokyo Disney web site, Duffy's been dubbed the 'bear of happiness and luck.'"

    Nice to see "happiness and luck." Frustrating the way they always desperately trot out "there's no question about who Duffy belongs to" to emphasize Mickey's relevance. I got news for ya, Disney – just like our fairy tales, childhoods, dreams and magic – Duffy belongs to the Tenders who love him. Mickey is but one amidst a growing many.^^

    "*Introduced several years after her beau, ShellieMay is Duffy's girlfriend (and, yes, she's a real Disney Character!). Currently, this bow-clad bear can only be seen at Tokyo DisneySea."

    …threw up a little in my mouth…it was bad enough without the "beau/bow" pun

    "*'The My Friend Duffy' Show, which replaced a Donald Duck-themed show at the American Waterfront at Tokyo DisneySea, includes a special Duffy theme song, various characters, and lasts approximately 10 minutes."

    It also includes Duffy talking…a LOT. Kinda makes you wonder who wrote that first part, huh?

    "As Mickey can confirm, Duffy's the perfect pal for small children (or kids of all ages!) to take along and share their Disney Parks' experiences with. Where will you take YOUR Duffy???"


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    Re: Disney Insider Newsletter

    Everyone's interpretation of Duffy & Shellie May's relationship is different.

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    Re: Disney Insider Newsletter

    I thought it was a really good article overall--at least it makes it clear Duffy the character is from Japan, and even outlines his origins pretty well.

    I'm not liking the "girlfriend" thing, though--I don't mind at all if fans see them that way, but I don't want Disney imposing it on a relationship that, thus far at least, can also be seen as platonic. But I guess we know what angle Disney will take if Shellie May ever comes to the park!

    Which actually may not be a good idea, now that I think about it. If you are talking about small BOY children, a lot of them are grossed out by kissing/relationships. (Many girl children are too; I know I was. The ones who aren't, already have the princess franchise anyway)

    While teddy bears are considered somewhat a girl thing in the US, Duffy is a boy bear and in the US he has boy-friendly outfits, so he could sell to boys. Give him a "girlfriend" and that may turn off some boys who may have been interested otherwise.

    Now, I do predict that Shellie May herself would more than make up for any boys who lost interest in Duffy when he got a "girlfriend." But I also predict Shellie May's sales would be substantially the same, whether she was introduced as "girlfriend" or just "friend." My doll/bear-loving friends LOVED tiny Shellie May and weren't nearly as impressed with tiny Duffy.

    (Of course, they insisted Duffy and Shellie May were a couple too... Disney staying silent on the topic would not change their mind!)

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    Re: Disney Insider Newsletter

    Eeee-va's response just above has to be one of the most level-headed and brilliant posts I've ever read. Ever.^^

  8. #8

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    Re: Disney Insider Newsletter

    Steven is very "true disney" he is a great guy and is very passionate about the real disney. If he had his way we would see alot better merchandise than we see.


    Bringing the Love since January 10, 2011
    We were sent over there with the message that only we would defend Disney quality.. We learnt quickly that the Japanese culture speaks to a level of quality that is hard to comprehend. They were all unbelievably skilled and willing to do the right thing.
    Craig Russell -Walt Disney Imagineering

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    Re: Disney Insider Newsletter

    Quote Originally Posted by TravisMT81 View Post
    Steven is very "true disney" he is a great guy and is very passionate about the real disney. If he had his way we would see alot better merchandise than we see.
    That's very good to hear and I trust your judgment, but I'd still like to see both the Oriental Land Company and Cape Cod mentioned by name. I'd like Duffy's hometown and culture LOCKED in the minds of all who know him, and I think, honestly, this layer would add value. Some might fear it makes him less relatable, but I feel that greater specificity (as long as it does not actually narrow the characterization) makes him more "real." The Cape Cod element is a big deal to me, and I think Disney might even reinvigorate itself if it was openly celebrating its partnership with Oriental Land, which it really is. Even moreso as Shanghai gets underway, from what I've read.
    Last edited by DuffyDaisuki; 03-21-2012 at 09:32 PM.

  10. #10

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    Re: Disney Insider Newsletter

    Quote Originally Posted by Eeee-va View Post
    While teddy bears are considered somewhat a girl thing in the US, Duffy is a boy bear and in the US he has boy-friendly outfits, so he could sell to boys. Give him a "girlfriend" and that may turn off some boys who may have been interested otherwise.
    You mean like how boys are totally turned off by Mickey because he has Minnie for a girlfriend?

    I do agree though that everyone interprets Duffy and Shellie's relationship differently, so I don't really think they should have specifically used the words "beau" and "girlfriend" in the article. But then US Disney isn't really known for paying attention to details when it comes to Duffy.

  11. #11

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    Re: Disney Insider Newsletter

    I thought about Mickey and Minnie, but Minnie's been around since 1928, same as Mickey. She has friends like Daisy, her own house, and even runs an airline in Disney California Adventure. I feel like this is more like if Mickey had been around for a few years and then Disney brought in Minnie to give him a girlfriend.

    On the other hand, many Pixar characters (considered to have substantial boy appeal) have girlfriends, so fair enough. Though I think racecars and superheroes and monsters have a stereotypical boy appeal that teddy bears don't. (Which is a little odd given how many sharp teeth bears have...you'd think boys would love them! )

    I don't know though. Maybe it wouldn't affect Duffy's appeal, but I don't see how leaving it open could possibly hurt either. I love that everyone can come up with their own interpretations.

    (I meant to mention here and forgot, I was at the grocery store and saw a couple of kids, brother and sister, holding hands for safety as their parent browsed a refrigerated case...just like my Tiny Duffy and Tiny Shellie May. Warmed my heart, LOL.)

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    Re: Disney Insider Newsletter

    Quote Originally Posted by Eeee-va View Post
    (I meant to mention here and forgot, I was at the grocery store and saw a couple of kids, brother and sister, holding hands for safety as their parent browsed a refrigerated case...just like my Tiny Duffy and Tiny Shellie May. Warmed my heart, LOL.)
    Mine, too.

  13. #13

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    Re: Disney Insider Newsletter

    My friends used to do that when they were little. They weren't twins, but about 11 months apart, so they were often confused for twins. They would hold hands like that too when they were little.

    Everyone's interpretation of Duffy and ShellieMay are different, it's true. I cringe a little bit when Disney tries to force them into a relationship. If people do that on their own as individuals, that's fine with me, as is dressing Duffy like a baby. It's not what I would do, but each one has their own personality. It makes it that much harder when they are boyfriend and girlfriend.

    Think of it this way. Using Mickey and Minnie as an example again, since they've been together as a couple for decades. Is it that easy to imagine now that they are just best friends or possibly siblings? I think it's harder to imagine that considering all of the imagery we've seen of them as a romantic couple. It's harder to "break out" of that way of thinking. It's also harder to find any kind of merchandise where they are NOT a couple when put together.

    ---------- Post added 03-22-2012 at 09:27 AM ----------

    My bears are just very good friends. There is no romance, other than doing something for each other out of love. ShellieMay might give Duffy her chocolate to share, but only because they do everything together and they are BFF's. They don't have romantic thoughts, but sometimes they like a hug or a kiss, but in the familial kind of way, like a brother or sister. They do things for each other all the time, but they also argue and squabble, and sometimes might go to far and hurt each other, but they always feel bad about that after the "heat of the moment" and make up quickly. After all, who wants to be mad at your best friend?

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