For people who haven't been to Disney California Adventure, Duffy's meet-and-greet is/was basically a tasteful backdrop directly to the left of the entrance to the store there (as you're viewing the store) with a queue to the left of that. It's no wonder cynical Californians write Duffy off as solely a money grab. Meet Duffy, take three steps into a store and buy your Duffy. (Which in fairness is how I got hooked by Magnet Duffy shortly after Duffy's debut. :shy: )
If I recall correctly, Duffy's meet and greet is the ONLY static and labeled meet and greet area in the park. The other characters may be found at certain places at certain times, such as Minnie by an airplane in Condor Flats, 1920s/30s Mickey, Chip, Dale, and Goofy around Buena Vista Street, the Toy Story characters near Toy Story Midway Mania, etc. But those areas aren't labeled, and don't look empty when their characters leave them. There is an area in Cars Land where you can meet Mater or Lightning McQueen, but even that wouldn't look so empty if neither car were there. Santa did have a dedicated meet-and-greet spot for the Christmas season 2012, but that's expected.
As much as I love (loved?) Duffy's DCA backdrop, it did get to looking rather empty and lonely in the evening when Duffy wasn't there, especially at Christmas when his absence left a wall-mounted snow globe with unmoving snow in it. I'll admit that I don't know what else they could put in that space, but the California parks don't have room to leave something sitting empty part-time (even our Fantasmic! is staged ON Tom Sawyer's Island, using ships that carry guests during the day!).
And Duffy being stuck in a meet-and-greet area hindered spontaneity a bit, which isn't helpful, especially when he's sitting there with no line.
Last year, I believe Duffy had a seasonal Halloween backdrop; in my opinion, it's not too late for that to happen. (In the Parks is lamenting the lack of Halloween decor in DCA.) I think at some point he even had his Halloween backdrop in a nearby gazebo, which is probably easier to decorate for fall. (And which wouldn't be a bad place for him permanently, if they felt like moving him. He might be more visible, and would seem less like a money grab.)
Otherwise, I know in 2012 Duffy went straight from Halloween to Christmas (we were in DCA on November 1 and met Santa Duffy). So they could be foregoing the Halloween decor (which isn't a great sign, but which has happened in other parts of DCA anyway) and prepping for Christmas.
Even if the meet-and-greet is gone for good, Duffy being out a bit might help his visibility and therefore his popularity. (It's clear that in California, he is not going to be mobbed by crowds anytime soon if he gets to run free, and my understanding is that Disneyland has more wandering characters than WDW anyway.)
In fact, I wouldn't be adverse to Duffy wandering the Paradise Pier area sometimes, as much as he is able given, er, visibility issues. I saw Big Duffy walking off to the ice cream stand once (while he was going on a break...I don't know if they have cute terms for it in DCA like they do at Epcot). Big Duffy was playful and adorable, making me grin.
I'm not saying it's a great sign for his meet-and-greet spot to disappear, and that area was special to me so I'll miss it if it doesn't return. But I'm hoping it doesn't indicate anything bad about Duffy's future in California. And the meet-and-greet MIGHT be coming back in some form, or simply moving.
But as long as I can get a Duffy hug in the park, whether or not he has a meet-and-greet, I'm happy.
WOW! I hope they don't try to remove the meet and greet area at Epcot. I think DD will revolt! In Epcot he has a little "cabana" for lack of a better word across the sidewalk from the shop that has a corner of his stuff.
It's a gazebo that Duffy greets in at Epcot. And at WDW things with character meet & greets are the exact opposite of California. At WDW, the meet & greets are all organized and the characters all have their own greeting areas that are on park maps. You basically know who is going to be where and what times. Only area I've seen spontaneity at is the International gateway at Epcot (by the back entrance of the park between the UK & France pavilions). You never know who might show up there. Right now though it's being used by the Pooh characters as their normal meet & greet at the back of the UK pavilion is being refurbished.
At Epcot, every time I've been there, Duffy has always had a line. Not a huge line, but always at least a handful of people waiting to see him. For some reason on the west coast he has trouble even getting a handful of people to visit.
Thanks for the info, Eeee-va! Placed in the larger context of DCA not being decorated for Halloween yet (at least not to the extent of DL), I feel less concerned. Maybe cooler heads prevailed at DCA and they realized September 13th was way too early to decorate for Halloween! And Duffy's meet and greet area is just in progress. I'd worry if they got rid of it altogether in case that meant they were phasing him out, even though it would mean more random Duffy greeting opportunities in the mean time.
I like Duffy's meet and greet area at WDW. It makes so much more sense for Epcot itself and the international costumes Duffy was introduced with.
Yesterday, official Disney Facebook site DCA Today reported that Duffy was doing meet and greets at his pumpkin patch and provided a picture. Hopefully it's a current picture, but either way, sounds like he has a meet and greet spot again.
I am relieved and heartened that the pullout from Disney Stores is less likely a "giving up" and more likely a focus on the parks. This is fantastic, very welcome news! Thanks for sharing it, Duffeteers!^^