IMPORTANT UPDATE: HAPPY APRIL FOOLS’ DAY! (we hope!)
With several hundred characters in the Disney family and just four ships (for now), the chosen character’s bronze image in the atrium of a Disney Cruise Line ship is a rare, distinct and very high honor indeed. To date, the chosen few have included Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Ariel, all of whom have a strong connection to either Disney’s history itself or the sea. Now the fourth mouse-keteer has been revealed by sources to be none-other than the beloved Duffy the Disney Bear.
It’s been just six months since Duffy made his triumphant debut at the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts and word has it that executives have been beyond thrilled with his reception by guests. Enthusiasm has fueled merchandising for the Tokyo DisneySea Godsend which has ranged from simply offering different outfits for the bear (including a Disney/Pixar Buzz Lightyear available in Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland) to special holiday-specific editions of the plush to Duffy mouse ears (pictured above) with many more items to come. He’s also managed to usurp the Kidcot activity content at Epcot and will soon have his own line of Vinylmation figures.
According to sources, executives are also secretly hoping that bringing Duffy aboard the Disney Fantasy will not only broaden the cruise line’s appeal domestically, but will help bring in guests from around the world who will be willing to pay for the privilege of sailing aboard the ship belonging to their favorite teddy bear. This, they hope, will then further translate into additional, long stays at the Walt Disney World Resort, especially with out-of-countriers who often are granted single vacations of three weeks or more at a time.
The formal announcement is expected to be made at an exclusive press conference being held by Disney Cruise Line in New York City on April 6 at Chelsea Piers which will cover the Disney Fantasy and Disney Cruise Line itineraries and excursions for 2012. No word yet whether the press conference will be webcasted, but we will update as information becomes available to us.