Disney quietly retired Duffy the Disney Bear last week --- the meet & greet character, not the merchandise. I happened to be down at Walt Disney World for an impromptu grown-ups trip without my daughters. As we were walking through EPCOT I decided to stop by Duffy’s pavilions for one last photo shoot. I felt a little silly, I mean… it’s just a guy (or gal) in a costume, right? But when I got up there and it was my turn, I felt unexpectedly emotional. Duffy has been a big part of my girls’ lives since they were little--- they take their Duffy bears everywhere, on lots and lots of adventures! I think their Duffy bears have more clothes than I do. Eventually we splurged and imported Duffy’s friend, ShellieMay, from Tokyo Disney thanks to eBay --- and she definitely has more clothes than I do.
I know that Duffy isn’t considered a very popular character and there are many theories why: some folks saw Duffy as a blatant merchandising money grab, a “made-up” character. I wonder if the choice to bring Duffy with his EPCOT lands wardrobe wasn’t part of the problem--- if they’d brought of ShellieMay and a closet full of tiny princess dresses I think the franchise might have gone much differently. In anycase, my girls loved Duffy---- genuinely loved him. And to see him leaving the parks was like watching a little bit of their childhood leaving too.
I’m glad I got one last snuggly hug and visit in!
My girls had been patiently waiting and waiting for ShellieMay to make the switch to the US. When her merchandise was brought to Aulani in Hawaii the girls got really excited that a Disney World Shellie would soon follow. I don’t know what the retirement of Duffy means for that…. it’s a bit confusing since a new English version ShellieMay book was just released. Maybe Duffy isn’t gone for good, just hibernating a bit until he can be re-introduced with his better half? The Disney rumor experts seem to think that that is unlikely, but I'm staying optimistic!
Who is ShellieMay you ask? No other than Disney favorite girl! Here are some of our favorite ShellieMay pictures: