Move over Luke Skywalker, hold your jets Buzz Lightyear, there’s a new top toy in town.
Tucked inside an investor presentation that Walt Disney released Tuesday was this little nugget of news: Duffy, Mickey Mouse’s own teddy bear, is one of the company’s best-selling products, with $500 million in annual merchandise sales.
The stuffed animal is the top seller at Disney resorts in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo. It’s also sold at the company’s Aulani hotel in Hawaii, and sometimes on its website and at fan events.
The character was created by Disney theme-park designers, known as the imagineers, and introduced in 2002 at the company’s Once Upon a Toy store in Orlando, Florida. It was later brought to Aunt Peg’s Village Store at the Tokyo DisneySea resort, where it was sold exclusively for four years, frequently selling out.
The designers created a back story for Duffy: Minnie Mouse made the stuffed bear as a present to sailor Mickey as he was leaving Cape Cod on a long voyage. After noticing guests bought multiple Duffys, giving them new names and outfits, Disney dreamed up more characters, including his friend ShellieMay, a cat named Gelatoni and a rabbit, StellaLou.
There’s now a Duffy show and dinner at Tokyo Disneyland and a Duffy festival at Shanghai Disneyland this month.
Duffy still hasn’t appeared in a TV series or movie, but that’s coming soon. The character is slated to star in a six-episode, animated series on the Disney+ streaming service next year.
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