Disney California Adventure Holiday Nickels 2015

As a special after Christmas gift I received a small envelope in the mail today and was surprised to find the second set of Holiday nickels from California.  These pressed coins became available just a short while ago in the Disney California Adventure park, and the machine can be found in the Los Feliz Five & Dime on Buena Vista Street.

DCA - Holiday Nickels 2015

The designs on these nickels include Mickey wishing everyone a Happy Holiday’s 2015, Minnie saying Season’s Greetings, and Mickey with a top happy New Years 2016.

This should complete the holiday nickel sets for this year, unless Disney decides to surprise us with another machine which is potentially possible.  But if the last few years are any indication this should be it, just one machine (3 designs) for each of the California parks.

Now I just have the painstaking task of waiting another 365 days before I can try to get next years coins.  But I’m sure I’ll find a lot of other coins between now and then which should keep me busy.  Happy Holidays!!

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Merry Christmas 2015!!

Amazingly my daughter is still asleep this morning, so I’ll try to type this up quick before she comes running down the stairs to see what Santa left for her.

I wanted to just wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, and hope you get everything you asked for and get to spend some time with your loved ones.

Merry Christmas 02

What did I ask Santa for this year?  New penny machines for 2016 of course.  Plus maybe new kitchen gadget I just can’t help myself.

Have a wonderful Christmas!!

Disneyland Holiday Nickels 2015

Isn’t this a wonderful time of year?  Originally being from Canada I was pretty used to having a white Christmas year after year, but this year the East coast has been hit with a warm spell.  Today was over 70 degrees which is pretty unheard of, but I’m not going to complain it’s just nice not to have to shovel any snow yet.

Another reason this is a great time of year is that the annual Disneyland holiday nickel set has finally made its appearance.  I was able to acquire a set from a follow collected in Anaheim and just received them in the mail today and I wanted to share them.

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The machine is currently located at the exit to the Main Street Opera House, but they are only available for a short time.  The nickels have some great detail to them.  The first image is of Santa Mickey and says Happy Holidays 2015, the second design is of Dumbo with a Candy cane held in his trunk.  The last image is of Mickey wishing everyone a Happy New Year 2016.

Be sure to pick up a set before the machine disappears for another year.  I started collecting these seasonal sets just a couple of years ago but I truly do look forward to their release each year.  They make a nice special set within the Disneyland collection.

Happy Holidays!!

Pennies for the Penny Press – Christmas in the City

A week or so ago I was checking out my Facebook feed wishing some friends a Happy Birthday, and “Liking” various photos of babies, and my personal favorite cute/funny animal pictures.  Then as I aimlessly scrolled the lasted status updates a picture caught my eye.

Since I was a kid I have collected a lot of things, comic books, sports cards, stamps, coins and a bunch of other things but I’ve never gotten into the holiday porcelain collections.  The ones I usually see come out around this time of year and have all different types of buildings, and characters so you can build your own holiday village.  I know some people who have huge collections and take great pride each year building new configurations that cover their entire dining room table.  But once I saw this picture online I had to have it, and it may end up starting a new collection in my house.

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To be honest at first I thought this was a Christmas tree ornament which would have been really cool.  But once I did some Google searches I found that it was a porcelain piece.

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Above is a shot from the back.  I will say that this little figurine is pretty detailed, and I could swear I’ve used that machine before.

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Here’s a close up of the machine and little boy turning the handle as his father searches his pocket for some spare change.

Porcelain Penny 01

I included a picture above of the box the piece comes in.  It’s from the Christmas in the City collection and is called Pennies for the Penny Press.  I found it on Amazon and also quite few on eBay.  It ranges from $10-30 depending on whether is the figurine only or an unopened piece.  Right now I have it sitting on the desk I use to work on my penny collection, but must say it seems a little lonely without a quaint little town to put it into context.  Looks like I’ll be heading out to find some more pieces to start my new collection.

It’s a Girl

I wanted to take a quick opportunity to announce that my wife gave birth to our second daughter today.

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Our special little girl’s name is Melody and she arrive at a little after 2pm this afternoon after about 16 hours of labor.

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Both baby and mommy are doing great and hopefully we will be able to take her home soon to meet the rest of the family.  In preparation of her arrival I had gone through my penny collection and found these two coins.  I’m not sure exactly why I had them or how I acquired them but it must have been fate.

It's A Girl 01

Now I just need to sign her up for a Junior TEC News subscription.  It’s never too early to get her into the hobby.  Who needs to put spare money into a college account when there are pressed pennies to collect.

Thanks again for all the support and well wishes, they are all very much appreciated.

Ellen’s Stardust Diner – New York, NY

With the Central Park Zoo behind me I wanted to make sure I didn’t run into the marathon again and need to make a long detour to get around.  So I headed straight down 5th Avenue passed the big Apple (hah) computer store.  I wasn’t in need of a new iPhone but did want to check it out however the line to get in was crazy so I skipped on by.

NYC Central Park Apple Store

I had to walk about 8 blocks south to 51st Street and then head towards Broadway passing Rockefeller Center and Radio City music hall.  Then at the corner of Broadway and 51st was my next stop Ellen’s Stardust Diner.

Ellen's Stardust Diner 01

The diner was opened in 1987 and was the first 1950s themed restaurant in New York City with the waitresses even wearing poodle skirts and even break out singing every now and then.  Once of their wait staff was even featured on a season of American Idol.  Confession time, I have visited this place a few times in the past but never actually eaten here.  Either the wait time is crazy, or as on this trip it was between meals and I wasn’t hungry.  So I’ve only ever been in the vestibule inside the front door just to use the penny machine.  But someday I’m sure I’ll make it for a meal.

Ellen's Stardust Diner Machine 01

My first visit here was able to get a set of pennies but that was over 6 years ago.  About two years ago I visited to try to get a set from their new penny machine but it was out-of-order.  Unfortunately this trip was no different and the coin slider was jammed inside and couldn’t be used.  I have a feeling with this machine located right where the masses wait for a table they are probably not too gentle with the machine.  Also with the large international crowd that visits Times Square each year I see lots of foreign currently stuck inside the machines.  This is also why I take any opportunity to help our international guests figure out the correct change to use.

Ellen's Stardust Diner Machine 01a

The designs that would have been available here included Ellen’s Stardust Diner, I Love New York City / Statue of Liberty, NYC Times Square, and We Will Never Forget / World Trade Center.  As with the machine that wasn’t working in the zoo after I got home I wrote a letter to the diner with some quarters and pennies asking for a set of the designs.  Hopefully they will be accommodating, but I don’t know how long it will take before the machine is working again.

So far on this trip I had visited a total of 9 machines and only two had been broken.  My success rate wasn’t too bad, but hopefully the rest of my trip would work out a little better.

New Marketplace Fun Finds – Disney Springs

Out with the old Downtown Disney in Orlando, and in with the new revitalized Disney Springs.  When I had visited back in April much of this area was under construction and behind the magical walls forcing us to use our imagination as to what Disney was creating.

Now I believe the official grand opening isn’t until early 2016 but some of the new restaurants and shops have started to open.  I’ve got a few on my list for the next time we visit.  But in the meantime a new set of pressed pennies became available at the Marketplace Fun Finds.  This little store has seen quite a bit of action with their machines this year.  The original machine located here had four designs all that included “Downtown Disney”.  Well naturally with the name change to Disney Springs these old coins had to go.

DS - Marketplace Fun Finds 2015

Similar to the previous set all four of these designs says “Disney Springs” and included images of the Disney Springs Logo, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Goofy.  A friend of mine from Orlando was able to stop by and get these coins for me, but his phone was dead by the time he got to the store and wasn’t able to get a picture of the machine (I’m sending a phone car charger for Christmas).  But as always I’m very thankful he didn’t mind going out of his way to pick these up for me so I’ll forgive the dead battery (this time hint hint).

If you’re in the area make sure you stop by the new Disney Springs and see what’s new.  Check out Iron Chef Morimoto’s new restaurant or take an amphibious car for a tour of the lake from the new Boathouse restaurant.  Then before heading home wonder by the Marketplace Fun Finds and get a set of these coins, it’s the first new set for Disney Springs and hopefully won’t be the last.

Central Park Zoo – New York, NY

After leaving the Natural History museum I was confronted with the realization that the New York City Marathon was going on.  I wanted to head straight east across Central Park to the zoo but with the marathon route blocking my way I headed out on a long winding route through the park trying to get to the other side.  About 45 minutes later I finally made it to the Central Park Zoo.  Another zoo?  You bet this has definitely been the summer of zoo visits, maybe next year I’ll pick another type of attraction and visit as many as I can.  But come on it’s a zoo with lots of cute fuzzy animals.

Central Park Zoo 01

Before entering the actual zoo there are some placed to visit that are located outside the main entrance and no admission is required.  The Dancing Crane Cafe is a nice quick place to grab something to eat, or you can also visit the main gift shop.  I had paid for my ticked online the night before so thankfully I didn’t need to stand in the long ticket line.  Outside the gift shop and across from the zoo entrance were the first two penny machines available at the zoo.

Central Park Zoo Machine 01

Both machines were inside a cabinet that I’m sure helped protect them from the outside elements and there was a change machine right in the middle.

Central Park 02 Pennies

Each machine at the zoo had four designs available.  This first machine had images of a Pot-Bellied Pig, a Red Panda, a Black & White Ruffed Lemur, and a Poison Dart Frog.

Central Park Zoo Machine 02

Unfortunately the second machine was out-of-order with a label stuck across the coin slider.  I was temped to remove it and try the machine anyways, but I didn’t want to risk wasting my coins or worse breaking the machine further.

Central Park Zoo Machine 02a

The pennies available at this machine were an Emerald Tree Boa, Nubian Goat, a Sea Lion and a Grizzly Bear.  After my trip I wait about a week and then mailed off a set of quarters and pennies asking the zoo to press me a set from this machine.  I haven’t heard back but am keeping my fingers crossed I’ll receive something back to finish up this set.

With the pennies from the first machine stored away I handed my ticket to the attendant and headed inside to see the animals.  The Central Park Zoo isn’t huge and if you don’t linger too long you can see everything in an hour or so.

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One of the Grizzly Bears was pretty active and came right up close to the glass for us to catch a glimpse in-between naps.

Central Park Zoo 08

They also have Sea Lion tank and have regular feeding sessions you can watch throughout the day.  There are many other animals exhibits around the zoo but no animals really out of the ordinary.  One thing that is a little strange about this zoo is that there is a separate Children’s Zoo you can access with your regular admission but you have to leave the main zoo, walk under 65th Street via a tunnel/bridge and the Children’s zoo is on the other size.

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The Tisch Children’s Zoo had a petting area and mostly just contains some barnyard animals like goats and sheep.  But the animals are kept behind a fence so you have to try to coax them over with food you can pay for with a few quarters.

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After feeding some goats I had to make a pit stop and lucky for me the next penny machine was right outside the restrooms.

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There were a bunch of younger kids playing with the machine but not actually using it.  When they noticed I was waiting patiently they moved out of the way and watched as I pressed a set.  This tends to happen quite often and I’m sure I have parents cursing my name after I leave as their kids always go running asking for loose change to use the machine.

Central Park 03 Pennies

These pennies included a Cow, a Tortoise, a Big, and a huge Spider in an intricate web.  I quickly left the area before the parents of the kids asking for change could hunt me down.  My research before coming into the city listed that there should be one more machine in the Dancing Crane Cafe.  I headed back in that direction, headed into the cafe and walked all around but didn’t see it.  I thought I may have missed it somewhere inside the zoo so I showed my hand stamp and went back inside.  Deciding to check every nook and cranny the first place I hadn’t gone to initially was the education center primarily used when schools come to visit the zoo.  In between the education center and a set of restrooms was a little hallway that connected to the cafe and this is where I found the last machine.

Central Park Zoo Machine 04

This machine wasn’t leveled correctly and when I cranked the handle it would dip to one side.  It made using the machine a little difficult and also made a lot of noise.  Not to be deterred I held the top of the machine to try to steady it while turning the handle.

Central Park 04 Pennies

These designs had a little more detail than the others which was probably due to this being a newer machine.  The images had a Rattlesnake, Snow Leopard, Snow Monkey and a Macaw.  I headed back inside the cafe and grabbed a Gatorade to try to re-hydrate due to all the walking I had done so far, but my trip was far from over.

**Updated (12/11/15)
A few days after my trip into New York City I sent a letter to the Central Park Zoo with some quarters and pennies letting them know I had recently visited but one of the machines had been out-of-order.  I asked if someone would be able to press me a set once the machine was fixed.  About 2 months later I received my envelope back with a fresh set of pressed coins and a nice letter from someone in their guest services apologizing for the machine being out-of-order.  I have done this a few times in the past and almost always receive the coins back.  It’s not always the quickest method to acquire pressed coins but I do appreciate the employee’s taking some time to help fill my collection.

Central Park Zoo Broken Pennies