Disney's Teddy Bear and Doll Weekend.



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2005 Disney Teddy Bear Convention: A Collector's View
Author: chrissie | Sunday April 17, 2005

This is a review of the 2005 Disney Doll and Teddy Bear Convention from the perspective of a collector.


Another Disney Doll and Teddy Bear Convention has already come and gone after a long wait. Disney did not have a convention in 2004 because they moved it to March instead of December. But that was not the only big change. Disney changed the way you could buy bears. I’ll explain later (for a detailed explanation, read Disney Doll and Teddy Bear Convention 2005: Parts 1 and 2). On the other hand, some things did not change. The convention was held at the old millennium building in Epcot, and most of the manufacturers and artists from previous years were there. The convention was from Friday, March 18th to Sunday, March 20th. Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning were for attendees, and Sunday afternoon was for the attendees and the public.

Friday

All of today’s activities took place at the Contemporary. Instead of waiting until the social to first see the bears, we could see them anytime until 5 pm. First we registered and received our information packets. Then we went to see the bears! This time we were supposed to sign up for certain bears that we wanted to buy. We listed them in order of importance and hoped we would get the chance to buy them. When we signed up for them, there was no guarantee we would get to purchase them. We had to wait until the next morning to see if we had “won” the opportunity to purchase them. In one of the ballrooms, there were tables with a one of each limited edition. The auction pieces would not be out until the evening. The room, which was huge, looked a little stark with 4 bears per table and nothing else. Usually, when we first see the bears, the tables are stocked with them and other pieces (ones that aren’t just made for the convention). Unfortunately, the artists and manufacturers were not there with the bears so you couldn’t talk to them about their creations. Part of the experience is speaking with them when you are deciding what to purchase because you learn why the artist or manufacturer made the bear. Not having them there was a disappointment. I made my picks and hoped for the best.

That evening, as usual, there was a social with the attendees, artists and manufacturers. This gives you a chance to catch up with people you haven’t seen in a long time. Now we got to talk to artists and manufacturers about their bears; unfortunately, we had already signed up for what we wanted. But we did get to see the auction pieces for the first time. We didn’t have to decide which auction piece we wanted until the auction the next night.

Saturday

Instead of lunch, Disney provided breakfast and dinner. Breakfast began at 8:15 am in the Wonders of Life pavilion. I didn’t think we were going to make it on time because we had to wait in long lines to get into Epcot. Epcot doesn’t open until 9 am, but there were a lot of people there for the princess breakfast. There should have been a separate line for us. This is also where we received our sheets that told us what bears we were allowed to purchase. We had all but one. After breakfast, we headed over to the Millennium building. Instead of rushing to ensure we got our bears, we were guaranteed whatever was on our list until 4 pm that day. I missed the thrill of running for your bears. The attendees seemed more relaxed this year. After purchasing our furry friends, we hung around and spoke with some of the artists and manufacturers.

Beginning in the late morning, attendees had optional seminars and workshops in the Wonders of Life pavilion, which was pain because it’s not close to the millennium building. You could make a bear or doll or listen to a discussion about bears and dolls. We chose to attend Koto Bears’ bear making class, which we did a couple of years ago. Mari and Akemi are a mother and daughter team, and they are really nice. Their limited edition bears are always popular every year. For the class, we made Japan, a brown and white mohair bear. I learned once again why I am a collector and not an artist or manufacturer. My bear making skills have not improved since the last time I took their class. The class was a lot of fun. I had to ask for a lot of help, but Mari and Akemi are very patient and helpful. I made my nose a little too small and it wasn’t quite symmetrical. But I tried and it was fun.

Next we attended the North American Bear lecture. Three people from the company were there: Barbara Isenberg, the founder of NA Bear, Wayne Ballard, VP of sales and another lady whose name I didn’t catch. Wayne spoke to us about the market and then he opened up the floor to the audience. People gave their opinions about the market and the company and answered a few questions about Muffy. Most people there collected Muffy, including me. The discussion was interesting. And the best part was the favors –Muffy ornaments and a Muffy.

Then the buildings closed until dinner so we walked around the park. Dinner began at 6:15 pm at the millennium building. We were assigned tables. An artist or manufacturer sat at each table. We had Jamie Wu of Little Gem at our table, and he was really funny. The dinner was good and we got to hear the Voices of Liberty (singers from the American Adventure). The rest of the time there was a piano player, who played the Bear Necessities and other Disney songs. After dinner everyone received their paddles (in the shape of mouse ears, of course), and the auction began. The auctioneer is the same person every year. It’s always fun to see what the auction pieces sell for (for prices, see 2005 Auction).

My purchases:
Mickey Bear by Steiff
He’s modeled after the Disney bear that Disney sells in the parks. Like last year, he’s different than other Steiff bears. He has tan and blond wavy mohair and has a booklet on his neck about his story. To summarize, Mickey is in the park with the bear, and pixie dust is sprinkled on the bear, making him come alive. The bear’s face and feet have Mickey’s head on them. Disney used this bear as the theme of the event. This bear has grown on me since we got him.

Nelson by Deans
He’s a tribute to the British Admiral from the 19th century. He has blond mohair that is tipped with brown and stands 12 inches tall. He wears a uniform of navy coat with gold buttons and a black hat trimmed in gold. I think Deans bears have sweet looking faces ( I know I have said that before).

Pooh with Foundling by Hermann Teddy Originals
Hermann usually does some type of Pooh. This year Pooh had a friend. Pooh went into the Hundred Acre Wood to find honey and found a lost bear. Pooh, who is 13 inches, took the lost bear home with him. Pooh has gold mohair and is wearing a red felt vest. The foundling has antique light brown mohair is and has his arms wrapped around Pooh’s neck. Pooh has his limited edition number on one foot and Epcot 2005 on the other foot.

Ancestor of Cheeky Minnie Mouse by Merrythought
This is the Minnie to go with Mickey from the previous year. She has black mohair, is 10 inches tall, has a tail and wears a red dress with white polka dots. She also wears yellow shoes, white bloomers and removable mouse ears with a bow in the same fabric as her dress. She is odd looking but she grows on you.

Muffy Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Tigger and Snow White by North American Bear Company
Sorcerer’s Apprentice is in the same mold as Steamboat Willie last year. Muffy has ivory mohair, wears a red velvet glitter robe with a silver cord and tan fleece shoes. She has a black velboa hood with mouse ears that ties under her chin and a blue velvet magician hat embroidered with white stars and a moon. There is a mop with 2 buckets on her left wrist. Snow White is the normal honey color mohair of other Muffys. She wears Snow White’s dress: a royal blue ribbon tied bodice with puffed sleeves and a yellow skirt. She has black heels with blue satin bows and a red bow on her head. Dopey is tied to her wrist. Tigger also has honey color mohair. She wears an orange velour body suit with black stripes, a tail, and Tiggers head. Pooh, Eeyore and Piglet are in her 3 pockets.


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