Another beautiful day greeted us in Orlando and for our second full day we were headed to Epcot. But first we took the elevator from our room down to the 4th floor concourse to have breakfast at Chef Mickey’s.
This is one of those location that is a must do at least once. It’s a character meal and we obviously opted for the breakfast buffet that consists of pretty standard Disney items. The main reason to visit is an up close and personal visit with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald and Pluto. We met each one in turn and they never rushed to the next table. We got lots of great pictures and asked for each of their autographs to continue filling up our books. Above is a picture of my niece Ava with Minnie Mouse.
With breakfast done we jumped on the monorail and headed to the ticket and transportation center where we had to get off one train, walk down a ramp, then up another ramp to an adjacent monorail that would take us over to Epcot. It seems like it took a long time, but in reality was only about 15 minutes before we were wandering up to the giant golf ball…uh sorry Spaceship Earth.
We had a Fastpass coming up for Spaceship Earth but did have a little time to waste. So we didn’t want to wander too far and chose to wander around Innoventions East. There were some interesting exhibits that the kids loved playing with. I slowly made by way around to the far side of the building where the two penny machines were located. The first machine was located by the Video Playground, and the second was near the exit across from the Great Piggy Bank adventure.
Both machines were hand crank models with 4 designs each. Machine #1 had: Phineas and Ferb, Spaceship Earth with Goofy outside, Agent P, and Duffy the bear. Machine #2 included: Mickey’s face, Phineas and Ferb, Figment and Agent P. Our Fastpass time had started so walked back to Spaceship Earth and got on with very little wait (Thank you again Fastpass).
After that we headed over towards Soarin’ but already it had over an hour wait. Since we already had a Fastpass schedule for Test Track later in the day we weren’t allowed to have one for Soarin’ at the same time. Instead we checked out the Livings Seas to ride Nemo & Friends. This is an interesting ride that takes you through the large aquarium but projects the Nemo characters in a way that they seem to actually be swimming in the tanks with all the real aquatic creatures. Once the ride was over in classic Disney strategy we exited through the gift shop which worked in my favor since there were two more machines located here.
First was a 4 design penny machine with: Mickey in a scuba suit, the Seagulls (“Mine, Mine, Mine”), Crush the turtle, and Nemo, Dory & Marlin. The second machine had 3 designs all on quarters: Nemo, Dory and Crush.
At this time we just started wondering around. We were saving the World Showcase for later that night so we were avoiding that area for now. Our kids came across a playground area with some topiary that looked like the Monsters, Inc characters Mike and Sully. Knowing this would keep them busy for a while I quickly headed over to use some other machines. On the far side of the dancing fountain behind Spaceship Earth is the Mouse Gears store. Inside were 2 machines I was interested in.
Both machines were working perfectly and I quickly pressed my sets. The first machine had 3 designs: Mickey and Spaceship Earth, Anna from Frozen, and 2015 Donald Duck. The second machine also had 3 designs: Mickey with his Passport, Spaceship Earth, and Kristoff from Frozen. With two more machines successfully collected I received a text message from my family that they were heading towards Test Track since our Fastpass time was ready. We had intended to bring my daughter Hanna and niece Ava on but unfortunately they were about 1 inch too short. Grandma decided to stay with the kids while we went on the ride. It had been a few years since I was last on it and the inside had changed a little bit, but I always love when you head outside onto the track for a quick race around the building with the wind whipping through your hair. Once the ride was over we were taken through the gift shop and right before the exit doors was the penny machine.
I always like the cool blue color of this machine’s cabinet. There were 3 designs: Mickey with Test Track shirt, Mickey in Test Track car, and Goofy sitting by a caution cone. We were approaching lunch time and decided to head to the closes pavilion which was Mexico. They have a great outdoor quick service restaurant called La Hacienda. After indulging in a few margaritas and some tacos, Hanna was getting a little fussy due to complete exhaustion. While my family finished eating their lunch I took her for a quick walk inside the Mexican pavilion to look around. Near the central marketplace inside is the penny machine. Hanna helped me press the coins but I could tell she was even too tired to do this.
Another 3 design machine with the following: Mickey wearing a Sombrero, Duffy wearing a poncho, and Mickey in front of the Mexican pavilion. I walked Hanna back outside and met up with our family. They were ready to head back to our resort for an afternoon nap before coming back for dinner.
A few hours later we were back in Epcot and headed over to The Land where Soarin’ if located. The stand-by line was still crazy (over 2 hours) but we were actually there to try the Garden Grill for dinner which is a revolving restaurant. After we checked in for our reservation we still had to wait a few minutes for them to get our table together. In the large waiting area were the 3 penny machines I had waited all day for.
Machines 1 and 2 shared the same large cabinet. First was the penny machine with 3 designs: Belle, Doc and Chip & Dale. The quarter machine also had 3 designs: 2015 Nemo, Merida from Brave, and Mickey riding Soarin’. The third machine was a hand crank version with 4 designs: Gardener Mickey, Farmer Donald, Garden Grill Restaurant Logo, and Soarin’ Logo.
The food was pretty good. It’s a family style restaurant with all you can eat portions. You get a big plate of mashed potatoes, turkey, steak and fish. Then once finish off the plate they bring you another one, and another, until you have had enough. While stuffing ourselves with the food we got to meet some characters that stopped by to say hi. There was Chip and Dale, Farmer Mickey, and Pluto.
After dessert we rolled ourselves outside and were grateful to have the long walk around the World Showcase next on our list. As we made our way towards the World pavilions I first stopped in to the Disney Traders and next door neighbor the Port of Entry store to use the machines.
The Disney Traders machine had the following designs: Olaf from Frozen, Mickey with the Epcot Logo, and Mickey Goofy & Donald holding a globe. The Port of Entry machine also had 3 designs: Mickey with a suitcase, Uncle Sam Mickey, and Duffy wearing a Chinese outfit.
Now we were ready for the world pavilions. Being originally from Canada this is of course where we decided to start. Since we had a lot of places to visit we didn’t stay to long in any of them, mostly just going into each gift shop and looking and what they had to offer. Lucky for me this is also where all the penny machines are located.
The machine in Canada had designs of: Mickey wearing a Mountie hat, Canada Pavilion, and Duffy wearing a Canadian outfit. Next up was the United Kingdom, this machine had the following: Mickey with Big Ben, United Kingdom Pavilion, and Duffy wearing a kilt and hat.
My family continued towards the France pavilion but I quickly stopped over at the International Gateway which is a back entrance to Epcot and will take you to the Boardwalk Resort and Yacht and Beach club if you don’t mind walking or waiting for a boat. There are some great places and things to do over there if you ever need a break from Epcot.
This machine had a unique cabinet to it that I don’t remember seeing before. The designs were: Mulan, Mickey at the China Pavilion, and Elsa from Frozen. With this machine completed I quickly ran to catch up with everyone at the France pavilion. They were checking out the decadent desserts available in the patisserie. I wandered over to the penny machine and pressed another set.
This is another very unique machine. As you can see from the picture there are only 2 designs pictured on the marquee, Mickey by the Eiffel Tower, and the France Pavilion. However for those in the know, there is actually a third design available. The only way to get it is to play the Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure. There is a little phone type unit you obtain clues so you can catch the evil Doofenshmirtz. The clues are completely random, but one you can obtain is if the game takes you to the France pavilion and you place the phone device up to the penny machine. No coin is required as the machine will automatically start pressing a secret design for you. Yes this coin will give you assistance with your clues, but for pressed coin collectors this is a very cool collectible. I have managed get a couple in previous visits, but didn’t have time this trip to play the game for a shot at another one.
Next up was Japan. There are two pretty new machines at this location. One is located right outside the gift shop, and the other is by the stairs that lead up to the Katsura Grill.
Both machines need your manual strength to press, but will give you 4 designs each. The first machines has: Mickey in Japan, Minnie with a Tiara, Duffy wearing a Kimono, and Mickey & Minnie kissing. The second machine has: Minnie wearing a Kimono, Mickey wearing a Kimono, Mickey in a Samurai outfit, and Daisy with a Japanese hand fan.
Our next stop was the American Adventure, by this time unfortunately everyone was starting to get tired and were looking forward to heading back to the hotel for the evening. So as they kept walking I quickly ran into the Heritage Manor Gift shop and pressed the coins.
This machine actually had quite the line I had to wait in. Luckily everyone ahead of me seemed to only be pressing one design each so I pressed my coins after only a few minutes waiting. The machine had 3 designs: Patriotic Mickey, Mickey with a Baseball cap, and Baseball player Duffy. Next up was Germany and the Der Teddybar Toy Shop (I think I spelled that correctly).
I almost missed this machine. Usually they are located right near a doorway, but this was in the middle of the store. Thankfully a nice cast member helped point me in the right direction. Three designs were: Mickey wearing a hat with a feather, German Pavilion, and Duffy wearing a German outfit.
Only one more pavilion to go and it was Norway. This one my family did actually take some time to explore. We used to love the Maelstrom ride that was here but it has recently been closed down to make way for a new Frozen ride. We took the kids in to the gift shop to see the huge troll and take their picture with it. I don’t think they like the troll too much but it made for a funny picture.
The machine was located right inside the main door to the shop and my niece Ava helped me press the coins. This may be just wishful thinking but I think she was getting the hang of the machines. I had decided to bring a lot of extra change so help get her collection started and she liked picking out the different designs and helped find some of the machines.
I thought these may be all Frozen designs by now, but only one had changed. The designs included: Mickey wearing a Viking hat, the Norway Pavilion, and Anna & Elsa from Frozen.
It had been a long day and we managed to visit every pavilion and do almost everything we wanted to at Epcot. It would have been nice to go on Soarin’ but since it is one of the most popular rides in Epcot we just couldn’t justify the 120 minute standby time. Maybe next time. We headed back out to the monorail and made our way back to the resort to relax for the rest of the evening.
At the end of each night I always tried to catalog the coins I had collected and information on the machines just to keep things organized and a little easier to manage when we got back home. But this night I was completely exhausted and went to bed early. Tomorrow was another busy day with plenty of coins to collect.