Sunny the Seagull Bootlegs are Here

By Collin Hall

In Wildwood tradition, bootlegs of Sunny the Seagull – last year’s Morey’s plush that took the shore by storm – have begun to flock along the boardwalk.

Sunny the Seagull was a “lightning in a bottle” moment that emerged from the heat of last year’s summer. For those out of the loop, Morey’s Piers stocked its many carnival games with a new prize: a cute seagull plush with a curly fry lazily hanging out of its mouth. Its chest was embroidered with a bright orange “Morey’s Piers” logo – this wasn’t a stock-standard plush, but something Morey’s commissioned from a plush manufacturer to stock exclusively at its parks.

Sunny captured the essence of a Wildwood summer better than the generic prizes that for so long kept me away from the balloon pop, or the water race, or the quarter toss.

Sunny was hard to find for many months. He blipped in and out of stock throughout the summer and cost around $30 in game credit to win. The French fry fell out of my Sunny’s mouth within a week – but it was inspiring to see Morey’s put so much care into their carnival prizes.

Sunny the Seagull is back for 2023, but this time, he has a herd of imposters under wing. Places like “Anime World” and “Super Duper Cool T-Shirts” on the boardwalk have Sunny the Seagull proudly on display, but look closely and you’ll notice things aren’t as they seem.

I spotted one Sunny with a pizza slice in his mouth in lieu of the infamous French fry. Another plush was of a mother seagull with a baby Sunny the Seagull in its stomach pouch.

Wait… What kind of seagull has a stomach pouch? Ones that live on the Wildwood boardwalk, buddy.

This one is close, but it isn’t the real deal.

I’ve also seen a number of Sunny the Pelican bootlegs. I respect the originality of those fakes, at least.

There are a few ways to tell a bootleg Sunny apart from the real thing. First and foremost, genuine Sunnys only come in three sizes. Bootleg Sunnys will say “Wildwood” on their stomachs instead of “Morey’s Piers,” and if you see anything besides a fry in their mouths, that’s fake too.

The orange fabric on Sunny’s beak and feet are off-color on some of the bootlegs, sometimes a bit too dark and other times a bit too bright.

These poor creatures are locked inside a (likely rigged) crane machine on the Wildwoods boardwalk. Wait, do those seagulls have stomach pouches!?

I saw bootleg Sunnys as far as Cape May, and I wouldn’t be shocked if they are stocked along the Ocean City boardwalk, too. Who is masterminding the effort behind the bootleg Sunnys? Where are they produced? Whose idea was it to steal Morey’s design? The whole thing stinks of lazy grifters.

Bootlegs are a tale as old as time on the Wildwood boardwalk, but it’s a bit disheartening to see something as recent and local as Sunny get put through the ringer. And if you can’t make it to the shore, or want to buy a Sunny later when you have more money, stay far away from eBay. It’s flooded with literally hundreds of knockoff Sunnys.

Of course, Sunny isn’t “real,” and he probably isn’t offended by his imitators. If you can only afford a bootleg, there’s no shame in that. It’s still a plush of a seagull enjoying a French fry. Cute! Just don’t call him Sunny.

Have you seen any bootleg Sunnys? Do you know where they are coming from? Email the author at