Town Center Fire House – Disney Springs, FL

Did I just post about a new machine at Disney Springs.  Well with all the changes that have gone on there plus the still to come new restaurants and stores I find myself spending more and more time there and enjoying every moment.  I don’t find myself needing an excuse anymore to go visit the Springs but this past weekend when I heard that another new penny machine showed up I jumped in my car and headed over to check it out.

For anyone thinking about visiting just for this machine as I did, I parked in the Orange lot which brings you down just near the big Coca-Cola store and Planet Hollywood restaurant.  If you walk between these two buildings directly in front of you is a covered area that starts the Town Center.

Behind the construction walls on the right side of the walkway in the picture above is the Wolfgang Puck restaurant coming soon.  But right before that on the right side is the Firehouse also known as the building where the restrooms are located.

This does make for some awkward moments trying to take pictures and video but thankfully I visited early in the more before this area got too busy.

This is a 4-design hang crank machine in a nice full wood cabinet.

The designs that press on the pennies include Firefighter Mickey, Firefighter Donald, Pluto with a fireman’s helmet, and Red the fire truck from the Pixar movie Cars.  As you can see from the picture above the images came out nicely, however this actually took me quite a few tries to get this set to roll properly.

Above is a picture of the seven other pennies I tried to press that didn’t roll correctly.  Considering this is a brand new machine it’s surprising that the machine wasn’t aligned properly.  Just as a tip for anyone that may be using this machine I tried turning the handle fairly slowly and starting to press the design a little earlier that having the arrows completely lined up as per usual process.  It took a little practice but was able to get a full set eventually.  The machines throughout Disney property usually have stickers on them where you can report a message that is broken.  Unfortunately this machine didn’t have that so I tried submitting a note through one of the other machines to see what happens.  It’s not completely a lost cause at this point, but can be frustrating so make sure you bring some extra coins.  Always pays to be a little over prepared.

Food Truck Pavilion – Disney Springs, FL

Fresh off the new release of the 2018 dates set of pressed coins Disney didn’t waste much time getting out another new set of pressed pennies.  The new machine can be found over at Disney Springs which seems to be a popular spot lately for new machines.

Over on the West Side is where you can find the big AMC movie theatre, Cirque du Soleil theatre, a Starbucks and some other interesting stores and restaurants.  This area is under quite a bit of construction right now with the recently demolished Disney Quest building making way for a new NBA Experience, and some other new restaurants.

Just past the Starbucks and across from the Star Wars Galactic Outpost and Marvel Superhero Headquarters is an open area just along the water front.  This area is where you can now find the Disney Food Trucks.

Usually there are three different food trucks here but lately only two have been available with the third one on the move around property.


The Springs Street Tacos obviously has various tacos for sale.  The Fantasy Fare truck has things like empanadas, chicken taquitos, and Mexican meatball sliders.  This area also does have live music later on at night and can get quite crowded with spectators.

If you are walking along the main pathway you will see the penny machine just to the center entrance to the Food Truck Pavilion.

The machine has some nice artwork on the cabinet.  The design is of the Disney Springs logo which I think is pretty cool.

This is a cute unique set of pennies that I hope they continue releasing.  The set includes images of Minnie eating an ice cream cone, Chef Goofy with a Turkey, Chef Mickey with a Sandwich and Dopey Dwarf eating Cake.  With the recent changes to Disney Springs and the massive amount of new restaurants now available these coins just fit right in to this area.

Above is a picture I took of the machine at night which you can see the area does get busier, plus there is a mobile bar right beside the machine which usually has a long line. This can cause a little congestion around the machine but people are usually nice to step aside if you ask to use the machine.

As I mentioned before I really like this set and think it’s a great new addition to anyones collection.  Hopefully they continue on this pace of releasing some more creative designs like these ones.  Side note, if you are visiting Disney Springs make sure to check out some of the new restaurants they really are great.  A few of my favorites are Art Smith’s Homecomin’, and Maria & Enzo’s.  Enjoy!

SeaWorld Part 3 – Orlando, FL

On this third time around to SeaWorld another few weeks after my previous visit I decided to start early in the day and stay late if needed to find the last batch of penny machines.  The entire drive over to the park my youngest daughter kept saying she wanted to see sharks.  So I make sure that our first stop once we got through security was over to the shark exhibit.

This type of exhibit is pretty common now among aquariums where you are surrounded by the tanks.

Once nice feature is that when you do make it to the large main tank with the sharks, there is a moving walkway which prevents people from blocking the pathway.  This keeps everyone moving through, but at a nice leisurely pace so you can take some nice pictures or have the sharks swim along with you.  After we were done with the sharks we headed into the far side of the park that we hadn’t visited before.

A strange sight in the middle of Florida were ice glaciers, and snow.  This was all themed to be like you were in Antarctica and is where we found the Empire of the Penguin exhibit.

Once inside where you can see all the penguins I will admit it’s freezing in there.  This obviously is for the comfort of the penguins, but since we were wearing t-shirts and shorts we didn’t stay inside too long.  As we exited of course we found ourselves in a penguin themed gift shop.

The shop wasn’t too big, but did have a penny machine located inside.  It’s kind of around the corner, and I think that if we didn’t go through the penguin exhibit I may not have noticed it was here.


With these pennies pressed and stored away we headed out the far side of “Antarctica” and heard the familiar screams / laughter from a water flume ride.  Here at SeaWorld they have one called Journey to Atlantis..

I’m not a fan of getting soaking wet in a theme park and avoid these water drop rides most of the time.  My sister loves Splash Mountain so when her family is in town visiting I’ll join her on that one just like when we were kids.

On this visit I decided to try to stay dry so we just stood by and watched a few boats go down the large drop and get drenched at the bottom.  When you are looking directly at this ride if you turn 180 degrees you will see the above three machines just waiting to be used.


The first machine on the left side was labeled around the Journey to Atlantis ride but strangely the penny designs didn’t have anything to do with that ride.


The machine in the middle of this trio was themed around the Kraken which is another intense roller coaster nearby.


The third machine has designs of some seals.  This is probably due to the Pacific Point Preserve area of the park back near Antarctica.

Before we headed on I wanted to make a quick stop into the gift shop for the Journey to Atlantis ride.  Whenever I’m hunting for penny machines Disney has met pretty trained to look inside souvenir stores.  Unfortunately there weren’t any penny machines there but they did have a small little aquarium.  As we wandered around the store I also found a pressed penny booklet that I just had to get.

I’ve posted in the past that I store all my pressed coins in 2×2 cardboard holders inside three-ring binders.  However that still doesn’t stop me from collecting these booklets.  I have a large plastic container in my house just filled with them.

A little further past the Journey to Atlantis ride was a pit stop area with some restrooms.  We made the stop but only because two more penny machines were located here.


One machine is by the women’s restroom and the second by the mens.  I’ve never been a fan of having penny machines hear restrooms as they just end up being used to lean on, or people loitering around them.  Most are nice enough to move aside when asked, and more often than not you also get a group of kids wanting to see how the machine works.


While using this second machine I did have a nice family give me a heads up about some other penny machines near by.  We chatted for a bit about pressing coins and also let them know about TEC (The Elongated Collectors)  Club which they were unaware of.  Wishing each other well on our collection we split up and went in search of the last few machines.

Taking the instructions from my new friends we headed over to the TurtleTrek and Manatee rehabilitation area.

Turtles are cool, but there is nothing like a manatee.  I’m still fascinated by these creatures.  There was a staff member near by giving a little presentation about some of their newest additions.

Two orphaned baby manatees.  It was a heartbreaking story that is always sad to hear.  People just not paying attention with their boats and these slows moving animals.  The two just don’t mix.  But these little ones were being well taken care of and they were just really fun to watch.


After visiting with the baby manatees I headed back over to the Turtle area and found the next penny machine.  By this time we had explored almost the entire park, but we had one last area to check out.

Dolphins, how could I have forgotten about dolphins.  At the top of the tank they do have feeding times where you can help feed the dolphins.  Or for a better view of these amazing mammals you can go to the underwater viewing area.

If you walk down the pathway towards the viewing area is where we found the last two penny machines.


The machines are on either side of the pathway, but because this is both the entrance and exit to the viewing area and of course with the popularity of dolphins this area does get a little congested.


It had been another busy day but we enjoyed every moment of it.  After visiting with the dolphins for a little while we headed back towards the front of the park.  We had visited every corner and gift shop of the park and found all the penny machines currently available.

SeaWorld definitely has a lot of offer and we will be back hopefully before too long.  With a total of 24 machines each with 4 penny designs that’s a total of 96 pennies.  Most of the machines do have the ability to make change if needed but I always recommend coming prepared whenever possible.  This would be a massive project to try to collect all of these during one visit, but not completely out of the question.  I’m not sure you would have time for much else.  As I mentioned there is a lot to see and do here so take your time and enjoy it.

SeaWorld Part 2 – Orlando, FL

A couple of weeks after my first visit to SeaWorld I finally got some free time to go back and pick up where I left off.  There were still quite a few penny machines here somewhere and I was determined to find them.

I headed back towards the Mako roller coaster but turned in towards the Shark Underwater Grill & Bar.  This is a restaurant that is similar to the Coral Reef in Epcot if you have ever visit it.  Basically you get to eat a table service meal in front of a large aquarium tank.  This one as the name would imply has quite a few sharks keeping their eyes on you while you eat.

Just outside the Shark restaurant is an area that you can feed sharks at certain designated times during the day.  Now I will admit you won’t be feeding great white sharks, instead they are much smaller and friendlier.

Located in this area are two penny machines.  One at each end of the feeding tank.


During feeding times this area can get a little crowded, and it was hard to use these machines as people were completely surrounding them.  But if you go during a non-feeding time they are pretty easily accessible.


Just down a short walk away is the other big roller coaster this park is home to called Manta.  This is a coaster that has you flying kind of like superman underneath a Manta Ray ride vehicle.  It looks really cool, but would be way out of my league.

Just outside the entrance / exit to Manta is a small little gift shop, and directly across the walk way is where I found the next penny machine.


There is a second penny machine just down the pathway towards the Flamingo exhibit.


It was getting a little late in the afternoon and I was supposed to meet my father over at the Orlando Convention Center to check out the Auto Show.  So unfortunately I only had time for a couple more machines.  There was one place I remember having a few machines years ago and thought I would stop by.

The Sting Ray lagoon and Feeding area is one big touch tank, and they do have staff nearby willing to answer questions and give presentations about the rays.


This first machine is located right in front of the lagoon as you walk up towards it.  The machine seemed like it needed a new dose of grease in the gears as it was really squeaky.  The hand crank was pretty tough to turn, and as you can see by the coins above they were rolling short.  I actually tried using this machine a few times over a couple other trips and the set pictured was the best of each coin.  Hopefully they will get someone out there to do some service on it.

There are quite a lot of rays available in this tank.  If you reference the times guide for the park you can find out when the feedings take place and for a small fee can help feed them.

At the back of the lagoon are some sinks so you can wash your hands after feeding or touching the sting rays.  This is also the area where you can buy the food during feeding times.  Back here is also where you can find the second penny machine.


This machine was working much better than the one out front.  With this second batch of pennies pressed my second visit was about over.  I headed back out of the park and eventually made it over to the convention center for the auto show.  Unfortunately there were not penny machines there (what were they thinking!).

SeaWorld was definitely growing on me and I couldn’t wait to get back.  There was another whole area I hadn’t checked out yet, more sea creatures to visit and of course a few more penny machines to find.

SeaWorld Part 1 – Orlando, FL

My youngest daughter has really gotten bit by the theme park bug.  It has become almost a weekly tradition now where we get up Sunday morning and she immediately says “Animal Park”.  This is her signal that she wants to visit a park and who am I to deprive her of that but this time I thought I would actually try to let her see some animals.  It has been probably over 10 years since the last time I visited SeaWorld so I thought it was about time to go back.

Now the park has been receiving some bad press lately, and it seemed to show in the crowd level.  It was pretty light on the day we visited, and they also had some great deals on tickets.


As soon as you enter the park you way by the one of the main gift shops that I believe is call Shamu’s Emporium.  It’s and indoor and outdoor shop which a lot of merchandise.  This store was a nice welcome to the park with six penny machines right off the bat.


Usually I go over what designs are on each penny, but to be honest a lot of these designs are of the animals.  Not duplicate designs, but I figured you may get tired of me saying Manatee or Turtle too many times.  Plus to be honest sometimes I’m just not sure exactly what creature is on the coin.  The pictures will give you a good look at the designs available at each machine.


This second machine was literally just a few steps to the left of the first one, and also had a nice change machine built in should you not heed my advice and always come prepared for penny pressing.


At the corner of the building is the next machine and you can also see the fourth machine right beside it.


As you keep walking past the store to the far side you will come across the last two machines found here.

I remember years ago when I was here there were a few electric penny presses, but on this trip I can confirm they are all gone and you will need to bring some elbow grease.  If you are planning on pressing all the coins in one day your arm is going to be soar.  It actually took me a couple visits to get all of these.


The second machine here is right beside the other.


I had been in the park for probably less than 15 minutes and only walked about 100 feed but already I had 24 pennies pressed and my elbow was starting to throb.  But I wasn’t complaining as my day was just beginning.

Just past Shamu’s emporium the path splits and you can go either left or right.  But as you can see in the picture above straight ahead was the SeaWorld Rescue store and a penny machine right outside.


After pressing this next set of pennies I opted to head towards the right path.  This took me past some small snack stands, the dolphin nursery, a quick service tex-mex restaurant and more souvenir stores.


Somehow I ended up on a boardwalk style path that extended out over a big area of water.  During the holiday season they had Christmas trees out in the water as part of a  light show and some were still up during our visit.  At the far side we found the famous Shamu Stadium and the inside looked very familiar.  Some of it had been updated but I remember that large tail fin shaped screen.  Sadly no shows were going on while we were there but it was nice to see the stadium again.

We said goodbye for now to Shamu’s stadium and walked over to a place called the Wild Arctic.  This is kind of a ride, but not really.  There is a motion simulator that you can take which makes it seem like you are making the trek up to the Arctic via helicopter I believe.  But since I had my youngest daughter with me we opted to skip the ride and just walk to the Arctic.  It’s all inside a building as you can see from the above picture.  The A/C is blasting inside to make it a little colder but not uncomfortable.  This is where you can see the beluga whales and polar bears.

Once you exit the Wild Arctic and make your way outside you will find the next penny machine just off the path next to a bench so you can take a quick break.


We headed back over towards the stadium and walked around to Shamu’s Happy Harbor which is like a kids play area and water park.  They do have some small rides and carnival style games, but to my surprise no penny machines were here.  Eventually we walked up to the parks newest roller coaster (for now) called Mako.

If you zoom in on the picture above you can see the penny machine off in the distance.


This first visit to the park I found this machine but the coin slider was jammed and I couldn’t use it.  We made it back a few weeks later and I was able to press the coins, but they did roll a little short.  With the sounds of roller coaster riders screaming over our heads we headed on our way.

I think this is a good place to stop for now.  Trust me there were a lot more penny machines to find.  As I mentioned it did take me a few trips back to get all of these pennies and check out the rest of the park.  Be sure to check back so we can find the rest of the machine.  Happy collecting.

Manatee Viewing – Blue Spring State Park, FL

My family is coming up on almost a year since our big move down to Florida.  It’s taken time to get used to new stores, restaurants and of course roadways and traffic patterns.  As more time goes by we have started to feel a little more like locals and less like being on a long vacation.  Recently we were talking with some neighbors and they told us about something that tourists obviously like to do, but it definitely a locals thing to check out.

About an hour away from our house we headed up to Blue Spring State Park.  This is an area of central Florida where during few months out of the year manatees head towards the warmer waters.

We have seen manatees in captivity before at aquariums and zoos but the usually was only one or two in an exhibit.  As you can see from the sign we came across this day there were 308 spotted in the waters.  This was really going to be interesting.

There was a small fee of $6 for our car load to get into the park.  Just like any state park there were nice wide open areas, and some hiking paths.

This park however also had some special viewing areas along the main pathway giving you various views of the manatees.

Seeing them in the wild was really unique.  Plus the large number of them all in one place was also amazing.

The day was a little chilly when we visited, but we really took our time and enjoyed this special opportunity.  At the end of the main pathway was a small gift shop and snack bar with some things like hot dogs, coffee, and hot chocolate.  We eventually started to head back towards where our card was and came across the Thursby House.

As the sign says this house was built by Louis Thursday in 1872.

This house is set up like a small little museum.  There is no cost to go inside and walk around but the upper floors are off-limits.  Not sure if that’s all the time or just certain times of the year.

There is not a whole lot going on inside the house / museum.  There is the kitchen full stocked in the back of the above picture but is behind glass so you can look but not touch.

In the main entry way just behind the stairwell I found a penny pincher machine.  Before we headed on this trip I did check good ol’ and knew about this machine ahead of time and came prepared.  But as I always say you should keep a few extra sets of quarters and pennies in your car just in case.  You never know when you may find an unexpected penny machine.

Once thing I noticed about this machine is that it had wheels on the bottom.  I’m not sure if those are due to the machine always being moved around inside the house.  But figured I would mention it as the machine may not be in the same location all the time.

This set of pennies pressed pretty well, but I do find these machines have a tendency to roll short.  The designs included with this set are of a Manatee, Alligator, Bear and a Scuba diver.  The last one I didn’t get, but did find out once I got home that during some times of the year you can go scuba diving in the lake but I don’t think it can be done when the manatees are around.

This place can get very busy during the manatee watching season so make sure to go early in the day or the park may be closed for capacity.  This was really a wonderful true Florida experience.  Our kids had a lot of fun and the manatees are really a strange but very special create.  Make sure to bring some pennies to commemorate your visit and help spread the work of keeping manatees safe in the water.

Aquatica Water Park – Orlando, FL

This week I had it scheduled to go check out a water park and of course it ended up being cold here again.  But that wasn’t going to stop me, but I didn’t decide against actually going in the water.  Plus as an added perk due to the cold the park was nice and quite with not a lot of visitors making my tour around a nice leisurely one.

There were quite a few different water parks around Orlando to I could visit, but I decided to check out SeaWorld’s Aquatica.

This park was definitely much larger than I had anticipated.  When you first walk in you cross over a bridge that had part of the lazy river.

There is also a very large water slide that is clear and goes directly through a Dolphin tank which is where I found the first penny press machine.

Just to the right side of the dolphin viewing area is where the penny machine was located.


The designs on these pennies were really unique.  They are of very common animals we have all seen at different aquariums and zoos, but the way these were designed was really cool.  This set included designs of a Manta Ray, a Lizard, a Flat-billed bird, and a dolphin.

I started my tour around the park and basically followed the lazy river for most of the trip.  Eventually I did come to an area which was designed for some younger visitors and looks like a lot of fun.  Various buckets drop water on unsuspecting swimmers, and there are water sprinklers all over the place.

In one area of the park is a large sand “beach” covered with lounge chairs for sun tanning or just relaxing.  As you can see due to the colder temperature this day I had the pick of any chair I wanted.

Near the sand “beach” are two large wave pools.  On my visit only one of them was operational but you can see the size of it in the picture above.

Throughout the park there are various water attractions and slides.

As with a lot of parks there is always something new being added.  Aquatica is no different and there was an area with construction walls to hide the magic going on behind them.

In one area near the lazy river there are private cabanas that you can rent for the day.  During busier times of the year it’s recommended to book these ahead of your visit to ensure you can get one as they are very popular.  Since I didn’t have one I could go back into the area, but this was the private bridge heading back to the cabanas which include covered areas, private seating, and concierge to help get you anything you want like food or drinks.

Seeing things like this water fall, and the slides really made me regret I didn’t bring my bathing suit.

After touring around the entire park I headed back to the large gift shop called Kiwi Traders.  This was actually right near the dolphin viewing tank.

Inside the gift shop you can guy beach towels, sun tan lotion, and all store of standard theme park souvenirs.  They also do sell bathing suits which was tempting.  Outside the gift shop was this sculpture / water fountain which looked to have the same type of animal designs I found on the first set of pressed pennies.  Then I noticed behind the fountain was a second penny machine.


Just like I found with the rest of the park this penny machine was very colorful.  The set of pennies at this machine had images of a Kiwi Bird, a Puffin, a Woodpecker (maybe), and a Turtle.

My quick (and dry) tour of the park was a lot of fun.  I haven’t really been to a water park since I was a teenager and this made me miss it.  I can’t wait to get back here as soon as the weather warms up a bit.  Plus I must say it again, these coin designs are really cool and not something I’ve seen before and made a nice addition to my collection.

Margaritaville – Universal CityWalk Orlando

This week I made a trip back over to Universal Studios to see if anything had changed.  They don’t seem to switch out machines or designs as often as Disney does, but It was a nice excuse to visit the park.  After checking out both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure everything was still the same.  On my way out of the park I was walking through CityWalk and decided to stop in at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville for lunch.

I’ve been in here a few times over the years and always enjoy the food, and the margaritas are also pretty good.

Once out inside it’s designed to make you feel like you are on the beach.

There is even an airplane hanging from the ceiling and other items that are referenced from all your favorite Jimmy Buffett songs.  Cheeseburgers in Paradise anyone?  After grabbing some lunch I took a quick exit through the gift shop called the Smuggler’s Hold to see what they had.

There is an entrance to the store from the outside in case you weren’t eating at the restaurant.  Inside there is a lot of fun Buffett style  merchandise.

As you can guess there were a lot of shot glasses, t-shirts and beach signs reminding you it was 5 o’clock somewhere.

This place was pretty big inside.  As I wandered around I found something new, an 8-Design touch screen penny press.

After I got home I did some searching online and found that this machine had just recently been released.  If I didn’t know any better I would think my subconscious somehow knew.

The set of penny sized tokens pressed pretty well.  I did make a couple sets but some designs did roll a little short.  The images are also themed around Jimmy Buffett and Margaritaville.  There is a Parrot Head, Beach Patrol, Having Fun at Margaritaville, Margaritaville Orlando, No Shirt No Shoes No Problem, Livin for the Weekend, It’s 5 O’Clock somewhere, and Cheeseburger in Paradise.

After finishing up with the machine and taking my pictures and videos it was time to head home.  CityWalk wasn’t too busy at this time of day but always gets a little more popular as the sun goes down.  This was a fun set of pennies to find, and I’m thankful for stumbling across it on this trip.  I’ll be keeping my eye out over here in the future, and may have to spend some more time going through all the shops and restaurants to see if any more surprises show up.

Niagara Falls Canada

A couple of weeks ago my wife and I went to my cousin’s wedding near Niagara Falls Canada.  We had visited Niagara Falls a few times but always during the warmer time of year.  This was the first time we were going to adventure there in the middle of January.  I’m originally from Canada but have been located in the states long enough to have forgotten how brutal winters can get up there.

When we left Orlando it was about 60 degree, but we were headed to Buffalo Airport which ended up being around 4 degrees and quite a bit of snow.  We got our rental car and headed towards the border.

The temperature seemed to get colder as we got further into Canada.  The roads weren’t too bad, but the wind just cut right through whatever clothing you had on.  After about an hour and a half we were near St. Catharine’s Ontario which is where the wedding was going to be.  On the first day we were invited to the rehearsal dinner which wasn’t until later on in the day.  So I took the opportunity to try and find a penny machine.

Just on the out skirts of Niagara Falls I found a place called Souvenir City.  This is basically the biggest gift shop I’ve seen with all stuff Canada and of course the Falls.

If you like maple syrup they have a whole wall of it and things made from it.  There is also a lot of Ice Wine products (yum!), T-shirts, sweaters, stuff animals and more.

In the middle of the store right near the check out area is a “Penny Crusher” machine.  This was a little unique as it had a bright road light running inside the machine flashing different colors while you use the machine.  It was a little distracting up close, but from a distance looked kind of cool.

Now please note, that this machine cost $1 Canadian which if you are not familiar is a coin called  Looney (there is a Loon design on the coin), and you then supply your own penny.  However you are NOT to use a Canadian penny as it’s against the law.  Also on a side note Canada has stopped created pennies so most stores don’t even have them to give out.  So make sure to bring some of your own American pennies for pressing.

The designs at this machine are of attractions all around the Falls.  The White Water Walk, the Butterfly Conservatory, Maid of the Mist, and a Good Luck Center with horseshoe and maple leaf.  By the time we were done picking up some gifts we headed back to our hotel and had a great time at the rehearsal dinner catching up with our family.  The next day we got up early, had a quick breakfast and decided to try and check out Niagara Falls before the wedding later that afternoon.

Not many people were out on this cold morning which made visiting the falls kind of enjoyable.  We parked near the side of the street and just ran over to see the falls partially frozen.

Seeing the river frozen, and the ice forming along the sides of the falls was really unique and something we had never seen in person before.  After we were pretty frozen through we got back in the car and had time for one quick stop.

Near the falls is a Great Wolf Lodge resort.  A few years ago I had visited one of these near the Poconos in Pennsylvania and was blown away at how cool it was.  This location was no different and fully themed.

There are animatronic characters all over the place, and of course these resorts are known for their indoor water parks.  Even thought it was freezing outside the water park did look pretty enticing.

Just outside the gift shop in the main lobby of the resort was a penny machine.  This one also took $1 Canadian coins, and right beside it was a change machine if you needed help getting Canadian money for the machine.

These pennies were designed around the Lodge and the falls.  The images included a Wolf dressed like a Mountie, a Barrel going over the falls, a Paw Print, and Violet one of the Lodge characters.  This happens a lot when I’m on a roll (ha) pressed coins, and was running out of time.  We quickly (but carefully on the ice) got back to our hotel, changed and made it to the wedding ceremony with just a few minutes to spare.

The wedding was wonderful and the reception was a lot of fun.  By the end of the day we were pretty tired and had to get an early start the next day.  Up early we said goodbye to our family staying in the same hotel, and made our way back to the US Boarder.

Eventually we were back in Buffalo and got to the airport in plenty of time for our flight.  But this is where our adventure home really got crazy.  Because of the bad weather in Buffalo our flight was canceled and another wasn’t available for 3 days.  We decided to drive to New Jersey and stay with my sister until we could get a different flight out of Philadelphia the following day.  It took a little longer than anticipated but we finally got back home to Florida and were happy to see the sun and warmer weather.

Our trip was definitely a unique adventure but it was nice to see the falls in the winter, collect some new pressed pennies and of course visit with family.

ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

Click here to see my YouTube channel video on this destination

Growing up in Canada we are pretty much born with a hockey stick in hand.  I’ve always loved pretty much any kind of sports, but always had a special place in my heart for Hockey.  But in Canada we do have a few weeks of warm weather from time to time and during that warm time I did play quite a bit of baseball.  During middle school and high school I played basketball, volleyball and even some Rugby for a very brief time.  I think it was partly due to the competition I loved, but also the camaraderie with my team mates and the satisfaction with improving your playing skills.  When I was young the facilities we played at were pretty limited, but they did the trick and we enjoyed playing wherever we could.

Flash forward years later and now that we are living down in Florida hockey is around but not like it was in the Great White North.  So what is a sports fan to do.  Of course with the internet and TV I can still watch all my favorite teams, but there is still something about amateur sports.  During a conversation with my parents about Spring Training Baseball they mentioned the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Disney.

I’ve mentioned in the past that for the last few years they started coming down to Florida to see their beloved New York Mets over in Port St. Lucie.  Usually they would try to visit other teams in central Florida and a few times came to the ESPN complex to watch some games.  I looked up the complex online and was amazed at how big this place was, and it isn’t just baseball/softball fields.

There are fields for Soccer, Track and Field, Tennis, and indoor arenas for Basketball and Volleyball, plus I’m sure a lot more I didn’t even notice.

After parking in the lot you walk up to a central hub with the complex logo in the middle.  This is a big photo-op for the athletes, their family and all fans looking to document their trip here.

Just up a little walkway from the hub is the main entrance that takes you to the different fields and restaurant inside.  Tickets are required to get into this area, but for most of the events the prices are pretty inexpensive.

Back down by the hub is the ESPN Clubhouse which is like the souvenir shop for the complex.  No admission is needed to access this store.

As with all the other gift shops on Disney property there is a lot of character merchandise, but also a lot of ESPN stuff as well from t-shirts to shots glasses.

In the back of the store near a Cast Members only door/backroom area in among some sweatshirts was the main reason for my visit this morning.

This machine has had the same designs for a few years now.  I remember visiting this machine years on a previous trip and it was located at the front of the store near the cash registers.  When visiting keep and eye out for it as they seem to move it around from time to time.

The machine is a three design electric model.  The images on each of the pennies included the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Logo, Minnie & Daisy, and Team Mickey.

Also during some special events there is an additional penny machine located in the J Center Arena.  I went during the Wine & Dine Half Marathon weekend to use this machine.  You can read out it here.

This is a cute little set of pressed coins.  Getting to the complex without a car can be a little difficult, but there are Disney buses from time to time taking guests over there or of course you can take a cab or uber.  You can check the complex website to see a schedule of games that are going on year round.  Be sure to buy some tickets and support the young athletes (and some professionals) as their teams play here.  This is kind of a hidden gem but a really nice place to take in a great morning or afternoon of sports.  The competition is great, the complex is fun and there is even a penny machine for a quick souvenir of your visit.