A portmanteau on the words “university” and “bear”, Unibearsity is a merchandise line of teddy bears fashioned after Disney characters. (A look at the current lineup can be found here.) The Unibearsity line is an entirely separate concept from Duffy the Disney Bear. If Duffy is the teddy bear mascot of the Tokyo Disney parks, then the Unibear is the respective teddy bear mascot of the Disney Store.
Unibearsity is a merchandise concept exclusive to the Disney Stores in Japan. While they have yet to step unto Western soil, the teddies have quickly proven to be widely popular with a dedicated and growing fanbase. Just recently, it made its international debut in China. With 2016 being the 5th anniversary since its debut, it’s a chance to look back on how it all started.
What’s the Story?
(sourced and translated from Disney Store’s Unibearsity page)
This is Disney University.
It is a school about bears and there are many things to learn.
Professor Ludwig Von Drake is a passionate researcher and a popular instructor. It started with Mickey, and now the classroom is always filled with students. It looks like today’s lesson will be just as exciting as the last.
Today’s lesson is about the school’s mascot, the bear. It looks like everyone is enjoying the class. At the end of the lesson, the professor gave out some homework. He told the class to write a story about bears.
Everyone gathered at Mickey’s house to work on the assignment but they couldn’t come up with a story. It was quite the dilemma.
Just then, Minnie had a wonderful idea. “Let’s not just write a story,” she said, “let’s make stuffed toys of the main characters”.
Everyone thought it was a splendid idea! So they all started to make a teddy bear. And the bears that were made looked a little like their creator.
The next day, Mickey and his friends went to school with the bears they made. When the professor saw them enter the classroom, he was certainly surprised. They handed their assignments to the professor and headed home, leaving their handmade bears behind.
In the now empty classroom, the professor began grading the homework. Though whenever he did this, he would always get sleepy. And sure enough, he started to doze off.
From across the sleeping professor, some magic dust glimmered and danced around, and soon the bears began to move.
The professor woke to the sound of movement. When he opened his eyes, he was shocked at what he saw.
The bears had come to life! The student bears were so full of curiosity and they were taking the professor’s class very seriously. At times, they would even raise their hands and ask questions.
The professor then forgot about why the bears started moving in the first place and continued holding the class. When the class was finished, he looked up and was pleased to see that the bears were still in their seats.
After classes ended the next day, Mickey and his friends were given back their assignments. The professor praised them for their hard work. Then as the gang was saying goodbye to the professor, he waved and told them to invite the new students back again next time.
All of the new pupils received a tag that read “A+ Ludwig Von Drake“. A job well done, with the professor’s signature.
All images © Disney.