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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tip Tuesday: Duffy the Bear

Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!

This week, we're going to meet a character who recently "returned" to Walt Disney World from Tokyo Disney Sea, where he was just as big as Mickey Mouse, maybe bigger!

Meet Duffy the Bear!

Long-time Walt Disney World veterans may recognize a similar stuffed bear that was available for years called the Disney Bear. A while ago, the Disney Bear left the American parks and was "adopted" by Tokyo Disney Sea and given an entirely new persona and backstory.

Now, according to story, Duffy was made by Minnie Mouse and given to Mickey Mouse as a companion as Mickey was preparing to sail around the globe. Mickey and Duffy went on many voyages and everytime they returned home Mickey and Duffy would tell Minnie all about their adventures. Mickey and Duffy traveled to Japan (Tokyo Disney Sea) and were meeting guests there for quite a while. In fact, while Duffy was at Tokyo Disney Sea, he developed such a huge following that when new bear designs or new outfits for Duffy were introduced, guests would line up for hours to purchase the new items. Don't believe me? See this post from contributor Jack Spence. In October 2010, Mickey decided to bring Duffy home.

Of course, in Disney fashion, Duffy himself had to have a special location to meet and greet all his new friends when he returned to the United States. Duffy, of course, is a world traveler, so he had to be located in Epcot's World Showcase. Now Duffy has a special gazebo located near the Mexico pavilion where he meets new friends every day. Be sure to check a times guide for specific appearance times.

But Duffy is more than just a meet-and-greet character. Duffy can come home with you (parents, be warned that this little stuffed guy is very cute and cuddly and is sure to be a hit with younger guests). In addition, Duffy can be dressed in several different outfits, representing several countries located in World Showcase (he's wearing his Mexican and Chinese outfits above), various holidays and, naturally, his sailor's outfit. More outfits and costumes are planned for Duffy in the future.

Furthermore, Duffy's presence at Epcot is even wider than meet-and-greets and a plush toy. Duffy has replaced the masks at each Kidcot station in World Showcase.

The next time you're at Epcot, be sure to stop by and say hi to Mickey's best bear -- Duffy! It's one more reason Epcot is perfect for kids of all ages -- young and old.

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