Three years ago, my kids met “Duffy the Disney Bear” during our vacation to Walt Disney World. They watched his nighttime bedtime story on TV (airing every 15 minutes at Disney World Resort Hotels), and especially loved seeing him at his meet and greet at Epcot’s World Showcase. To my young kids, Duffy is just another awesome Disney character, as synonymous with Disney World as Mickey Mouse or Minnie Mouse.
Unfortunately, I knew that immediately following that 2013 family vacation, I was going to have to take an extended trip to China for business. This was going to be my first time away from my kids for that long. So, I was stressed out about how to break this news to my kids, and how to make them feel okay about Mommy going away for almost two weeks. Well, the Duffy Story gave me a great idea. As the story goes, Minnie Mouse created Duffy for Mickey to keep him company on his travels. And Mickey loved taking pictures with Duffy on his adventures and then sharing the pictures with his friends.
So, during our time in Disney World, I bought a 17-inch Duffy plush for each of my kids, and a little tiny Duffy for myself to bring to China. When our vacation was over, I presented them with their Duffys and promised to send pictures of me and my Duffy from China.
Since that time, meeting Duffy has become a tradition for every Disney trip. There was never a long line (I guess that should have been a hint), and it was a nice transition into the World Showcase for my kids who don’t appreciate that part of Epcot. As a family, we have collected different Duffys, including Darth Duffy, Chinese Duffy (from HK Disneyland), and Baby Duffy, to name a few.
I knew that in Tokyo Disneyland, Duffy had a friend named ShellieMay. And then last year I heard that ShellieMay plush were coming to Disney World! I was sure that my two girls would love a “girl Duffy” as much as their own Duffys. I just couldn’t wait for our next trip to get them, so I bought two ShellieMay plushes from the Shop Disney Parks App as soon as they became available in October. I dared to hope that this meant ShellieMay might join Duffy at his Meet and Greet.
Instead, it was announced that Duffy would no longer meet guests at Epcot (or anywhere else in Disney World). I still held out hope that he might be replaced by ShellieMay, but no, it was not to be. Daisy (and now Pluto) now meets there instead.
In April, we went to Disney World as a family for the first time since Duffy left Epcot. We were glad to see that the nightly TV show was still on, but my kids kept asking to meet Duffy in Epcot. I warned them that he might not be there, and of course, he wasn’t. While it did not ruin their vacation by any means, it was definitely much harder to drag them around World Showcase without Duffy there to ease them in.
However, I was pleasantly surprised to see some “2016 Flower and Garden Festival ” ShellieMay plush available for sale.
Of course, we bought them, and the girls were happy – but it also reminded them that they couldn’t give “Big Duffy” a “big hug” that trip. Honestly, I find it a bit strange that they are coming out with more “Duffy-related” souveniers with no plans to bring him or ShellieMay into the park to meet guests. So my hopes are starting to rise again, especially since I noticed that many of the ShellieMay plush were sold out that day.
So, is my my family is the only one who misses Duffy and would like to see him return?
Do you have any “Duffy Stories” to share?