Lunar New Year Pressed Penny Set – China Pavilion in Epcot

Chinese New Year commonly known as the Lunar New Year is a festival celebrating the new year on the traditional Chinese calendar.  For 2019 the first day of the Lunar New Year will be on February 5th initiating the Year of the Pig.

Previous years have included the Year of the Rat, Sheep, Ox and a few others as these are on a 12 year cycle and will repeat.  Year of the Pig happens to be the 12th in the cycle and will not be celebrated again until 2031.

Over on the West Coast in Disney California Adventure they have a Lunar New Year festival with food booths and special entertainment to celebrate.  However on the East Coast in Epcot there is an ever rotating cycle of festivals going on all throughout the year.  At this time the Festival of the Arts is in full swing.

The Festival has plenty of food booths and also some tents setup with Disney artwork for purchase.

Oswald has become a new favorite of mine.  Hopefully he appears a little more often in the parks.

On a recent visit to check out some of the food options at the Festival of the Arts we made our way over to the China Pavilion.  The line for the food booth here is always busy as they usually some very popular items.  We decided to head back into the pavilion instead as I had heard about a new penny machine.

Past the Nine Dragons restaurant and quick service Lotus Blossom Cafe is the main gift shop called the House of Good Fortunate.

Just inside the doors used to be a 3 design penny machine but that has been removed.  Now in its place is a new 12 design penny machine.

The cool thing about this machine is that the designs are all of the different animals representing the 12 year cycle of the Chinese / Lunar New Year.  But with a slight twist.  Each animal is represented by a Disney character of the same animal.  Year of the Rat has Remy from Ratatouille, Year of the Tiger has Tigger from Winnie the Pooh, and Year of the Monkey has Abu from Aladdin.  What a really fun set of designs.

Please take notice of the cost for this set.  The cost is still $1 for an individual penny, but if you are like me and want the full set it will run you $10 (yikes!).

The machine does have samples of each pressed penny inside so you can see what the finished coin will look like in person.

Photo credit: parkpennies.com

Something I found out after I got home and was cataloging these new coins is that they had already been available in the Shanghai Disney Resort.  Above is a picture from the parkpennies.com which is a great resource I use for my Disneyland collection.  The images are the same but obviously the park name has been altered to Walt Disney World.  Now I feel like I need to collect some of these Shanghai Disney pressed coins as they really have some nice designs available.  But that will be a project for another day.

Back at the Festival of the Arts.  I will say that I really enjoy all the art work, and some of the food items are really pretty to look but none of them really stood out as a favorite.  I’ll have to go back another day and try some different food booths and see if I can find something else a little more enjoyable.  The Flower and Garden Festival will be here soon and that is one of my favorites, and maybe a new pressed penny machine will make an appearance as well.

2019 WDW Dated Pressed Quarter Change

In a bit a strange move, this past weekend the 2019 pressed quarter design of Minnie Mouse that was at the All-Star Music resort has been removed.  So far it hasn’t been moved to another location (although we are keeping an eye out for this).

The machine is still located just outside the Note’Able Games arcade, but now has a new 2019 design.

The design is the same Fantasmic / Maleficent Dragon image that is on a penny in the Rock around the Shop.

Technically this makes 17 designs released as part of the 2019 dated set.  But with the Minnie Mouse quarter design missing, there are still just 16 designs available for pressing.  Hopefully you got one of the Minnie Mouse designs before it was removed.  This may make for a limited release design and something not everyone would have been able to acquire in the month or so it was available.

Coco Pressed Pennies – Mexico Pavilion in Epcot

In Epcot’s world showcase one of the more popular pavilions is Mexico.  Whether this is due to the tequila bar La Cava, Mexican food which I personally enjoy, or if like my daughters it’s the slow-moving boat ride attraction.

When the pavilion initially opened the boat ride was called El Rio del Tiempo (The River of Time), and took visitors through various scenes in Mexican history.

Then in 2007 the attraction was changed to the Grand First Tour featuring The Three Caballeros.  For those of you that may not have seen the 1944 Disney animated movie the Three Caballeros are Donald Duck, Jose Carioca, and Panchito Pistoles.  It’s still a slow-moving boat ride, but the Three Caballeros are supposed to perform a concert but Donald is off on his own exploring Mexico.  It’s a cute little ride and my kids absolutely love it.  On most visits to Epcot we hop on at least 2 or 3 times.  But we will get back to the ride shortly.

The part I always loved about this pavilion is how you are inside, but it’s designed to look like you are outside in a Mexican market.  There are building exteriors around the perimeter of the pavilion, and various carts selling all sorts of beautiful art, as well as t-shirts, sombrero and plenty of Disney merchandise.

I brought up about the change to the boat ride in 2007 for a reason.  With the popularity of the 2017 Pixar animated movie Coco, there have been rumors swirling around that the Grand Fiesta tour ride would be changed / updated to revolve around the Coco story and characters.  So far nothing has been confirmed by Disney, but maybe one step in that direction has to do with a new pressed penny machine that was just released inside the Pavilion.

Located outside La Tienda Encantada store (also by the exit to the boat ride) is where there used to be a 3-design penny machine.  That was removed and replaced with a new 8-design touch screen machine.

The designs on these new pennies are all characters from the Coco movie.

The images include Miguel with his Guitar, Ernesto del La Cruz, Hector, Abuelita, Mama Coco, Dante the Dog, Abuelita pinching Miguel’s cheeks, and Miguel sitting with his face painted.  The details on these coins are really nice and made me want to watch the movie again.  These characters were really great and the story in the movie is fantastic.

I mentioned that there used to be 3-design penny machine here that initially I thought had been removed completely.  However after we wandered around the pavilion a bit and contemplated eating at the San Angel Inn we found the machine.

It’s now located just outside restaurant near the check-in area.

The designs have not changed, but it’s nice to still have this machine available.

I guess only time will tell on whether we will get an updated Coco boat ride inside the Pavilion.  But until then this is still a fun place to visit and just spend some time checking out all the details.  Plus there’s free air conditioning inside which is a blessing in the middle of the Florida summer.

FUN Convention Winter 2019 – Orlando Florida

This convention kind of snuck up on me and I thankfully found out about it a few days before it actually started.  FUN stands for Florida United Numismatists and they have two conventions a year, one in the winter and another in the summer.  It moves around to various cities throughout the state and this year luckily it was in Orlando at the Orange County Convention Center.

I’ve been to a few events in this convention center but wow it always amazes me how huge this place is.  If you make the mistake and park in the wrong area you could be walking for quite a while.

Once I found the right area of the convention center I checked in to get my name badge and was given a few special items for visiting.

The first one reminded me of a casino chip, and had the city of Hollywood Florida on the front, and the Florida United Numismatists on the back.

The second item was a beautiful medallion about the FUN convention host cities.  The back listed each city and the number of times it has hosted the event.  Before I go too much further I should mention that admission to this event was free, other than the cost for parking at the convention center.

As we headed towards the main entrance to the show there was a banner welcoming everyone to the show and even had some details on the other hosts sites which seemed to be a trend here.

Once inside I’m always blown away by how big these shows are and the number of vendors.

The tables are literally wall to wall with everything you could possibly imaging when it comes to collecting coins or any time of currency.

Many of the vendors were looking to buy as well as sell their own items, and there seemed to be a lot of transaction happening all over the place.

All the way in back was where the exhibits were where people have displayed some of their collection with a certain theme.  There are different categories and all are judged with the change to win your division.

I did come across some of the exhibits that had some elongated coins which I always love to take my time looking at.  The hard work and details they put into these are really amazing.

Below is one I came across that was about the FUN conventions of previous years.

After enjoying the exhibits we grabbed a quick snack in the food area, and then headed back to the aisle of vendors.  Eventually we found the TEC (The Elongated Collectors) Club table that was located right beside Mr. Raymond Dillard’s table.

Mr. Dillard was working both tables at the time we stopped by.  I had met him for the first time about 6 years ago at the ANA World’s Fair of Money convention in Philadelphia.  He is an amazing wealth of knowledge not just about elongated coins, but a wonderful man to just sit and chat with.

The TEC table had lots of information about the club including some recent issues of the new letter, pamphlets about the club, and of course applications for anyone interested in joining.

There was also a free pressed penny that they were giving out.

Mr. Dillard was also busy with his own table.  His manual coin press machine is always a visitor favorite.  I wonder how many coins have been pressed on that machine.

He was giving out a free pressed penny as well.

Usually if you have a special coin you want to press he will be more than happy to do so for you.  Otherwise the tray on the machine was filled with freshly pressed pennies.

This was another really nice looking design for the FUN convention.  As was the theme I mentioned earlier, the design listed all the host cities of the show.

Not only was he handing out free pennies, but his table was covered with lots and lots of pressed coins at very reasonable prices.  I could spend a lot of time going through some of those bins of coins.

We had a great afternoon spending time with Mr. Dillard and some other elongated collectors.  Eventually we were getting a bit tired and had a long walk back to our car still to make.

As we headed out I noted the next show would be in July and still in Orlando so we will be sure to come back them.  It was really a lot of fun and had lots of unique things to check out.

If you are not already a member of TEC you really should check it out.  I’ve been a member for about 10 years now and have thoroughly enjoyed being a member.  The cost is very reasonable, for 2019 the dues are $11 for a 1 year digital membership or $15 for a hard copy membership.  That just means you get the quarterly newsletter either digitally (PDF in an email) or a hardcopy in the mail.  Each quarter you also get a nice little package with pressed coins inside as well as the coveted membership coins each year.  There is a special editors coin you get if you submit an article to be published in the newsletter and also a recruiter coin if you help a fellow collector join the club.

On that note you can join by visiting the website www.tecnews.org and click on the Join/Renew coin.  Be sure to reference member #4237 so they know I’m helping spread the word and sharing the adventure of elongated coin collecting.

Follow Up – 2019 Dated WDW Coin Replacements

This is a follow-up post to the one I wrote last week about the new 2019 pressed coins at Walt Disney World.  As I mentioned in that review there were four machines that had 2018 designs, but not 2019 designs.  So that meant that something needed to go into those machines to fill the gap.  It didn’t take too long after all the 2019 designs were released before we found out.

   

The first machine is over at the Magic Kingdom in the Main Street Train Station.  This is a pressed quarter machine that has had a dates design for the last few years.   For 2019 the quarter design was relocated to the Emporium, and the die was basically just swamped with this machine.

The Tinker Bell design has now been moved from the Emporium to the Main Street Train Station.

The next machine was kind of all over the place last year (2018).  Initially the 2018 pressed penny design was located at the Grand Floridian Resort.  Then about half way through the year the machine was moved over to the Yacht & Beach Club Resorts outside the Lafferty Arcade.

   

Now for 2019 the dated penny design was moved over to the Polynesian Resort in the penny machine on the second floor of the Grand Ceremonial House near the Moana Mercantile.

The penny design at the Polynesian Resort of Pocahontas and John Smith has now been moved to the Yacht & Beach Club machine.

The last two machines are over at the Contemporary Resort, one quarter design and one penny design.

   

The 2018 quarter design was replaced with a design of Mickey, Donald and Goofy that was part of the Friends mini-set.  This design was previously located at the Grand Floridian Resort outside the 1900 Park Fare restaurant but had been removed last summer.

Lastly is the pressed penny machine at the Contemporary Resort.  Unfortunately the machine wasn’t working when I initially visited earlier this week.  But the nearby market had some extra on hand when I mentioned the machine wasn’t working.  This may not always be the case, but if you run into this situation it doesn’t hurt to ask.

   

The penny design was replaced with an old design of Jafar from Aladdin that was part of a Villains mini-set.  This design was removed over 5 years from Cap’n Jack’s Oyster Bar in Downtown Disney (yes that long ago).

This is what I was hoping they would do and bring back some of these numbered mini-set designs that have been taken away over the last few years.  These mini-sets made for some fun trips around property to collect but unfortunately now most of these numbered mini-sets are incomplete unless you happened to press some of the designs years ago.

Well that completes the 2019 machines and the removal of all the 2018 designs.  Be sure to check back often for updates on new machines or any existing designs that are relocated.  Happy Collecting!

2019 Dated Walt Disney World Pressed Coins Set

Here we are in 2019 and as we all knew was going to happen, the new dated pressed coins have made their appearance all over Walt Disney World property.  But first let me go over how I first found out the new designs were being released.  My daughter and I were over at Epcot just enjoying a day at the park and we decided to head over to The Land pavilion where Soarin’ is, however my daughter prefers the Living with the Land boat ride through the greenhouse.  As we walked inside and back towards the Garden Grill restaurant I noticed the penny/quarter double machine was pulled out from the wall and being worked on.

My daughter was anxious to ride the boat attraction but I asked her to hold tight for a bit.  I knew the 2019 designs were going to be released at any moment, but was amazed that I may have walked upon this actually happening first hand.  Once the machine was put back together and moved against the wall I leaned in and sure enough saw the new quarter design.  The woman who was changing out the design was very nice and spoke with me for a bit about the machines she had already changed out.  She mentioned that more would be out over the next few days.

And so it had begun and I made it my project over the next week to visit all the machines and document the new designs.

   

That first design at The Land near the Garden Grill was in the same location as last year.  The design has Chip and Dale on it and as I mentioned above is on a pressed quarter.

   

I didn’t forget to take my daughter on the Living with the land ride so we did enjoy that, but I was antsy the entire time just thinking about all the new designs around property that I couldn’t wait to find.  With the ride over we quickly headed to the other side of Future World and into the Mouse Gear Shop where we found the first new pressed penny with Spaceship Earth on it.

Something I’m not sure I ever noticed in previous years is that near all these new pressed coin machines was a large selection of 2019 merchandise like photo albums, cups, mugs, t-shirts and more.  I usually stay away from the dated t-shirts, but the one pictures above is calling my name.  I really like the colors this year and may just have to pick one up.

   

We then headed into the World Showcase to the Disney Traders gift shop and found the next penny machine.  The image is of the year 2019 and Mickey is jumping out of the Zero.  (Note: there was a new penny machine over at the Mexico pavilion we found but I’ll review that in an upcoming post.  Stay tuned!)

Those were all the 2019 coins available at Epcot.  Using the intel I had received from the penny machine attendant earlier we headed back to our car and drove over to Hollywood Studios.

   

Once in the park we headed right now Sunset Boulevard towards the Rockin’ Roller Coaster, and went in to the Rock Around the Shop to find the above machine.  The penny design was of the Fantasmic Dragon.

   

Just across the courtyard underneath the Hollywood Tower Hotel is the Tower Hotel Gift shop.  Towards the back of the store where the Tower of Terror exits is where the next machine was found.  This was a nice design with the Hollywood Tower Hotel pressed on a quarter.  Unfortunately that was all we had time for on Saturday and had to head home which worked out well anyways as I was running low on spare coins I always bring “just in case”.  Sunday we got up early and headed to our first stop.

   

The All-Star Sports resort has a whole wall of pressed coin machines just outside the Game Point Arcade.  The first machine had the new 2019 design of Goofy pressed on a quarter.

   

Just a short drive away we headed into the All-Star Music resort for the next pressed quarter with Minnie Mouse.  This machine can be found just outside the Note’Able Arcade.

   

The third resort is the All-Star Movies and the machines are all in the World Premier Food Court.  This resort had another pressed quarter design, but this time with Donald and a box of popcorn.  I will admit that I screwed up at this resort.  I just pressed the quarter design and left for our next stop.  After I got home I found out online that there was also a new 2019 penny design here.  So I had to go back the next night after work to get it.

   

Here is that pressed penny of Plus that I completely overlooked.  This should have planted a seed in my mind that maybe this year some of the locations would change (some in fact did) but I wouldn’t realize that until a few days later.

   

Next we drive over to the Animal Kingdom park (it’s not a zoo) and found the new penny in the same spot as last year at Chester and Hester’s Dino Treasures store.  The design is of the Tree of Life.

   

We then walked almost to the far opposite side of the park into Africa near the Harambe Railroad Station.  Currently the train is not operational as they are renovating Rafiki’s Planet Watch, and the pathway back to the train station is now where you can find a handful of Wilderness Explorer tables to earn badges (a free activity you can do in the park).  The cast will question why you are heading back to the train station that isn’t working, but just let them know you are using the penny press machines and they will let you by without any issue.  Thankfully the machine is now outside the station so it can be easily used.  The design is of Pluto on a pressed quarter.

   

A few days passed before I heard about the next machine which was at a new location, the Art of Animation Resort.  This resort has a pretty good food court so I headed over after work for some dinner and to check out the machine.  It’s located right as you walk into the Landscape of Flavor food court.  This is also a bit of a unique dated design.  Not only does it have the year 2019 with Daisy Duck but it also has the Art of Animation resort logo on it.  Guess this one won’t be relocated any time this year.

   

The next pressed penny was also at a  new location this year the Polynesian Village Resort.  On the second floor of the Grand Ceremonial House just outside the Moana Mercantile store.  The penny has an image of Minnie Mouse.

   

As you can probably guess the last three designs were in the Magic Kingdom.  First was in the Main Street Emporium the same place as last year.  The image on this penny is of Chip and Dale.

   

The second machine is about halfway through the Main Street emporium which is another new location for a 2019 design.  This is a pressed  quarter machine and the image is of Mickey in the Zero of 2019 just like the penny design in Epcot at Disney Traders.

   

This last penny machine was found in Fantasyland behind Cinderella’s Castle at the Sir Mickey’s gift shop (same as last year).  However this machine proved to be quite a pain for me to acquire.  The first time I visited it was jammed, so I went back a couple of days later and it was out-of-order again.  I waited a few more days and finally on my third visit I was relieved to find it quite operational.  The pressed penny has Mickey Mouse strutting his stuff over the year 2019.

So that makes for a total of 7 pressed quarter designs.

and 9 pressed penny designs.  For you math wizards out there that is a total of 16 press coins for 2019 which is one more than last year.  I’m not going to lie, I was actually hoping they may release 19 designs for 2019 but I’m happy with what we did get.  Plus with a few of the designs at different locations this made finding them a bit more challenging that I actually enjoyed.

Here is a picture of all 16 of the pressed coins for 2019.  There are a few designs that are the same on a penny and quarter, but I think it’s still a really nice set for this year.  At the time of this posting all the 2018 designs have been removed and retired so if you were missing any you will most likely have to check out eBay.  I say this every year with these dated sets, but make sure you get them before they are gone.

We have almost a full year but you never know what could happen.  Plus 2019 is going to bring us Star Wars Land (Galaxy’s Edge) and I’m hoping maybe I can use the force or a light saber to press some new coins but we will find out later this year when that new land opens.  Last year was a record number of new pressed coins released in WDW and I’m hoping 2019 will be even bigger.  Stick around and I’ll be sure to share news of all new pressed penny machines through the year and of course we will go on some other adventures along the way.

2018 Holiday Nickels – Disneyland and California Adventure

This is going to be a quick post because well the holiday’s are over and we have a  lot of other things to see and do with the new year upon us.  But these coins were part of a strange situation that we don’t know much about and made them a bit of a hot commodity this year.

On December 21st it was reported that the pressed nickel set was released in the California Adventure park at Jolly Trolley Treats on Buena Vista Street.

As always they have a nice backstamp on each of the pressed coins with a bit of holiday decoration.  I only noticed after taking the above pictures of this set that the Mickey and Minnie designs go together with Mickey holding some Mistletoe and Minnie leaning in to give him a kiss.  Kind of a cute set within the set.

Then Christmas came and went with no Disneyland set.  Followed shortly after by New Years coming and going and still no Disneyland set.

Then on January 2nd the Disneyland Holiday Nickel set finally appears in the Main Street Penny Arcade.

Similar backstamp for the Disneyland coins, and to be honest even the front designs are very similar with the characters just in different positions.

The strange thing is that these coins were then pulled off-stage only a week later on January 8th.  So these sets were only available for a very short time, especially the Disneyland set which was only a week.  Luckily I was able to get a set from a friend in California, but just be aware that if you are looking for these on eBay or another aftermarket merchant the cost may be higher than usually due to this limited availability.  I’m not sure if there was a problem getting the designs made, or if they had to scrap other designs and that’s why we got similar ones.  Either way it was still nice to keep this annual tradition going and hopefully next year the machines will be available for just a bit longer allowing more people to press a set.

Main Street Confectionery – Magic Kingdom

As we got closer to Christmas and the new year we had family in town which is always a great time but very busy.  Plus my job has its busy time of year leaving up to January 1st so there was a lot going on.  To top things off I was anxiously waiting for the new 2019 pressed coin designs (detailed post coming soon!), so I was surprised when a new machine made an appearance in the Magic Kingdom.

My sister and her family didn’t need much convincing to visit the Magic Kingdom that evening after I was done with work.  But we knew that being this close to the holidays the crowds of guests was going to be pretty crazy.

I always think the Magic Kingdom looks beautiful at night with all its lights on, and Main Street seemed even more magical.

If you are familiar with the current location of the penny press machines along Main Street, most of them are along the left side (when you are facing the castle).  This new machine though was in the Main Street Confectionery on the right side and maybe starting a new set of machines along that side.  There are quite a few shops along that side that have plenty of room for some machines.

Inside the Confectionery is like being in a candy factory.  All the shelves are stuffed with candy apples, popcorn, cotton candy and bags of all kinds of sweets.

In the back you can see some cast members working on a fresh batch of caramel apples.

Each of these stores connect to one another so you don’t need to go outside and back inside.  Rather there are just connecting doors in the wall, and on the far side of the Confectionery by this door was where the penny machine was located.

The cabinet of the machine is a plain white design.  I was hoping it would have candy themed designs on it, but the theming of these new machines doesn’t seem to go into that amount of detail unlike some of the older style machines.

Thankfully the store wasn’t too busy.  I think mostly because everyone was outside on Main Street were preparing for the fireworks.  I walked right up to the machine and pressed my coins.

The designs on the pennies in this set are really cute, and do fit in with the location of the machine.  The set includes images of your favorite Disney characters enjoying some sweet treats.  Mickey and Donald with Candy Apples, Goofy with some Candy Canes, and Minnie with Ice cream just to name a  few.

I have only been in this store a handful of times.  Usually with my kids on visits to the park we avoid candy stores whenever possible.  But it’s really a fun store, and if you have a sweet tooth it’s a place you can load up on some enjoyable treats.

I walked outside just in time to see some of the fireworks above Cinderella’s Castle.  We live close enough to the parks that most nights we can hear the fireworks, but there’s nothing like being there in person to see them high in the sky.

Now it was time to hit up some rides and maybe find a savory snacks, I think I had enough candy for one day.

Festival of the Holidays & France Pavilion Penny Machine Returns

Quick side note.  The below is something I wrote up earlier in December but just didn’t get a chance to post it.  I had planned on writing something else for this week, BUT Walt Disney World decided this was the week they were going to release all their new 2019 pennies and quarters.  So all week I’ve been heading in and out of the parks and resorts looking for the coins.  Full review will be coming as soon as I can.   In the meantime enjoy the below even though it’s a bit late in celebrating the holidays.
Have a wonderful 2019!!
————————————

Still being relatively new Floridians, my family is still finding it hard to get into the Holiday spirit.  Coming from New Jersey we had the transition from summer into fall with the changing of the leaves and cooler weather, then into winter with lots of snow.  But now in Florida it pretty much seems like summertime all year round.  There are some things we have found that help, but our favorite has been the Festival of the Holidays and Candlelight Procession in Epcot.

The decorations around the park are always a nice touch, and the topiary that are common for each festival in Epcot are always really amazing.

As you head through the middle of Future World you can see the top of the Christmas tree just near the entrance to World Showcase.

You always want to make sure you pick up the passport for the Festival.  This will contain information about the different Holiday storytellers, show times, and most importantly the food booths.

We checked out a few of the booths this year.  One we always visit is near the Canadian Pavilion and this year is called the Yukon.

We tried the French Canadian classic tourtiere which is like a meat pie filled with Beef and Pork with a housemate ketchup.  To offset the savory dish we tried some Ice wine from a winery called Inniskillin located in the Niagara Falls region of Canada.  The tourtiere had the familiar holiday spice and flavor I remember from my childhood in Canada and it was a nice treat.

There is also a cookie stroll you can partake in.  There are six cookies available at specific food booths around the World Showcase.  The cookies were only a few dollars each.  When you purchase your cookie, make sure they stamp your festival passport.  Once you have had all your cookies there is one last Completer cookie to get which is accompanied by a cold bottle of milk.

I mentioned previously about the Holiday Storytellers.  These are done by performers in some of the pavilions that tell stories or sing songs about the holiday celebrations from their home countries.  We headed to France and loved the stories told by Père Noël.

As a side story this our Holiday adventure through Epcot, I had heard a rumor that the pressed penny machine in the France Pavilion had returned.  So I took a quick trip into Les Halles the gift shop and patisserie to check it out.

Sure enough in the back of the shop where it used to be was the machine.  The cabinet has changed but the two designs were still the same.

The two designs are of Mickey with the Eiffel Tower, and the France Pavilion.

Now if you have been following my travels there was a post a year or so ago about a secret penny that was available here in the France Pavilion.  You can read about it here.

As I pressed a new set of pennies at this machine I watched the dies inside the machine turn and noticed the third secret die was still inside.  I was hoping this would mean that the Agent P interactive game that you used to play to get this coin would be reactivated.  However after chatting with some fellow collectors online the rumors are that the Agent P game will be going away in the near future and replaced with something else.  So unfortunately for now it appears there is no way to press this special coin.

After visiting the patisserie in Les Halles for my wife’s favorite chocolate croissants we headed to one last Festival food booth for a couple of items that we had been hearing good things about.

At the L’Chaim! booth there was quite a line which seemed to be a good sign.

First we tried the potato knish which I remember having in New York City on many visits.  This wasn’t as good as the authentic ones in NYC, but it was still really good.

The second items we tried at this booth was the Pastrami on Rye with a housemate picket.  This was really good.  I’m a sucker for Pastrami or Corned beef and really like this one.  I did with the portion was larger, but this is pretty standard size for the Epcot festivals.

We enjoyed the rest of the Festival around the World Showcase and eventually ended up in the China Pavilion at Nine Dragons restaurant for dinner.  We had booked a dining package for the Candlelight Processional that evening.  After dinner we headed towards the American Pavilion for the show and it was amazing. Our celebrity narrator was Neil Patrick Harris, but the stars of the show were the orchestra and choir.  The music and singing were really fantastic.

On our way out of the park after the candlelight procession I overhear someone say, “If that doesn’t get you in the Holiday spirit nothing will”.  I couldn’t agree more.

Jungle Adventures – Christmas, FL

Merry Christmas!!

Ok this is a bit of a stretch I’ll admit but when I was trying to figure out something to write about for this holiday season I was kind of drawing a blank.  I did find a new online penny vendor with some new holiday designs but that’s what I usually do, and this year I wanted it to be a bit different.  As I scoured the internet I was trying to see if there was a local Christmas festival or anything that may have a pressed penny design but kept coming up empty.  However eventually I did notice something on a map of central Florida during these searches, and found a little town called Christmas.

Yes you read that right, Christmas Florida is an actual place and it was only about an hour away from our house.  Plus the icing on top was that there was a roadside attraction in this town that had a penny machine.  The pieces were all falling into place.  Pennies, Christmas, and Alligators…sure why not.

Jungle Adventures is where we were headed.  It was a nice Florida “winter” day in the high sixties (sorry if you are from up north), and the as a nice change of pace from the usual Orlando traffic, there were not many cars on the road in this part of town.

As we turned off the highway we were greeted by Swampy the World’s largest Gator.  This is just the design of the main building that includes the gift shop and admission desk.  Quite the roadside attraction.  We got parked, headed inside to buy our tickets to the park and started our Adventure.

After leaving the main building we came to the Golden Gator Bridge that takes you over the water to the Wild Animal Island.  The green stuff on top of the water is called Duckweed that is a flowering aquatic plant that floats on still or slow-moving wetlands.  While walking over the bridge we could see quite a few gators just floating along very slowly.  Then on the other side we came face with some really big ones.

As you can see from the above picture the walkway allows you to get right up close to the fence but there are signs everywhere stating not to put your fingers in the case.  Seemed like good advice.

The fence is only 5 feet or so high, and I was able to reach over for some pictures.  The big guys didn’t flinch at all.  I was worried they may move around a bit as we got closer but they must be used to all the attention.  There is staff all around to answer any questions and you can also buy various bags of food in the gift shop for feeding all the different animals.

There were a couple Florida Panthers here as well, but just like our cats at home they were enjoying a nap which I’m sure is how they spend most of their day.

There is an elevated nature walk along this boardwalk.  Thankfully it’s all screened in at the bottom to keep you safe.  This literally takes you right through the swamp.

There were a large amount of vultures here when we visited.  I’m sure they are there for the scape of food left behind, but they can be a little intimating as they are pretty big when you get close to them.

I saw this little guy resting on a branch just above the water and thought he looked pretty comfortable.  It was a little surprising that all the gators weren’t more active, and I think I maybe saw one moving slightly but that was about it.  A few times my daughter even asked if they were real, which I assured her they were.

After feeding some of the animals, and having a nice afternoon visit we headed back into the main building.  Inside the gift shop area was where the penny press machine was located.

It was a nice old school three design electric model.  The machine worked great and the pennies pressed very nicely.

The set of pennies included the Jungle Adventures Logo, a Gator and a Florida Panther.  This place isn’t huge, but does have a nice big collection of animals to visit with and learn about.  We have visited Gatorland which I believe has more gators, but at Jungle Adventure I felt like we were able to get much closer to the gators which may or may not have been a good thing.    They do offer a boat tour that gets you even closer to some of the gators, but it unfortunately was not operating during our visit due to inclement weather.

This was a classic Florida attraction, with some fun things to do and there was practically no one there.  I think we only saw 2 or 3 other families there which is a nice change from the more popular theme parks.

As I said at the beginning this was a bit of a stretch for a Christmas post but hope you enjoyed it.  Have a great Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone.  Stay safe and remember 2019 is just around the corner.  So many more pennies still to find and we have lots of things planned for next year.