So…We “Adopted” A Duffy.
Well, “we” didn’t adopt it so much as Sarah did, but I have to admit that I was okay with it. The new “Happy Marching Fun” Duffy and Friends items available at Tokyo DisneySea are pretty kawaii. We’ll take a look at this new ShellieMay, Gelatoni, StellaLou, and Duffy merchandise in this post–and share some of our adopted Duffy’s Tokyo DisneySea adventures.
Happy Marching Fun is a quasi-35th Anniversary Celebration thing. There are marching band-inspired decorations around Cape Cod, and elsewhere in Tokyo DisneySea, that seem like a nod towards the Happiest Celebration without explicitly referencing it. Then again, pretty much everything is a celebration to Duffy & Co., so perhaps I’m reading too much into it.
The Happy Marching Fun Duffy & Friends merchandise includes plush costumes, stationery, home goods, dessert tins, coin purses, and various plush souvenirs. There are also new desserts along with a souvenir cup, plate, and lunch case at Cape Cod Cook-off.
I’ll be honest with you: the only reason this post exists is because I had time to kill in McDuck’s while Sarah was trying to determine which “Happy Marching Fun” items to buy so I thought I’d take some photos of the items on display. That posable Duffy had a $45 “adoption fee” and–spoiler alert–wasn’t the only Duffy item we adopted. (We adopted so many Duffy items I could have adopted a new lens instead!)
With that said, I do have to admit that Happy Marching Fun is the coolest Duffy and Friends event we’ve experienced at Tokyo DisneySea in recent memory (since at least Journeys with Duffy, which probably scored a lot of points because it was a “greatest hits” 10th Anniversary celebration). In fairness, pretty much all of these Duffy festivities are superficial–they feature some lighthearted decorations, special menus, and a new slate of merchandise, but nothing in the way of special, themed entertainment.
Given this, you might think that these events would come across as crass attempts to peddle new merchandise. While selling items is no doubt the underlying motivation, it never feels like a cheap cash grab. Even though we haven’t purchased any plush in the past (Sarah has a few Duffy & Friends purses), we’ve always found these special events endearing.
In our “Duffy Phenomenon at Tokyo DisneySea” post from a few years ago, I discuss how Duffy’s charm offensive just works in Japan, and how the character’s presence and popularity feels sincere. Not only have guests embraced all things Duffy (so none of this feels forced), but there’s a disarming innocence to it all. It’s hard not to smile when Duffy’s promotional campaigns offer tag-lines like “Happy Marching Fun” or “Sweet Duffy.”
My favorite Duffy special event is still Mickey & Duffy’s Spring Voyage, which was the celebration during our first visit to Tokyo DisneySea. There actually was entertainment for that event, which gave it a bit more substance. I also really liked the floral decorations and preppy merchandise. (I’ve also liked some of the winter merchandise–Duffy in a duffle coat is a classy look.)
With that said, Happy Marching Fun is a close second for me. As always, there’s a lot of clever merchandise; it seems like Tokyo Disney Resort’s best designers are always put on the Duffy stuff. Even though I’ve never been in a marching band and can’t even play an instrument, I think these designs are fun and eye-catching.
I think most of these items speak for themselves, so I’ll only offer limited commentary along with my photos of the Happy Marching Fun Duffy merchandise:
You read that sign correctly–you’re limited to three Duffy and Friends items per purchase. This might come as a surprise to anyone who remembers the “heyday” (and those are most definitely air quotes) of Duffy in the U.S. parks, when he had a ton of merchandise that mostly sat on shelves.
In Tokyo DisneySea, Duffy merchandise draws huge crowds of collectors on its release dates, and some items sell out almost instantly. Open edition items stick around longer, but there’s a robust secondary market–both in collectible shops in Tokyo and online (ironically enough, some of these items end up with English eBay listings and offering shipping to the United States!).
The Happy Marching Fun special event will likely end on August 22, 2018 (it’s not totally clear since this is not a special event explicitly listed on Tokyo DisneySea’s calendar). All items pictured here are sold only in Tokyo DisneySea (not Tokyo Disneyland or outside the parks) in select stores throughout Cape Cod/American Waterfront and Mediterranean Harbor.
Now, as promised, here are some of the zany adventures of our adopted Duffy:
Okay, “zany adventures” is definitely hyperbole. In reality, the most exciting thing Duffy did was occupy a seat at our tables when we had meals. We also took him around to the various Duffy photo spots and took photos of him there, and also used him to hold our Big Band Beat lottery tickets.
He did have one adventure, and that was when the wind came off of Mediterranean Harbor and knocked him off of his photo stand, plunging him like 10 feet to the ground below. He came really close to falling into the water, but thankfully landed on some crates instead. There was an audible gasp from guests around us when this happened, which made me chuckle in retrospect. (At the time, my heart skipped a beat, fearing that we were about to lose this expensive stuffed animal the same day we bought it!)
If you’re thinking of visiting Japan for the first time and are overwhelmed with planning, definitely check out our Tokyo Disney Resort Planning Guide. It covers much more than the parks, from getting there to WiFi to currency and much, much more. For more photos and an idea of what we did day-by-day during our first visit, read our Tokyo Disney Resort Trip Report.
What do you think of the Happy Marching Fun Duffy & Friends merchandise? Are you a fan of these items, or is Duffy still “not for you”? Any questions? Hearing your feedback is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
My kids love Duffy and all his friends, and they live the story of how Minnie made him to be Mickey’s bear. Wish more of his merchandise was available in the USA, specifically the plushes and costumes. I think a Japan trip is in our future!
Snort-chuckling over this.
Duffy didn’t really work for me, I remember seeing him in the US parks and wondering what it was doing in the stores. At DisneySea though you get caught up in it all. We went a week after Stella Lou was released and she was so over the top cute I got the ticket holder of her face. There were girls bounding as her. My favorite image though was of a girl washing her hands in the restroom, one hand at a time so she could hold onto her Gelatino.
This will be an unpopular opinion here since it seems the majority of readers are Duffy fans, but Duffy has always represented all that is “wrong” with the Disney parks (or at least the U.S. ones). It seems purely like a money grab. While ultimately, all the pushes and all other merchandise sold in the parks is a money grab in one form or fashion, the fact there is no I.P. on which to base this character (there may be in Japan; I don’t know) makes that more blatant with Duffy.
Perhaps, all these years, Sarah has thought, “We could have adopted so many Duffy items, but Tom adopted a new lens instead!”
I was going to comment something similar. 🙂
We have a Duffy and brought him with us for character meet and greets in Epcot. We had so much fun playing catch using Duffy with Mickey. And Minnie managed to tell us all about how she made Duffy using pantomime.
Congratulations on your new family member. As a fellow Duffy-adopter, I must warn you that they tend to multiply. This happens even if you swear that it won’t. I look forward to seeing your later family pictures with several more Duffies (and most likely a variety of his friends). 😉
Given the excessive adoption fees, I don’t think they’ll be multiplying for us.
It also doesn’t help that we can’t leave him out because our dog likes to destroy stuffed animals…so we basically bought a $45 plush that lives in the closest.
Hahahaha! I can sympathize. All of mine are on high shelves away from our blind, deaf, 15-year-old Anatolian Shepherd who still manages to shred stuffed animals, pull the spines off books, and extract food packages from the pantry and rip them open before we can intervene. Dogs never grow up. At least yours is small.
$45?! Wow, that’s a pricey plush! My son bought a Duffy in California Adventure when he was 9 or so, and then I bought a Shellie Mae at Aulani last year (because her “adoption fee” was reduced – she was in an older Aulani outfit). So I think we might have to bring them along on our Japan trip next March to enjoy the Duffy photo op craze without having to drop a ton of dough! Cute post. Thanks.