As I mentioned in a previous post, Duffy the Disney Bear was a teddy bear that was marketed at Walt Disney World originally but it didn’t take off. Tokyo Disneyland Resort picked up on Duffy and launched him at their Tokyo DisneySEA park with a storyline that Minnie made him for Mickey to take on his voyages (because Mickey is some sort of sea captain apparently!!) On my first trip to Tokyo in 2009 for my 40th birthday, my mom bought me a Duffy.
We were there during the month between Valentine’s Day and White Day which is known as Love Month. In Japan on Valentine’s Day, girls give gifts to boys. On White Day, which falls on March 14, the opposite happens. At Tokyo Disneyland, they’re big on creating merchandise and special food to recognize the different times of year, so for Love Month, they had special Duffy-themed desserts which came with cute ceramic plates and cups. They were actually quite the bargain as the dessert and the souvenir were sold together for 700 Yen to the best of my recollection (about $7).
They even dressed Duffy up in the costume to celebrate the season. If this outfit had been sold for Duffy, I would’ve bought one but at the time they were celebrating the 25th anniversary of Tokyo Disneyland and every month a new costume was released for Duffy that was a Cast Member costume – when we were there it was the Space Mountain Cast Member costume. Tokyo Disneyland is brilliant at getting Guests to come back regularly to buy new stuff!!
In the time between our visit in 2009 and our return visit five years later, Duffy was re-introduced to Walt Disney World and to the other parks around the world. Meanwhile, Tokyo came out with Duffy’s female friend, ShellieMay. This is more Tokyo brilliance. I noticed when we were there the first time that some of the people carrying Duffy around had him dressed like he was a girl. I’m sure Disney saw this and realized they were missing out on a chance to sell more bears and outfits for bears. The backstory for ShellieMay is that Duffy was lonely travelling with Mickey and so Minnie made him a friend. Duffy gave his new friend and a shell and Minnie named her ShellieMay.
See Duffy gets a girlfriend <
Here are a few photos I took of Duffy and ShellieMay merchandise sold at Tokyo DisneySEA while we were there in March.
I couldn’t resist taking a picture of this woman who had her Duffy dressed in a Dumbo costume. I would love to have this costume for my Duffy!
I picked up a small ShellieMay (she’s actually a handpuppet) for a friend the day that I lined up to have my picture with ShellieMay (it was one of the shorter lines in the parks).
One night we went to the Cape Cod Cookout quick service restaurant at Tokyo DisneySEA for dinner and dessert.