The Domestic Dispute Named Duffy

EPCOT_WRLDSHOW_7072234034This article is dedicated to our darling children, Megan and Joseph.  We adore them…in spite of their views on the subject of today’s post.

If there could possibly be a more polarizing topic in our household, I can’t name it.  Disney’s sweet bear, Duffy,  is to blame for a house divided!  Our house, to be exact.  Exactly how such an innocuous, cuddly, mild-mannered being could create an unprecedented level of strife, I cannot explain.  It’s true nonetheless.

Here’s the deal…years ago, when “Duffy the Disney Bear” first began to appear at Walt Disney World, our kids were suspicious – WHO is this guy and WHY is he a “thing”?  The more he showed up, the greater the suspicion grew – before long, that seed of doubt (about Duffy’s legitimacy as a “real” Disney character) sprouted into annoyance and swiftly grew into active dislike.  One or both of our offspring would frequently complain, “HE. IS. NOT. A. REAL. CHARACTER.!!!!!!!” – every time they saw poor Duffy in any size, shape, or form.  He’s not a movie star, not part of any ride or attraction, and NOT part of any of their happy childhood memories.  Duffy haters they became – both of them vying for who could dislike Duffy the most.  Trust me when I tell you that the snarky comments that accompanied Joseph’s “modeling” of the Duffy ears were epic.  That smile is NOT genuine – it’s straight up vicious.Disney Duffy Ear HatThanks to Duffy’s popularity at Tokyo Disney, he became legit – and part of Walt Disney World in the form of stuffed animals (and dress-up costumes for them), pins, and his very own Character Meet-n-Greet.  Raymond and I did not board the Duffy-hater bandwagon with our children.  We were rather ambivalent for a long time, certainly not offended by the poor guy, that’s for sure.

Fast forward to October, 2014 – Raymond and I are at Disney World to celebrate our 25th anniversary by enjoying the Food & Wine Festival sans kids.  Raymond suddenly recalls (as we’re approaching the World Showcase at opening time) that there’s a Duffy meet-n-greet on the Mexico side, near World Showcase’s entrance.  He suggested, based on all of the above, that we have our picture made with Duffy for our children.

We laughed the entire time we waited in line for Duffy’s arrival.  We laughed harder when Duffy showed up in his pumpkin costume!  This was going to be GREAT!  We’d get the Cast Member to take pictures with our phone and upload our Duffy pictures directly to Facebook.  When our turn came, we were laughing like loons.  What we didn’t expect, was to fall in love with Duffy.Duffy-FB-Post

Of all the characters we’ve “met” at Walt Disney World, Duffy was one of the very best.  For a character that doesn’t speak, he conveyed a world of information.  We got the distinct impression that Duffy knows his reputation as a fringe, slightly sketch character and does his level best to make up for it.  Duffy was cute!  Duffy was funny as all get out!  Duffy won us over!!!  AND caused us no small amount of grief when we confessed our newfound adoration for Duffy and his charming ways.EPCOT_WRLDSHOW_7072234039

So, there you have it.  Duffy loathers on one side, Duffy fans on the other.  No small shortage of snarky comments from one corner and fond Duffy memories from the other.  I don’t imagine this will change anytime soon…sigh.

Do you have any Disney controversy in your home?  What’s it all about?  Tell me!

7 Elements of a Great Disney Vacation

RM-BalloonsFor our family, after so many years of Disney vacations, there are certain aspects…particular elements I’ve identified that make each trip fantastic and unique.  So many things are the same – which is what brings us back, right?  Favorite rides, beloved snacks, c’mon! The pre-show dialogue for Soarin’ or MuppetVision3D, the upside-down singing ‘possums on Splash Mountain or hearing “We Wants the Redhead” on Pirates or even the smell of Rome burning on Spaceship Earth are all awesome and have each become an expected treasure on every trip!  Today I’m talking about the DIFFERENCES that are important.  Gee, this is harder to explain than I thought it would be.

There are very identifiable somethings on each and every Disney vacation that make a trip memorable.  If our vacations were all exactly the same, it would be hard for us to distinguish one trip from another – see where I’m going with this?  Every Disney vacation is memorable for a particular list of reasons – I’ve thought long and hard about this!  Here are the…

7 Elements of a Great Disney VacationRM-Fiesta-Donald

1. Characters – Because he’s my favorite, I’ll use Donald for this example.  On one trip to Disney World a few years back, Raymond and I ditched the kids allowed Megan and Joseph some time on their own one morning.  In Magic Kingdom, Raymond and I ran into Frontierland Donald and were able to have our picture taken with him – I remember how tiny he was and how I had to lean down to hug him.  During this year’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend, I met Fiesta Donald at the Mexican Pavilion in Epcot.  He was particularly funny and made ma laugh a lot.  And let’s not forget the Donald interaction that made me a fan for life.  All the same character – but each interaction was completely different and made unique memories for each vacation.

Cast Member in Norway Pavilion2. Cast Members – Some of them are generic – pleasant, but generally unmemorable.  I’m talking about the extra-special, Pixie-Dust-specialists that make your day, or even your entire trip, extra Disney-ish.  I talked about the critical importance of Cast Members in this post and I stand firm by my assessment – Disney Cast Members are crucial in making each vacation magical and memorable.

3. The Perfect Souvenir – Lots of times, it’s a single Disney pin trade that we remember because we found a particular pin we’d been hunting for.  Maybe it’s several pins – like the Orange Bird collection I started in 2012 and completed in 2014.  We fondly remember the Disney cruise we were on when we bought Remy for our kitchen.  Every time someone compliments my watch I think about our first Food & Wine Festival trip last year for our anniversary.  See?  Inexpensive or a splurge – the perfect souvenir can set one Disney vacation apart from another in your mind.

4. A Particularly Memorable Meal or Snack (or two or three) – Because it’s such an importantRM-Magic-Kingdom-Parade-Watching-1996 tradition to sit down together and relax at the end of the day, our family tends to remember particular table service dinners the most (Flying Fish comes to mind as one of the best memories).  Food and fun combos make me recall certain moments so clearly – having Mickey bars in Animal Kingdom just after getting completely soaked on Kali River Rapids.  Enjoying some Casey’s Corner fare while waiting for the parade on Main Street USA in Magic Kingdom – I remember it so well and that was 19 years ago!

5. Magical Details – There are always new discoveries to be made!  Hidden Mickeys, footprints in the walkways in Animal Kingdom, the windows on Main Street USA or in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, interactive queues…too many to name, but finding new and interesting, funny or clever Disney touches makes us happy – AND makes great vacation memories.

6. Live Entertainment – On a Disney cruise, on the Boardwalk, around Epcot’s World Showcase,Epcot's Voices of Liberty parades, musicians, comedians, magicians…For us, finding these unique and wonderful entertainers makes our vacations extra memorable.  I will remember the details of the first time I heard the Voices of Liberty forever.

7. A Hilarious Happening…that will later become an inside joke.  Megan’s face when she found out SHE was the Rebel Spy!  Joseph “getting engaged” to Drizella at 1900 Park Fare.  That snake in the China pavilion at Epcot…all these and dozens more unexpected, unplanned and perfectly wonderful moments are precious – like souvenirs in our memories that set each Disney vacation apart from the rest.

I really want to know!  What elements for a great Disney vacation are on your list? 

Which Disney Characters Are We?

THE Disney EarHat for ME!I started thinking (don’t say it!) about what Disney characters I like the most…and the least.  This lead me to wonder why I like them or don’t and what characteristics they possess that I do or do not identify with.  I’m sure I’m the only person in the world who thinks about weird stuff like this…but I do and so I’m sharing these random, wandering thoughts with you now.

Long meandering thought process all neatly wrapped up and tied with a bow:  Which Disney characters make up my personality?  Think about yourself – who do YOU identify with the most?  I bet you also find it’s not limited to just one character.  Thus the ponderings of today’s post…

Which Disney Characters Are We?

I am…

Belle.  Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney animated film.  I identify with Belle’s go-with-Belle and Gastonthe-flow attitude and her pragmatic approach to life – sometimes you have to do things that are unpleasant, deal with it.  I’m with Belle in that we’re not going to let anyone push us around.  I also love books.  I’m an avid reader and, like Belle, I’m interested in the escape books offer; the opportunity to travel to far off places and have an adventure!

Peter Pan.  On the outside, the mileage shows, but on the inside…I’m actually 10.  I love the wonder of everyday life and will stop to look at an interesting spider, try something new, discover why and how things work the way they do.  I’m serious and mature (mostly) when I have to be, but I still wonder what I’m going to be when I grow up.  I also like animals including snakes and lizards and am completely unfazed by them.  I love nothing better than to travel and explore.

PigletPiglet.  Inside lurks a loyal, but anxious friend.  As much as I can tackle change and roll with most things life dishes out, I am often a world class worrier when it comes to people I love.  Before I had children, I used to read any and everything Stephen King could dish out.  Then it was like getting married and starting a family turned up the volume on my imagination.  I could suddenly, easily picture horrific outcomes to the most mundane situations in vivid, graphic detail.  Probably my children are scarred for life by the fact that they weren’t allowed to have a trampoline, scooter, skateboard, go-cart, and so on.  I’m sure they’ll let their kids have that stuff because they were denied those things and then my grandchildren will….woops!  There I go again.

The Evil Queen.  Hey, I have flaws just like everyone else and I can admit it.  Two of the worst are my competitive streak (a mile wide) and perhaps being overly concerned at times (okay a LOT of the time) about my appearance.  I like clothes.  I like shoes.  I want to look nice.  I can totally sympathize with the queen from Snow White – it’s tough getting old!  When you feel great on the inside, you’d like the mirror to lie to you from time to time!  I’m not in line for fillers, Botox or to have “a little work done” – I wouldn’t mind a bit if gravity would leave me alone for the next little while though.

Ariel-EarhatAriel.  Sure, I like to swim, am kind of a hoarder, and may have disobeyed a parent once or twice growing up, but that’s not what I find most in common with the Little Mermaid.  It’s leaving your family and your home behind forever for true love.  And that’s all I need to say about that.

What about you?  Haven’t you ever watched a Disney animated film and thought – Hey!  That character reminds me of ME!??  Which Disney character(s) are you?

Disney Character Surprise

Disney Character SurpriseOnce again, please welcome back guest poster Nick from Disney Musings!

Disney Character Surprise

In January of 2011, Barbie and I were with our friends Kandi and John at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We were just leaving the park for the afternoon, when Barbie asked a Cast Member to see her pins. Barbie spotted a Stitch pin and asked to trade. As the Cast Member was handing her the pin, she asked if she liked Stitch. Barbie said he was her favorite, to which the CM responded “Follow me.”

We all followed her to a little cul-de-sac by Guest Services, where she asked us to wait a moment. A couple of minutes later, Stitch peeked out from behind a corner! But the surprise didn’t end there. As Stitch walked out, he was followed by Donald Duck, then Daisy Duck, Piglet, and Minnie Mouse! We had our own private meet and greet! I wish we’d gotten the wonderful Cast Member’s name, as this was really a highlight of that trip.

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