We first encountered Duffy the Disney Bear in 2011 on our trip to Walt Disney World. The story of how my eldest daughter received her bear is a a tale in and of itself. Suffice to say, when her younger sister was old enough she developed a strong case of DuffyBear-envy. The first thing she did most days once Viola had left for school was sneak into her room and get her hands on the bear which, unbeknownst to Viola, accompanied Eva everywhere throughout the day---- she was wise enough to return it before Viola got home from school, of course.
I stifled the urge to buy her her own Duffy from the Disney Store, wanting it to be a special trip experience for her like what it was for her sister. Fast-forward to October 2013 and we were on our way to Walt Disney World for our epic Halloween trip. My mom kept asking how/when I was going to buy the bear, my response was "whenever it happens naturally". I was hoping to make it to the end of our trip, when we had scheduled to attend the Perfectly Princess Tea Party. At the tea party, the older girls are given an Aurora doll and the younger kids get Duffy bears. I thought that this would be suitably memorable. But, it wasn't meant to be.
About halfway through the trip, as we were visiting the pavilion across from Duffy's meet&greet location, Eva picked up a Duffy bear and carried it around the store as if it were already hers. At one point, she put it down in a stack of other (identical) bears while she looked at some bear outfits nearby and another shopper picked it up. A second later Eva looked back, saw the bear was missing from the top of the stack, saw it in the shoppers' hands and laid out an earsplitting wail. She even managed to put together an entire sentence (a feat for her at that age): "Her have taken my b-b-b-bear!"
Fortunately, the shopper offered to trade the bear for another from the pile. I'm still not sure how Eva could tell the difference between this bear and all the absolutely identical ones in the bin, to know that the shopper had picked up the one she'd been carrying around, but that's when I knew that she had found her Duffy bear and he would be coming home with us that beary afternoon. Hehe.
So, what makes the perfect Duffy bear? Well, I paid close attention to Eva's bear selection process and identified the follow these three steps for finding the perfect Duffy bear that you can follow yourself:
1. Pick up a Duffy bear.
2. Give him a squeeze.
3. Does it feel perfect?
If so, proceed to checkout.
If not, locate the next nearest available Duffy bear and repeat steps 1-2 until done.
Our bear shopping excursion happened to occur right after this great interaction with the Duffy character, which is what I think most likely sealed the deal on taking home a Duffy bear that day as opposed to later in the trip...
It's a little early for #TBT, but I thought I'd include a then-and-now comparison of our Meet&Greets with Duffy, just because they're so darn cute! Someday, maybe we'll get a picture where he's NOT in holiday clothes! And, of course, should ShellieMay ever make it to the US parks that will be occasion for some very excited little girls and lots of pictures, have no doubt...
FYI, if you are taking little ones to Disney World and planning to introduce them to costumed characters there are lots of sites with tips & techniques to help make it a positive experience. I think that this interaction with Duffy is a good example of how to transition a hesitant little one to a character--- ironically, Eva does much better with costumed characters than she does with face characters (traditionally, kids are supposed to react better to face characters!) I will have to put together a dedicated post on tips & tricks for meeting costumed characters sometime, but until then, here are some of the bloggers whose tips I followed on our last trip for a much better overall experience!
Kenny the Pirate: