Announcement

Collapse
See more
See less

The Disney Bear is NOT Duffy.

Collapse

Get Away Today

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • The Disney Bear is NOT Duffy.

    This started as a reply in another thread, but it's too long and tangential there, so I'm making a new topic. Hoping for some real discussion. Do you agree that the US experience is "not Duffy?" Do you disagree? Do you agree that it's different, but see Japan and the US as equally valid experiences? Do you see Duffy as being not-so-very-different from The Disney Bear? Are you frustrated that the marketing of Duffy in the US most likely stopped him from finding his natural home? What do you think?

    What has happened with Duffy and ShellieMay in the US has been very sad to see. On every level, at every turn, they have just re-released The Disney Bear, now with Duffy's logo. What they've produced is NOT Duffy. And ShellieMay? Don't even get me started. She only gets character costumes and a cheerleader or park tourist set that are both very clearly not in line with ShellieMay's well-established sense of style.

    As WishListers certainly understand by now and as Mercy so accurately observes, TDS is a vastly and fundamentally different experience. Being a Cape Cod Duffy fan is a constantly unfolding experience, like the park itself, not simply a purchasing decision. Duffy is not just a "thing;" he is a character with clear personality, values, goals, style, and elements. The baseline function of Duffy is to embody the very specific spirit of Tokyo DisneySEA (Adventure, Romance, Discovery, and Fun), and also the "at-home" spirit of Cape Cod. Absolutely nothing the US has done with Duffy has captured or even connected with that spirit. American consumers who don't travel to Tokyo, import TDS products, or do extensive research online have no idea who or what Duffy actually is – five years in. Disney has done nothing to develop American audiences' connection to this spirit. They have only tried to capitalize on the spirit from Japan – while simultaneously not genuinely acknowledging Duffy's Japanese origin. Why anyone supports this at all, how they sell even one Duffy item per day, eludes and deeply frustrates me.

    Duffy's 10th Anniversary Journeys could not have happened without approval from the Walt Disney Company. The anniversary very intentionally celebrates from 2005 (when the "Duffy" name and new artwork launched), not 2004 (when The Disney Bear came to Tokyo) or 2002 (when The Disney Bear was launched at Once Upon a Toy in WDW in the US). The Disney Bear is NOT Duffy. It never has been. Oriental Land doesn't think so. Disney doesn't think so. History doesn't think so. The 2010 launch of Duffy was never, ever presented as a "re-launch" by anyone official at either Disney or OLC, obviously. It was labeled a "debut" of "our newest character." The Disney Bear is at best, cute and simple. At worst, a soulless, vapid money-grab. It was never, ever Duffy. And Duffy has never been as simple as that. No one who understands reality thinks so.

    And yet, after five years, which now equates to half of Duffy's history, I cannot see anything of Duffy in the US enterprise. The US did not actually debut Duffy in 2010; they relaunched The Disney Bear with Duffy's good name. It is very, very sad.

    The singularly consistent element in the unfathomably inconsistent US release strategy has been dumbed-down simplicity and insulting disregard to both core fans and the Japanese development team, and to the esteemed decade-long legacy we've shared together. Disney Parks Blog has barely even mentioned that it is Duffy's 10th anniversary, likely because they don't want park-goers outside the US to fully appreciate the quality and investment gap by looking at the gallery of Japan releases. Or maybe they just don't even know it's happening. The lack of coverage suggests strongly to me that most or all Duffy development in Japan is led by the Japanese team.

    US releases have ranged from potentially insultingly stereotypical, generically seasonal or blandly occasional – or character costumes. And they've treated ShellieMay the same or worse. What has come to the US has been a new wave of light brown and soft pink Disney Bears, and they should just be called that. They are not Duffy and ShellieMay.

    After five years, I am no longer interested in mincing words. If an unfortunate guest adopts a bear there and loves their bear, that's great. But if that same guest doesn't make a LOT of personal effort to do research online or make the trip to TDS, then they have absolutely know idea what the Duffy experience is, and they are definitely not having it. The US does not provide it. It cannot be had there without guests creating it themselves, with significant research and energy. The authentic Duffy experience is not what Disney is selling. They are selling re-branded The Disney Bears. It's an utterly other thing.

    After doing the research about Tokyo Duffy and DisneySEA or making the trip, how anyone can say the US version even deserves the Duffy name at all is beyond me. Why anyone would support Disney's heartless "Duffy" enterprise with spirit, voice, or wallet is also incomprehensible to me. I don't accept it. I don't respect it. It makes me angry. It is the fact that consumers will accept and even support it that very directly encourages Disney to release products in which they are very clearly not invested.

    The Disney Bear is not Duffy. Calling a pile of crap a "cupcake" will not make most earnest people want to eat it.

    I'm reminded of the "Match the Species" animal poop treats series at Animal Kingdom:

    http://metro.co.uk/2015/06/29/oh-cra...aints-5270899/

    Unsurprisingly, these "treats" were discontinued almost as quickly as they launched. Predictably, most guests found the notion that Disney was literally asking them to pay to eat poop just a little too on the nose. At least they had the decency to actually make the treats out of chocolate and nuts and food-safe ingredients, rather than just labeling actual animal feces as a "treat." I wish they'd been as decent with "Duffy."

    As generic Disney Bears, it's okay if the holiday costumes are hokey and have no consistent sense of style. It's okay if their text-scripted tees look cheap and home-printed with limited preinstalled fonts and generic clip art. It's okay if their most successful "costumes" are essentially hiding the bears inside the plush of other Disney characters. It's okay because The Disney Bear is NOT a character and has no sense of style or identity. Nothing is lost. It may even be par for the course with Disney the Corporation. The Disney Bear is a Disney template. Duffy is not. Duffy is Disney the Legacy and Lived Experience. US "Duffy" is NOT Duffy. But it can be The Disney Bear if it wants to; I'll accept that.

    They've had five years – half of Duffy's history – to care more. They don't. You can't "bring love" when you don't care. I have no more patience or excuses left. My hope, too, is long gone.

    I can't wait for you to visit TDS, Eeee-va, and understand in a way that is nearly impossible to convey, exactly what I'm talking about. It will surely be a revelation, hard to fully absorb in the short time you'll have. But exhilarating, I imagine.

    Duffy is Tokyo DisneySEA. TDS is Duffy. TDS is Disney at its absolute best. Duffy is the absolute best that Disney inspires. But Duffy is not, nor has he ever been, The Disney Bear. And The Disney Bear is not Duffy, no matter what the tag or package says. Duffy is the Bear of Happiness and Luck. Duffy Brings Love. Duffy is the Disney Bear ONLY when Disney is at its absolute best. But Duffy is never The Disney Bear. There is a truth in experience that is undeniable.

    The Disney Bear experience may even appeal to some who enjoy Disney and also enjoy teddy bears or simply cute things. Some of these people may enjoy calling that "Duffy," because it feels less generic and more authentic. But "Duffy" means something. I understand what it means deeply and intimately. And absolutely nothing in the US has been that, nor do I expect it to be. It is The Disney Bear. I honestly don't mind if they keep selling products; I ignore them at this point. But I wish they'd call them The Disney Bear and stop dragging Duffy's – and now Shellie's – good names through all this mess. It makes me very sad. It is wrong in so many different ways. Five years later, it's only gotten worse. It is no longer fair to people who actually know and love Duffy to continue this character assassination. It isn't right.

    Also, mercy: When did you come here and why didn't we meet?

    Originally posted by mercy View Post
    DuffyD is right, the Tokyo Resort is phenomenal. And TDS is my Disney Parks benchmark now. I see Duffy as a solely Tokyo-based entity. When I see Duffy and Shellie May in our Parks, it warms my heart but for me... They are Tokyo. The product here is a different thing, pure and simple.

    As for why we never met up... I was on this board about a week after I returned in March 2011, DuffyD... So we hadn't "met" yet.

  • #2
    I think you are on to something, DuffyDaisuki. The spirit is just not there. And it feels like Disney has lost their innovation...they seem to rehash things over and over and over (look at the Princess-push versus stories that appeals to "children", the Princess cash-cow can't be ignored...).

    It just makes me sad.

    Comment


    • #3
      I think Duffy could have had a nice home at Epcot. He had the sailor outfit and ones from the different Epcot countries, that went along with the story book. These are long gone now though.

      I am very disappointed with the ShellieMay release in the US. It seems like her outfits are geared towards young kids only. The US Duffy outfits are definitely lower quality than the TDS outfits, but it is the new US ShellieMay outfits that are really poor quality. Like the Minnie outfit has screen printed dots and paw pads and it is missing 50% of what comes with the Duffy Mickey outfit for the same price. Her PJs are just as cheap looking. I really dislike the screen printed paw pads.

      I guess the US Duffy/ShellieMay bears are for kids or Disney/Bear collectors that want to combine a bear with Disney character outfits, which is fun, but it doesn't go along with the Duffy story.

      Comment


      • #4
        I liked DuffyD's first post when he was talking about ShellieMay's clearly established sense of style ! I would like to hear more about everyone's experience about our TDS friends established style (vs the DisneyParks style...(and or within the DP stuff...Hong Kong exclusives vs Aulani stuff, etc)) and even the personal quirks of the stylish bears in your own home!! I am always impressed with how personal Gelatoni's style is...how consistantly separate but in harmony with Duffy and ShellieMay. Definitely influenced by his port!! Tell me more about TDS ShellieMay's style...pretty please with cherries?

        Comment


        • #5
          I agree that the Disney parks in the USA didn't do anything to further the brand of Duffy/ShellieMay. HOWEVER I will never believe that my DUFFY bear(s) are simply a re-born again "The Disney bear"(s). Nor would I challenge anyone who has a USA version of Duffy and now ShellieMay that theirs isn't authentic. To me DUFFY isn't just a piece of merchandise. He IS family. Regardless of where he is purchased. Duffy is what you make of him. To be honest some of the comments for the past few months have been dismissive and hurtful and left me questioning if I wanted to continue to be a part of this group. To me some of the behaviors are very UN-DUFFY like. We talk on here that DUFFY = LOVE. I think at times people get caught up in the so called “failure” and do not see the big picture. The big picture is DUFFY brought all of us together and DUFFY = LOVE. The USA parks was not a complete failure. They brought DUFFY and his love to millions in the USA. Does buying Duffy/ShellieMay in the USA parks make our Duffy/ShellieMay's any less "authentic" or "genuine". NOT AT ALL. I feel many need to stop and take a step back and realize what DUFFY is supposed to represent. Are we all on here exhibiting this behavior on a consistent basis? I haven't shared in a long time as I was feeling I didn't belong because my DUFFY(s) is not a TDS one and my experiences are not in Cape Cod. Does it matter? Should it matter? You cannot take away my USA DUFFY or my USA park experiences and try to make them "less of a true DUFFY experience". I will never forget when the Disney parks announced DUFFY was coming!! Oh my
          I was excited!! I knew who this loveable bear was and needed one and to hug him!!! I watched the arrival ceremony on The Disney Parks Blog. DUFFY arrived with great fan fair and was welcomed with open arms. Too many in the USA Duffy is just a teddy bear. I would venture to say to millions around the world even to some in other countries he IS just a teddy bear. A child’s toy…nothing more. Nothing less. The first DUFFY I bought. I had to buy him online (Disneystore.com) because I couldn't wait to have him. Even though I was headed to the Disney parks in a month or so from that purchase. I had to have him now. I bought another at the parks on my first day so I could have one to carry around and photograph all over Walt Disney World. I wore him on my back with pride. I now have 3 Duffy's (all from USA parks), 3 ShellieMay’s (one from TDS and 2 from The Hawaiian resort), I also have 2 Gelatoni's (LOVE THIS CAT) both from TDS. I will never forget my first hug from DUFFY at EPCOT. We went on arrival day so I could hug this bear I love. I hugged him, I was given some I hugged DUFFY stickers (which I still have a bunch of) and it was "my dream". I continued to meet DUFFY every Disney trip in Florida and California. I was saddened this past September when I knew this was going to be my last visit with DUFFY. I gave him a HUGE hug. But not goodbye. As DUFFY and all those hugs will be with me. Regardless of people’s feelings about the USA parks and their lack of representation. You cannot take that those DUFFY hugs away from me or anyone else. In the USA resorts DUFFY has put millions of children to sleep with the nightly bedtime story that plays on TV on a continuous loop all evening. Working at the Disney store and before at Build a bear I cannot tell you how many people have talked to me about their DUFFY and even bring him in. Many kids carry him around. I saw one come into my Disney store the other day. This little boy was so happy with his DUFFY. I asked him “What’s your Bears name?” and he said Duffy. I said I know I have one too. He had gone to build a bear workshop and got Duffy a new outfit. His mom said Duffy goes everywhere. Today was Duffy’s birthday. (They got him 2 years ago at WDW) and he gets a new outfit every birthday. I put his Duffy bears birthday up on our big screen and we sang our special birthday song to him and I gave Duffy a birthday button. Duffy = LOVE!!! It doesn’t matter where he comes from. To this kid and to me our DUFFY’s are genuine and not a re hashed “The Disney Bear”. It doesn’t matter if he wears TDS clothing, Build a bear clothes or nothing at all. Duffy is supposed to bring people together. This is not high school where you can’t sit at the cool table if you have never been to TDS and met the “real” DUFFY in Cape Cod. That attitude is hurtful. I am now closing with that I have enjoyed my time with this group and appreciate being a part of the WISHLIST shopping trips. I hope that with this people take it in the true spirit in which it has been written to not be hurtful but to maybe lessen the negativity surrounding DUFFY/SHELLIEMAY in the USA. Criticism is fine when constructive and we can't like everything but to write off an entire experience for someone is not very nice.

          DUFFY = LOVE

          Comment


          • #6
            I think it's all about context and commitment. The half-hearted adoption of Duffy (and Shellie May) lacks any contextual richness to the history and storytelling that OLC/TDR put into him (them). Duffy being shoehorned into EPCOT (with a Meet-and-Greet and themed outfits) could have had potential, although I'm not sure that his appearance at Paradise Pier in DCA was explainable. But the quality of the products was never there, there was no attempt by Disney to justify his presence. A story about Duffy leaving TDS and visiting EPCOT would have killed them? The photo spots, the story appearing on one of the Resort channels as a bedtime tale...it's all just so little. So I can understand the confusion and the general lack of adoption by the larger Disney population. It just doesn't make sense.

            The fact that Duffy has managed to hang on speaks volumes of his appeal despite the lame handling by The Walt Disney Company here in the US. I'm thrilled that anyone fell in love with him - I'm still slightly optimistic because despite his Meet-and-Greet removals, Shellie May arrived. The authenticity of the experience is personal - for those that have seen Duffy (and Shellie May and Gelatoni) in their "natural habitat" of TDS, the US version is just a pale version.

            It's all kind depressing, but I want to say that we shouldn't let the failure of the TWDC to commit to Duffy hamper our experiences with him, here or in the real world. Duffy is Duffy, for sure.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by tony609 View Post
              I agree that the Disney parks in the USA didn't do anything to further the brand of Duffy/ShellieMay. HOWEVER I will never believe that my DUFFY bear(s) are simply a re-born again "The Disney bear"(s). Nor would I challenge anyone who has a USA version of Duffy and now ShellieMay that theirs isn't authentic. To me DUFFY isn't just a piece of merchandise. He IS family. Regardless of where he is purchased. Duffy is what you make of him. To be honest some of the comments for the past few months have been dismissive and hurtful and left me questioning if I wanted to continue to be a part of this group. To me some of the behaviors are very UN-DUFFY like. We talk on here that DUFFY = LOVE. I think at times people get caught up in the so called “failure” and do not see the big picture. The big picture is DUFFY brought all of us together and DUFFY = LOVE. The USA parks was not a complete failure. They brought DUFFY and his love to millions in the USA. Does buying Duffy/ShellieMay in the USA parks make our Duffy/ShellieMay's any less "authentic" or "genuine". NOT AT ALL. I feel many need to stop and take a step back and realize what DUFFY is supposed to represent. Are we all on here exhibiting this behavior on a consistent basis? I haven't shared in a long time as I was feeling I didn't belong because my DUFFY(s) is not a TDS one and my experiences are not in Cape Cod. Does it matter? Should it matter? You cannot take away my USA DUFFY or my USA park experiences and try to make them "less of a true DUFFY experience". I will never forget when the Disney parks announced DUFFY was coming!! Oh my
              I was excited!! I knew who this loveable bear was and needed one and to hug him!!! I watched the arrival ceremony on The Disney Parks Blog. DUFFY arrived with great fan fair and was welcomed with open arms. Too many in the USA Duffy is just a teddy bear. I would venture to say to millions around the world even to some in other countries he IS just a teddy bear. A child’s toy…nothing more. Nothing less. The first DUFFY I bought. I had to buy him online (Disneystore.com) because I couldn't wait to have him. Even though I was headed to the Disney parks in a month or so from that purchase. I had to have him now. I bought another at the parks on my first day so I could have one to carry around and photograph all over Walt Disney World. I wore him on my back with pride. I now have 3 Duffy's (all from USA parks), 3 ShellieMay’s (one from TDS and 2 from The Hawaiian resort), I also have 2 Gelatoni's (LOVE THIS CAT) both from TDS. I will never forget my first hug from DUFFY at EPCOT. We went on arrival day so I could hug this bear I love. I hugged him, I was given some I hugged DUFFY stickers (which I still have a bunch of) and it was "my dream". I continued to meet DUFFY every Disney trip in Florida and California. I was saddened this past September when I knew this was going to be my last visit with DUFFY. I gave him a HUGE hug. But not goodbye. As DUFFY and all those hugs will be with me. Regardless of people’s feelings about the USA parks and their lack of representation. You cannot take that those DUFFY hugs away from me or anyone else. In the USA resorts DUFFY has put millions of children to sleep with the nightly bedtime story that plays on TV on a continuous loop all evening. Working at the Disney store and before at Build a bear I cannot tell you how many people have talked to me about their DUFFY and even bring him in. Many kids carry him around. I saw one come into my Disney store the other day. This little boy was so happy with his DUFFY. I asked him “What’s your Bears name?” and he said Duffy. I said I know I have one too. He had gone to build a bear workshop and got Duffy a new outfit. His mom said Duffy goes everywhere. Today was Duffy’s birthday. (They got him 2 years ago at WDW) and he gets a new outfit every birthday. I put his Duffy bears birthday up on our big screen and we sang our special birthday song to him and I gave Duffy a birthday button. Duffy = LOVE!!! It doesn’t matter where he comes from. To this kid and to me our DUFFY’s are genuine and not a re hashed “The Disney Bear”. It doesn’t matter if he wears TDS clothing, Build a bear clothes or nothing at all. Duffy is supposed to bring people together. This is not high school where you can’t sit at the cool table if you have never been to TDS and met the “real” DUFFY in Cape Cod. That attitude is hurtful. I am now closing with that I have enjoyed my time with this group and appreciate being a part of the WISHLIST shopping trips. I hope that with this people take it in the true spirit in which it has been written to not be hurtful but to maybe lessen the negativity surrounding DUFFY/SHELLIEMAY in the USA. Criticism is fine when constructive and we can't like everything but to write off an entire experience for someone is not very nice.

              DUFFY = LOVE
              Tony-thank you for all you have said!!!!I think it is wonderful what you did for that little boy! You are a true Duffy lover!!!!

              Comment


              • #8
                NOTE: I wrote this yesterday and slept on it. Now I see Mercy's post and am delighted deep in my bones to see that word – context. I don't think any of us have ever really used that word particularly to describe the problem, but it was at the heart of everything I wrote last night, and it enlivened me to see it in the post of someone who is not me today. My commitment to Duffy is not about me, mine's better, or a desire to be "at the cool table." YUCK. Not appreciating that at all.

                I am so weary of attempts to paint me in this way. It's unfair, mean-spirited, and absolutely misguided. I have never treated anyone here like that. I have never stopped working to translate, communicate, and share this experience with as many people as I can, as are interested. I have dedicated myself, heart and soul, to this character and very specifically to the MiceChat community. I have considered starting something off-site, seeing the flow and ebb of MiceChat's Tokyo-focused conversation. But I would never do that.

                MiceChat supported Duffy in a way matched by no other online Disney community, at a time when the character most needed such support in English. There is no better place to understand the true nature and scope of Duffy and a lot of that content value is because of countless hours I have chosen to spend contributing whatever I can. I am not taking anything from anyone. Your experience with Duffy may be very real and truly Duffy, but if it is, you didn't get it from WDE.

                I approach Duffy like he is my life's work. I care like I am on the team. Sometimes I even dream of working for Disney, but I fear they would never have me. Although at this point there is really no work I would rather do. I love Duffy, and I love people loving Duffy. But it matters to me that everyone actually knows who Duffy really is.

                And now I see mmommie's post and I think about how divisive this issue is. I don't want it to be divisive. I want us to be united about what Duffy is, and in protecting and nurturing that so that he finds a wider audience. But too many Americans either don't really understand, or don't fully participate in this conversation. I cannot express how much your voice means to me, Mercy. Or yours, Tony. I have, as you know from my attempts to check in with you off the boards, always thought of you as one of the core Duffy fans, as someone who truly gets it. I do not at all agree with your casual dismissal of the importance of Duffy staying true to TDS integrity in spirit. I do not agree with you at all about defending the validity of the way Disney is handling Duffy, though I absolutely agree with you about the validity of personal experience, as I have said countless times, and as I believed you understood. I am not critical of Disney for any other reason than to protect Duffy. And I keep thinking we all care about that. But I finally realize… That's not the case. So, this will be long cos I already wrote it. But, of course, it's up to each of you whether you read it or not, whether you reply or not. But don't accuse me of simple "negativity" or of trying to achieve some kind of weird "Disney fan status" through Duffy. That's not who I am. Continuing to say things like that is dismissive, hurtful, and mean-spirited. And repeating it will never make it true.

                Aside from that, I still feel unity with you, Tony. I know where you're coming from, and I value your voice and intentions. Mercy mentioned the significance of experiencing TDS Duffy. But you know what, Tony? I agree with you. If Duffy is available outside TDS, the full Duffy experience should be available, too. It shouldn't matter so much where Duffy is from. That is exactly, precisely my point.

                You've said in the past, Tony, that it doesn't matter that Disney doesn't go the extra mile, because most Americans don't know any better so they don't know what they're missing. I find this logic disturbing and heartbreaking, especially coming from someone whom I know cares as much about this character as you do. If you, as a Duffy fan, as a Cast Member, think it's wrong and "negative" to demand more from Disney, then they have little to no incentive to improve their offering. And without substantial investment, Duffy has little to no chance at long-term success in the US. Most people are not responding well to what they're doing, and many people actively hate Duffy specifically because WDE's presentation and execution of the character is all they know. You don't want to put that responsibility at Disney's feet, where it belongs. This makes me sad. But I don't blame you for it. I just keep wishing you understood where I'm coming from. I keep wishing we were more united, because then they'd understand that the Japanese approach works and maybe at least try doing things that way, and finally, more people would be surprised by the awesomeness that is Duffy.

                But I'm thankful you're doing your best to improve the Duffy experience wherever you can. Me, too. I guess we really are united, when it comes to what counts. As long as we're both doing that, we can disagree and still be friends forever in my book.^^

                END NOTE.

                It's nice to see you posting again, Tony, even if I feel blindsided and nearly completely misrepresented by this bizarrely accusatory post. I am not trying to "take anything away" from anyone. On the contrary, I am trying to encourage people who consider themselves fans of Duffy to demand that they get a fuller and richer experience, an experience that I have worked tirelessly to SHARE for nearly a decade now. Long before the Duffy boards and Duffy Post, I spent over a year doing everything I could to try to share this experience with anyone interested. I took a lot of abuse from someone who suspected that the growing presence of Duffy at TDS was destined to destroy that park's rich sense of place and adult-oriented spirit of adventure. I had faith in what was happening in Japan, though in light of US Duffy, I understand that person's thinking so much more now. He was a veteran Disney fan; he knew Disney. I was new and green. Now, not only do I see where he was coming from for the US, I can see legitimate concerns here, too.

                Duffy does not belong in The Sleepy Whale. The My Friend Duffy show may be "cute," but there is nothing left of the plucky, independent adventurer with mysterious dream magic and an entrepreneurial spirit. Thank goodness Duffy's products and marketing still reflect the Duffy I fell in love with. Cape Cod itself is nearly always busy and noisy and crowded now. The sense of respite within the excitement, of being a vacation within a vacation is essentially gone. That defined Duffy. It will always be his heart and foundation. Duffy is most accurately "The IMAGINEERING Bear," in that Cape Cod originally was the least theme park-y and most pure Imigineering attention-to-detail-for-its-own-sake area. Cape Cod was/is salty. Its signage and structures tell the story of a tough, proud people. Welcoming yet skeptical. Charming, but also rowdy. People who work as hard as they play, and who take Sundays off to relax and unwind. It is a community dependent on tourism, but relieved when tourist season is over. A community who loves Duffy, proud of their own little seamstress and dear Aunt Peg, yet watching Scrooge carefully to make sure the old tycoon isn't just taking advantage of their homespun phenomenon.

                If Duffy had been conceived and launched with the opening of DisneySEA, I doubt very much that all – or possibly any – of this rich, layered storytelling would be there. Had Disney planned or even suspected this, I imagine Cape Cod would feel a lot more like Mermaid Lagoon. Thank goodness that did not happen. I hope it never does, but a lot – a lot – of Cape Cod's salt has already come to taste like sugar. If I'm very honest, especially after American Imagineers created the Village Greeting Place, I was a little afraid that the American Duffy would understand this better than the Japanese do, and that in time American Duffy's adventuring spirit would even eclipse Japan's love-bringing Duffy. As I wrote before and after the American launch, it could have gone that way. I wanted Duffy to be different in every country, but not less. Not less.

                If the original idea had been to make a little eighth "Cape Disney Bear," I don't believe it would have been conceived with the authenticity that has, by luck or Duffy magic, ultimately come to pass. Duffy happened because the Imagineers created Duffy's hometown first, with no awareness that's what they were doing, before even The Disney Bear concept existed. And all of that Imagineering, all of that genius was fully realized with no cut corners or schlocky money-churning agendas because OLC was happy to throw money at WDI to build the very best vision of which they were capable. In fact, Cape Cod was intended as a peaceful, tranquil escape, a quiet corner of the park with no major attractions where you could just relax and take a break. I often wonder if the idea at that time was for couples and potentially seniors to have a little "getaway." Aunt Peg's sold quaint country goods, mostly non-Disney-branded. And there were no lines at the registers, much less out the doors. There was plenty of room. It was still like that for a while, even with Duffy. It isn't like that now.

                There was also "Cape Cod Pooh" from 2001/2(?)-2005, I think. But that's a whole separate long story. And though CCP shares much in common with Duffy as far as types of merchandise, it is ultimately a very different concept.

                I have often wondered the past few years if it's even still possible for new guests who never experienced Old Cape Cod before Spring Voyage and MFD to still invest Duffy with that timeless, down-home Americana salt of the earth. No sailors roam through Cape Cod anymore, no live music and dancing with bands and beer and fighting Irish spirit. Now it's all milk tea and caramel and cuddly cute. And that's all great, but that was never all Duffy was, thanks to the Cape Cod Imagineering that preceded him.

                Even his name, put forth by the American team, likely Imagineers not marketing, is very specifically, very intentionally Irish. That's still there in the music, and all of the brilliant Imagineered details that defined Cape Cod in the first place. Cape Cod is to the American Waterfront as Duffy is to Mickey and friends. He's part of it. But over a bridge, and things are different in his world.

                No other area in TDS or TDL is like Cape Cod: it's like an eighth port, but also absolutely American Waterfront. Just like Duffy is a standard Disney character, and also something very different. In the same way that Duffy is a very successful cash cow product, supported by no media franchise; yet the product quality and context are so compelling and constantly refreshed that there is no doubt in Tokyo DisneySEA that Duffy lacks even an ounce of the legitimacy that Mickey Mouse has. People who don't think of themselves as open to Duffy come to Tokyo and find their understanding transformed. THAT is the mission of Duffy Post and my deeply personal mission as a voice on these boards. It should be Disndy's mission everywhere they take Duffy. Ironically, Disney is making it very hard to communicate that, and it doesn't help when the core fans think it's "wrong" somehow to criticize what Disney is doing. I agree that it's painful, but it's not me bringing the pain. It's watching Disney actively not love Duffy, the majority of guests not love him in turn, fulfilling the prophecy of all the people who ever told me I was wrong and stupid to care so much about this character.

                I'm not taking anything from you, but you don't get to take Duffy away from me or from DisneySEA, for that matter. I'm frankly shocked that you feel compelled to explain to me, in all caps no less, that "DUFFY = LOVE." I am very aware of that. I've been banging that drum for a very long time, and contrary to what you suggest, very consistently. I am loving both Duffy and this community; particularly you, Tony, right now. This post you're reading now is all about LOVE. Understand that first. Then read. Then reply. I've earned that. I've never, ever suggested that an individual's experience is less than authentic, despite the obvious lack of authenticity in the experience WDE is offering.

                But Duffy is not just "what you make of him." Duffy is not [u]just[/i] "whatever you want him to be." That's The Disney Bear, or any teddy bear. There are numerous specific traits that define Duffy, very specifically, as a character Here are just a few:

                - Sailing
                - Dream travel
                - Contextual fashion of ridiculous quality and detail
                - Supporting merchandise, also of ridiculous quality and detail
                - Narrative communicated exclusively through merchandise and park experience
                - Photography
                - Mystery
                - Independence
                - Entrepreneurship
                - Curiosity
                - Hard work
                - Helping and giving to others
                - Joy for living
                - Comforts of home
                - Honoring the seasons
                - Cherishing memories
                - Direct tie to park experience
                - Exclusive to park experience
                - Contextualized in park narrative
                - Imagineering
                - Time-flatness with invention of teddy bear
                - Romantic Americana
                - Cape Cod and New England salt
                - DisneySEA

                And this last point (though I could go on) is where your post honestly became a bit offensive to me. Duffy, as a bonafide character, was created for the expressed purpose of being a unique original mascot for the unique original park that is Tokyo DisneySEA. This intention is the only reason Duffy exists, and it was never WDE's idea. (Though once it got going, Imagineers understood it and things got awesome quickly.) Denying this is like denying Figment's attachment to Epcot. I cannot imagine Florida guests being told to "just shut up" if some cheap, cloying version of Figment was being slapped on everything they can find (like HKDL) or poorly made but then pushed hard all over the property – with no attempt to create a genuine "Imagination! Pavilion Outpost" or something. I cannot understand what makes people so comfortable doing this with Duffy, but it is frankly offensive. Duffy IS Tokyo DisneySEA, and TDS is Duffy. No one gets to take that away. Duffy is bigger than TDS, but should never be outside of it. Just like he and ShellieMay dressed in uniforms celebrating their red-white-and-blue down-home roots in the year Duffy expanded his cafe into the big city, Duffy should be bringing TDS-integrity everywhere he goes. The solution is not to accept less from Duffy; on the contrary, we should expect – and demand – more from Disney. And if they refuse to deliver, we should call it what it is – not Duffy.

                Once upon a time, there was a young Japanese product manager who had been looking for something special to develop at TDS, to have Disney character appeal, but to also feel different, feel like DisneySEA. While vacationing at WDW in 2003, two years after TDS opened, this man came across The Disney Bear and saw in it the potential he'd been looking for. But he didn't want the name "Duffy." That came from the American team, though now all he has to say about it (translated) is, "Initially I resisted the name [Duffy] as too simplistic, but over time I've grown attached to it. Duffy is Duffy."

                He believed strongly that this little bear was the right mascot for DisneySEA, but he never anticipated that he was about to give birth to a character for the ages. Now, of course, that's his mission (translated): "Even though Duffy appeared as a mascot character in Tokyo DisneySEA as early as 2004, strolling around American Waterfront, we didn't immediately see guests clamoring to have their picture taken with him. Now everyone lines up for the chance to have their photo with Duffy. This touches me personally, and fills me with deeply meaningful emotion when I think back on those early days. My goal is to foster this character carefully. My dream is for everyone to continue to know and love Duffy; not as a transient trend, but as a lasting character, known and loved by everyone, who will be just as relevant 50 years from now." These are his words, in translation, of course. I'm still waiting for OLC to acknowledge him as part of the 10th anniversary. With it ending next month, I've almost given up hope.

                This man, a product development manager (not animator or Imagineer), fought – hard – for his vision for this character. All the criticisms of no movie or franchise tie-in? Those happened internally, too. It was an intense struggle, but he was committed.

                He was a product development manager and he knew that – through merchandising, if done in the right way – he could pioneer and nurture a character into Disney history, the likes of which had never been seen before. Although at the time, he really could not imagine the scope of his impact. Duffy was his vision and his mission, as the embodiment of Tokyo DisneySEA. And from the beginning, TDS has been about ridiculously over-the-top quality for its own sake, creative vision and artistic integrity; OLC accountants literally saying to Imagineers, "This is all great, but you're still under budget. Don't you wanna play some more?" This is what TDS is. And just like TDS Duffy, it isn't about marketing speak; the proof is in the delicious pudding. It is instant, tangible, right there in front of you – undeniable and overwhelming, hard to put into words. And this is what I mean when I talk about "experience."

                I am NOT talking about personal experiences. Of course everyone's personal experience is valid – including mine. It is not only obvious that I believe this, I say it – all the time. I am talking about the guest customer experience "created" and executed by Walt Disney Enterprises (whatever division) versus the experience carefully crafted and provided by Oriental Land Company. I can't say "guest experience" for the US because Duffy is – unforgivably! – not park-exclusive there. You can even buy Duffy online, with literally no park connection of any sort. Exactly no one is doing any kind of personal "selection ritual" in this case, and this level of "convenience" inherently erodes a HUGE element that makes Duffy truly special – context.

                I am talking about corporate philosophy, strategic marketing, and value-creation. I am not saying your Duffy or some little kid's Duffy is "not Duffy." As I said very plainly above, that all depends on the tender's level of commitment to going far out of the way to become educated about authentic Duffy and try their best to create that experience for themselves. It is absolutely not impossible, though it's not extremely likely for the average US Disney fan or Guest, either. Because what WDE is selling is most definitely NOT Duffy; it is The Disney Bear, in character costumes, as brand synergy. Their strategy is every bit as plainly apparent as OLC's. Just like their mission statements.

                You cannot simply ignore the fact that every time Tokyo sells new Duffy merchandise, it is created as a holistic, cohesive package. Even The Disney Bear was painstakingly altered to be the very best teddy bear they imagined, and was not released on its own at a random time. The Disney Bear launched on December 16, 2004 with a small range of merchandise that shocked everyone by selling out in two or three days because it was presented so perfectly. Disney surely knows how this was done. Perhaps the powers that be, like some posters here, dismiss this as "Japanese culture" rather than the care-fully professional marketing genius that it was.

                Since 2008/9, this "packaging" of event merchandise has been increasingly narrative. That was after three years, four if you count the TDS "Disney Bear" year. OLC doesn't apparently; I never have. We are now five years into WDE Duffy and all we've seen are slightly off and twisted versions of Duffy's and Shellie's origin stories. Even Paris has done better than the US, and HKDL is much more prolific, though also not compellingly narrative. Their everything-AND-the-kitchen-sink approach has turned me way off with its dizzying randomness. And I'm concerned that Hong Kong Duffy's success has more to do with a) locals following Japanese trends and b) Japanese tourists than with genuine investment in Duffy as a character. I'm not there though, so I don't really know. I wish we had more info about Paris. I've seen some good choices there, so in my ignorance, I tell myself that's the area outside Japan that still has the potential to do Duffy right. I like to believe so anyway.

                There is nothing wrong with The Disney Bear, if that's all you need. And there is nothing wrong with only needing The Disney Bear. Everything you list as evidence of your Duffy experience is possible with The Disney Bear and was possible before Duffy even existed. In fact, these are pretty generic "teddy bear" points you're making:

                - Hugging the mascot
                - Carrying the bear around
                - Sleeping with a teddy bear
                - Buying clothes at Build-a-Bear*

                * Wouldn't it be great if now, five years in, Disney had invested so much in creating amazing outfits for Duffy that there was major demand for official Duffy releases? Maybe even bringing him back to Disney Stores, since he's not park-exclusive there anyway?

                I have to be honest, choosing to not have the experience of selecting especially your very first Duffy yourself, even when you had plans to go to the park within a month is shocking and disappointing for me. Not "in you;" for you. Anticipation is a significant element in the experience. Predictable release schedules of unimaginably compelling products, dotted with a few wonderful surprises throughout the year – that's how Duffy works. We are tamed. TDS Duffy fans enjoy a constant state of excited anticipation and expectations-exceeded satisfaction. And it's fun! Duffy was the one-and-only reason I went to TDS for the first time, actually. Before I had ever stepped foot in a Disney park, I bought a ticket for the sole purpose of bonding with my own Duffy.

                I was actually living in Taiwan when I first saw The Disney Bear. I browsed the TDS website in Christmas 2004 or 5, just by chance, because friends in Taiwan were thinking we might all take a trip to Japan. At that time, I knew nothing about The Disney Bear in the US so I thought it was a Japanese original thing, apparently specific to TDS, which I thought of as "the other park." Our plans changed and we didn't go to Tokyo, but I liked the design. I didn't try to get one or anything, but it felt immediately different from Disney-as-usual, and I was intrigued. But I quickly forgot, because I didn't really care about Disney.

                Even after returning to Japan in 2006 and even having seen that bear, I didn't bother to visit TDR until I had heard so many things from so many people that in 2008 I was finally convinced that I had to at least go see what the fuss was about. Most days I STILL kick myself for missing TDS's 5th, Dramatic DisneySEA, and the Cinderella Castle Mystery Tour at TDL – I just didn't know anything about these events because I never thought I'd be interested. Honestly, if I'd bothered to think about "Disney people" at all, I'd've said they were probably non-thinking conservative pseudo-Christian straight white privileged or poor-but-wanna-play-privileged low-educated mouth-breather sheep. Yeah. Opening myself to Disney, through Duffy, brought me way down from a bunch of ridiculously elitist stereotyping and opened me up to connecting with people who just love goodness, kindness, happiness, simplicity. Also, TDS made me appreciate that Disney does in fact need massive amounts of money to do what it does, although OLC foots most of the bill for TDS as I understand it, so… Anyway, it was a kind of awakening. It would not be wrong to say that Duffy opened my eyes and my heart, and changed my perspective. Suddenly I wasn't so above everything. I didn't have to take myself so seriously. Things that appeal to the masses could be appealing. Disney's artistic legacy and achievements were worth appreciating. Disney fans were not mindless sheep, and I was – despite all my preconceived notions – absolutely one of them. After going to TDL the next week, a week later I bought the 2-park AP and started learning about the artists, fans, and history that I now value very much. Duffy and OLC, against all my reluctance, made me a Disney fan. Duffy is not lacking in appeal; Disney is not presenting him effectively.

                I think the real turning point that had me planning a trip to TDL was a Mickey-shaped pumpkin bucket that a student gave to my office, and then to me. Though relatively simple, the quality was like nothing I'd ever seen or associated with Disney merchandise. From concept to execution. I could immediately, effortlessly see this object as crafted by someone who wanted to create this very specific object in front of me. It's hard to put into words. I knew on some level that Disney's animators, storytellers, and musicians were, of course, talented. But I had never been to a Disney theme park or even bothered to see photos really. I grew up poor. There was no point. I don't think I knew the word "Imagineer," and so my image of Disney was all corporate machine, no real respect or understanding of the individual creative talents who have always been the true engine of that machine. I've learned a lot now. I love Disney creators and talent and project-focused managers and administrators so much my heart could burst. Duffy did that, and does it every day. Every piece of TDS Duffy merchandise reminds me of what Disney can be, what Disney actually means for probably the majority of people who work for the company. But I'm getting ahead…

                OLC was accepting photo submissions for the 25th Anniversary and I had plans to go to TDL for the first time. Like I said, I had never been to a Disney park before, so I wanted to go all out. The night (or a week?) before going with the big group, I went with just one friend, just to TDS on an After6 Passport – just to adopt Duffy. I had zero interest in TDS, actually. I had done a tiny bit of research and it looked cool, but not very "Disney" or "magical." I remember thinking "it all looked too real." Haha! My, how the times change. I was so locked into my reluctant excitement about the "Disneyland" experience that I dismissed the less-branded "other park." I would soon come to consider TDL the Disney park where guests are immersed in the Disney brand. While on the other hand TDS is the Imagineer gate, where we are walking through a physical space made of pure, unbridled imagination itself.

                As we entered, BraviSEAmo was just starting on the lagoon. Ethereal voices soon followed by intense drums and powerful fireballs – and the rising of Prometeo! My mind was blown. I knew in that moment that I was wrong about Disney, wrong about lots of things. My mind flooded with precious-but-nearly-forgotten memories of my Mickey Mouse ViewMaster reels, DuckTales afternoons, Disney bedsheets. Even as recent as enjoying Aladdin and Beauty & the Beast. I had forgotten it all.

                Suddenly, Disney was more than accountants and lawyers and shareholders, and being its CEO might be more visionary than profit-maximization. Maybe the CEO was sheltering the creative geniuses who made all this, so that they could make MORE! I may have teared up a little.

                But we were there just for Duffy and we had come late, so we watched for just a few minutes and rushed off to find McDuck's. I didn't know where it was yet, or fully understand what it would feel like to see it, especially right after my DuckTales flashback. Loved me some DuckTales! Not like today yet, in 2008, but there were people in New York walking around with Duffy. It felt natural, like it was recreating the real-world teddy bear boom; Duffy made the park experience more immersive simply by being there. I felt like it was the start of the 20th century, and anything was possible. I was literally, completely transported. That department store had been built up over time by the same Scottish immigrant who was counting his pennies in Disney's Christmas Carol. That's the funny thing about getting too familiar with a local park; it can lose that wonder. Being part of this community, trying to convey these experiences and share them with YOU, that helps keep the magic alive. I am very grateful for this community.

                By the time I got to that shop window display, Duffy was everything. Every fear about the cruelty of the world, every cherished memory, every possibility, everything I'd ever been denied it had and lost, and the panacea that soothes the pain every time the future doesn't go as planned. TDS was not a theme park; it was the space where my imagination and my spirit naturally and effortlessly uncoil and spiral high to mingle with the cosmos, everything else just falling away. And Duffy was my tether, my anchor, so that I never forget this feeling again.

                All of this wasn't entirely conscious at the time, of course, but something transformative and apparent happened when I saw Duffy in that window because my friend glowed looking at me. She was literally beaming with happiness and we were freezing cold, but she really wanted to take my picture in that moment, and I am so thankful she did. I was literally spellbound, and Disney magic was undeniably, palpably, visibly real. I told her I hadn't felt this sense of "Christmasness" since I'd left America, though I'd had some truly charming Christmas parties. I was a born-again believer – not just in Disney, in everything. And I hadn't even held one yet. Going inside, being surrounded by other excited guests; all of us there together in that physical space, strangers bonded in the joy of living fantasy experience, I was introduced very tangibly to the unrivaled quality and integrity that for the most part consistently defines the Tokyo DisneySEA experience as a matter of course. I was completely unprepared and absolutely overwhelmed. Everything in sight was wonderful. Every detail of the space was intricate. Again, I was struggling to feel I was in Tokyo in 2008. It was not exactly New York in 1913, but better than that. I was inside a dream-space, an idea in the endless sea of creativity and consciousness. An idea in an Imagineer's mind, or a guest's imagination, or the vision of an optimistic immigrant in historical 1898 New York who had a dream for his future. Reality was soft and flexible and safe and comfortable, like a teddy bear. Like THE teddy bear, the concept, itself. And the Duffy I selected in this moment would be with me for life, so I better choose well.

                I would not trade that for a mouse-click and a credit card number and an automated system, no matter how convenient it was. Part of the reason the Post works the way it does is to desperately try to remove the possibility of Duffy becoming so impersonal. I know that if I'm doing it, there's love in it. I try hard to make it not feel like "buying something." I don't always feel like posting info and writing long posts and translating stuff, but I so deeply want you to have a bonafide Duffy experience – and Disney is not providing it. Which breaks my heart!

                I am not trying to attack you, Tony, or to lessen your experience or anyone else's. But making Duffy available online makes Duffy into a thing. It robs the guest of choosing their own, or at least of having to connect with someone to go there for them, and hearing a story. Something more than just point-and-click-and-pay. I strongly believe that it should not be an option. Park locals like me would have developed something more heartful than eBay as a way to get Duffy around the country. I understand the convenience, but nothing will convince me that the price paid for it is not too high. And Duffy's lack of wildfire success although he's easily available to anyone, anywhere, anytime seems to support my position. OLC could make a lot of money selling Duffy online, but they won't even sell him at Bon Voyage. They won't even sell him at TDL. Part of the magic of Spring Voyage was seeing Duffy in Bon Voyage, and in every shop at TDS, making huge money – though still not in TDL. And then seeing OLC have the integrity to stop that, to bring Duffy back to TDS exclusivity. It shows great restraint and respect for the character. And they probably make more money by focusing on the people who will buy an Annual Pass for Duffy access, because there are lots of those people, because Duffy here is an incredible experience worth every yen.

                Recently I went into Bon Voyage and had a pleasant little shock. I don't know why it didn't happen last year; maybe I didn't go in BV. The large back wall of the shop is divided into two areas. The left side is for the current TDL event, the right side for TDS. There was only TDL's Frozen Fantasy. At first this really caught me off guard. I actually wondered, "Doesn't TDS have a seasonal event going on?" And then it hit me, Sweet Duffy expanded this year into Mediterranean Harbor. It actually happened last year, too, but something about this year feels "bigger." I realized that the TDS main event now is Sweet Duffy, but it's not the same kind of "super main event" that Spring Voyage was, so OLC had the restraint to not stock any of the merchandise in the no-ticket-required shop. It keeps Duffy special, and it obviously, measurably works. I smiled.

                I said from the beginning that the Disney Store rollout and online access were bad ideas that would genericize Duffy out of the gate and be very difficult to undo, setting Duffy up for immediate failure in an environment where most "Disney fans" seemed to already be waiting to see him fail. Some posters here argued and tried to paint me as an elitist then, too.

                But Duffy's Disney Store days didn't last very long. And since it was such an aggressive push, it was a very visible strategic misstep that severely hurt Duffy's momentum. Online will always be around, because it's actually cheaper and easier for Disney – and I don't imagine they will ever respect guests enough to show OLC's level of restraint. Increasingly, I'm beginning to think WDE may be right and their target demographic really doesn't want to be respected so much. But it's not good for the fans. No matter what you think, you can't know what the experience will be until you actually have it.

                By making Duffy so easy, an option is presented in which it is possible to have a Duffy with no narrative. He wasn't picked out, he was just picked up, maybe even by some kind of machine. He wasn't selected, he was boxed in an automated process. At the very least a card, even a fake one, should ship in every box that says: "This Duffy was selected for YOU by ____________ on (date). Enjoy all your adventures and journeys!" How Disney is that? How Duffy is that? If people adopted bears more often and I had Disney's resources, I would totally do that. How does the thought not occur to Disney that Americans are not responding to Duffy with strong love because most people can see, very plainly, that WDE simply doesn't love Duffy all that much? And that's maybe okay, but then don't pimp him out. Or find someone who truly loves him to help. Or someone who's just that good. Like the team of Imagineers who designed and executed the Village Greeting Place, none of whom were Japanese, I think. None of the several names I know from that project are Japanese.

                It is not about "cultural differences." It is not about "the cool table" – YUCK! It is about what YOU did for that boy and his Duffy, Tony. It is about Disney being true to itself and making every single thing they offer into a magical experience, every time. The TDS Duffy mantra is consistently, "Make it magical or don't make it." It's very clear, very apparent. It should be Disney's mission everywhere it operates, with everything it does. Because they can, and they are among a very few companies capable of such commitment at their level and scope.

                But – and please correct me if I'm wrong – I don't think it's your Disney training or Disney Store policy to do what you did for that boy's bear's birthday, is it? I think YOU did that. Yourself. Because you love Duffy. Because you – I suppose – understand something about Duffy.

                Your easy dismissal of all the effort OLC has invested to make Duffy live and grow into a very specific character, far more layered than a Disney-branded teddy bear, gives me some pause about quite how much you really love and understand Duffy, to be honest. The fact that you would deny yourself the anticipation and joy of selecting your own first bear surprises me a lot, too, based on all our past conversations. But what you did for that boy – and his mother, and everyone in the Disney Store who witnessed that moment – you gave them a magical experience. High quality and personal, meaningful. THAT was Duffy.

                And because you were in a Cast Member uniform and you put Duffy on the big screen, you elevated and deepened the magic of Duffy and Disney, too. You made Duffy so real and genuine that you're right, it didn't matter where he came from, what clothes he wore, or what level of quality/creativity he represented. You made Duffy real. Thank you.

                But those moments are unpredictable. That happened because YOU, specifically, were there. Every Disney Store CM would not have done that. And that's the problem. Disney has not invested in creating quality products that undeniably create such "Duffy is real" moments through the sheer quality and specificity of those products. Disney has not invested in understanding, even internally, what makes Duffy work. So they can't train it. They are selling a product they very painfully and very clearly do not believe in or care much about. The primary reason Duffy has not blown away expectations in the US is that, every step of the way, Disney has done exactly what the nay-sayers said, and failed in exactly the ways fans like me feared that they would.

                Duffy required change. Duffy required a company that remembered, truly, that its most important people are Cast Members like you, and Imagineers, and artists everywhere, collaborators – and fans. Duffy works in Japan because he is more than a product; he is a celebration – of whatever and everything each guest holds most dear, yes – but never at the cost of his very specific identity. When WDE Duffy and ShellieMay dress up as Mickey and Minnie, they are swallowed by them and their identities disappear. When OLC Duffy and Shellie dress up, their costumes are instantly recognizable, timeless, ridiculous quality, and very much in their own style. They have plenty of room to breathe and be themselves.

                By the way, Shellie May, to finally answer your question from two weeks ago, I'd say some of the hallmarks that define the bears' style are:

                - quality fabrics
                - comforting colors
                - tailoring
                - careful stitching
                - unnecessary detail
                - timeless designs
                - nautical, airy ambience
                - feeling instantly classic

                Back on point, I'm not sure you could even buy The Disney Bear from the Disney Store website back in the day; I think you had to go and have the experience of choosing your bear yourself or asking someone to go for you. I don't think they allowed it to just be a random one pulled from stock by a worker (or a robot) even then. That means that, inherently, the message in the US is that Duffy is fundamentally a step removed from the park experience than The Disney Bear. US Duffy is just a little more like all the other Disney swag you can easily find online, or in a supermarket, or a dollar store, or the gas station. OLC would never do this because they a) envisioned, b) invest to create, c) understand – and most importantly – d) LOVE Duffy. They are making buckets of money, but you can feel it at TDR – many people at many levels genuinely and naturally care about Duffy's success beyond the financial. They are happy to see him doing well, earning his place in Disney history, extending his longevity and building his legacy. It's real.

                No one wants to take away your hugs. I simply want WDE to care as much about your hugs and this character as you do, as I do. And oops, I said "no one wants to take away your hugs." That's wrong, isn't it? WDE does, because you didn't support them enough in their half-hearted attempt and they're not making as much money as easily as they demand in order for it to be worth it to them. Disney Parks already took away your hugs. They abandoned the Facebook page and then abandoned the greeting. Fans posted their frustrations, but no one even bothered to reply. Because there aren't enough fans in the US to significantly affect their bottom line. And anyway, most of the Duffy consumers who do exist aren't bothered enough by it to be angry, to complain, to speak out. They don't really care that much. They aren't coming online to talk about Duffy. They might've bought one on vacation, but there was no need to commit because there is nothing to commit to. When is the next US Duffy release and what will it be like? Who knows? It's all completely unpredictable, which reflects their level of planning, which reflects how much they care. And most people aren't complaining.

                In fact, you'd rather shut down that conversation and just be happy to have "anything at all." You actually want to validate what they're doing? I just don't understand it. You may really love Duffy, that's possible. But if you think all there is to Duffy is hugging a mascot and carrying a bear who wears costumes that erase its identity, you're gonna find it impossible to convince me that you know Duffy at all. If that's all there is, that's The Disney Bear. And it's okay to love The Disney Bear; that's certainly what Disney wants. The Disney Bear can be lovable and magical and wonderful, but it will never be Duffy. It can be authentically The Disney Bear, and there is nothing wrong with that. It doesn't appeal to me personally, but it's fine. It doesn't have to.

                As someone who truly loves Duffy, I want to SHARE Duffy; I can't help it! I want others to have this constantly surprising, incredible experience. If you just want brown and pink cuddly bears with Mickey marks, they don't have to be called Duffy and ShellieMay. "Duffy" and "ShellieMay" are not just brand names to elevate the perceived status of some product… Eeeewww. They are very specific, though open and malleable, characters. And without seasonal park events, specific merchandise, high quality merchandise, narrative-through-product experience, park exclusivity, a sense of place, a sense of purpose – CONTEXT… Without these elements, without this investment, it doesn't matter what you call it; that's not Duffy or ShellieMay.

                It's easy to forget because of their fantastic superstar natures, but these characters are still young and vulnerable. Despite their basic wonderfulness, most people do not see "what's so great" about them. If your "solution" as part of the core base of Duffy fans is to shut up and leave it alone, that's it. They're gonna eventually fade away. What's great about them is not just the "whatever" parts. They have clearly defined elements that make them unique, and that are not being presented.

                We, the fan base, have to love Duffy enough to know what is and is not Duffy. So that when nay-sayers hate Duffy we can explain why they should hate the corporate practice, not the character. If Disney isn't going to bother with the specificity of Duffy's identity, then it's on us to do that work for them. Most of the US, even among AP-holders are not investing in Duffy after five years and very aggressive marketing. Disney needs to try something new or Duffy dies. And even if it's only in the US, that failure will become part of his legacy. A total public failure in the US could even have ripple effects here in Japan, it's hard to predict. Accepting what they've done is disgraceful. Executive decisions have made people hate Duffy since before he reached American shores, and proved haters right again and again. I am doing the opposite of that, and honestly, I wish you really understood that because you're there in the US and I want you to help.^^

                Disney needs to surprise us with something amazing and big and perfect and all Duffy. No Mickey sidekick, but his own powerful presence.

                But DWE has proven over and over that they either don't understand or don't care. Either way, even with a map and a blueprint with proven success and fan feedback and limitless resources and five years, they still haven't done it. It's not because "Japanese people love cute things." It's not because of price differences; Duffy clothing is cheaper here now than in the US sometimes, or at least on par. It isn't about not having the talent, either, because an American team planned and executed Cape Cod Village Greeting Place. They may have even conceived it. The VGP is the greatest Duffy creation of all.

                It is about faith. And devotion. And sincerity. Integrity. It is about seeing the potential in Duffy for Disney to understand the difference between its current model and that of its founder. It is about wanting to do everything in their considerable power to realize that potential, to fall in love with their legacy and with this new flag-bearer who will carry that legacy onward into the future. It is about truly believing in very specific Duffy, and being absolutely confident that you understand him so clearly and love him so much that everyone else will love him too. They need to spend some time really getting to know Duffy, deeply. And then do something big, something risky. "Go broke or go home"-style. Something like Star Wars Force Friday. Something that says, "Ok, ok. Enough playing around. We are IN this."

                They need to make it obvious that I'm wrong about their lack of investment, that the nays are wrong about Duffy as a cash grab. They need to make it big and undeniable like the first time I saw BraviSEAmo. That's why it's not working. That's why new fans aren't flocking to Duffy. Because Disney hasn't proven the cynics wrong. Quite the contrary, in fact. They haven't surprised anyone. They haven't done anything out-of-the-box. They haven't risked anything. Our minds are not blown.

                OLC Duffy releases blow my mind on some level or about some detail every. single. time. Several times a year. And my expectations are already astronomical at this point. Before every release now, I brace myself that this next release may finally be the end of the line. This next time they may have lost their mojo. It may all be horribly disappointing. And yet every time = mind. blown. Consistently. That's not an accident. It's not genetics. It's not culture. It is a kind of magic, but it's magic Disney knows how to create. They aren't really IN this. And American Duffy fans constantly making excuses for why US Duffy is "just fine" is not the way to encourage change. Without serious change, there will be no 10-year Journey for Duffy in the US. Or if there is, very few will care. The energy I wanted was a global "friendly rivalry" over the great Duffy releases from Disney Resorts all over the world, with "home team" pride, like sports fans. We can't do that because nothing outside Tokyo is even a little bit kinda comparable.

                WDE and OLC are offering utterly different experiences, and one is undeniably lesser – by a vast margin. You improved on that experience, for that little boy and his bear and his mother and your Guests, Tony. And that's good. That's wonderful, actually. But you can't be everywhere all the time. Nor can any of us. Duffeteers can't do it all for Disney. But we can encourage them to try harder and invest more. Disney has to create obvious appeal and value for Duffy or he won't make it.

                I care about the validity of your experience, Tony. And your personal experience is ALWAYS real, no matter what the company does. But I care most about preserving Duffy. DWE has effectively made it harder for people to even know the real Duffy, as I feared may happen, years ago. I will not shut up. That's not the solution. I am not just being "negative." Ever. I am offering solutions, always. I do absolutely everything I can to share the OLC Duffy experience with everyone who chooses to care about it. Dismissing me as negative and explaining how Duffy = LOVE is insulting, and I don't deserve it. Just like Disney doesn't deserve to profit from Duffy while actively lessening all that he is, on such a large scale that the lesser experience is all most people know and that makes them hate the character.

                Duffy doesn't deserve that. Duffy and the team behind him have worked tirelessly for a decade now to bring this love. So have the fans. Disney doesn't get to squander that investment and goodwill. Or at least, they don't get my approval as they do it.
                Last edited by DuffyDaisuki; 02-18-2016, 06:01 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I read and re-read and re read again your post. I get what you are saying and I respect your views. I never meant to insult you BUT I do feel the way I feel. I could go on and on but our views will not change. I do still love and appreciate you DuffyDaisuki. I perhaps wasn't "expressing myself" the way I should have. It however is not you personally there are other remarks at times (from other- most I believe are inactive members now) that make me feel that the USA Duffy is as you said "The Disney Bear " a "rag something... from a dollar store or gas station". BUT to me that isn't nice to say nor fair for me or the countless others who love their Duffy bears in the USA. YES 100% agreed. The USA Disney parks dropped the ball on Duffy. He was a mere after thought..a way to compete with Build A Bear perhaps on some levels, a way to bring in $$. The powers to be were "out to lunch" on his arrival and no plans for him after his initial release. He had no story or purpose here. I know that with all my heart. BUT I will always be thankful that even as an after thought Duffy was here. Did I support the USA Duffy. I did to some extent.. I bought 3. I have a few of his costumes. I also love the OLC fashions. I love them so much more for the detail and the "story" and the genuine love and care behind them. I do know the USA parks doesn't compare. BUT the USA parks was truly my introduction to Duffy. If I hadn't been able to buy him here I don't know if I would have sought him out. I think I would have. But I'll never know 100%. It's because he was brought to the USA Parks that I grew to love him more than "a teddy bear" more than "The Disney Bear" and sought out to learn more about him online. Soak up whatever knowledge I could. Yes at times, regardless of intentions I do feel "secondary" when it comes to talking here and being on par with those who know and have experienced Duffy's "true home". I don't ask anyone to support the USA merchandise or what they did or didn't do. While writing this I guess what I am truly trying to say is I was taking the "USA attacks" to personally and I am sorry if DuffyDaisuki or anyone else was offended. BUT this is something I am truly passionate about and I took those attacks to personally because those USA parks and merchandise are my experiences and I was overly sensitive about the USA park comments that have/had been flooding the boards the past few months.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I totally hear you, Tony. And I am so grateful for everything you said. But I still fear I am somehow failing to make my intention clear. I'll try again. Not to beat a broken drum, but because it is truly important to me that you understand.

                    No one who loves Duffy has a Duffy whose value is affected by where he came from, what clothes he is or is not wearing, or what anyone else thinks. When it comes to how you or anyone else feels about your personal relationship to this character, absolutely no one's opinion – including mine – should mean anything at all to you. Who cares what I think? My issue has never been about that.

                    My problem is that Disney has never tried presenting Duffy with any level of genuine, Disney-caliber commitment. And there have been Americans involved with the creation of Duffy ever since the concept moved beyond one man's vision and into the phenomenon we know today. Disney should be proud of the men and women who made Duffy happen. Disney should celebrate and honor their commitment and excellence with every release. Duffy is a unique collaborative project, unique in a million different ways.

                    I'm not saying that US Duffy is no more special than all the random Disney stuff one might find at a dollar store. I'm saying that Disney should treat Duffy like he's more special than that, because not doing so is insulting to the character, the teams who create for Duffy, and the fans. Fans like you.

                    You SHOULD take that personally. I just don't understand why you seem more upset at people criticizing Disney than at Disney offering less than they're capable of. Write Disney. Carry Duffy at Disney parks. Make clothes. Take pictures. Organize meet-ups. Be an ambassador. Be active.

                    But the problem with that is Disney has very successfully, very effectively convinced a lot of people that Duffy does not matter, intentionally or not.

                    A friend of mine went to WDW last month with two young children. She is not a Disney fan, but she knows about my Duffy love. She couldn't remember seeing him at all. The kids certainly never asked for him, though she said they didn't go in every shop.

                    Still, this lukewarm response is not only because of Duffy's costume offerings or cultural differences. It is because Disney has not genuinely invested in a care-full strategy and Disney fans see that.

                    In fact, I'd argue that every US Duffy who is truly loved and valued is "extra special" exactly because Duffy fans in the US have to go out of their way to create their own deeper Duffy experience. In Japan, you just bring Duffy to the park and that's your "Disney side" accessory; you'll be in very good company. It is harder, especially for adult fans, to publicly embrace Duffy because the US marketing has dumbed down the public perception so much. There is a lot to overcome, and I admire your efforts. Make them bigger. Make other Disney fans and Disney itself take notice.

                    For Tokyo fans, it's so easy now. OLC's work never fails to impress, to be instantly recognizable as someone's best and most committed. You just have to buy it and enjoy it. More is definitely coming and it will be at least as wonderful. All fans have to do here is continue to support a team that is always putting forth 150%. But that happened over time because fans were so enthusiastic in communicating with each other and OLC about what direction to take. OLC could be confident and take risks, knowing that they had earned growing and enthusiastic fan support. There was a momentum. Disney hasn't earned this goodwill, so if Duffy fans aren't honest about Disney's missteps and actively working to change the story, Duffy is not likely to attract new fans. And if he isn't more successful, how long will Disney bother to support him at all?

                    Is there still new Duffy stuff happening in Paris? Hong Kong is set to open a dedicated shop for Duffy and ShellieMay, and they seem to be constantly releasing new merchandise. I guess the bears must be performing well financially, but how are the characters perceived there? My sense is that in HK Disney is mostly perceived very casually as one entertainment option among many. It seems like the Disney legacy doesn't carry the same weight or mystique as in the US or Japan, but I don't really know that. And maybe I'm very wrong, because a dedicated shop sounds like more than just following a Japanese trend. We'll see, I guess. They certainly get a lot of merchandise.

                    For US fans, there is no certainty, no consistency. When will the next merchandise release? Who knows? What will it be like and where can I find it? Not sure. Might they just pull Duffy from the US completely, like they did with the park greetings? Sure. Disney apparently does that all the time, if the profits aren't strong enough. It's rough seas for US fans, and committing to Duffy in spite of all that is commendable. I commend you, Tony. I'm on your side.

                    What US fans really need to do is unite in criticism and be more active in feedback. Show Disney what you really want, and communicate what you'll support financially and what you won't. That's what they care about there. They are not creating a character, they are selling a product. But that product is not selling. Before Duffy is gone from the US, American Duffy fans need to work together, honestly and tirelessly, to identify the heart of a Duffy experience that makes sense for the US, and that has the same level of compelling commitment as OLC. Or at least the raw, wild enthusiasm of HKDL's "Let's just try everything!" approach. Make demands and expect those demands to be met. And if you're near a park, organize meet-ups and bring Duffy. Change the story. Unless you're already 100% satisfied with US Duffy; in which case you are in a very small minority and maybe cannot effectively help Duffy to grow. Duffy needs to change minds.

                    Duffy in the US, taken on its own, as a thing in a shop, does not differentiate itself as special. The message is not being communicated effectively, and most of the market is not buying it. Disney needs the people who "get it" to tell them how to communicate more effectively to those who don't. Duffy needs a hardcore, united fan base that is committed to raising his profile and improving the public's understanding of the character.

                    Disney needs to see that an energetic, demanding fan base exists, that it demands excellence, and that it is large enough to be worth investing their resources to appease. As long as Disney believes that Duffy is the kind of character that some people are just gonna buy into because they're "just that kind of person," while other people just aren't like that and will never care, there is zero incentive for them to try to make Duffy more appealing. And even if they wanted to, the base is telling them they needn't bother instead of telling them how to do things better. This will never result in the change Duffy needs.

                    Duffy needs CMs like you, Tony. Keep doing what you're doing. And consider ways to share and expand on it. Work with other Duffy fans and talk to non-Duffy fans who love Disney about what makes Duffy special. Bring your Duffy to work, if that's allowed. Plan a letter-writing campaign, and send real physical letters, all charmingly decorated and cute.

                    If the potential fan base is not more energized, Duffy won't get off the ground. I have said it a million times, but fan response is really what perpetuated Duffy here. I have also said a million times that I wish mmommie's signature was a link to her Etsy shop. I don't like it when people come here just to sell stuff, but mmommie never advertises, and ver rarely shows off her work. I have one summer dress that mmommie sent for Shellie, and she is truly talented. ILG and Eeee-va sew, too, but they don't have shops. We need more CMs like you, Tony, and more creators like mmommie, but we also need you both to see yourselves as actively helping to create a better message. If you're willing to accept Duffy's offer at face value, why shouldn't everybody else? And unfortunately, simply taken at face value, "everybody else" don't seem to be all that impressed. If you refuse to acknowledge the problem, you can't fix it. Duffy needs a strong base of fans working together to create a more compelling vision than what Disney's presenting.

                    Crafty fans breathe life into fandoms. Instead of accepting what Disney is doing as if it cannot be changed, I wish US fans were committed to showing Disney that a different approach is not only possible; it could even be far more lucrative – and fun, for everyone involved.

                    US Duffy is very special, Tony, in each Duffy fan's hands. For the relative few who love Duffy, he is absolutely authentic. But it is time for US fans to work together and raise some energy. The company isn't having much success on their own. People who don't immediately feel good about Duffy aren't being drawn in often or deeply enough. They need you. Please help.^^

                    I don't think any of us want to be negative or divisive. When I say "us, I mean you, me, and almost everyone on these boards, Tony. We all want great Duffy because we all love Disney embodied in this way. And we love who Duffy is. I'm so glad we can talk about this.

                    From your posts, I really do understand even more what American fans are dealing with, and I support US fans strongly, Tony. I support Duffy being in the US strongly. Equally strongly, I do not support the way Duffy has been or is being handled. I don't blame US fans for that, though; no more than I blame the character himself. It's Disney's burden. But I sincerely hope US Duffy fans will come together and show Disney the way. I want everyone to love Duffy forever.

                    If you look back, people – including me – have tried to be optimistic at every step of the US launch. Then become disappointed once we see how it is actually handled. I think what's happened the last few months is that for many of us, ShellieMay's launch seemed like an opportunity to have a soft-reset and a fresh start. And somehow, Shellie was handled even more clumsily than Duffy. I don't believe that any of us feel that US fans' personal experiences with Duffy are not valid. We are just sad that Disney as a company isn't creating a richer experience that attracts more people to Duffy. My personal thinking is that Duffy's best chance now is if he can be universally perceived as an "underdog," supported by an energetic and loyal fan base.

                    Disney's marketing has turned off a lot of people. But if people start to see more Etsy shops or blogs with great photography and rich storytelling or CMs going out of their way to make Duffy special, there is a chance to turn the tide. It would require a lot of people in a lot of places being a lot more energetic, though. A lot of US fans would need to be united and committed. But from what I've seen, even the biggest fans seem focused only on their own personal experience. Unless there's more intentional effort to change the story and public perception of Duffy, Disney has made everyone feel they already know who Duffy is, and most people aren't interested. Every time someone does what you did for that little boy, it's better. But it needs to be much bigger. We need to be a very active community working together. It's what I'm always hoping for.
                    Last edited by DuffyDaisuki; 02-18-2016, 03:27 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by tony609 View Post
                      [COLOR=#252c2f][FONT=&quot]
                      DUFFY = LOVE
                      Tony- Thanks for your post. Your original post on this thread said everything that I was feeling. Again, you have my thanks for expressing your thoughts so beatifully.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Lots of wonderful and insightful "food-for-thought" posting going on! I sincerely hope that there is not real division in our group because that seems to be the antithesis of Duffy himself. Every single person (aka, Duffy human!) has a legitimate and authentic experience with him (them, really). But the heart of the matter is that those experiences are profoundly different in storytelling. And that is annoying.

                        I have no solutions or insight, everyone has already echoed what I think when I'm reading here. But I do remain optimistic (maybe stupidly?). I have trip scheduled to Aulani this Fall and I'm very happy to see that Duffy still has a Meet-and-Greet...and, you know, maybe some interesting outfits.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          (I am not placing blame in any direction) I think there has been "division" in our group. It really upsets me. We all came here because we love our bears. I think it is ok to love our bears in our own way. To echo what Mercy said-I love all my bears, but each one differently. Each bear has a special, but different meaning to me. That "meaning" is NOT based in where they came from. It is a look on their face, or the memory of the event when that bear joined our family. "Spring" has a wonderful and special meaning-she joined our family at a time when my daughter REALLY needed her. "John Luke" was named for a goat(yes a goat) that my daughter fell in love with on a rare trip to see her grandparents. This to me is Duffy=Love. Duffy is never far from our thoughts (or our reach). Maybe he doesn't mean what he means in Japan or Hong Kong and where ever.... But he IS special in our house and in our lives.

                          I am really blessed to have met in person many of the members here, each of you is very special to me. I love that a member of our group gathered the courage to approach me (in a crowd) simply because of the bears. I love that members of our group reach out to me to ask sewing advice to keep these wonderful bears in the latest fashions. I love (as near as I can tell a non-Duffy fan) went above and beyond to buy and ship items to a lot of us here. I Love that another member(who I have never met) contacted me to ask if my daughter wanted the DL Tux.

                          I know I am "babbling" and I am sorry. I just want my "happy" Duffy place back. I don't want to avoid posting because .........
                          Please, if you don't agree with what I said, don't hate me or "bash" me. These are my thoughts and feelings.

                          I just want to play bears!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hello again to all -DuffyDaisuki I understand what you are saying. But we all know the USA parks dropped the ball when it comes to a Duffy in the parks compared to TDS.To continue this discussion in a friendly manner and I really do mean friendly manner now that I get where you are coming from. You asked in your first post about the validity of the USA park expirence compared to TDS. It has valid for many people and myself. Our expirence may not be on par with TDS but for every USA Duffy lover who waited in line to see him and hug him and take a photograph with him or to get an autograph it is valid. I see Duffy as also very different from the Disney bear. I will be honest I have one. While I think he is cute I don't "love him" or feel the same way towards him as I do Duffy. Duffy and I have a relationship, a friendship and a strong bond. Maybe I cannot feel the differences in the expirences because I love him and the knowledge I have about his purpose. But I clearly see the shortcomings in the USA parks. That is 100% obvious. This is not limited to merchandise but in how he was introduced and forgotten. But my expirences are still valid Duffy Expirences. And for others at the USA parks. This is all said to continue discussion not to start a fire promise.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Continued lol...
                              I agree that a huge company with some of the most creative and imaginative people in the world working for them and having money at their disposal set themselves up for failure when it came to Duffy. He was placed in a gazebo at world showcase across from a store that sold his merchandise. But there was really nothing more. There wasn't any "story" and Disney preaches everything begins, the most important thing is THE STORY.yes he had his story book but that's not enough when it comes from Disney. Disney didn't plus him with a purpose. They kinda just brought him out for meet to greets to sell Merchandise. We know that. But that has now ended. Sadly overall in the history of the USA parks Diffy is merely a footnote... I hope not a footnote of failure. But.... To most he is. Countless people were not onboard with his presence at the USA parks. They thought who's that bear, or just a cash cow. Maybe if he had the Disney Magic here they could have done something great! Something magical.
                              What would people have liked to seen? I wouldn't want a carbon copy of TDS. I would love to hear solutions/ideas to what people think Disney should have done in the USA parks to have made Duffy a success.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by mmommie View Post
                                (I am not placing blame in any direction) I think there has been "division" in our group. It really upsets me. We all came here because we love our bears. I think it is ok to love our bears in our own way.
                                Absolutely. Who do you think is suggesting otherwise? Could you quote that please, because I haven't seen it? I know you don't want to "blame" anyone, and I agree that we should try to avoid anything as juvenile as pointing fingers. But it really sounds like you feel some kind of personal conflict here. If someone is attacking you, we should all do something about it. Attacking people is not okay. And I'm confused and concerned about how I am apparently not seeing these posts. I read everything by everyone. Is something happening privately? I know you don't want to blame anyone, but if there's a real problem, we should get it out in the open.

                                As for the "division" you mention, where do you think that's come from? I have always thought of us as a tight-knit group. Many of us have years-long genuinely close friendships with each other, formed on these boards (and on MiceChat before these boards existed), but not limited to the boards. We still talk all the time, just not on the forum. I don't personally feel it's so much that we're divided, as that we're not all active enough here, not posting enough. And not putting enough thought into our posts, not sharing enough.

                                Disagreeing with each other doesn't make us "divided" unless we choose not to talk to each other, sharing ideas and respecting each other. If someone is choosing not to participate because they can't handle it when everyone doesn't agree with their opinion, that's not "division;" that's a personal choice. I think the better personal choice is to share our ideas and own our opinions, whether we all have the same views or not. But of course no one can be forced to do this, only invited. And I think most MiceChat Duffeteers keep this door wide open. It's one of the things I have always loved most about this community. We can say anything to one another without judging each other, because we all actually care about and sincerely respect each other's thoughts and experiences.

                                On that point, Mmommie, it sounds like you feel our community is not as I have described? That posters here are not open and caring and respectful, but rather "hate" and "bash" and "divide." I am deeply concerned about this. I know a lot of people here very well, and I feel I can confidently assure you that no one here is trying to do any of those things. In fact, I don't really understand where this impression is coming from. I truly believe there must be some kind of misunderstanding.

                                I see our community as a bit apathetic lately, but absolutely not "hateful." Please quote the posts that make you feel this way, so that we can all understand more clearly where you're coming from?

                                I also know you tend not to write long posts, Mmommie, but I really hope you'll take the time to answer each and all of the questions I'm asking here, since I am very committed to trying to understand and engage with you, as I have always been. It's your choice, though, of course. And I'd actually love to hear EVERYBODY'S answers to these questions:

                                On a tangent, 1) are any of your Duffys called "Duffy?" Or ShellieMays called "ShellieMay?" I think that's totally 100% fine if not. But it does make me wonder if there's a pattern there to the differences in our thinking.

                                For me, even though my Duffy has his own name, because people do that with teddy bears, I really do think of him as "Duffy" most of the time. And the narrative and character-building being constructed by OLC are very important to me. They tell Duffy's story and bring Duffy to life in the same way Mickey's stories created him, or the Frozen film gave life to Anna and Elsa.

                                2) Perhaps for you, OLC's narrative is irrelevant and unimportant? It isn't necessary or an essential part of shaping how you see Duffy? 3) Maybe you only need your personal narrative? 4) Perhaps for you Duffy doesn't even need to be called "Duffy" or have any specific character traits at all? He is just whatever each person wants.

                                5) But if that's the case, why does the bear sold by Disney need to be called "Duffy?" Why should it be called "Duffy?" If it really is, like a Build-a-Bear or any other teddy bear on earth, just going to be renamed and rescripted with no specific character traits anyway, wouldn't it be better to just call that "The Disney Bear?" The Disney Bear doesn't have a name or an ongoing narrative with specific character development. It can be anything anyone wants. 6) Why brand it as "Duffy" if Duffy's specific attributes are going to be ignored anyway?

                                Originally posted by mmommie View Post
                                I am really blessed to have met in person many of the members here, each of you is very special to me. I love that a member of our group gathered the courage to approach me (in a crowd) simply because of the bears. I love that members of our group reach out to me to ask sewing advice to keep these wonderful bears in the latest fashions. I love (as near as I can tell a non-Duffy fan) went above and beyond to buy and ship items to a lot of us here. I Love that another member(who I have never met) contacted me to ask if my daughter wanted the DL Tux.
                                Are my contributions to the MiceChat community meaningless and not worth mentioning, Mmommie? It really feels like you went out of your way to make a very specific, detailed list here – and very intentionally not include anything I've done over the past seven years. That really hurts. Talking about how a non-Duffy-fan went "above and beyond" while not even acknowledging the Duffy Post hurts deeply. Honestly, it feels like you did that because of my personal thoughts and feelings about the US release. That's not going to make me afraid or hesitant to express myself and I'm not going to indirectly or directly attack you. But it does hurt, and I am hurt by it. Was that your intention? I'm not saying that is your intention; I don't know your intention. I'm telling you how I feel and asking you questions. I'm trying to communicate. You can choose to care or not, of course.

                                If I'm wrong, please correct me by telling me which of my contributions to this community you have ever valued. And if I'm right, please say it plainly and directly; own it.

                                Originally posted by mmommie View Post
                                I know I am "babbling" and I am sorry. I just want my "happy" Duffy place back. I don't want to avoid posting because .........
                                I want that, too. Very much. I miss when we used to have more active posters and better conversation. I talk to several people privately who don't post anymore because deeper conversations either seem to go nowhere or result in conflict, which we all (and by "all" I genuinely mean EVERYONE on these boards, even the lurkers^^) find frustrating and painful – and extremely not Duffy.

                                Originally posted by mmommie View Post
                                Please, if you don't agree with what I said, don't hate me or "bash" me. These are my thoughts and feelings.
                                I don't really understand why you're saying this, Mmommie. You've said things about "avoiding posting" before, too. I know you to be very sensitive when it comes to disagreement, so I'm always relieved when you feel brave enough to post.

                                But who here is "hating" and "bashing?" If that's a real problem, we all need to talk about it together, directly and openly. There shouldn't be hating and bashing here. And I'm very concerned if it's happening and I'm not seeing it. Can you quote the post(s) that made you expect such an awful response, please?

                                I don't think any of our members are hateful, bashing people. Disagreeing is certainly not hateful. Having strong views is certainly not bashing. We all know and respect that, don't we?

                                I'm really surprised and very concerned you feel the need to say this. But you've said things like it few times, so I'm afraid we're not addressing it effectively. Let's fix it!

                                We all have thoughts and feelings. And we don't have to agree about everything – or anything. Disagreeing certainly should not earn anyone's hate, and expressing disagreement should not be perceived as "hateful." And no one should feel afraid to disagree, either from being "bashed" or fear of being painted as an ogre for having your own opinion. We should all feel safe here, and value each other's voices. If we aren't interested in each other's differences and experiences or if we were all the same, what would we chat about? Of course we're allowed to disagree. Strongly, even. I do it all the time!^^

                                Originally posted by tony609 View Post
                                -DuffyDaisuki I understand what you are saying. But we all know the USA parks dropped the ball when it comes to a Duffy in the parks compared to TDS.To continue this discussion in a friendly manner and I really do mean friendly manner now that I get where you are coming from. You asked in your first post about the validity of the USA park expirence compared to TDS. It has valid for many people and myself. Our expirence may not be on par with TDS but for every USA Duffy lover who waited in line to see him and hug him and take a photograph with him or to get an autograph it is valid.
                                Again, Tony, I don't know how many more times or ways I can attempt to clarify this same point – [b]I was never, ever – not ever – remotely suggesting anything like anyone's personal experiences don't matter. I feel almost like an apology is expected from me, but I can't apologize for something I never said.

                                The experience provided by Disney in the US is not Duffy; it is the same model and concept as The Disney Bear. It is a very different model from the one implemented by the creator of Duffy, who still guides the Duffy process at OLC today, among other duties (I think^^). But if individuals who buy US Duffy actively work to invest their bear with Duffy spirit, that is absolutely a Duffy bear. Any individual's Disney Bear might be Duffy, but US Disney is absolutely not providing that experience. In the US, you can't just buy it, you'd have to make it for yourself. And a person who doesn't respect what OLC is doing or feel disappointed in what Disney is doing is not creating a Duffy experience. That person has The Disney Bear, no matter what the tag says.

                                Here's the thing I'm finding very confusing: 7) if individuals have no respect for and are not interested in even acknowledging the intentions set by the creator of Duffy (who still works for OLC and I imagine is still very involved with Duffy – though of course he's been promoted^^), then why would these same individuals feel any attachment to calling their bear "Duffy" anyway? If you don't care about who the established character of Duffy is, what his ongoing story is, where he comes from, who created him, or how that visionary believes Duffy should be presented, nurtured, and protected – why do you need your bear to have the "Duffy" brand? Why can't it be "The Disney Bear?" Your particular The Disney Bear can be anything, even a sailor or a baker.

                                Originally posted by tony609 View Post
                                I see Duffy as also very different from the Disney bear. I will be honest I have one. While I think he is cute I don't "love him" or feel the same way towards him as I do Duffy.
                                That's interesting. 8) Where does that difference come from, you think? For me, the bond with Duffy is that he makes me feel connected to the artists and creators who continue producing amazing work to develop his character over time. And also he connects me to the spirit of Imagineering I feel at DisneySEA, and to a lesser but still very important extent, the Disney brand. Duffy, for me, is the potential of Disney realized. That's mostly down to the creativity and quality of the team behind him, and their visibly passionate commitment to a very clear vision for the character and his future.

                                The Disney Bear doesn't have any of that, it's true. And so doesn't appeal to me, personally. But The Disney Bear is also not limited by those constraints.

                                The Disney Bear can be any level of quality. Duffy has to be top-notch; it's part of the brand and the character. Duffy likes things to be "just so," like Walt Disney.

                                The Disney Bear doesn't need a purpose or a hometown or a specific identity or marketing strategy or any of that. The Disney Bear is whatever. Whatever you want. Duffy is not like that. He is flexible and every Duffy can be different. But there is carefully planned and clearly defined essence to Duffy, and diligent quality is at the heart of it.

                                Even when they first brought over The Disney Bear in 2003-4, the father of Duffy personally oversaw new fur selection. They looked at over 30,000 different types! And it has still gone through slight tweaks over the years. Duffy has never been anything less than impeccable quality – until the US release.

                                Originally posted by tony609 View Post
                                Duffy and I have a relationship, a friendship and a strong bond. Maybe I cannot feel the differences in the expirences because I love him and the knowledge I have about his purpose. But I clearly see the shortcomings in the USA parks. That is 100% obvious. This is not limited to merchandise but in how he was introduced and forgotten.
                                9) So what makes "Duffy" Duffy in the US, then? How is Disney providing a new experience that sets this one apart from the previous The Disney Bear?

                                Originally posted by tony609 View Post
                                But my expirences are still valid Duffy Expirences. And for others at the USA parks. This is all said to continue discussion not to start a fire promise.
                                Again, Tony, no one is questioning the validity or value of your personal experiences with your bear. 10) I'm asking what makes it specifically Duffy and not The Disney Bear? How is the Disney Parks version creating a Duffy experience that is significantly different from that of The Disney Bear?

                                I also have to say, I was just gonna let this thread die because I thought we couldn't handle such complex discussions anymore. But you pulled it up and breathed life back into it, Tony. THANK YOU SO MUCH for reigniting such valuable discussion! It's been such a long time since we've all talked like this, and I am immensely grateful for it. I had almost given up hope.^^

                                Originally posted by tony609 View Post
                                Continued lol...
                                I agree that a huge company with some of the most creative and imaginative people in the world working for them and having money at their disposal set themselves up for failure when it came to Duffy. He was placed in a gazebo at world showcase across from a store that sold his merchandise. But there was really nothing more.
                                Right? 11) Why do you think they didn't do more? They obviously wanted Duffy to sell or they wouldn't have bothered, right?

                                12) And of course they have way more data than we do about both The Disney Bear's flop and Duffy's massively spectacular second-coming-of-Mickey success. How did they use this insight? Or if they didn't, why not? What was the goal? What was the plan? What were they thinking?

                                Originally posted by tony609 View Post
                                There wasn't any "story" and Disney preaches everything begins, the most important thing is THE STORY.yes he had his story book but that's not enough when it comes from Disney.
                                A million kinds of YES! And that storybook is just a bastardized version of the OLC original (which may have even involved an American team for all we know), missing essential elements and putting more focus on the Mouses than on community. It also completely omitted the Bottle, so that when they couldn't be bothered to commission or produce new artwork for Shellie's book, they had to shoehorn it in clumsily. And now the artwork between the two books is totally inconsistent. And they still sell neither the Bottle nor the Cockle, even though these are specific elements that define these characters and distinguish them from "any other teddy bear," like Pooh's "hunny." It's a real shame, on many levels.

                                But that lack of storytelling… Yes! 13) When there is a very clear model of telling Duffy's story through product, and it EXTREMELY effectively sells out LOTS of that product, multiple times a year, by telling a story – plus engages Guests and fans in the magic of the Disney park experience year-round, even at home, and in a very intimate way – why on earth have they not borrowed more from it? It's not pride, originality, or creativity; they took the story. 14) And as Duffy has continued to slip toward irrelevance in the US, why have they STILL not tried using the model that's proven to work – investing more?

                                Originally posted by tony609 View Post
                                Disney didn't plus him with a purpose. They kinda just brought him out for meet to greets to sell Merchandise. We know that. But that has now ended.
                                Right? Just like they abandoned the Facebook page while hundreds of people were still actively participating and never even bothered to reply to all the fans asking, "What happened?" That is NOT Duffy. That is not – or shouldn't be – Disney. That's just bad business. Why do we think that happened? 15) Why did Disney abandon fans twice, even while those fans were still active? Oh, and the Disney Stores – they abandoned that pretty quickly, too. Why? What is that about?

                                16) And how did all the people who saw this "Duffy" have an authentically Duffy experience? If they've never done research or visited Tokyo; if all they know of Duffy is this aggressive marketing, quick turnaround, and clumsy launch; if they've never seen or touched Tokyo quality, never read any OLC stories or participated in an energetic Duffy forum like MiceChat; how could they possibly know who Duffy really is, just based on what WDE has done? That's not hypothetical. For those who disagree with me, I'd really like to know what you think, because I totally don't understand it and I am desperately trying to.

                                Originally posted by tony609 View Post
                                Sadly overall in the history of the USA parks Diffy is merely a footnote... I hope not a footnote of failure. But.... To most he is.
                                Yes. This is THE WORST. Duffy is not anything like a "failure." Duffy is upwards of 40% of TDR's merchandising sales or revenue (can't remember which now, and I know the difference is important – sorry). 40%! That's not just "success;" that's sensational, spectacular, legendary superstardom! And most Americans who even know who Duffy is at all have NO idea this is who Duffy is. This is what I mean when I say "most people in the US have no idea who Duffy really is at all." Maybe I said it wrong before…?

                                Originally posted by tony609 View Post
                                Countless people were not onboard with his presence at the USA parks. They thought who's that bear, or just a cash cow.
                                And Disney – still – has done nothing to prove them wrong. On the contrary, despite optimistic Duffy fans' protests to these nay-sayers all over the Internet, including me on many occasions, Disney has effectively proven the Duffy dismissers right; time and time again. It. is. infuriating! And it was completely avoidable. Disney had a map, a compass, a logbook and numerous guides speaking multiple languages. They didn't care.

                                For most people in the US, that's what Duffy is – the bear Disney didn't care about but thought everyone would blithely buy just because they said so. And that is not Duffy. This is what I'm saying. This and only this, mostly.

                                Originally posted by tony609 View Post
                                Maybe if he had the Disney Magic here they could have done something great! 17) Something magical.
                                What would people have liked to seen? I wouldn't want a carbon copy of TDS. I would love to hear solutions/ideas to what people think Disney should have done in the USA parks to have made Duffy a success.
                                This is the right question! 17) "What would people have liked to see? I wouldn't want a carbon copy of TDS. I would love to hear solutions/ideas to what people think Disney should have done in the US parks to have made Duffy a success." I can't wait to hear everybody's answers! I had actually been planning to start a thread on this topic for The Year of Wishes, but I honestly kind of love how Tony has transformed this one – let's just do it here!^^ And don't forget to post YOUR ideas, too, Tony!

                                What I always HOPED Disney would do is elaborate on Minnie's Co-op Workshop from the Tokyo story. Instead, they severely downplayed the co-op element. I suspected, and it seems to be true, from what Mmommie and Tony are saying, that Americans would really want their Duffy to be their own, unique. Japanese fans are more inclined to treat animated characters like real people with blood types and zodiac signs and favorite foods, etc. A very specific Duffy narrative that has us watching Duffy grow and develop as a "person" really clicks here.

                                I thought Disney would do well to quickly establish the concept that "every Duffy is different and every Duffy is Duffy." My idea, which I posted on these boards somewhere years ago, was that EPCOT ought to be the site of Minnie's new global factory. This would also allow them to leave out Cape Cod, so that US guests didn't feel bad about not being able to visit Duffy in his hometown.

                                The story would start by establishing that Minnie had some success producing and selling this wonderful bear. It would include the Message Bottle as her signature "finishing touch," and it would include all of Minnie's happy customers (Disney cameos) telling Minnie how their Duffy seemed to "come alive" in all their travels and journeys, and how "whenever I share the photos with someone, the smiles in the photograph are magically transferred to the people looking at the pictures. Duffy always finds our biggest, brightest smiles."

                                Basically, it would just start from the middle, leaving out the lighthouse and TDS-specific stuff like Mickey the Helmsman that wouldn't have relevance or context in US parks anyway. Creating an all-new story for Helmsman Mickey, specifically traveling to all the particular countries represented in EPCOT to learn about their cultures would also have been interesting, and with a few facts for each location integrated into the narrative, it would've created teachable moments that are in line with American parenting and would've added value and distinction to the Duffy experience. It would've offered something OLC had not already done better, which is exactly what I hoped Disney would do.

                                But that wasn't my main idea. The thing I love most about Duffy is that the investment in quality product, storytelling, and immersive park experience elevates and transforms what was a fairly generic concept, The Disney Bear. But as I said, I imagined many Americans really did just want a "Disney teddy bear," deep down, if they're honest. And I also thought there must have been some fans who truly loved and identified with the original concept for The Disney Bear, particularly all the colored bears. Duffy in different colors is not smart in Japan and is NOT Duffy, which I also think is kinda unfortunate for the many, many Japanese fans who actually like Duffy in various colors.

                                Mostly, I understood very clearly that Disney would not even comprehend how to consider investing in telling Disney-caliber stories or nurturing Duffy at a level that could potentially eclipse Mickey – unless and until he was making buckets of cash for them, basically printing money. So start the story there, with Minnie expanding her already popular and lucrative business (meta), without too much of that backstory. And build the Duffy attraction and shop as a fully interactive Build-a-Bear-style workshop where Guests can actually make their own bear. It would create a Guest experience competitive with Universal Studios' wand selection in their Harry Potter land. Only it would be even better because everyone doesn't get to have that experience at Universal; it's random.

                                At Minnie's Co-op Workshop every single person could choose to queue up and make their own bear – OR they could just enjoy the kinetic, It's a Small World design of the place and all its busy, excited tenders, eyes bright with anticipation of making their own one-of-a-kind Duffy who could be whatever they wanted. Guests who didn't need that could just enjoy watching it, still connected to the experience by being there, but adopt their Duffy "off the rack," only in Duffy's caramel milk tea color. It seemed like the most obvious idea possible to me, and it would allow Disney to be honest about how they see Duffy, while creating a genuine phenomenon among Guests because Imagineers would've created the experience, not marketers. Again, in Japan that worked. Japanese marketing is constantly of another order. Marketers are truly creative here; they don't see themselves as just moving product.

                                Anyway, the Minnie's Co-op Workshop attraction would be fresh and unique and ONLY AT EPCOT. It would be the only place in the world you could purchase colored Duffys, and you could even do custom colors. Guests would travel to each station to select fur color, each of the four paw pads, each of the three "Micktoos," the face color – plus blue/green/brown/pink/purple eyes, and a variety of nose colors, maybe even different shapes! And you could add eyelashes, or not! ShellieMay's particular dusty rose would not become available until her Stateside debut, though!^^ She also has to be protected. Maybe the eyelash stitch wouldn't even be available from the start… Not sure.

                                Anyway, it would be a true destination, and the need that I imagined Americans would have to ignore whatever Duffy's official narrative was in favor of their own would've actually been part of both the experience/product and the official story. Bonus is that Japanese Guests would likely make many trips to collect a wide variety of colorways!

                                After making the selections, of course Guests couldn't wait there for their Duffy to be stitched. If Imagineers could find a way to do it, there would be machines to stitch Duffys on-site and Guests would be given a ticket to come back and pick up their Duffy later in the day, like OLC's "Your Original Goods." If that's technically impossible, Duffy would be shipped to your home, with shipping included in the "adoption fee" of "Your Original Duffy" for addresses within the continental US. The MCW bears would also have unique tags, naturally. And ALL Duffys in the US would come in a simple drawstring gift bag. Nothing like the duffle bags you can buy at TDS; that cloth-paper gift bag stuff. You guys know what I'm talking about? It wouldn't have to be expensive, but what it would add in charm would create the kind of value that adds to purchase incentive. And it would give the WDW version another unique element that OLC doesn't have, cheaply and easily.

                                The WDW story would end with lots of different colored Duffys all dressing up and playing together in the Workshop, all different personalities so the artwork would be original, expressive, and genuine fun for the lucky artist who got to create it. Serious Duffy fans would dream of going to MCW just as much as they dream of visiting Cape Cod and the VGP. The US launch would ADD something to Duffy, and that something would both a) make sense and feel like Duffy and b) be compelling for both profit and popularity goals.

                                Then later, after WDW locals had already established Duffy as the new "it" Disney Side accessory and Disneyland locals were already jealous (similar but in reverse to Trader Sam's), they'd roll out the Helmsman Mickey story making specific reference to EPCOT's Pavilion nations, but then expanding by focusing on "Mickey and Duffy's California Adventure."

                                To be honest, I never liked that idea nearly as much as MCW, but another MiceChatter had an even better one! TheFirstStar suggested that Minnie could have an atelier shop on Main Street! We jammed together and expanded this concept. It's a really great story that I do want to finish, but I just haven't gotten around to it. "Minnie's on Main Street" is a very different experience from Minnie's Co-op Workshop. It's kind of a "prequel," with the story about Minnie searching for a purpose, then finding it in Duffy. It's actually a triptych featuring Mickey and Daisy, too.

                                Minnie's on Main Street could even fit in WDW if they didn't want to invest in building MCW. Minnie's would not have colored or custom bears. But they would sell unique and excuisite costumes, inspired by the storefronts of Main Street and perhaps eventually other areas and moments in Disneyland history. These outfits would be Cannery Clothing quality and released annually or every two years at most.

                                In the shop would be photos of real moments in Disneyland history, but with Duffy inserted digitally; like the VGP, but all focused on the rich history of Disneyland. And there'd be a tea room, so that Disneyland Guests could enjoy a Sweet Duffy Cafe experience any day of the year. Here, there would be quality Duffy-designed home products that would change seasonally. It's the US, so they may not change much year on year, but every year at least Valentine's to White Day (which Guests could enjoy learning about!^^, Spring, Summer, Autumn/Halloween, and Winter/Christmas would each have unique menus and offerings. I just realize now that I don't know. Are there many seasonal food items in the US? Is that a thing? It's still so odd to me that the US parks don't completely transform each season… I really can't imagine it.

                                MOM bears would probably be the same "Disney Parks" bears as the non-customs at MCW, but since the two experiences are fundamentally different, these bears would feel like a bridge, not a lack of specificity.

                                Anyway, these ideas are designed to a) offer Americans experiences on par with Tokyo's experiences, b) offer experiences that quickly bring the flavor of Duffy to the US through the "fun and energetic" MCW and the "Sweet Duffy" charm of MOM (gasp! - its nickname could be "Mom's!^*"), and c) provide something different at each park that builds on OLC Duffy and stays true to what has been established, but does not simply retread. The guiding principle is to be ADDING something of value that creates a unique experience that makes Guests fall in love with Duffy.

                                Then even later, IF Duffy caught on and there was demand, when he rolled out at Disney Stores he would already be familiar and would be presented as an ambassador of the Parks. In that context, for Disney fans who dreamed of a Disney vacation but couldn't go or "couldn't go right now," Duffy's ""Disney Parks" tag on the bear in their local Disney Store would feel genuinely magical because the marketing wouldn't be a lie. Duffy would've been planned and executed effectively over time, and the experiences would be real, fresh, unique, and still absolutely Duffy.

                                18) Why didn't Disney do anything remotely as layered and long-term as this? I'm really interested in what we all think. This is so exciting! Real, meaningful discussion! Thank you, Tony!!^^
                                Last edited by DuffyDaisuki; 02-19-2016, 05:58 AM. Reason: Bolded, numbered questions.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Regarding the valid question here is from the first post..DuffyDaisuki
                                  DuffyDaisuki
                                  AMORE PER SEMPRE

                                  Join Date: Feb 2009 Posts: 3508
                                  #1
                                  The Disney Bear is NOT Duffy.
                                  02-02-2016, 03:03 AM
                                  This started as a reply in another thread, but it's too long and tangential there, so I'm making a new topic. Hoping for some real discussion. Do you agree that the US experience is "not Duffy?" Do you disagree? Do you agree that it's different, but see Japan and the US as equally valid experiences? Do you see Duffy as being not-so-very-different from The Disney Bear? Are you frustrated that the marketing of Duffy in the US most likely stopped him from finding his natural home? What do you think?

                                  I am not expecting an apology I was just sharing that I think both TDS and even the USA parks are valid. That's all. But no not equal. For most in the USA it's great because they don't know any better. So in a way they were cheated, but they were not aware. Does that make sense? I think I muddle my Duffy knowledge and love into one place so I never felt cheated because I know his purpose and story and carry it with me. I would have loved to have seen Duffy placed better in EPCOT. Inside some where that was created for him. I wouldn't want a cheesey cartoon or movie though. Here in the USA that's the biggest complaint. If Duffy had s movie or series he would have been better accepted. I hsvea hard time with that. Why do we need that? Maybe a series of well thought out books would have been nice.Of Duffy's travels around the world meeting new friends or an interactive walk thru exhibit on his travels to not only educate but be fun as well. I think the separation between Duffy here and the Disney Bear is quite small. Duffy has a name, that's truly the only thing I can think of. The meet and greet yes. But in terms of concept nothing more than a name here (USA). Both had cute stories involving Mickey. I will always be thankful for The Disney Bear because without him I don't believe Duffy would have been born,at least maybe not as we know him. If I were the creator of Duffy I would have wanted to be "hands on" with Duffy's USA launch and life. Maybe because it's all under the Disney umbrella/copyright it wasn't felt necessary. I'm not sure how that all works. Disney did it cheaply and it shows in the failure here.Did you know a lot of Duffg merchandise ends up in the Disney outlets? Sad really. That's all for now as its early here! Take care all.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Well, here I am, late as usual. I am really trying to stop apologising too much but lifetime habits are hard to break! Still some brain fog so if I forget things, I’m sorry in advance (no more apologising in this post, I promise!)
                                    I’ll jump in and try to answer some of the questions DuffyD posed most recently.
                                    I have several Duffy and Shellie May bears, although only one of each that are still named Shellie or Duffy. The others each have names to identify them, but only 1, Lani, is named after where they came from. As before, it doesn’t matter where they come from, they are Duffy/ShellieMay. I love each of them for who they are, although my originals are extra-special.
                                    For me personally, the Disney Bear (and I have two by the way) in his original form was Mickey’s bear that he took to MK with him, and magically became his friend, hence I called my two Friend Bear. I did love the book and the story, but to me he always seemed Mickey’s Friend Bear, not my Friend Bear. But I agree with tony609 in that I am thankful for the Disney Bear in existing so that Duffy could exist.
                                    Duffy however, was a character in his own right. He was, once adopted, MY bear. MY lifelong friend. MY companion and joy-maker. Whatever term you want to add on. Mine. No-one else’s. That to me is the true joy of each Duffy and Shellie May is that each bear is as individual as who they live with. They have their own personalities, just as each human does. There, for me, is the difference between the Disney Bear and Duffy.
                                    I feel that Duffy would not be who he is without Tokyo. But without his voyage outside of Tokyo, however mishandled (and it has been even here in the UK) then he would not be with as many people as he is today, and the whole Duffy community here would not have had the opportunities to share and meet. I remember being so excited when Duffy was coming to WDW, and looking forward to the day that I could go to Epcot and meet my very own friend for life. I connected with him in a way I have never connected with any other bear or plush, even as a child. I think Epcot would have been a perfect launch place for Duffy and us to have gone on a voyage of discovery and exploration – start at the shop opposite the meet and greet, visit the countries in Epcot and then on together to new adventures and discoveries outside the parks. What potential that could have had. Even to a meeting point at DTD, sorry Disney Springs where Duffy friends could meet up outside the parks. This could still happen (probably only in my dreams, but hey).
                                    I’m sure we all have our own stories of Duffy and Shellie May – that is part of them after all. And I also think that is one of the reasons emotions and feeling run so high as Duffy is so personal to each of us.
                                    Personally, I am so thankful to have found micechat Duffy, to have been accepted for who I am, just as I am – a unique experience for me – and to have had to opportunity to make friends both online and in person, that I hope I will keep for life. No-where else would I have approached a stranger who became a friend if not for the bears, and no-where else would I have sent money to a virtual stranger (the first time I used DuffyPost) - and now to a friend who selects joy-bringers for me with the same love and care as I do myself. Not forgetting someone else who became a friend and who I got to meet in person as well at WDW. You are all special to me and my life.
                                    I am just so glad I found somewhere and some people who accept me for me, bear mad and all. Thank you. Hope to see at least one of you in person soon.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Thanks for adding the quote. You've already said that you understand now that I was never talking about personal experience, so I won't make you repeat yourself. I'm glad we were able to talk and resolve that misunderstanding. That's what I love about this community and the people in it.

                                      I will repeat myself just one more time, though, just in case. Every single living person's personal experience with anything is ALWAYS valid, even if no one else agrees with them, even when they're wrong, even when they're imagining things. Even when…ANYTHING. No one can take away the validity of anyone else's lived experience. That validity is only ever given away. And none of us should ever give away our agency, nor demand that from anyone else. I think most of us demonstrate how well we understand this all the time. I love our community. I just wish everyone would fully participate more.

                                      I really wanna get away from that kind of talk, though, as I find it distracting. So I've updated my previous post with numbered questions to make them stand out. I'm really very interested in everyone's answers to these 18 questions. Please answer!^^

                                      I've talked about your "what they don't know don't hurt 'em" idea already, Tony. Yes, it absolutely makes sense. I understand what you're saying completely. I just totally disagree with you. By re-branding The Disney Bear as "Duffy," Disney has not only once again failed to produce a successful product; they have tainted the Duffy name.

                                      Before the US/global rollout, the only Duffy you could see was Duffy the Unstoppable Supernova. You might not personally like Duffy, but everywhere that he existed, you could not reasonably deny that everything about him consistently exceeded expectations. This undeniable excellence did not happen by chance; it was meticulously planned, nurtured, and cultivated. From the beginning, it formed the bedrock on which the Duffy character and brand were built. Remove that commitment to undeniable excellence, and there is no Duffy, only a pale imitation. Remove that excellence but call it "Duffy," and now you're destroying the brand and killing the character.

                                      Besides all that, it just didn't work. We'll never know whether presenting Duffy properly, with full and sincere investment, could have worked. I fear the US release has damaged Duffy's image irreparably at this point. As you say, Tony, "Sadly overall in the history of the USA parks Duffy is merely a footnote... I hope not a footnote of failure. But.... To most he is." The most effective way to address this now, I believe, is to call it what it is: The Disney Bear. If we understand that what Disney has produced is "not Duffy" because it looks nothing like Duffy, then the Duffy brand – and character – are not poisoned by what the US has done. To me, this is important. Like pulling weeds and trimming dead branches. To me, this is cultivating. And I think it could still save the character.

                                      If there was an energized fan base that had, say, a talented seamstress to design more-distinctive-less-stereotypical international costumes… And a photographer to take really great pictures… An illustrator to create even more beautiful images… And a writer to add some interesting story… And they were all working together to present and promote Duffy in a different way… I think when people discovered all that united creative energy, they would stop seeing Duffy as a "cash cow" and see that Duffy inspires people. Duffy makes people want the world to be better because Duffy is so much better than other similar products.

                                      This excellence is not optional for Duffy; it's his DNA. It was a clearly established goal and hallmark of the brand/character – from the beginning. Before the US release, Duffy was very clearly ONLY this. The US erased this essential element and without it, people literally hated Duffy. This is not Duffy. It's not just different; it's less. And Duffy is not less, by design. Duffy always wants to be more and better. That's his thing. And the US release never had it. So it's not Duffy.

                                      Tony, you say this lack of sincere investment and commitment to excellence doesn't matter because most people were not aware. But I don't understand that. They were aware, they just didn't understand. They were aware that what they were being offered was an empty shell. They just couldn't understand why. And they responded by viciously hating Duffy.

                                      The US release created the possibility that "Duffy Brings Hate." This did not exist before the US releases. No one in Japan hates Duffy. There are people who don't collect him. And there are people who are concerned about hyper-commercialization of the park experience, though merchandising has always been a very strong element of the TDR experience. But no one "hates" Duffy. And for most people, even if they're not fans, he adds life to the parks and at this point, our daily lives. One could not spend 24 hours moving around in public in Tokyo and not encounter Duffy in some form. He is everywhere. He is legendary. And that would NEVER have happened if OLC had marketed Duffy the way WDE has.

                                      In fact, had OLC not created, cultivated and nurtured Duffy, we wouldn't be talking about this at all. The US "Duffy" release would never have happened, because the Japanese release would not have been so impressive. The US would not have bothered.

                                      What it feels like to me is that OLC was actively pursuing the greatest possible version of Disney, and Disney simply wanted to nip that, to maintain control. Not only have they never mentioned the name of Duffy's creator, they almost never even mention his company. They don't ever make it clear that The Disney Bear was never planned to grow into Duffy OR that creating Duffy was not their idea AT ALL OR that they are absolutely unwilling to invest the energy and resources it requires to create an authentic Duffy experience, with unique new costumes, assorted tie-in merchandise, handcrafted park decorations, and narrative – 4/5+ times a year. This is why Disney didn't do it, because it's hard work.

                                      They just wanted to take Duffy's energy by using the name, and hope that was enough to attract some people. And even worse, they wanted to take credit for all of OLC's work! Most Americans have no idea OLC exists, and they certainly don't know it was an OLC employee, not Disney's, who created Duffy and leads the Duffy vision to this day.

                                      What Disney has done is very, very similar to the way that Walt lost control of Oswald. He didn't hold the rights to the character he created because of legal restrictions. But we all respect Oswald as a Disney character and celebrated his "homecoming." Can you imagine Disney ever selling Duffy's rights entirely to OLC? No way!

                                      But you said, "If I were the creator of Duffy, I would've wanted to be 'hands-on' with his US launch and life?" Do you really imagine that was ever an option? Because I don't. I don't think there was an invitation to Duffy's visionary that he rejected. I think he was not invited. And I think that's disgraceful. But you can see in the Tokyo releases since the US launch, concepts that almost look like "this is how you do it" responses to the American handling. Of course, I'm probably just imagining that. But the differences between authentic Duffy and The Disney Bear Duffy are very clear.

                                      On the other hand, as you have said, Tony, the only real difference between The Disney Bear and The Disney Bear Duffy is the "Duffy" name. And by taking that name, not acknowledging any of the people who created what that name means, and not creating at the level that has been established as the essence of what that name means; they have effectively dragged that name through the mud. They literally made people hate Duffy. And most people actually believe Duffy was a Disney concept all along. There are terrible lies at the heart of everything they've done with Duffy. Public ignorance of these lies doesn't make it better. On the contrary, it's much worse. People can feel that something is amiss with Duffy, but they can't really understand what it is. So they just hate him. Or some "love" and are "grateful" for what Disney have done, even knowing it's all a lie. I cannot understand this at all. How can you want to call that Duffy? They actually made people hate Duffy. I'm glad a few people found Duffy who may not have, but a lot more people now think they know Duffy (when they don't at all), and they actively hate him.

                                      I agree with you about The Disney Bear, though, Tony. I will always be grateful for The Disney Bear as the spark that inspired Duffy's creator to envision Duffy. Duffy's illustration, characterization, concept and execution bear virtually NO resemblance to The Disney Bear whatsoever, and the plush was completely reconceived, inside and out. But, yes, there's no way the Duffy we know today would exist without The Disney Bear. Do you need that to be true? Is it important to you to have some way to believe "Duffy is not really Oriental Land's original character for DisneySEA?"

                                      I have been told by many people that that's what has gone wrong on the boards. There are those who feel comfortable acknowledging and honoring the truth, that Duffy was created and cultivated by the Oriental Land Company, and that their Duffy is definitive. While on the other hand, others actually want to believe Disney's lie. They want to erase the reality that Disney failed with The Disney Bear, failed to learn from that, and has failed again with their re-launch of The Duffy-branded Disney Bear. They are invested in seeing Duffy as an evolution of The Disney Bear. He's not. Duffy is a fundamentally different thing.

                                      Duffy is not a "growth" or "development" of The Disney Bear concept; Duffy is a different concept. If the only difference between US Duffy and The Disney Bear, as you say, Tony, is the name; then there is no difference at all. There's just them putting lipstick on a pig and dragging the name through the mud. Creating the authentic experience of Duffy takes constant hard work, layered and detailed and excellent – and long-term planning with patience, energy, and clear vision. Disney did not invest this. And they should not get to call it Duffy.

                                      Your individual Duffy is Duffy. That's fine. Because YOU make the investment. But I don't see how you can make that investment if you simultaneously accept and even express gratitude for Disney's lies.

                                      Of course it matters that the experience is so different, whether Guests are aware of it or not. Of course it does. Saying it doesn't is like saying, for example: You decide you want to be my best friend (or in Disney's case, you just want my money). But you see that I already have a best friend (Duffy). So you push him off a cliff and kill him, but you lie to me about it and I believe you. And you're there to comfort me in my grief, so we do become "best friends." Is it really better that I just love you anyway, and never know or process that you killed my best friend, just so you could take what you wanted from me? That does NOT sound very Duffy to me. And I think we should call it what it is. Maybe being honest could still make things better.

                                      I absolutely agree with you that a movie or animated series is not the solution. That would not require Disney to do something truly new and innovative. Creating Duffy as the embodiment of the Disney Park experience would be thrilling for the creators at Disney, once they really let themselves get into it. Working within the constraints of Duffy, creating the character and his story exclusively through impeccable quality products and immersive marketing would be an exciting and electrifying challenge. They'd have fun! They'd LOVE Duffy. But they were never given the chance.

                                      They were ordered to just slap Duffy's name on The Disney Bear. Some of you may not remember from the launch, but many will: Remember how at first they were actually still using The Disney Bear clip art, that looked kind of more like a monkey than Duffy? It actually took them a little while to change. It was very strange. Does anybody remember that? Or that ice cream cup? …shivers.

                                      No, I don't want a media project, at least not at launch. I wanted them to step up their commitment to park event planning and merchandising through investing in Duffy. I wanted Duffy to inspire Disney to do it's very best. That's what Duffy does. When that's not happening, that's not Duffy.

                                      I don't think Duffy's creator is at all responsible for that. I guess that's the silver lining of them not attaching his name. I don't think it's that they felt he "wasn't necessary," either, though. I think, based on his continued work in Japan, that Disney understood the effort, passion, commitment, and investment involved in doing things his way and very quickly decided, "NO WAY we're doing all that. Take an hour, design eight costumes for the launch using old Disney Bear templates. After that, we'll just put him in character costumes. We don't have to 'design' those, just make sure the sizing fits Duffy. Easy peasy. But first let's go smell some money." That is not Duffy. That's all I'm saying.

                                      I think Disney could've had much more success by actually simply re-launching The Disney Bear in color varieties. No narrative to worry about, and no character-building momentum to maintain. No HUGE, too aggressive marketing push. Just start making Disney Bears again and include the caramel milk tea color.

                                      Then, Japanese fans and knowledgeable Duffy fans could buy their The Disney Bear and call it Duffy, and it would have to be TRUE. Because they wouldn't even know the Duffy name unless they'd invested time, heart, and energy in understanding and genuinely caring about the Duffy concept. People who truly wanted Duffy would follow what was happening in Tokyo, understand and care about Duffy's story, respect Duffy's creative history and its rules. And if there were enough of them, and they were active enough, maybe Disney would eventually bring out real Duffy products, too. If enough of them demanded it, with enough unified enthusiasm.

                                      And everyone else who didn't care about calling their bear Duffy anyway, didn't care about his backstory or creators or history or future as a very specific character… but they like the [u]idea[\u] of a Disney-branded teddy bear… Those people could have The Disney Bear, call it whatever they want and do whatever they wanted with it. And it would never have made most people hate Duffy without having any idea who he really is. It would never have created a world in which there are people hugging and bonding and holding onto the monster that killed Duffy and lied about it. There would not be "Duffy fans" who have little or no respect for what OLC had built, what they continue to create, who Duffy actually is, and what his success means. This "division" was created by Disney not investing in this character. And the "solution" is absolutely NOT to validate what Disney has done. No way.

                                      And if The Disney Bear + "international" stereotypes and character costumes had failed – again – it wouldn't have looked like Duffy's failure, which it isn't. That would be much better. That would be honest. That's what I'm saying.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        30,000 different types of fur? Wow. That is a whole level of dedication that I can appreciate!

                                        I truly love how each of you make me think and rethink my own opinion. tony609, you asked what could have been and I was intrigued. Certainly I would have hoped for a more authentic character for Duffy. After the initial flurry of the kick-off in 2010 (with the country-themed costumes), it feels like he's been sidelined to forever "be" someone else. Sure, the 12-inch Duffys have unique (if heavily festival or franchise-based) costumes but the full-sized Duffy is just forced to represent himself as another Disney character. And I truly think the story of Duffy that OLC wrote stands alone - sure, he can dress as Mickey for Halloween, but he can also be a baker or a gardener or a lobster fisherman.

                                        I wish TWDC had kept up with the concept that Duffy was visiting the American Parks and learning about them. I want an American Girl level of detail, I want mini suitcases and souvenirs and snacks and everything else. Learn about the different countries of EPCOT and what they represent, learn about Hollywood, learn about California history at DCA... Let him stand alone, let Duffy discover the US with the same level of detail as the OLC rolls out his stories.

                                        DuffyDaisuki, I was ready to hit Minnie's Co-Op Workshop. I think expanding the Cape Cod anchor (Duffy's American Cousin, Duffy!) would have done much to actual create the real individual character with an anchor that makes sense. And I really want a Duffy bag.

                                        You have posed a ton of questions that are making me think about Duffy's identity, my connection to his identity, what he means to me... Off to think some more!

                                        Comment

                                        Working...
                                        X