Disney's Teddy Bear and Doll Weekend.

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2007 Disney Teddy Bear and Doll Weekend: A Collector's View
Author: teddygirl | Friday May 25, 2007

This is a review of the 2007 Disney Doll and Teddy Bear Convention from the perspective of a collector.

Once again, the Disney Teddy Bear and Doll Weekend has come and gone by quickly. The convention took place from Friday, May 18th to Sunday, May 20th. Like last year, the convention coincided with Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival. If you have not been to the festival, there are flowers, plants and sculptures all over Epcot. All the events for the convention took place in Epcot’s old millennium building (between France and England). Friday was for attendees only, and Sunday was open to the public (meaning those who purchased tickets for Epcot that day). Unlike last year, Saturday was only for attendees in the morning, and the public was allowed in the afternoon. There were a few artists and manufacturers missing from the previous year like Sandy Dineen, but there were some new ones like Art Rogers.

We checked in that morning at the Group Sales place outside Epcot, but you can check in throughout much of the day. When you check in, you receive all your information for the weekend.

From 4-7 pm, we viewed the bears, animals and dolls in “bearson”! We viewed both the limited edition pieces and auction pieces, and there were great pieces. In addition to these pieces, some artists and manufacturers bring other pieces to sell. As collectors know, wish lists tend to be greater than wallet size! While looking at the pieces, we chatted with the artists and manufacturers, and it was great to catch up with everyone. It is also nice to hear the stories from the artists and manufacturers about their pieces.

From 4:30-5:30 pm, there was a reception with the artists where ours d’oeuvres and cocktails were served. We had to turn in our request sheets by 7 pm. The request sheets are where attendees list the items they want in the order they want them. What a tough decision! If you would like to read more about how this works, please read this previous article by clicking here http://www.iloveteddies.com/news_page/1111431107.php

After the social, we used to watch Illuminations in a private area for attendees years ago, but they have not done that in a couple of years. I do wish they would bring this back. Illuminations is my favorite show out of all the ones in the Disney parks.

At 9 am, we received our sheets that showed which bears we were allowed to purchase. Last year, they served breakfast during this time, but this year they did not. I think everyone enjoyed the breakfast the year before. The bears on our lists were guaranteed to us until 1 pm, when the event opened to the public. I know I have said this before, but I do miss the old system where everyone ran to get the items they wanted. But this new system is probably fair to everyone. After everyone collects their bears, the line is very long at checkout. It can take most of the morning to finish. We picked up our convention gifts at this time too. We received Teddy Bear and Doll Weekend blankets, which were nice.

The convention opened to the public from 1 – 5 pm. In previous years, the public was not allowed in until Sunday. Although most people have already bought what they wanted in the morning, I did not like that they opened the convention to the public on the first day. I also see that it’s good to have the public come in and learn about artist bears. More exposure is good for the teddy bear and doll world, and Disney has a lot of guests. But the price stayed the same this year, and they cut our breakfast along with private Illuminations viewings (that was 2 years ago). And characters used to come out when it was attendees only. This year, they only brought out characters when it as open to the public. As an attendee who really enjoys this show, I did not feel that special and didn’t feel that I was getting as much of a value for my money. I see the other side of it and hope that more people were exposed to bear collecting, but I just can’t help feeling this way.

The workshops took place from 11 am – 4 pm. We were supposed to attend a Steiff Tea at 2 pm, but it was cancelled. Claire Steiff Meisel was supposed to be there to discuss her family, but she could not attend. I really enjoyed last year’s tea with her, and she is a lovely person.

We did attend the workshop with Mari and Akemi Koto from Koto Bears at 3:30 pm. We made cute bear purses in pink or blue. Mari and Akemi are some of the nicest ladies you will ever meet. I speak from personal experience that they are extremely patient. I am not gifted in the sewing/crafty department at all. I’ve been to their classes many times, but I’m not sure that I’m improving. It is fun though! Mari and Akemi provide all the supplies you need for the workshop. We made the bear’s faces, finished off the purse’s lining, stuffed the arms, attached the bear’s head to the purse, and attach the purse straps. I always make small noses, and I don’t know why. I think I am always the student that needs the most help. They even provide written instructions with pictures to guide you. I don’t think there will be any TOBY or Golden Teddy nominations in my future!  At the end, we all had cute purses to take home.

The show closed for a few hours to prepare for dinner, which began at 6:30 pm. Tables are preassigned, and there is an artist or manufacturer at every table, which is great. We were served a three course dinner, which included salad, chicken and meat, and dessert. For entertainment, there was a piano player. In addition, the Voices of Liberty from the American pavilion performed, and they were great as usual. I was happy to see them return to the convention.

After dinner, we received our auction paddles (everyone is automatically registered, which makes it easy), and the auction began at around 7:15 pm. The auctioneer is the same one every year, and he does a good job. They had someone else read the descriptions of the pieces this year. The auction is always fun to watch, whether you are bidding or not. To see auction prices, please read the 2007 Disney Teddy Bear and Doll Weekend Auction prices article.

This was the first time I stayed on Sunday. There seemed to be a steady crowd of people there, which was great. Teddy Bear and Friends and Doll Reader magazines were there, and they were giving out free magazines. I was happy to see that almost all of the Teddy Bear and Friends were gone. Hopefully, more people will learn about the teddy bear world and start collecting.

Here is a sampling of some of the limited edition pieces:

Sarah and Sally from Koto Bears
Sarah and Sally are happily picking flowers. Sarah is 10+” and is made of “Koto Yellow” Japanese mohair, glass eyes, and is fully jointed. She wears a floral print kimono dress and is accessorized with silk flowers and ribbons. Sally is 10+” and is made of German mohair, glass eyes, and is also fully jointed. She is dressed in a puff-sleeve purple dress with lace collar, flowered apron and little bonnet. Such a pretty pair! Their auction piece had a larger Sarah and Sally along with other friends, and it was a spectacular piece.

Minnie Mouse with her Disney Bear from Steiff
Minnie Mouse and her precious Disney Bear are the best of friends, and both are hand-made in Germany. Disney Bear is a fully jointed pale pink mohair bear. Minnie Mouse is fully-jointed mohair and felt. I loved her shoes and bow on her head. She makes a great pair with the Mickey from last year.

Palmer, the Patriotic Panda from Zucker Bears
Palmer is a Yes/No bear: move his tail side to side for no, and up and down for yes! He measures 16” tall and is made from a combination of mohair and alpaca. He comes wearing a vintage collar, and carries a flag. He has an open mouth and his eyes are backed with white felt to give him a character look.

Pirate Play from KJ Lyons
A 4-week-old pirate playing kitten is 8” in length and is made from imported Belgium plush. He is needle sculptured, has hand-colored features, and hand-painted eyes set in handmade eye sockets. The kitten has mohair ear liners, jointed head and armature legs. A swashbuckler is wearing a hand-stamped, decoupage paper pirate hat and holds a wooden play sword. Karen’s cats look so real that you expect them to start meowing.

Hugo from Chatham Village Bears
Hugo is 11-1/2” tall from head to toe. He is made of mohair with velveteen muzzle and paw pads. He is loosely jointed, airbrush enhanced and has large black glass eyes and white accents. Art’s creations are unique.

The people who put on the show are great and seem to want to improve the show. Seeing them is as enjoyable as talking to the artists and manufacturers.

I already love visiting Disneyworld so having a teddy bear show there is great! I also love that the show consists of quality artists and manufacturers. I’m already looking forward to next year’s convention, which can never come fast enough!

Pictures coming soon!

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