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.
(L-R) US Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Jahir Jimenez, Minnie Mouse, Mickey Mouse, Duffy the Disney Bear and US Marine Corps First Sgt. Michael Diaz, head of the 2010 Central Florida Toys for Tots campaign, pose Nov. 15, 2010 in front of the “Cuddliest Christmas Tree” at Epcot in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The 20-foot-high, 10-foot-wide Christmas tree made of 1,200 stuffed Duffy bears was created for the launch of Walt Disney World Resort’s annual Toys for Tots collection drive. For the next few weeks, Walt Disney World Resort cast members will play the role of Santa’s helpers by collecting new toys for the annual toy drive, which will be added to Monday’s donation of 1,200 stuffed Duffy bears from the “Cuddliest Christmas Tree.” The annual toy drive is one of many charitable activities under way at Walt Disney World Resort during the “Season of Sharing” that focuses on improving the lives of local children and their families during the holidays and beyond. (Photo by Gene Duncan/Disney)
Walt Disney World held a preview of the arrival of Duffy the Disney Bear at Epcot today for annual passholders. Although we couldn’t be there to report on the event first-hand, Kristin Ford of the Orlando Sentinel’s A Mom and the Mouse tweeted some of the news that was announced at the event.
Cast Members at the Disneyland Resort had the opportunity to meet with Duffy the Disney Bear before he assumes his official meet and greet duties later this year. The photo, provided by a cast member, affirms that Duffy will be appearing in full sailor regalia as he often appears at Tokyo DisneySea. According to WDW Character Hunt, Duffy will begin his appearances October 14 in Epcot. Although the date of his debut in the Paradise Pier area at Disney California Adventure is promised to be revealed to Annual Passholders attending Duffy’s preview event this weekend, sources indicate to us that there’s a good chance he may start along with ElecTRONica on October 8.
On Sunday, September 19, Annual Passholders at the Disneyland Resort and their guests will have the opportunity to be among the first to hear about Duffy, his origins and his journey from Tokyo DisneySea to Disney California Adventure as well as the magical date that he will become available to meet and greet guests at the Disneyland Resort this fall.
There will be two sessions available, approximately 45 minutes long, with one at 11:30 am PT and one at 2 pm PT. The presentations will be held at Stage 17 at Disney California Adventure. Any type of recording device is explicitly prohibited from entering the venue. Cellphones will be allowed but they must be turned off and stored away.
According to the very reliable character resource WDW Character Hunt, we already have a couple of confirmed additions to the meet & greet character line-up at the Walt Disney World Resort. The site reports that Vidia, who has a much stronger role in the upcoming home video release Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue will begin greeting guests in Pixie Hollow at some point in August.