Step aside, Luke Skywalker and make way for Duffy, the new top toy sensation.
Buried within an investor presentation released by Walt Disney on Tuesday, an astonishing revelation emerged: Duffy, the beloved teddy bear of Mickey Mouse, has become one of the company’s best-selling products, raking in a staggering $500 million in annual merchandise sales.
This cuddly character has clinched the title of the top-selling item at Disney resorts in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. You can also find Duffy at Disney’s Aulani hotel in Hawaii, occasionally on their website, and at fan events.
Duffy’s origin story traces back to Disney’s creative theme-park designers, famously known as the “imagineers.” He made his debut in 2002 at the Once Upon a Toy store in Orlando, Florida, and subsequently became an exclusive item at Aunt Peg’s Village Store in the Tokyo DisneySea resort for four years, where he often sold out.
But Duffy’s tale doesn’t end there. Disney’s imaginative team crafted an intriguing backstory for him: Minnie Mouse lovingly crafted the stuffed bear as a farewell gift for sailor Mickey, who was embarking on an extended voyage. The guests’ penchant for buying multiple Duffys and giving them distinct names and outfits inspired Disney to introduce more characters, such as Duffy’s friend ShellieMay, a feline companion named Gelatoni, and a rabbit known as StellaLou.
The Duffy phenomenon has extended to include a Duffy-themed show and dinner at Tokyo Disneyland and an upcoming Duffy festival at Shanghai Disneyland this month.
Although Duffy has yet to grace our screens in a TV series or film, that is about to change. Plans are underway for the character to star in a six-episode animated series set to debut on Disney+ next year.