Wyndham Hotel Disney Springs Resort Blvd | Update

A few years ago we took a penny pressing trip down the Disney Springs Hotel Plaza Boulevard visiting what they called the “Good Neighbor” hotels.  These are hotels that are not owned or run by Disney, but due to a special agreement those guests are allowed some of the special perks set aside for Disney resort guests.  In years past these hotels did not have a pressed penny machines, then what seems like all at once each of them received their own machine with Disney themed designs which you can read about here.

Then not too long ago some of these machines started disappearing during the Covid shutdown and at one point only one machine was still available at the Wyndham Hotel.  Some fellow collectors had reached out asking for an update on the machines down this boulevard so I took a day to do some exploring.

As with most of the Disney resorts they don’t allow parking at the hotels is you are not a guest, or if they do have public parking there would be a fee which I wanted to avoid.  So I parked for free at Disney Springs and then walked over the sky bridges towards the Good Neighbor resort area.

I certainly got my steps in on this day as it’s quite a walk up and down the boulevard, but as had been reported most of the penny machines had been removed.  That was except for at the Wyndham hotel.

As I headed inside this hotel I found the machine almost immediately as it was just in the middle of the main lobby.  On my previous visit to find this machine it was in the gift shop which you can read about here.

The penny designs were unchanged, but the cabinet of the machine had been repaired to a nice new coat of white paint.  Previously this has been painted red.  I will say it does seem to match better with where it’s located now in the lobby.  The Disney gift shop was closed and all markings were removed.  From information I found online Disney has decided to close all of their off-site gift shops in these good neighbor hotels.

Usually I would have just left after seeing this machine in the main lobby, but our friends over at Presscoins.com had posted that a second machine was here but in a location that was not so obvious.  Just past the check-in area were the elevators.

To find this second machine you need to take the elevator down to level “P” towards the pool.

Once inside the elevators, as the doors close there is a cool image of Galaxy’s Edge from Hollywood Studios.    I love that area of the park so this was a fun little piece of advertising.

When the elevator lets you on level “P” there is a long hallway that will take you towards the pool and the penny machine along the wall.

There is not much else down here, so it’s definitely a hidden location for a penny machine meant to attract guests.

Similar to the machine up in the main lobby, it has received a new coat of just plain white paint but I think it works in this area.

This machine and the designs were previously located in the Holiday Inn Orlando hotel also on the Disney Springs Resort Plaza Boulevard.  The designs are unchanged, but it’s nice to see that they were relocated so guests can still press them.

I do hope to find that the other machines that were removed from these hotels are just relocated at some time in the future.  I also feel that the placement of this machine is a bit strange, but I guess maybe they don’t anticipate many outside visitors coming to the hotel just to press some pennies (am I the only one?).  If you are staying at this hotel I’m sure you would visit the pool at some point and would pass by the machine so you would know about it.  Hopefully this will help you find the machine should you want to press a set for yourself.

Thanks for checking in this week, stay safe and Keep on Pressing!

Inauguration Day 2021 – Pressed Pennies

January 20th, 2021 was host to the Inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States of America.  The event took place at the Capital Building in Washington, DC.

Biden took the Presidential oath of office, followed by Kamala Harris taking the Vice Presidential oath of office.  During this unique global situation we all find ourselves currently living in, the ceremony required certain health measures such as mandatory face covering, testing, temperature checks and social distancing to try and protect participants of the ceremony.

 

Above is a commemorative pressed penny.  Concept by Kelly Buchwald a TEC Member, then designs and pressed by Paul Connor Studios.  This was available to members of The Elongated Collectors Facebook page, and many other special elongated are frequently offered there so if you aren’t already a member hop on over there and join.  The Facebook group is free, and you technically don’t need to be a TEC member to join, but honestly you should join the club as well.

Congratulations Mr. President and Madame Vice President!

Gatorland Holiday Ho Ho Ho-Down | New Pressed Pennies

We are a couple weeks into 2021 and I just realized that I completely forgot to write about my visit to Gatorland’s Holiday Ho Ho Ho-Down event.  Hopefully you won’t mind a quick trip back to the Holiday season for this post.

Only in Florida can you celebrate the Holiday season at a theme park filled with Alligators.  This is definitely a unique experience, but I had a whole lot of fun here.

When Gatorland first reopens after being closed due to the 2020 Florida Covid quarantine, they introduced a their Social Distancing Skunk Ape who immediately became a guest favorite.  For this even Skunk Ape is back and helping to spread cheer throughout the park by singing (in his own way) classic Holiday songs.

Another special visitor to the park for the Holidays was Gator Claus with his custom Airboat sled pulled by a mystical rein-gator.

Both were available for socially distanced pictures that would make for a unique Christmas card.

In the middle of one of the gator lagoons was a nicely decorated Christmas tree, but I wouldn’t get too close with those gators keeping an eye on it.

Even if you weren’t interested in the holiday festivities there were still plenty of other things to do, and more gators than you probably want near you.

This is one of the gutsiest birds I have ever seen, just tagging along for a slow ride along the water.  But the gators don’t seem to mind as lease while I was watching.

Some of these gators are just enormous.  Look at this one above, the picture just doesn’t do it justice but wow some of them are pretty intimidating.

On my very first visit to Gatorland a few years ago I wrote about the three pressed penny machines available and you can read all about it here.  These machines don’t change too often, so I was surprised to see a new machine on this visit.

The cabinet on this machine is the standard acrylic design, but the wrap and art work all around are great and obviously fit into theme of the park.  I really liked the top marquee of the machine with the gator eyes just watching you as you press your pennies.

This new set of penny designs are also fantastic.  The original machine that was here had some plain gator designs, but they have really stepped up the details and thought behind these new designs.  I love the first one which is the large gator mouth original entrance to the park.  Plus the gator wrester which is a must watch when visiting, the tortoise design is okay, and then the last design of the zip-line over the gator breeding marsh is great although a bit misleading as you don’t actually get that close to the gators.  But still a really nice set of pressed pennies.

Gatorland is a fun place to visit and I find myself there more often that I would have initially thought.  They are always changing things up and with new characters like Skunk Ape and Gator Claus I was just laughing at their antics which was amazing.  I can’t wait to see what they come up with for the new year, and will be keeping an eye on their pressed penny machines in hopes that we get even more new designs.  Be sure to stay out of those Florida Lakes and Keep on Pressing!

Sir Mickey’s Heroine NEW Pressed Penny Set – WDW Magic Kingdom

I wish I could say that I’m pretty good at predicting when Disney is going to release a new pressed penny machine.  But more often that not I’m caught by surprise at not just the designs they release but also the location.  This exact situation just happened at the Sir Mickey’s gift shop at the Magic Kingdom.

This cute little shop is located behind Cinderella Castle, and is also where you exit after meeting some of the Princesses at the Fairytale Hall.  The items in the shop are primarily Princess and Prince oriented.  It’s themed around a couple classic Mickey Mouse cartoon The Brave Little Tailor from 1938 and Mickey and the Beanstalk from 1947.  I loved this cartoon as a kid and even thought I had visited this shop many times in the past I don’t think I realized all the details that were here.

Each corner of this shop has some fun scenes from the cartoons including the above of Mickey climbing up the beanstalk, and underneath all sorts of items from his Tailor shop.

Princess Minnie is in the opposite corner looking beautiful in her Purple dress.  This is a very popular photo location, but is worth the wait.

This is probably the biggest detail (literally) in this the store that I never noticed until this most recent visit.  It’s of the Giant taking the roof off the shop and peeking inside.  This is just so cool for them to have included.

So why did Disney catch me by surprise with this new pressed penny machine?  Well it’s primarily due to the machine that was previously here.  They used to have a 3-design electronic machine that has been home to one of the annual dated designs.  I assumed (incorrectly) that the dated designs would continue here, but that was not the case.

Voila, instead of just changing out the dated design the entire machine was swapped out and now was home to a new 8-design machine.

The machine is in the exactly same location within the store as the old machine.  The cabinet does have a nice wood grain design that I think would look very nice in any castle.

Unfortunately there were no 2021 designs in this set, but the pennies are still a fun collection of Princesses and Heroines including Cinderella, Elsa, Anna Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and even Tinker Bell is here.  To be honest I would have preferred to have a set more themed around this shop with Brave Little Tailor Mickey, Princess Minnie and of course the Giant plus there are plenty of other fun characters from the cartoons to include.  But I guess these Princess designs are probably more popular for the majority of guests.

So now my big question is, what happens to the new 2021 penny design that would have gone here?  All the other 3-design penny machines have recently been converted over to $1 and those designs have remained the same (upcoming post about this soon). I’m a little concerned that the dated set may be getting slimmed down a bit with these machines being changed around and also the pressed quarter machines seem to be on the way out.  But time will tell and I’ll be here to share all the details as soon as I know more.  Happy Collecting and Keep on Pressing!!

Merry Christmas 2020

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!

This has been a unique year we have all experienced together, and the Holidays are no exception.  Hopefully, you are able to spend some time with your family and friends either in person or virtually as has become a bit of the norm lately.

To try and help spread a bit of Holiday cheer today I wanted to write real quick about a couple new pressed pennies I was able to purchase from our friends over at The Penny Depot.  The first penny is called Santa’s Reindeer names.  It has a nice reindeer silhouette in the middle and of course all of your favorite reindeer names around the border.

The second penny is not just a reminder about the Holiday spirit, but in my mind, it’s also a mantra for the upcoming year.  I chose to Believe we will get through this together, it may take a little longer than we would like or hope, but we will get there eventually.  Both of these pressed penny designs are available through The Penny Depot online shop and you can get them in either Zinc or Copper, and can even have a hole punched in it to make a charm.  They also have many other fun designs to celebrate different holidays, life events, or just some fun unique designs to add to your collection.

Please be sure to stay safe and have a Happy Holiday and Merry Christmas!!

Wreck-It Ralph 2 NEW Pressed Penny Set – Epcot

Just a week or so ago I headed over to Epcot for one last visit to the International Food & Wine Festival.  I had tried most of the items but there were a few that topped my list so I wanted to go back one last time and indulge.

After our tour around the World Showcase, we were heading back towards the front of the park and headed along the pathway just near the Canadian Pavilion.  As we walked my daughter asked, “Isn’t the Figment rides near here’s?”…Ugh!

She was referring to of course the Journey into Imagination attraction featuring a purple dragon called Figment.  Now I will admit I’m not the biggest Figment fan.  I do enjoy Figment as a character but the ride is terrible and in my opinion, he’s pretty annoying.  My fingers are crossed that they will “eventually” change this ride.  In the meantime, I indulged my daughter and went on the ride with her.  Thankfully it’s not a long ride but I always come out of there humming that song.

After exiting the ride you find yourself in the ImageWorks area of the pavilion.  Pre-Covid days this place would be packed with kids enjoying some of the interactive exhibits or more than likely to meet some characters like Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope.  Unfortunately for now there is nothing going on inside this space.  Guests just walk right through it into the gift shop and then back outside to the park.

For no apparent reason, we decided to just take our time in this area and enjoy it with no one around.  Eventually, we did head out towards the gift shop and I noticed that a new penny machine was placed here.  This location used to have a 3-design electronic machine but that had disappeared a couple years ago.

The designs of this design are all themed around the Animated movie Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet.  This would match a little better in this area if Ralph still had a meet and greet here, but currently, he is not here so the machine seems a bit out of place.  They have started to renovate a pavilion on the other side of Future World that will become the Play Pavilion and seems to be themed around movies like Inside Out, and Wreck-It Ralph so I would think this machine will be relocated over there once construction is completed.

Just on a quick side note, for anyone that would rather skip the Figment ride you don’t need to go through that to get the pennies.  Just walk around the side of the Imagination Pavilion and you will find the exit/entrance to the ImageWorks gift shop.  Head inside the penny machine is just past the merchandise area.

I do like this set and think the designs are cute, but find it kind of strange that this is the movie they are opted to released penny designs for.  Are there any other pennies with designs from another movie sequel?  I’ll have to think about that but I don’t think so.  Leave me a comment if you can think of one.

Thank you for checking in this week and I hope you had a fantastic holiday last week.  Enjoy, stay safe, and as always Keep on Pressing!

Harry Potter Pressed Pennies – Universal Studios Florida

Click here to watch our video on these new machines.
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Ok, I’ll admit it, I’m a Harry Potter fan.  Not a super fan, but I do really enjoy that whole world that surrounds Harry.  I remember watching the first movie and just needing to know what happens next so I ran out and brought books 2 and 3.  Read those, then went back to read book 1 because the book is always so much better than the movie.  Then the waiting started, for each new book in the series to be released every couple of years.  I would pre-order my book and get to the start for the midnight release.  Dressing up in character was not my thing, but I just wanted my hands on that new book and would have it completed in a few days.  That was me trying to take my time.

Eventually, the entire story came to an end, but with Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Diagon Alley, I could experience it in a whole new way.  Now I have visited every nook and crannies of both Harry Potter areas of the parks, drank my share of Butterbeer (Hot is my preferred version, followed by Frozen, and then Cold) drinks, ice cream, and fudge.  I’ve ridden all the rides except Dueling Dragons which is now closed.  All sorts of merchandise adorn our house, oh and by the way, my wife and I are both Ravenclaws in case you were wondering.  Basically, I’ve done almost everything there is to do here around Harry Potter.  But one thing I never thought I would be able to do is Press some special Harry Potter-themed pennies!

Years ago I remember asking someone about pressed pennies in these areas of the park but was always told it was something J.K. Rowling didn’t want in the parks.  I have nothing to back that up with other than just internet rumors.  But it did seem to hold true for a long time and I had pretty much given up on ever seeing them.

Then all of a sudden a few weeks ago I received a message on Facebook from a fellow collector Les G. who told me that new Harry Potter penny machines were being released at Universal.  I thanked him for the info, and immediately started checking other resources for confirmation but couldn’t find anything.  Then I received a message on Youtube from Kimmy M stating the same thing.  Now my interest was really piqued and decided what the heck, let’s go to Universal and check it out first hand.  I started over at Universal Studios and immediately went back to Diagon Alley.  Walking everywhere I could think of, in every store, around every corner, in the Leaky Cauldron but couldn’t find the machine.  Then I had a crazy idea that maybe the machine wasn’t in this area of the park due to that long ago rumor of J.K. Rowling not wanting them here, but maybe the workaround was to have the machines nearby.

I checked all the usual places and eventually headed into the main Universal Studios Store up near the front of the park.  Inside the store are different areas for all the different merchandise like The Simpsons, Trolls or The Secret Life of Pets and of course there is a big area of Harry Potter items.

Everything was pretty standard stuff, but I didn’t see a penny machine right away but after weaving in and out of the aisles I found it.

Thankfully I had come to the park pretty early so this store wasn’t too busy, and I was able to really take in this moment.

The machine had a nice wood cabinet that fits this area of the store, but in my mind just wasn’t quite as Harry Potter-esque as I would have thought/liked.  It would have been fun to see this slanted to one side as all the buildings in Diagon Alley or may be covered in wands or the Hogwart’s House Shields.  But that wasn’t going to stop me from getting these coins.

The designs in this set include each of the Hogwart’s House Shields (Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin), a Snitch, the Nimbus 2000, a Dementor, and Fluffy the 3-headed  dog.

Some of the information I had gathered prior to visiting was that there were to be three penny machines in total, one at Universal, one in Islands of Adventure, and the third in CityWalk.  What better way to get from Universal to Islands than to enjoy the Hogwart’s Express.

After departing the train, I entered the Wizarding World of Harry Potter but knew in my mind that the machine wouldn’t be back here.

However, that didn’t deter me from walking through anyway just to enjoy this place.  It’s really amazing and so much fun just like you are walking into the movies.

The machine was eventually found up at the front of the park in the main gift shop called the Trading Company.

Head inside and just make your way to the Harry Potter section.

The machine is situated near the School Robes up along one of the walls.

This second set of pennies has designs of the Nimbus 2001 Broom, The Tri-Wizard Cup, a Phoenix, a couple Dragons, the Golden Egg, and the Mirror of Erised.  These are definitely images that you would need to be quite the fan to recognize.  While I was pressing my pennies one of the team members came up and asked if I worked for the machine company because of all the pictures and video I was taking.  I said no just a collector and she was very nice to let me know about the other machines.

I mentioned I had the Universal set already and was heading to CityWalk next but she informed me that the third machine wasn’t available yet.  I thanked her and headed out but wanted to double-check CityWalk just to make sure, and she was absolutely correct.

Skip forward a week or so and I come across a post on Facebook in a Universal Passholder’s group mentioning the Harry Potter pennies.  In the comments someone mentioned that only 2 machines were available, but as the comments kept rolling in suddenly someone posted that the third machine was just released that day.  Well, that’s all I needed to hear and headed over after work.  Once I passed through security I headed directly to the Universal Store.

The Harry Potter section of this store kind of takes over about half of it.

Near the check out register area is a wall of Wizard Wands and the penny machine was just tucked away in that area.

As you might have guessed the wands are a hot item and this little area of the store got quite crowded shortly after I started using the machine.  This machine had the same cabinet design as the other two but in a lighter color.

As much as I liked the pennies with the Hogwart’s School Shields on them, this set overall was my favorite.  It just had a great selection of designs including Harry’s Glasses and Scar, the 9 3/4 Platform, the Deathly Hallows, the Sorting Hat, a Wand, the Firebolt Broom and of course Dobby the (Free) Elf.

I truely never thought I would see the day when Harry Potter pressed pennies would be released, and not just one set but three intotal.  That’s huge!  Of course I wish the machines were a little more themed, I would have loved to use my wand to active the machine, but I really don’t want to complain.  I’m so happy they were able to get these released and I know collectors and just casual park guests are going to love these.  Hopefully if they are as popular as I’m assuming they will be, we may see more in the future.

Have a great week and Keep on Pressing!

Happy Thanksgiving 2020!

This has been quite a year we have all experienced together.  But now more than ever I feel it’s very important to take some time and count our Blessings and be Thankful for everything we do have.  First off please know that I truly appreciate every one of you that stops by here week after week to check-in on my pressed penny obsession.  Whether you have been a long-time follower or have just recently come across these crazy stories I cannot express how much I feel blessed to know that you actually take a few minutes out of your day to read about my collection.  We do have a fantastic community here of collectors that I have enjoyed getting to know over the years.  I read all of your comments and appreciate you taking the time to reach out.

The above features pressed penny was shared by followed TEC Member Cindy Calhoun on The Elongated Collector’s Facebook page and I thought it was a great design to share.  It was designed by Elmer Anderson and is marked as design EA-10 for those of your collecting some private roller designs.

It’s about time to pop the turkey in the oven over here and enjoy some family togetherness.  This year we have been able to do that more often due to the limited time we head outside, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the work.  My family is truly the most important thing in my life but pressed pennies to come in pretty close behind.  Have a fantastic Thanksgiving and let’s hope we can get through the rest of 2020 as quickly as possible.  I’m definitely looking forward to more Penny Travels in the New Year!

Disney Junior NEW 8-Design Pressed Penny Set – Hollywood Studios

This past week we had some friends in town.  They are Disney Vacation Club members so this is an annual trip they look forward to each year and gives us a chance to visit and catch up while they are here.  I had asked for their schedule of which parks they would be visiting each day so I could try and book off from work and jumped on the day they were going to Hollywood Studios.  I knew they would be trying to get on the new Star Wars Rise of the Resistance ride and any chance I can get to go on that I’m there.

Disney had tested out a new process for getting a virtual queue spot to ride the attraction and you can now book it the same day in advance from anywhere.  In the past, I had to get to the park hours in advance to try and get one of those coveted queue spots and it just made for a very long day.  This time around we got the queue when it opened at 7am and I was able to more calmly head over to the park.

I had arrived a little early and decided to wander around while I waited to hear from our friends so we could meet up.  My first stop was back in the animation courtyard because I had heard from a friendly follower of this blog that a new penny machine had been spotted.

As soon as I walked through the Hollywood Studios archway into the courtyard I was greeted by Ariel and The Little Mermaid stage which is not currently open.  However, if you look closely in the above picture you can see a penny machine.

Unfortunately, when I walked closer I noticed that this was the 12-penny Heroines machine that has been available here for a few years.  To the right of this machine, you can see some security gates that are housing the In Character Shop.  Previously this machine was inside this shop and unavailable since the shop has been closed.  It was nice to see Disney decided to move this machine outside those gates so guests can pick up a set.

I was a little discouraged as I thought this may have been the machine thought to be new, but my penny machine senses were in high gear and I kept investigating the area.  Sure enough on the opposite side of the (Closed) In Character Shop, I saw another penny machine tucked away in the corner.

It turned out to be an 8-penny design touch screen machine.  The cabinet had a nice wood finish to it but other than that no special theme to it.  I feel this was a bit of a lost opportunity, can’t you see this themed after Doc McStuffins, wrapped in pink and covered in large band-aids.

The set of pennies are all themed around Disney Junion television characters like Mickey, Minnie, Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First, Jake and the Neverland Pirates.  I do wish they had included Vampirina she’s currently one of my daughter’s favorites or even the new Princess Mira.

With the pennies all pressed I headed back out in front of the Chinese Theater to meet up with our friends.  It was perfect timing as I was able to watch the Disney Junior cavalcade and I’m pretty sure Doc McStuffins waved directly at me.  We did eventually get on Rise of the Resistance and it was as fantastic as ever.  We had a great day and with our friends and of course finding new pennies to press just tops things off.

Keep on Pressing!

Aladdin NEW Pressed Penny Set – Magic Kingdom

Earlier this week I made a quick trip over to the Magic Kingdom so I could press some pennies for a friend of mine.  Other than getting these pennies I didn’t have much of an agenda which was supposed to make for a nice leisurely trip to the park.  All too often I’m rushing around the park, and you kind of forget about what a magical place you are in.  It is nice to every so often take your time and enjoy where you are.

On Main Street USA I stopped into the Starbucks for a coffee and then headed towards Adventureland.  I’m not sure why this is my preferred path, but I do find this is the direction I head more often than not.

There are quite a few great attractions in Adventureland, but one that holds a bit of sentimental value for me is The Magic Carpets of Aladdin.  This was the first ride we had taken our oldest daughter Hanna on when we first took her to the parks when she was small.  We don’t go on it very often anymore but I always look fondly on this ride every time I pass by.

Even though I was taking it easy on this visit, I still find myself visiting each penny machine just to make sure they are still there, or if any changes have been made.  In between the Swiss Family Tree House and the Magic Carpet ride is a machine that can be easily missed due to its location at the Island Supply Breezeway (restroom area).

This is a high traffic area most of the time since there are restrooms here and it’s a shortcut from Adventureland over to the Liberty Square area of the park.  But about halfway through this breezeway is where the penny machine is located.  When I walked into this area I immediately noticed the machine had been changed.  Previously this was a 3-design electronic machine with a change machine attached all in one cabinet.  That is no longer here (even the change machine is gone) and now a new 8-design machine is available.

The machine cabinet is just plain white and nothing overly special about the design or theme.  It is the newer touch screen versions we have come to know so well and are definitely becoming the new normal in the parks.

The designs on the pennies are all themed around one of my favorite animated movies Aladdin.  The images include Aladdin, Princess Jasmine, Genie, Iago, Abu, and more.  This is a really great set and I’m so glad it was released.  I think this will be a very popular machine.

After pressing the pennies I made the executive decision to jump in line and take a spin on a magic carpet.  It would have been more fun if my daughter was with me, but that’s okay it was still fun and I’ll be sure to take her on the next time we are in the parks.  Happy Collecting and Keep on Pressing!