Yesterday, hundreds of Duffy the Disney Bear fans came out to EPCOT’s Disney Traders to help celebrate the one-year anniversary of his launch at the U.S. Parks.
On Friday, October 14, EPCOT held a special event and artist signing to debut the new Duffy the Disney Bear storybook. Monty Maldovan, the incredibly talented Disney artist who oversees and designs all the Duffy merchandise for the US Parks, was on hand to sign the book from 11am – 1pm at Walt Disney World.
In addition, the first 750 passholders at Walt Disney World and the first 250 at Disney California Adventure could pick up a special free commemorative t-shirt for their 17-inch Duffy Bears.
By 10:30am, there were over 200 people already in line for the t-shirts and books, according to one Disney official. The line circled the entire Disney Traders building as Cast Members handed out wristbands to passholders already in line.
Guests were allowed to have up to two books signed by Monty. Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager, and Disney Parks Blog author, was on hand to photograph the event and interact with attendees as well.
See slideshow of the Duffy the Disney Bear signing with Disney Design Group Artist Monty Maldovan
For those unfamiliar with Duffy the Disney Bear, longtime Disney fans will remember years ago a stuffed bear called the “Disney Bear”. After waning popularity, he was turned over to the Oriental Land Company (OLC), who controls and operates the Tokyo Disney Resort. OLC launched “Duffy the Disney Bear”, with his own story and location at Tokyo DisneySEA.
With storybooks, seasonal outfits, a live show, popcorn baskets, souvenir plates/cups and more, his fan base soared and it’s not uncommon to see a Duffy Bear while traveling in any part of Japan, hundreds of miles away from Disney itself. Duffy’s popularity has led to him being one of the most profitable merchandising lines for the Tokyo Disney Resort.
On October 14, 2010, Duffy the Disney Bear became an official character at the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts. He became a part of the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort in November 2010 and is set to make his European debut at Paris Disneyland next month.
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