This Annual Passholder event was a great event, the first one I have attended in a long time, and we got some great pieces of information out of the event, but sadly, no pictures during the presentation (though some people were sneaking pictures).
We began with Vanessa Rosas, WDW Ambassador, introducing Dara Trujilo, the Manager of Synergy and Special Events, who was our host throughout the event. We first began with a short virtual story that played out on the large screens that were a virtual book of who Duffy, the Disney Bear, actually is. Then, were told the history of Duffy the Disney Bear from Tokyo Disney Resort, and why and how he is so popular over there, and the various items that are over there for him, from photo opportunities, to merchandise, and his own show. From there, we were shown a video of the Duffy the Disney Bear show in the American Waterfront, which was, of course, fantastic.
After the video clip we were told what will be happening with Duffy the Bear in the theme parks in the states:
- He will be appearing in Disney California Adventure (in Disneyland Resort) and Epcot (in Walt Disney World Resort)
- The New Meet and Greet area will be just outside the Odyssey pavilion, across from what is now Disney Traders (the store closer to Mexico on the Promenade), will open on October 14th, 2010
- New Meet and Greet will expand on story of his journey around the world, and will be a gazebo themed to his various travels with Mickey around the world.
- For the first year, guests will receive a special sticker that reads: I Hugged Duffy The Disney Bear
- Duffy will become a prominent character in the World Showcase Lagoon with new merchandise featuring, specific cultural outfits from each country (like a poncho from Mexico, lumberjack from Canada, Uncle Sam-esque for America), special mementos (key chains, bags, etc) from Tokyo Disney Resort, as well as special holiday themed outfits (starting with Halloween and Christmas)
- Much of the Japanese merchandise will come over to the US, as well as having some exclusive merchandise
- Duffy will get his own shop, located across from his Meet and Greet, in the current location of Disney Traders (store close to Mexico), and will be the “Duffy Central”
- The Kidcot Fun Stops will be transformed, the mask will be no more, instead you’ll have a picture of Duffy the Bear in the same style (and on a stick) as the mask we have now, and each country will have a new stamp with Duffy in the countries attire
- Food wise, a new kids menu/activity paper will be at all of the World Showcase restaurants, and a new specially designed Popcorn Bucket AND Mug will be released in Late Fall/Early Winter 2010
- In other news, beginning March 2011, there will be Duffy pins (though there already are some), and a special Annual Passholder pin.
- In Vinylmation News, a special Vinylmation is in the works that will be special, as it will be the first one that is specifically molded to look like Duffy, and will be flocked (have fur). [Though I’m not sure how I feel about that, as it takes away the ‘Vinylmation’ creativity aspect]
Our gift was a specially themed (possible preview) of a Duffy themed Rice Crispy Treat. One lucky member of the audience won a Duffy the Bear, and the Disney Merchandise team were nice enough to allow the attendees of the event to have exclusive access to Duffy and the Sailor outfit today, and today only at the event to purchase, it doesn’t go on sale until October 14th.