Weeki Wachee Springs State Park Florida

Over the last few years my family decided on our weekends to explore some State Parks around where we live in Florida. It was partly to give ourselves a little break from the theme parks (gasp!!), but also just to check out new places, get some fresh air, a little exercise and really just be able to spend some quality time together. As an added bonus, I found that many of the Florida State Parks have pressed penny machines which I of course collected. Here we are many months after these trips and I realized that I never shared them with you. There were quire a few to chose from but I wanted to share a pretty iconic spot and that is the Week Wachee Springs State Park.

This place is primarily know for it’s iconic mermaids, but let’s hold off on that nugget of info for a little bit. First let’s take a little walk around the property to see what all is here.

Just like many State Parks there were plenty of nature trails to hike, picnic pavilions to enjoy some lunch and a lot of open space just to just enjoy the great outdoors. This place however also has a pretty large water park on one side. There is a small fee to enter the State Park, and then an additional cost for the water park area. Since this was our first visit we opted to just stick with the main park and the mermaids..sorry, sorry I know we will get to them soon.

After walking some of the trails and enjoying our lunch we headed back towards the main entrance area where there was a pretty large gift shop. Just outside the main doors was where I found the pressed penny machine.

This was certainly a unique looking machine. I have used similar styles on other trips, but this pain color was definitely a choice. I was also surprised to see there was no marquee sign across the top showing off the available designs. Instead you kind of had to look at the small wheel just above the coin tray to see what you could get.

The side of the machine had some very pretty art work showing off the name of the park, and a few of its special residents.

The penny designs pressed very nicely which was a bit of a relief. I’ve had issues with this style of machine in the past. The designs showed off a few of the famous mermaids, and then a fearsome Pirate which is part of the local lore for the park.

Now it was time to check out the Mermaid show. There is a pretty large theatre that you really can’t miss. There are specific showtimes that are posted, and I would definitely recommend getting in line a bit early as they do fill up pretty quickly and you don’t want to miss out.

When you enter the theatre you will walk down some steps to find any available seat. I would say that ones towards the middle are your best option, but we sat along the one side and were able to see the show just fine.

Once the show starts the large curtains along the viewing window are drawn up and you can see that we are looking directly into the natural springs with our new mermaid friends.

The show goes on for about 20 minutes or so but it’s a lot of fun, and really impressive to see in person. There are plenty of mermaids putting on an underwater acrobatic show telling some history of the State Park mermaids and even includes a sea monster at one point.

They also do have some meet and greet times with the mermaids that is completely free to visitors. My daughters really enjoyed meeting a few of them, and they were so sweet and were not rushed away. This was a really fun trip to a classic Florida roadside attraction and beautiful State Park. We will definitely be back in the future, but until then we have quite a few more State Parks to visit so stay tuned and Keep on Pressing!

Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort Medallions

I want to apologize for the extended time it took me to post about this “New” medallion machine. Back in May 2022 after the All-Star Sports Resort had finally reopened they released first a new pressed penny machine that you can read about here, quickly followed by a new collectible medallion machine. With everything going on I made sure to review the new penny machine, but completely forgot about the medallions. So that’s what we are going to focus on in today’s adventure, plus there is currently a bit of a unique situation happening to this machine.

When I used to live in New Jersey and visited Walt Disney World, most of my visits I stayed at one of the All-Star Resorts. I believe I only stayed at Sports once, but they are all pretty much laid out in a similar fashion. There is one main building with the check-in, gift shop, food court, and arcade, then all the guest rooms are in various buildings nearby.

The penny and medallion machines can be found in this main building just outside the Game Point Arcade.

The cabinet for the new medallion machine has the same color scheme as the pressed penny machine. These colors are very close to the rest of this main building making them fit in nicely with the surrounding asthetics.

There are four medallion designs available at this location and they are all, as you may have guessed, sports themed. Goofy playing basketball, Cheerleader Minnie, Football Donald and Mickey playing soccer.

I love the design on the reverse side of the medallions that has the All-Star Sports resort logo and trophy design. These are really a fun set of coins, and I hope we see similar themed designs at the other All-Star Resorts, Music and Movies, in the future.

Now lets talk about this machine in it’s current state. As I mentioned these new sports themed medallions were available starting back in May 2022 and were there for a few months. But recently I was informed that those designs are no longer available and have been replaced with some 50th Anniversary designs.

First let me explain that these are NOT new 50th anniversary designs. These are duplicates of ones we have already found at other locations.

Above is a picture I took of the currently available medallion designs at the All-Star Sports resort. Mickey and Minnie are currently also available at the Port Orleans Riverside resort, Goofy is at Hollywood Studios in the Tower of Terror gift shop, and Donald can also be found at Disney Springs in the Pin Trader store.

So what happened, well I have a couple theories. First is that the Sport themed designs sold out or had low inventory so they replace them with some 50th anniversary designs to ensure the machine had coins to sell. Nothing worse than having a machine that can’t be used, and we saw this a few times earlier this year where they moved certain designs around when ones were out of stock.

Second possibility is that with the 50th Anniversary starting to head towards it’s completion in early 2023 I’m sure they have plenty of the 50th medallions that they want to do everything they can to sell off so they are putting them in as many machines as they have available.

Either way I would say that these 50th designs are not going to be in this location for very long. Once this stock either sells out or the 50th comes to a close, and I would then anticipate those Sports themed designs will return. Happy Collecting!

Honolulu Police Department 90th Anniversary Pressed Coin Set

My elongated coin collection is something I’ve worked on for many years, and is primarily made up of designs from large theme parks, zoos, aquariums and many roadside attractions. I love all of them, but something I had more recently found and been exploring more and more are privately designed coins. We have reviewed quite a few already here in previous posts and I’m not slowing down anytime soon. In one of the many pressed penny Facebook groups I’m a member of, another member posted about one of his design sets that I thought was really striking. So I reached out, placed and order and was blown away when they arrived in my mail. Let me introduce you to Michael Mochizuki and he coin designs.

Michael is a fellow TEC member, and is primarily a Hawaii collector of many different categories but his main interest being elongated coins, medals and tokens. He has been designing elongated coins since 2010 specializing in Hawaiian historical subjects and commemorating various Hawaii anniversaries. To date he has created over 250 designs which is truly amazing.

One thing about some of Michael’s coin sets is the beautiful information card giving a detailed explanation of the story behind the coin design. These are limited sets that are numbered, which I think this is a fantastic touch making these sets highly sought after.

Michael’s latest design commemorates the the Honolulu Fire Department. December 7th 1941 a Day of Infamy and Fire.

The story behind the Honolulu Fire Department is really an unbelievable one, and an important part of a very tragic day in our Nation’s history. The design on this coin has some amazing details including the Department shield logo, and the Purple Heart medal.

The set I received included not only a full denomination set of coins, but also a collectible chip. Michael has quite an amazing catalog of Hawaiian elongated coin sets similar in style and amount of detail to this one. I have already ordered a few more designs so we can take a look at those in future posts. If you are interested in checking out any of Michael’s available sets I have included a link to his Facebook group page here.

Thank you for checking out more privately designed pressed coins with me, I hope you find these as interesting as I do. There are so many talented designers in our community that we have plenty to find and review. As always Keep on Pressing. Mahalo!

Harry Potter Collectible Coin Album | Universal Florida

I’ve always really enjoyed visiting Universal Studios as far back as I can remember. In previous posts I’ve mentioned how much I loved their classic attractions like Kongfrontation, Disaster and of course the infamous Jaws ride. Unfortunately they have all been replaced with some great new rides and one not so great (ahem…Fast and the Furious Super Charged). I was certainly not happy when they decided to remove Jaws, and that wound still stings a bit from time to time, but when they replaced it with Diagon Alley and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter over in Islands of Adventure, theme parks would never be the same again. The design and theming is amazing, being able to use a wand to cast spells, the food and Butterbeer are great, and of course the merchandise is fantastic. It took some time but we did eventually get some Harry Potter themed pressed pennies not too long ago.

But there was something I was surprised they had not released and that was a themed booklet to keep your pressed pennies safe. Universal over the years has not had many options when it comes to these penny booklets or albums. Most are just the Universal logo and nothing else. Thankfully that has all changed with the release of a brand new collectible coin album designed around Hogwarts.

There are three Harry Potter penny machines, one in City Walk and then one each in the parks Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. On a recent visit I checked on all three machines and they each had a display on top filled with these new coin albums.

The cost is $12 which I will admit is quite a bitch cheaper than the nearby Disney versions. If you are an annual passholder your discount will apply to this item.

Embedded in the front cover of the album is a special pressed penny not available in any of the machines around property. The coin says Wizarding World and what appears to be an open book with the pages fanned out.

There are four pages with a total of 44 small plastic sleeves that you can insert your recently pressed pennies. It’s a perfect place for all 24 of the Harry Potter themed pennies, but of course you can store whatever other special pennies you have in here as well. Or maybe, we can expect more Harry Potter designs in the future?

On the last page page I noticed some larger sized plastic sleeves and thought maybe they were for the newer collectible medallions we have been finding at the parks. Once I got home I tested one out and sure enough they fit perfectly.

These new Hogwarts collectible coin albums seem to be pretty popular and I saw quite a few people picking them up. I don’t think these are a limited quality item and would assume these will be available for quite awhile. Hopefully we do see some more Potter pennies at some point in the future, and Universal please somehow figure out how to let me use my wand to activate the machine, or add it to an in-park game with a secret penny design like they used to have in Epcot with the Agent P game.

Now that I have my new album and full set of pennies I think it’s time to cool off with a Butterbeer.
Keep on Pressing

Elongated Coin Books and Catalogs

For many collectors it can be difficult to ensure you have collected and entire set of coin designs. We have many great resources like ParkPennies.com for Disneyland coins, Presscoins.com for Walt Disney World and Pennycollector.com for more general elongated coins around the country and internationally. However there are some more niche areas of the hobby that cannot be found within these online databases and instead we have found some unique books and catalogs to help with those areas of your collection.

First let’s check out the Yesterday’s Elongated book by Lee Martin and Dottie Dow. This is widely thought of as the main resource for early elongated coins.

This was originally published in 1981, and was then out of print for quite awhile before a second printing became available in 2004, and then a third printing in 2008. Each edition has a different color cover to help distinguish them.

Inside are hundreds of elongated coin pictures, and detailed descriptions of each design including information on different design variations. I don’t have many of these coins in my own personal collection, but I still enjoy paging through it and learning about all these different early designs that are floating around out there. If you are interested in a copy of this book you can get a copy from the TECNews online store here. There is a discount for TEC members, with instructions in the book description on how to get your discount if applicable.

Next we have a really amazing catalog that was created by fellow collector Rich Rich Bottles Jr and details Elongated Coins of West Virginia 1913 to 2021.

This is a spiral bound catalog with hundreds of high quality pictures of each elongated coin design. This includes many known coin designs available throughout West Virginia both retired and currently still available. There are descriptions of each coin, and details on the location.

I don’t personally have too many pressed pennies from West Virginia. However years ago my wife and I passed through on a vacation and I was able to get one from a Cabela’s Sporting Goods store in Wheeling, WV. Sure enough I found it inside this catalog as I had no doubt it would be there. This was certainly a passion project for Rich and I have heard he may have some similar versions for different US states in the works.

Our last entry for today’s book club review is this Penny Presses Mega List of Pressed Penny Machines. This is actually a book I have received quite a few comments and messages about asking if I had checked it out. Well now I have, and let me share some thoughts.

Upon first glance this appears to just be a compilation of the online database from the website Pennypresses.net. Now this is not a bad thing, as they state on the front this contains info on over 3000 penny machines across the United States. It’s organized by state, and then city to help you find machines that may be nearby your current location. But there is no information about how many machines may be at that location, how many designs are at the machine, or what type of coin can be pressed.

Here is just a quick example. On the above pictures page I checked out the entry for Disney’s Hollywood Studios but it just lists the address. There is no info on what machines can be found there. Now I’m sure you all know from my previous posts I spend quite a bit of time at the Walt Disney World parks and know that at Hollywood Studios they currently have over 25 machines, and almost 130 designs in total. Going of the above page only would make it very difficult to prepare for acquire the pennies at this location.

Another entry that caught my eye was at the Grand Floridian Resort and listed a machine (or more?) at the Boat Launch which I was pretty sure was not accurate.

Sure enough after a quick trip over to the resort I can confirm this entry was not accurate and there is no machine available at the Boat Launch. Now this was just a couple examples and I will admit that I skimmed through the pages for New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania that were my old stomping grounds and I pressed many pennies in those states. Those entries all appeared to be accurate based on my memory of the machines I visited in years past. I can only imaging that trying to maintain a list like this with over 3000 machines nationwide is obviously not going to be 100% accurate.

My recommendation is that this book can be a great starting point when you are trying to prepare for an upcoming trip or vacation with a few side stops to press some pennies. Use this in conjunction with other resources like pennycollector.com or even one of the elongated coin Facebook groups available. Members in those groups are always more than happy to help confirm information on their local machines.

One last item I wanted to review is that websites like pennycollector.com and pennypresses.net are heavily reliant on collectors and visitors to their sites. Most of the information is initially collected through a massive data import but as we found is not completely accurate. It then relies on us users to help update the information for other collectors. I did go on pennypresses.net to submit a comment about that Grand Floridian Boat Launch entry and hopefully this is a way they can update the information in their database. If you find any information on either of these websites that needs to be updated, please take some time to do so, your fellow collectors will thank you immensely for your effort.

Keep on Pressing!

Main Street Electrical Parade Medallions

Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to see hundreds of Disney fireworks shows and parades. Every so often they get changed or moved from park to park, but there is one that has always been my absolute favorite and that is the Main Street Electrical Parade.

Currently at the time of writing this post the Electrical Parade is running at Disneyland in California, and is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary. It has changed parks over time, and there were rumors it would arrive at Walt Disney World for our 50th anniversary but that did not happen unfortunately. Disneyland however has released some special merch to help celebrate the parades special anniversary.

For most guests the special merchandise can be found in various shops around the park like the Emporium, us coin collectors however find ourselves heading into the Main Street Penny Arcade.

Photo courtesy of ParkPennies.com

Years ago when I visited Disneyland last, I remember heading into the Penny Arcade and it was filled with pressed penny machines. Unfortunately those days are long gone and for the most part penny machines have been removed from this spot. Recently though a brand new Collectible Medallion machine has made an appearance.

These medallions are fantastic. I love that they show off some of the iconic vehicles and characters from the parade including the main band car, Firefly, Mr. Snail and my personal favorite Elliot from Pete’s Dragon.

The reverse side of each medallions has the above stating the Main Street Electrical Parade 50th anniversary. I am completely in love with this set and was thankfully that friend from our collecting community was able to grab a set for my collection.

As with all Disney celebrations the 50th anniversary of this parade will eventually end and I’m sure these coins will be retired as well. So if you are interested in a set I would make sure you try and acquire them as soon as you can. I’m still hoping that at some point this parade will make the trip across the country so I can see it again here in Florida. But until then at least I have these coins and my favorite dragon Elliot. Keep on Pressing!

NEW Star Wars Pressed Penny Set | Disneyland, CA

In a recent post we were spending a little time in the wild west over at Frontierland, but today we are back and jumping into the future with a visit to Tomorrowland for some out of this world new pressed pennies.

We didn’t need to go too far inside Tomorrowland before found Star Tours attraction (a class I enjoy to this day) but for this visit more importantly we needed to find the Star Trader store.

Outside of this store there are already two existing 3-design press quarter machines that we have taking a look at previously and you can check that out here. This visit however we need to head inside to find the new machine.

Photo courtesy of ParkPennies.com

This new machine cabinet is fantastic, and it looks like it could have come right out of a Star Wars movie, or removed from an Imperial Starship.

The penny designs included with this set include characters from both the original trilogy and new trilogy (someone the middle trilogy is overlooked…hmm). We can see Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, Vader, our favorite droids, Rey and Kylo Ren.

On the reverse side of each penny is this wonderful backstamp of the Star Wars logo. I’ve said it many times in the past, but I love these backstamps and wish that Walt Disney World here in Florida would do this.

As I was inspecting this new set of pennies the designs seemed very recognizable. Sure enough after a quick search I found that we had very similar designs here in Florida at WDW. The full 8 designs are actually split among two different machines here one a Hollywood Studios and the other at Disney Springs. In the comparison I created above you can see that they are very similar but the Disneyland version seems to have been updated and improved a little bit.

Thank you for tagging along on this galactic trip to Tomorrowland and tracking down these new Star Wars themed pennies. I would have loved to see all new designs instead of using these already released images, but at least they have that great backstamp on them. Enjoy the rest of your day, and as always Keep on Pressing!

Pixar’s Coco NEW Pressed Penny Set | Disneyland, CA

We are back inside Walt’s Original park Disneyland on the hunt for a new set of pressed pennies. As I mentioned in a previous post Disneyland has really started to pick up the pace with releasing new coin designs and hopefully they keep them coming.

We are skipping down Main Street and heading right into Frontierland. This was always my favorite land when I was young, and I still really enjoy it today. Across from the Shooting Arcade is a place called the Bonanza Outfitters.

Surrounding this store is a classic wooden boardwalk and that is where you can find the brand new pressed penny machine. It is not inside the store, but instead just outside on this boardwalk near the main set of doors.

Photo courtesy of ParkPennies.com

It’s a standard looking plain wood cabinet but I actually think it kind of fits well in this area of the park. I would have liked to see maybe a few bullet holes in the sides or mud kicked up around the bottom to finish off the theming, however I feel like maybe this is only a temporary location.

The penny designs available in this new machine are themed around the Pixar animated movie Coco which I absolutely loved. The colors were incredible and they are certainly pushing the envelope of what computer animation can do. As I mentioned this does seem like a bit of a strange location for a set of Coco pennies, so maybe these will be moved elsewhere in the future.

Of course can’t forget to flip over the pennies and take a closer look at the Disneyland backstamp. These coins just have the standard Disneyland Park logo which is nice, but also a bit strange. I mean it makes sense since that the park they can be found in, but why not have the Frontierland logo, even the Pixar and Coco logo.

All in all this is another great set of pressed pennies and I’m happy to see more Coco themed coins. We still have a few more new sets of coins for Disneyland on the way so don’t leave the park just yet. I’ll be back soon with more details. Keep on Pressing!

World of Disney NEW Pressed Pennies | Downtown Disney California

It’s finally starting to look like Disneyland is back in the swing of things with releasing some new elongated coin designs. There has been quite a period of time between new releases out on the west coast, but that is all starting to change with quite a few new sets arriving in the parks over the last few weeks.

Before we head into the parks, let’s first take a trip to Downtown Disney and stop in the massive World of Disney store.

Photo courtesy of ParkPennies.com

Inside this store you can find pretty much any type of Disney merchandise you could want, and previously there were two separate 3-design penny press machines located here. Those two machines are still thankfully available, but now they have added this brand new 8-design touch screen model.

I have seen fellow collectors referring to this set as the Disney Friends collection and I think that’s a great term for them. It includes many fan favorites like Aladdin & Genie, Pinnochio, Tinker Bell, Ariel and more. When I first saw these designs they looked very familiar, and sure enough these are very similar to a set we have here in Florida also at our World of Disney store which you can read about here.

The main different is that these designs list Downtown Disney at the top of each image instead of World of Disney Disney Springs.

There is one other big difference and that is the backstamp that is common among most of the Disneyland elongated coins. I love this addition to each coin, and wish they would do it here in Florida.

I’m very excited to see that Disneyland is back with some new penny designs and we do have a few additional sets on the way so stay tuned for those updates in the near future. Keep on Pressing!

Ben Franklin Beer Pressed Penny | Privately Designed

I have visited Disney’s EPCOT park hundreds of times either while on Vacation, or now as a local to experience one of their numerous festivals throughout the year. But one thing I have never done is try to Drink Around the World. This is an unofficial task that guests have been enjoying for years. Basically you head to the World Showcase, start at one of the country pavilions, grab a “local” adult beverage and continue your walking all around the showcase lagoon until you have visited all 11 countries.

So I will confess that I did complete this adventure, but to try and keep things safe and not make a complete idiot of myself I did this over a few different visits. This is probably against the unofficial rules of Drinking Around the World, but hey I’m the one doing it so I an adjust the rules as I see fit.

To help me track my progress I found this cute little lanyard on Etsy that I could wright down each of my selections for the different pavilions. Now I will save you from having to read my entire review of all the beers I tried on this journey (if you do want that check out our YouTube video linked at the bottom of this post). Instead I thought I would just show off a few that I really enjoyed and have actually been able to find outside the parks at my local stores.

First up was a beer I found at a snack cart just in-between the Mexico and Norway pavilions, outside the Frozen Summerhaus meet and greet area if you are familiar with that. This was the Einstok White Ale a witbier that uses pure Icelandic glacier water. It had a slightly yeasty taste with some orange flavors, very similar in my mind to a Blue Moon. It certainly hit the spot on this hot Florida afternoon, and I really enjoyed this one.

This next one is in the Germany pavilion and is an absolutely fan favorite. I have had this on numerous occasions in the past, and have even got some of my non-beer drinking family members hooked on this one. It’s the Schofferhofer Pink Grapefruit beer a hefeweizen that is very light, citrusy, fruity and sweet at all the same time. My local grocery store has this available so my home fridge is usually fully stocked.

Many of the other pavilions had some nice options, and I enjoyed most of them. There were a couple that were not really my taste preference, but I was able to end strong at the Canada Pavilion with this one that was available at the Festival booth. Glutenberg Blonde Ale that is brewed in Montreal Quebec and has a slightly dry taste but a nice citrusy flavor as well. I loved this one and wished I had splurged on the larger size cup, instead of the smaller 6 oz festival tasting size.

I had a really fun time Drinking “Safely” Around the World in Epcot. It’s a fun way to try some things that you wouldn’t normally try which is one of my favorite things to do at their food festivals. Now I will admit this entire challenge was really just a ply for me to show off this beautiful privately designed pressed penny from our friend, fellow collector and designer Bob Frazier. He created this to honor Benjamin Franklin’s 315th birthday that took place earlier this year. He was an American writer, scientist, inventor, statesman, diplomat, printer, publisher, political philosopher, and was one of the founding fathers of the United States, drafter and signer oft he Untied States Declaration of Independence. I’m sure with all that he was involved in Ben Franklin certainly enjoyed beer, and some credit him with saying “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” Did he actually say this? Who is to know for sure, but it’s a fun thought and I’m so happy to share this amazing penny design with you.

Thank you for for being my designated driver in today’s adventure, and I hope you enjoyed taking a look at Bob’s coin design. We have a lot of very talented friends in our community and I’m always happy to share them with all of you. Enjoy the rest of your week and as always Keep on Pressing!