ShellieMay, best friend of Duffy the Disney Bear, now sold at U.S. Disney Parks
Fans of Duffy the Disney Bear rejoiced Tuesday when they were met with shelves full of new merchandise – specifically those featuring Duffy’s companion, ShellieMay – at Walt Disney World and Disneyland. This was the first time the popular female character was made available at Disney theme parks on the mainland United States. (Last year, ShellieMay debuted at Aulani Resort and Spa in Hawaii.)
ShellieMay was first introduced in 2010 at Tokyo DisneySea for a special Valentine’s Day event called Sweet Duffy. At the time, her story was very basic:
The story has been fleshed out more this year with the introduction of a new book, “ShellieMay The Disney Bear: Duffy’s New Friend,” in the United States. In it, Duffy wishes for a best friend, much like Mickey Mouse has in Minnie Mouse. He wrote down his wish in a letter, placed it in a bottle and flung it into the ocean. With a little help, the bottle found its way to Minnie Mouse, and she decided to create ShellieMay as a gift for Duffy. When Duffy met the new bear, he placed a treasured heart-shaped seashell on a string and offered it to her as a gift, prompting Minnie to name her ShellieMay.
ShellieMay looks similar to Duffy, who is designed with a Mickey Mouse face on a teddy bear form. Both have Mickey-shaped birthmarks on opposite sides. But ShellieMay comes with a bow headband, and her fur is tinted a very pale pink.
On the release date in Orlando, ShellieMay was sold at World of Disney at Disney Springs, The Emporium at the Magic Kingdom, Mouse Gear at Epcot, and Disney Studio Store at Hollywood Studios. I visited Mouse Gear and chatted with several cast members about the new merchandise. The store opened at 9 a.m., and although they had restocked the shelves several times in the first two hours, ShellieMay merchandise was not sold out at about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday. Reports on social media channels indicated a similar pattern at the other Walt Disney World stores: steady sales but no frenzied shopping.
For sale were three versions of ShellieMay: The 17-inch bear for which costumes are made ($33 plus tax); a 12-inch bear dressed for A Day in the Park ($33 plus tax); and a 20-inch pillow pet ($32.95 plus tax). In addition, there were five costumes available: deluxe PJs that include a pillow ($33 plus tax); and Christmas Holiday, Tinker Bell, Marie the Cat and Princess Minnie Mouse (each $23 plus tax). The story book also was for sale ($5.99 plus tax). (Each guest may purchase up to five of each product.)
Steven Miller, merchandise communications manager at Walt Disney World, shared on the Disney Parks Blog some of the ShellieMay merchandise we can expect to see at the resort, and there were a few items I did not see Tuesday. There is a 12-inch My First ShellieMay The Disney Bear plush; 12-inch pre-dressed ShellieMay as a cheerleader; Cinderella and Prince Charming costumes for ShellieMay and Duffy; and a deluxe Minnie Mouse outfit. Cast members told me today that they expect to get more and different merchandise in the coming days; shipments arrive daily!
My 11-year-old daughter, who is a Duffy and ShellieMay fan, noted the absence of a few ShellieMay products that she really wishes were available in Orlando: ShellieMay’s heart-shaped seashell necklace; ShellieMay’s original outfit of a skirt and bloomers that match her gray-green bow headband; shoes (Many of Duffy’s outfits come with shoes, but ShellieMay’s do not.); and Gelatoni, the cat Duffy and ShellieMay encounter.
Perhaps her biggest wish, however, is that ShellieMay will appear as a meet-and-greet character in the U.S. Disney Parks. Walt Disney World discontinued appearances by Duffy earlier this month.