It's cold in Illinois today. It was colder yesterday. So, I want to tell you a heart-warming story. It's about a little bear named Duffy. 2 years ago, I thought this bear was a silly marketing tool Disney had created to compete with flat stanley. Our daughter turns 4 in just 2 weeks, and she would argue that Duffy is one of the best things Disney has to offer.
Duffy has a great story line. He was created by Minnie for Mickey to take on his adventures so he wouldn't get lonely. Mickey and Duffy have their picture taken at all kinds of exotic places, and Mickey hugs Duffy tight when he gets homesick. It's a cute story, and the book is easy to read. Our daughter loves it.
On a recent trip in September 2012, my grandma came along. Of course, she's great-grandma to our daughter. That means spoiling magnified. She bought our daugher a Duffy bear early on in the trip. Our daughter played with it, cuddled it, and did the normal things a 3 year old does with a stuffed animal. We figured it would grow old, but we bought the pumpkin costume after attending the Halloween party, and she also got a buzz lightyear costume from her grandparents who were also along for the trip. Here's where my story starts to get good. When I was very little, I was given a giant bear from my grandpa. His name is Fred bear. I still have him. My grandpa passed away when I was in 6th grade. Fred bear is not representative of my grandpa and his memories, he's also my go-to when I need something to cuddle when I'm feeling especially sad. This is what Duffy has become to my daughter. We now also have a baseball outfit and fantastia mickey costume for Duffy. She's getting the Peter Pan costume for her birthday. Don't worry, she doesn't read yet, so I haven't spoiled the surprise. Any time she feels sick, or tells us she's sad, she curls up with Duffy. She also tells us that Duffy is "full of love" which is true to the actual Duffy story line.
Disney makes it easy for us to love Duffy. He's cute. He's soft. You can color a picture of him at every world showcase kidcot fun stop, and then the people working at the fun stop will draw a flag or something from their culture on the back. It's pretty cool. Our daughter colored a Duffy on our most recent trip. She gave it to me on the way home to bring back to work with me, so that I wouldn't get lonely.
I love that our daugter understands the story of Duffy. I love that she will have a heritage with Duffy and great-grandma the way I do with Fred bear and my grandpa. I love that it's not just another mickey or minnie doll, or something you can get just anywhere. Her great-grandma may not make another trip to Disney, but our daughter will make sure she knows she's loved by taking Duffy along. We take pictures of our daughter and Duffy, just like Mickey did. Then our daughter takes those pictures and tells great-grandma all about their adventures.
It's just one more way to create magic and take it home. That's what Duffy is really about. Sure, he's just a bear. He's also something special that connects young kids with the adults in their lives. Our family loves Duffy. We love that he is one more way that we can create magical experiences, both in the parks and once we're back home in cold Illinois.
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