Our new friends and fellow Disney fans just had their first baby. In honor of this exciting occasion, I set out to find the perfect gift! I didn't have to look too far: what better gift for a new baby than a Duffy bear to love and cuddle? Knowing that our friends probably have their own special plans for baby's first actual Duffy bear, I suppressed the impulse to buy a 17" bear and outfit to match their Monsters Inc. nursery theme. Or a 17" bear and a Monster's Inc. outfit from Build-a-Bear Workshop. Or a 17" bear with a Monster's University Jacket from Build-a-Bear Workshop. Or, pretty much, any of the Duffy options in the photos above*, even though it was soooo tempting (Self-control! See, I have it, sort of, sometimes!!)
Instead, I procured a Duffy hand puppet and the ultra-hard-to-find original Disney Bear storybook. My grandmother was a librarian and I have fond memories of her reading stories to me with the help of a variety of snuggly puppets, each with their own voice and personality.
For those who might not be familiar, Duffy is a sweet teddy bear available at the Disney Parks. He has a variety of outfits available, much like Build-a-Bear Workshop offers. The merchandising tagline is "Where will you take Duffy?" and, as this blog attests, my girls have taken Duffy just about everywhere they've gone since he first joined our family in 2011. I consider Duffy an absolute must-do if you're on your first trip to Disney World, especially for little ones. He is adorable and infinitely snuggleable. The origin story (geek wink) of Duffy, is that he is Mickey's companion on his travels, whom Minnie Mouse sewed to keep Mickey company. Below is a cute video of the storybook (from Walt Disney World Resorts).
Duffy is one of our favorite Disney World traditions. I've previously written about the very special times when the girls received their own Duffy bears: Viola wished for one from Santa and Eva chose hers at EPCOT, and how we lost-proof them so they can always find their way home.
But, fans of Duffy might be surprised to learn that Duffy first launched some years earlier as simply The Disney Bear. In the original story, Duffy (the Disney Bear) was Mickey's companion on a trip to the Magic Kingdom! They rode all the rides together, and the storybook is a delightful list of park attractions. My girls love this story because it leads them to reminisce about their own trips to Disney World.
When I recently saw a batch of these hard-to-find books on eBay** for a relatively affordable price, I decided to pick up a few for friends who I thought might appreciate them. Honestly, how could I resist? Rare book and Disneyana, two of my very favorite things?!
Viola suggested recreating the illustrations from the book with her own Duffy bear on our next trip in what I guess would be a sort of photo op scavenger hunt, and we just might have to give it a try! In the meantime, we put together this video to give you a taste for the story (fair warning, it's a bit long and rambly):
Do you have a special Duffy Bear story? If so, I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!
*The pictures of Duffy in Monsters Inc. attire were gathered from google/eBay when I was shopping for the perfect gift for our friends new baby. We, alas, don't have any Monsters Inc attire for our Duffy bears because we missed the merchandise window for the last movie installment, Monsters University.
**At the time of writing this post, there are 6 Duffy books left from the eBay seller where I bought mine. If you're reading this and they've since sold out, my advice is to add a saved search for "Duffy Bear Book" to your eBay with notifications turned on. It's my observation that used copies pop up every few months in the $20-$25 range.