Ok, according to Al Lutz, Duffy is on his way (again) to the US.
"Editor's Note 8/9: The next big Disney marketing push is a new character named Duffy, supposedly Mickey's little teddy bear that travels the world with him. Way-too-cute Duffy makes his big debut in the American parks Oct. 14th at DCA and Epcot. Expect a major campaign, since he's already huge in Japan and has the potential for massive sales of the plush and all the accessories. Look for photo locations in DCA and Epcot as well as the obligatory viral marketing this fall, so get your credit cards ready. - Al Lutz"
So...it looks like Disney is seeing how well Duffy is doing in Japan, and wants to capitalize on that too. Nevermind that it's a concept they started anyway. I'm very curious to see just how Disney markets him here. I have a sinking feeling it won't be as "cute" as the TDS version. More...Americanized? Also, what the heck will his story be now? There's no Cape Cod in any of the US parks.
Hopefully it's not just "Disney Bear" with a name now, and the exact same story. Because...well, we see how well that went before.
Also, I wanted to mention this before, because I thought it was interesting. Apparently Disney was toying with a "friend" for "Disney Bear" here too...only not a bear. Check this out...it's "Disney Cat". So, Shellie May could have been a cat too! I don't know how recent they were developing this, but I guess they were trying to diversify a while ago too.
Disney Bear Pink Cat Prototype Furry Plush Duffy Sample - eBay (item 110563550391 end time Aug-01-10 19:01:47 PDT)