Duffy at Tokyo DisneySea
photo courtesy of cafetricot on flickr

Fans of Disney’s Tokyo DisneySea may be familiar with the very popular bear, Duffy, who graces the park as a character, plush toy and many, many other forms of merchandise. As the story goes, (you knew there was a story, right?) Mickey Mouse was about to leave on a long sea voyage. Minnie gave him a stuffed bear so he wouldn’t get lonely. Mickey kept the bear duffel bag, and the name “Duffy” was born. Aww.

Duffy has his very own Disney site in Japanese, an unofficial Facebook page, countless flickr photos and ebay auctions for bears, outfits and more. He was for sale, though not referred to as Duffy, simply “The Disney Bear” briefly at Walt Disney World, making character appearances during Teddy Bear Weekends here in Florida. I happened to have purchased one back when my 11 year old was first born. I think I loved him more than my son did. Since I have a a love for all things Japanese as well, I was pretty excited about Duffy coming here to Epcot. Update: read all about Duffy’s arrival this October.

The good news for annual passholders is they will get a sneak preview and special hour-long presentation all about Duffy on September 18, 2010, at 11am, 2pm and 6pm at the Odyssey restaurant in Epcot. Reservations for this event open Tuesday, Aug. 31, at DisneyWorld.com/passholder to all current Disney World passholders. However, Weekday Select and Epcot After 4 p.m. passholders will need valid admission to Epcot. To read more about the details, check out Kristen Ford’s story on The Daily Disney. Duffy should begin making regular appearances in World Showcase’s Japan pavilion in October.

I can’t wait to sign up and be there for Duffy madness to arrive here in Florida. Hopefully he will receive as warm a welcome as he did in his Japanese home. Okaeri nasai, Duffy!

Duffy the Disney Bear
My own Duffy, getting ready to surf the internets.