Duffy the Disney Bear Archives

September 26, 2015

We’ll miss Duffy the Disney Bear when meet-and-greets at Walt Disney World end next weekend


In a little over a week, Duffy the Disney Bear will be setting sail for new adventures that don’t include his post at Epcot any longer. Multiple media outlets are reporting that Walt Disney World has confirmed that Duffy’s last day to greet guests will be Oct. 3.


Duffy has been a fixture at Epcot since he arrived five years ago from Tokyo DisneySea, where he is wildly popular. His meet-and-greet area in Orlando is located across from Plaza Towers East -- where Duffy merchandise is sold -- and depicts various countries of travel.


Duffy’s story, which is outlined in a hardcover book that families can purchase, attributes his birth to Minnie Mouse, who lovingly sewed the teddy bear for Captain Mickey Mouse to take on his long voyages around the globe.

Minnie told Mickey, “You can keep him in your duffel and take him with you wherever you go.” Because of that, Mickey named the bear Duffy.


I attended a Disney World passholder preview for Duffy the Disney Bear in 2010, and guests there couldn’t wait for his arrival stateside. They, including my own young children, were eager to snap up the merchandise, especially the plush animal and his many outfits. For many, the toy bear held the same appeal as a Build-A-Bear plush with all the collectible accessories.

But the others who disliked Duffy and thought he had no place at Walt Disney World saw his arrival as a thinly disguised merchandising campaign. Sure, Duffy would greet guests, but there are no true original Disney storylines associated with the bear either in cartoon form, film or other media. Plus, there simply aren’t park attractions based on the bear and many guests just couldn’t identify with him. To them, he was just Mickey’s little-known teddy bear. And Duffy was actually the rebranding of another version of a Disney teddy bear. My daughter has the original plush Disney Bear, which is slightly smaller than Duffy but looks virtually the same.


The cynicism might be easy to understand – until, like our family, you witnessed firsthand a youngster excitedly running up to Duffy for an autograph or a hug. Sure, the bear might not be a character from the creative mind of Walt or the Pixar brain trust, but when our children were younger, they eagerly waited in line for a chance to see him at Epcot. And their nighttime routines and bedtime stories were filled with stuffed Duffy characters and Duffy storybooks at one stage of their younger lives. For us, Duffy was as much Disney for them as Bambi and the Fox and the Hound was for my husband and I.

And, so, we have come full circle with Duffy here in the United States. Even though the Disney Bear will no longer be greeting guests, the merchandise still will be sold on property, a spokeswoman told the Orlando Sentinel. No word on whether the video of the “Duffy The Disney Bear” book being read as a bedtime story on Walt Disney World hotel TVs will continue.

Meanwhile, another Disney character with a very real and long historical tie to the company will be making an appearance once Duffy leaves. Daisy Duck replaces Duffy the Disney Bear in the gazebo meet-and-greet at Epcot beginning on Oct. 4.

Everyone loves Daisy, of course. But everytime we pass Epcot’s Plaza Towers East, it will be hard not to think of a fluffy friend who used to greet us there.


December 3, 2013

Disney World's Limited Time Magic allows guests to donate Duffy bears to Toys For Tots


When the winter holiday season arrives, many parents look for concrete ways to demonstrate to their children the importance of giving to those who are less fortunate. For some, that mission is accomplished through their places of worship. For others, it is through community groups and charities.

One donation method, though, that is easy for children of all ages to grasp is the nationwide Toys For Tots program. Participants donate new, unwrapped toys during the months of October, November and the first part of December, and then the gifts are distributed during the second half of December. Toys For Toys, which is run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, aims to inspire hope in youngsters "that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens."

Local campaigns are conducted in more than 700 communities in all 50 states, including Orlando. And for this week, Walt Disney World is offering a special Limited Time Magic deal to benefit Toys For Tots. For each $5 donation from a guest, Walt Disney World will give a 17-inch Duffy the Disney Bear to Toys for Tots.


I really love this promotion for so many reasons. Most importantly, these donations will put new "friends" in the hands of many children who really need them. Time and again, parents watch their children bond with special stuffed animals -- teddy bears or other loveys -- and the animals provide a sense of security and comfort. Imagine what they could do for children in families where futures are uncertain.

For families who can afford extras, like vacations at Walt Disney World, this offer gives them an easy way to share some of the Disney magic with those who are less fortunate. It's easy to make a simple donation and show children how it can help others. It's also a great teachable moment to ask your child to spend $5 of their own souvenir money to help other kids have a better Christmas and learn an easy lesson about personal sacrifice. Or, if children are too young to have their own money, parents can explain that instead of mom and dad enjoying a particular treat in the theme parks that day, they are donating the Duffy the Disney Bear instead.

The 17-inch Duffy the Disney Bear retails for $30, so guests can feel good about the value of their donations, too.

And, as teachable moments go, don't forget to note a historical aspect of the program either. Point to the Toys For Tots train logo at the collection site and ask the kids if they know where it was created. Then tell them how, in 1948, the logo actually was created by Disney animators as Walt Disney Studios joined with other Hollywood filmmakers to support this worthy program. That Disney-created artwork has been used ever since.

Donations for the Duffy bears are being accepted at Once Upon a Toy or World of Disney at Downtown Disney Marketplace though Dec. 8. In addition to subsidizing the plush bears, Walt Disney World is donating $200,000 to Toys for Tots this holiday season.


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About Duffy the Disney Bear

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to A Mom and The Magic in the Duffy the Disney Bear category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Dream Big, Princess is the previous category.

Earth Day is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.