The Story of ‘Olu – A New Buddy on the Aulani Resort

All of us hate change. As Disney-lovers, resisting change within the curiosity of nostalgia is the wrench (or spanner) embedded into the gears of our souls. We worry it and sometimes resent it with form of push again that web boards are comprised of. So when a brand new character is launched to us because the Disney viewers, it isn’t unusual for us to stare again at it like disgruntled three-year-olds earlier than turning our backs in disgust. An ideal instance of this was the debut of the rebranded Disney Bear, Duffy. Regardless that we have been capable of respect the recognition of Duffy the Bear all through the Asian markets, his introduction to the Californian Disney parks wasn’t met with the moment fandom he had beforehand seen. In the end, his Mickey silhouette formed face wasn’t sufficient to deliver followers dashing to his meet and greet line and he was subsequently retired in 2014.

Duffy was doomed with western audiences from the start, missing ties to a film, or storyline, or something, actually. Duffy comes throughout to many as a easy cash seize for merchandise alternatives. In actual fact, Duffy didn’t also have a storyline in any respect till greater than a 12 months after its launch within the Japanese parks of Tokyo in 2005. The story was an afterthought and has all the time felt like it.

Regardless of this, the Duffy the bear phenomenon continues to develop all through the Disney Tokyo, Disney Hong Kong, and Disney Shanghai fan base with the introduction of extra pleasant characters to finish the Duffy lineup. Gelatoni, ShellieMay, StellaLou, and Cookie have been all a product of the Duffy fanfare all through the Asian area, every with their very own intertwining storyline and supposed rightful place on this modern-day fab 5. I for one was blissful for this new group of thriller characters to stay liked within the hearts of an abroad viewers, as I discovered their existence complicated.

This continued effort to symmetrically couple off every character with a lady or boy accomplice appears repetitive these days. Am I suggesting that Duffy ought to have had a boyfriend named Scruffy with a 5 o’clock shadow and a center-dent fedora as an alternative of ShellieMay? Effectively, possibly, come to think about it, however that wasn’t the purpose. Haven’t we reached a stage the place characters can simply exist in themselves or in a bunch of mates with out requiring the Mickey and Minnie fashion spin-off of his and hers? Is it the weak backstory or poor makeover existence that makes Duffy much less fascinating to an viewers of Disney followers which might be used to robust characters, dynamic storylines and a media franchise backing every one that’s ready to attract you into their world? This add-on fashion of introduction and re-introduction for Duffy feels a little bit compelled. He’s a bear! Now he’s a bear with a reputation! Now he’s a bear with a sailor hat! Yeah, no.

I used to be feeling fairly disillusioned by the entire thing, so when information broke in 2018 of the brand new addition to the Duffy friendship circle, I can’t say I used to be paying an excessive amount of consideration. That was till I made a current journey to Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa and met ‘Olu.

Olu Storyline

Right here is the official phrase from Disney Parks Weblog on July 20th, 2018 on how the duo got here to be:

“As Mickey and Duffy sailed the islands on a quest to seek out the proper birthday current for ShellieMay, rhythmic sounds of an ‘ukulele known as to them over the ocean, main them to a comfortable cove and to ‘Olu, a kindhearted turtle enjoying blissful music.

‘Olu smiled and shyly greeted Duffy, “I play my ‘ukulele to make songs of affection. Wish to sing with me?” ‘Olu strummed a wonderful tune for his new mates. “That would be the good current for ShellieMay!” mentioned Duffy excitedly. Off to the get together they went, singing the particular tune collectively for his or her birthday good friend.”

Possibly I’m only a sucker for a Ukelele and a hibiscus flower however ‘Olu had me at good day. Regardless of the 2 paragraphs of less-than-interesting backstory quoted above, ‘Olu doesn’t come from an epic story and his existence doesn’t appear anymore well-concocted than any of the opposite Duffy-related characters however dude, he’s cute. Maybe it stems from the concept that Aulani lastly has its personal character identification, distinctive to the Hawai’ian island resort on Oahu, that has a reputation and heritage straight in step with the place he’s from. Duffy, alternatively, was born as an unnamed bear in Orlando earlier than migrating east and has all the time felt extra like he’s mid identity-crisis than anything.


‘Olu is wearing a cute little Hawai’ian shirt with a hat and shorts and has a simplicity about him that makes me smile. He’s humble and considerate and isn’t attempting to be something he isn’t. Present-boat Duffy, I’m taking a look at you.

Very like the Aulani resort itself, ‘Olu appears like a wonderful mix of conventional Disney cuteness combined with the tradition of the Hawai’ian folks. The Hawaiian Inexperienced Sea Turtle is thought domestically as “Honu,” and is considered an emblem of good luck, endurance, and lengthy life, some residing to be between 80 – 100 years outdated. Hawai’ians additionally consider that turtles can seem as an individual’s “Aumakua” or guardian spirit. It’s additional mentioned that turtles are wonderful navigators and sometimes discover their method dwelling, which is a prudent persona trait for a personality that has originated on a small island within the Pacific Ocean.

‘Olu feels nearly just like the traveler’s good friend with a extra religious presence within the resort that I anticipated. His merchandise vary is small and restricted to his fundamental design, which retains him feeling much less like a gimmick and extra like an envoy for his resort and his island. It was no shock that many others felt the identical method, with ‘Olu inventory displayed in prime positions all through the Aulani reward store and Duffy merchandise squirreled away within the again underneath an indication that learn “clearance.” Nonetheless, nobody disturbed it.

Aloha ‘Olu, and welcome to the Disney Ohana.


You may also like