Disney Springs Walkthrough – May 2016

Just recently my wife and I took a spur of the moment trip to Orlando for a few days to finalize some personal matters.  But that didn’t stop us from attempting to get some Disney magic fulfilled while there.  Unfortunately most of our days were filled with scheduled meetings, but one evening we did finish up early and decided to check out the new Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney).

Disney Springs 2016

When my family had visited the previous spring there was still a lot under construction and many walls up preventing you from seeing the magic taking place behind them.  This time there was still a little construction going on but a lot of the new restaurants and shops were now open and has really transformed this area.  We had eaten already so there was nothing stopping us from just taking our time and wandering around.  There are two new multi-level parking garages available, but we were able to find a ground floor parking spot over by the Cirque du Soleil theatre.  Now just because we were checking out the new stores and restaurants didn’t mean I wouldn’t have time to check out the penny machines.  I will say that I have previously collected all of the coins available at Disney Springs, and this trip I was really just updating my records and pictures of the machines.  But there were a few along the way that I just couldn’t pass up pressing a new set.

DS - La Nouba Machine 01

No better place to start than at Cirque du Soleil’s gift shop.  The last time I was here the machine was off-stage for repairs, but I’m glad to report it was back outside the doors to the gift shop.  A short walk away was the House of Blues restaurant.

DS - House of Blues Machine 01

This machine has been here for years and the design has never changed.  It’s located just inside the main doors around by where the restrooms are.  This place was filling up fast so I just took the picture and headed back outside.

DS - DQ Merch Shop Machine 01

Another short walk away was the Disney Quest building.  I have been inside on past visits, but this time decided not to pay the admission price that seems to keep going up but there are fewer and fewer things to do inside.  Instead we just wandered into the Merchandise Shop and while my wife looked at gifts for our kids I found the penny machine located inside.  Once done we finished walked through the west end which hasn’t really changed much but I’m assuming that may be a future phase to the construction.  We crossed the bridge into “The Landing” which I fondly remember from years ago as Pleasure Island.  Here there were a lot of new things to see.

Disney Springs 01

First we came across Jock Lindsey’s Hanger Bar.  For those of you that kinda sorta recognize the name, Jock is Indiana Jones’ pilot from the 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark.  He has the huge snake in the plane, ringing any bells.  In any case that’s who this place is themed around.  I have seen pictures online and walking up towards it I will say the place looks awesome, but being so new the waiting time to get in was insane so I had to indulge from a distance.

Disney Springs 02

Close by was another new restaurant called Morimoto Asia.  If any of you are fans of the Food Network like I am you will immediately recognize the name of the famous Iron Chef.  I was lucky enough to eat at his restaurant in Philadelphia years ago when it first opened and he was actually there working at the sushi bar.  What really surprised us was that he took the time to come to our table and speak briefly with us (his english is still a work in progress).  He thanked us for coming and even signed one of the menus for us which I still have today.


A very classy guy and I will always remember how he went out of his way to make sure we had an amazing meal.  I’m sure this restaurant will be no different.  It’s on my list of places to eat at the next time we visit in October.

Continuing our stroll we passed by the iconic Fulton’s Crab House paddle boat restaurant but it was closed.  For anyone that hasn’t heard it closed for a refurbishment and will be reopening the fall of 2016 with a new design and new name…Paddlefish.  Not sure I like the name, but at least it will still be a floating restaurant on Lake Buena Vista.  After walking by Fulton’s we were immediately swarmed by huge crowds which could only mean one thing, we were near the T-Rex prehistoric dining adventure.

Disney Springs 03

This place is owned and operated by the same company that handles the Rainforest Cafe franchise.  Inside there are animatronic dinosaurs near your table, there are meteor showers every 15 minutes, and a huge sea creature looms over the bar.  We fought our way inside to check out the gift shop.

DS - T-Rex Machine Machine 01   DS - T-Rex Machine Machine 02

The store has two penny machines available.  One used to be outside in the kids play area but recently has been moved inside.  Just figured I mentioned it in case they like to move the machine around.  This gift shop is really cool if you are into dinosaurs but as I mentioned can be very crowded and busy due to the restaurant’s popularity.  I’ve eaten here previously and the food is nothing to write home about, but as with the Rainforest you are really going to enjoy the ambiance of the place.  I mean who doesn’t want to share their Jurassic Salad or Guac-asaurus Burger with a raptor sitting next to your table?  Our next stop was a place I could literally spend an entire day in.

World of Disney Store

The World of Disney store seems to get bigger each time I go there, and they had everything you could imaging from clothes, to plush, jewelry, kitchen ware, candy, and for me best of all three penny machines.

DS - World of Disney Machine 01

All three machines are towards the back of the store near the jewelry area.  These were pennies I had acquired over 6 or 7 years ago and before this trip I saw that my original coins were a little crappy.  Back then I didn’t make the best decisions when it came to the coins I used to press, so I figured this was a good opportunity to update my collection.

DS - World of Disney 01

This first set was a nice collection of Princesses (and a couple of princes).  The designs included Princess Aurora with Prince Phillip, Snow White and her Prince, Jasmine and the Little Mermaid herself Ariel.

DS - World of Disney Machine 02

After using the first machine I just spun directly around and the next machine was right there and I only needed to exert about three steps worth of energy.

DS - World of Disney 02

This next set included images of Dancing Mickey, Dancing Minnie, Dancing Goofy and Tinker Bell all with the World of Disney included in each design.

DS - World of Disney Machine 03

The last machine here was also not far away from the others.  It was just by the checkout area of the jewelry section kind of in a corner near a staff members only door.

DS - World of Disney 03

This last set had designs that included the World of Disney logo, apprentice Mickey, Cruella de Vil, and Captain Hook.  I can confirm that all 12 of these designs are the same ones I had collected so many years ago.  They haven’t been updated, but are still a nice variety of subjects on each coin, plus with the machines being so close to each other is a quick way to boost your collection numbers.  After buying more stuff that we really should have left the store.  But honestly who can leave that place and not buy at least a few (ahem dozen) things for your friends and family (technically it’s all still in my possession and will probably stay that way, sorry friends and family).

From a store that has had coin designs stay the same for many years we skipped nearby to the Once Upon a Toy store where they have my latest obsession the touch screen super-multi design machines.

DS - Once Upon A Toy Machine 01

 As you can probably see from the machine’s marquee in the above picture these designs are all Frozen related.

DS - Once Upon A Toy Machine 01b

Here is a closer look at the inner workings of the machine.  I will say this really is cool to watch it running after you place your order on the touch screen.  Especially if you’re getting all eight.

DS - Once Upon a Toy Store

For those Frozen fanatics out there the designs in this set are: #1 Elsa with her Snow Castle, #2 Anna & Elsa holding a Snow Flake, #3 Anna & Elsa looking at each other, #4 Anna, #5 Anna sitting in front of the Castle, #6 Elsa, #7 Olaf, and #8 Sven & Kristoff.


With the scent of fresh waffle cones being made at the nearby Ghirardelli Ice Cream shop calling my name I knew we were almost at the end.  But we did have a two last places to checkout first.  Marketplace Fun Finds is as the name implies full of interesting little souvenirs that you don’t get to find in the other shops.

DS - Marketplace Fun Finds Machine 02

As you walk around the store there is a side entrance/exit where you can find one of the penny machines located here.

DS - Marketplace Fun Finds Machine 01

After you use the above machine you can walk outside and find the second machine just around the corner.  These are a nice set that was put on stage shortly after the name of Downtown Disney officially changes to Disney Springs.

DS - Marketplace Fun Finds 01

With ice cream on my brain I make a quick dash through the Goofy’s Candy Co and headed inside my last stop the Rainforest Cafe.


This place is packed everything I come here.  Luckily I wasn’t here to eat so I skipped the line and walked right into the gift shop to find the three penny machines and one quarter machine hidden inside.

DS - Rainforest Cafe Machine 02

The first two penny machines are located almost immediately upon entering the store.

DS - Rainforest Cafe Machine 01

Since the gift shop tends to be a popular place for people to wait for their tables it does get a little challenging to try to use these machines and especially take pictures of them.

DS - Rainforest Cafe Machine 03

I had to just wander around to find the other machines which were a little hidden.  When I had first acquired these coins quite a few years ago I seem to remember the machines being in different locations.  The best advice I can give is just start at one end of the store and eventually you will come across all of them.

DS - Rainforest Cafe Machine 04

With all the machines found, documented and some new coins collected it was time to head outside, grab my Ghirardelli’s and drive back to our hotel.  Disney Springs has really been turning into a great new place to experience and they aren’t done yet.  I’ve heard some great things about the new stores and restaurants located in the recently opened Town Center, and can’t wait to check it out on my next trip.  I’m crossing my fingers for some new machines.


Coin Collecting Packages for my Friends – Follow Up #2

Here’s follow-up #2 of my Coin Collecting Packages for my Friends but this has a little twist.  After my parents successfully collected the coins I had requested in packet #1, I wrote about it in a follow-up post you can check out here.  Initially this second package was for a co-worker of mine that annually visits Florida and always stays at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.  I made the assumption she would be going again, but unfortunately she was saddened to inform me that they were going to have to skip this years trip.

Initially I wasn’t too concerned since my family had planned to go down to WDW for a wedding in October, and this would just mean I’d needed to take a special trip over to this resort to press the coins.  Then as luck would have it my wife and I ended up scheduling just last week an impromptu trip to Orlando for a couple of days (more details to come in some future posts).  It also ended up that we would be visiting during my birthday so I used that as an excuse to book a reservation at the Whispering Canyon Cafe located in … you guessed it the Wilderness Lodge.  Funny how things work out like that.

Wilderness Lodge 01

I will start out by stating that I have never stayed at this particular resort, but it was always on my to-do list.  We have stopped in every so often when collecting coins in the past, but this would be the first time for an extended visit.  We parked in the guest lot and as we walked up towards the main entrance this place is really enormous and beautifully built.  With all the logs and stone work it looks like a huge log cabin, but with every amenity you can think of.

Wilderness Lodge 02

Here’s the Resorts logo on the welcome mat as you enter the main entrance.

Wilderness Lodge 03

The main lobby area just towers over you as you walk inside.  The theme of this resort as with all of the Disney resorts is really amazing.

Wilderness Lodge 08

I took the stairs up to the fourth or fifth floor to capture the above picture of the light figures that look like a little teepee.  How cool is that.

Wilderness Lodge 05

Just beyond the resort check-in area is the gift shop ..er sorry the Mercantile.  I couldn’t resist the Mickey and friends totem pole located just outside.

Wilderness Lodge 04

We had only arrived about 15 minutes before our dining reservation so after a quick look around we headed over to the Whispering Canyon Cafe to check-in.  After a few moments they escorted us to our table.  Now a word of warning for anyone not familiar with this restaurant, it is listed as a Unique/Themed dining experience.  What does this mean?  Well it’s all in fun, but there could be some shenanigans with the wait staff.  An experience I had was when we ordered drinks mine didn’t have a straw so I asked our waitress for one and she told me to “Hold my horses I’m working on it” which was then followed by about 20 straws being thrown at me.  Again this is all part of the act and was actually quite funny at least to my family.  For those of you that are not interested in participating fear not this restaurant has recently made a change.  When you are first seated your table is given a coaster which is green on one side and red on the other.

IMG_9324   IMG_9325

If you turn it to Green then your wait staff knows you want to play, but if you turn it to Red you just want to watch.  But to be honest you’re in Disney so why not just relax and have some fun.  There are stick pony rides every so often for the kids, and ask for ketchup at your own risk.

Wilderness Lodge 07

The table beside us in the picture above asked for ketchup and their waitress yelled out for the entire resort to hear that “We neeeeeed ketchup!”.  A family a few tables away that had asked for ketchup previously had to walk over about 30 bottles of the red stuff.  Each time someone asked for ketchup the last table with the bottles has to pass them along.  During all this fun the food here is pretty much themed towards the inner cowboy in all of us and consists mainly of barbecue.

Wilderness Lodge 06

I opted for the all you can eat skillet which contained generous portions of brisket, ribs, chicken, sausage, corn, mashed potatoes and baked beans.  The food comes in the skillet pictured above and as soon as you finish one off they will bring you out another until your pants no longer fit.  After stuffing ourself on the food, and being picked on a little further by the staff we decided to try to walk off our food by wandering around the resort a little bit.

Wilderness Lodge 09

Outside the report has a beautiful waterfall that runs down stream, under a bridge and eventually into the main pool.


Being that we were in central Florida it didn’t take long before the sky opened up and it started to drizzle.  We walked around a bit more but eventually the rain really started coming down so we quickly headed back inside.  I then took this opportunity to search out the pressed coin machines that were to be found inside.

RST - Wilderness Lodge Resort Lobby Machines

Almost directly across from the entrance to the Whispering Canyon Cafe was the first set of machines.  These two were combined into one nice looking cabinet and consisted of three penny designs and one quarter.

Wilderness Lodge Lobby 02

The penny designs had images of Snow White (Disney Princesses Set #5 of 6), Winnie the Pooh and Tigger too.

Wilderness Lodge Lobby 01

The quarter design had Pocahontas and John Smith with the Wilderness Lodge Resort Logo above them.  I always like the coins that get this special treatment for the resorts. This makes a really cool souvenir for visiting this specific location.  Since not all resorts have designs like this I started collecting Coffee Mugs from each of the resorts I visit, but that’s a whole other collection we won’t get into.

Wilderness Lodge 10

Back near where the mercantile (gift shop) was located are a set of doors that led out to the covered walkway that leads to the resort’s bus stop.  This is where you can get the bus to take you to the different parks or Disney Springs.  Another great feature of this resort were these walkways which I though were really cool.

RST - Wilderness Lodge Resort Bus Stop Machines

Out by the bus stop I hit the jackpot.  There was a three machine cabinet just waiting to be used.  This included one quarter machine, and two penny machines each with three designs.  Seven coins in one location must be a record or something.

Wilderness Lodge Bus Stop 03

First up was the quarter design which showed Woody and Buzz Lighyear which is part of the Friends set #5 of 8).

Wilderness Lodge Bus Stop 02

If nothing else this resort has quite the variation of coin designs covering a wide range of Disney characters.  The first penny machine had Simba from The Lion King, Gill from Finding Nemo, and Happy from Snow White.

Wilderness Lodge Bus Stop 01

The last machine had Pocahontas kneeling, Meeko (also from Pocahontas) and Winnie the Pooh & Piglet counting honey pots.  As I turned to head back inside I noticed one other new piece of technology at the bus stop.  I really liked this idea and when I had visited last year these were still a rumor but not anymore.


Each resort bus stop now has a screen that gives the times of when the next buses will arrive for available location (Parks, Water parks, Disney Springs).  I was happy to see this finally in use and can’t wait to try it out when we visit again this fall.

Unfortunately since we didn’t stay overnight I can’t attest to any of the rooms but can only image if they are anything like the rest of the resort I’m sure they are amazing.  This has definitely moved up on my “Want to stay at” list.  But even if you don’t stay overnight definitely come check out the resort you could easily spend an afternoon wandering around and check out the Whispering Canyon Cafe for some food.  But don’t forget to make your kids ask for Ketchup!

Star Wars Pennies – Hollywood Studios

A few years ago there was a special penny machine put on stage only during the Star Wars Weekends.  This had Jedi Mickey, Princess Leia Minnie and Darth Goofy.  I had hoped that maybe these designs would change year after year but they did not and the same designs would be available each year.  But obviously were only available for a limited time so they were pretty popular and the machine did get some heavy usage.

With all the recent changes going on at Hollywood Studios and the future home of Star Wars Land, this machine was made available permanently over on Sunset Boulevard at the Legends of Hollywood Store.  But again with the exact same designs.  However, that has recently changed and new designs are now available.


The machine is still in the same location but the new images include Kylo Ren with a couple of Storm Troopers, R2-D2 and Yoda.  I would anticipate these designs being available for a while, but as a Star Wars fan I’m hoping that with the new Star Wars Land a slew of new machines and designs will be there to collect.  I’m drooling over the possibility of using a machine inside the Tatooine Cantina, or fingers crossed maybe one on the Millennium Falcon.  Oh wow I could go on and on, hint hint Disney don’t let us down.

Camden Children’s Garden – Camden, NJ

On a recent trip down to the waterfront in Camden, NJ I had taken my daughter Hanna to the aquarium which I had written about in a previous post.  After we finished exploring the aquarium we headed right next door to the Camden Children’s Garden.

Camden Childrens Garden 01

This is a cute little place that Hanna just absolutely loves.  As the name implies there are various garden areas that the kids can walk among and have many different activities throughout the park.  There is a large-scale train ride that takes you around a the park, or you can jump aboard the restored carousel which is a must each time we go.

Camden Childrens Garden 02

They also have a small but still very cool Butterfly house where you can walk among live butterflies that soar all around you.  In past trips the Butterfly house was home to a pressed penny machine but on this trip I noticed it was missing.  A little upset at the loss of another machine I put it out of my mind.  But then as we were leaving the garden’s we decided to check out the Ginkgo’s Gift Shop and Playroom.

Camden Childrens Garden 03

This is a tiny little shop but has quite a selection of souvenirs to take home.  In the back there is a wooden model train that Hanna was obsessed with (guess I know what to get her for Christmas this year).  As she entertained herself with the train I walked around and came across the missing penny machine.

Camden Childrens Garden Machine 01

It’s a one design electric machine.  When I went to use the machine it didn’t work at all, but the staff member that was in the store quickly ran over to assist me.  He tried resetting the machine, and did some magic in the back to get the penny to eventually roll.  I thanks him for his assistance which was nice to see instead of what usually happens in these situations when you are just told the machine is broken and there is nothing they can do.  He really took the time to help and make sure I was satisfied with the finished penny.

Camden Childrens Garden Penny

The design has two butterflies surrounding a football helmet.  The Four Seasons Butterfly House is partially funded by the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles football team which was all listed on the penny.  Wondering through the Garden’s and walking among the butterflies was a nice ending to our adventure down in Camden.  My pocket was full of some new pennies and Hanna was asleep in the car shortly after we left but had a huge smile on her face the entire ride home.  What could be better than that!

Adventure Aquarium NEW 2016 – Camden, NJ

My daughter must have some really vivid dreams at night.  She wakes up most mornings asking to do or visit some place or thing that is completely out of left field and apparently a result of her nighttime adventures (Narnia?).  In the past I’ve helped her out of bed with a rest for Elephants, or the M&M ride (cable cars at Six Flags).  But just the other day she woke up asking to go and pet some Sting Rays.  Well being the softy that I am and having a day off from work the only place nearby I knew that had this exact exhibit was the Adventure Aquarium down in Camden, NJ.

Adv Aquarium 2016 01

I had bought our tickets online to avoid the line but as you can see in the above picture this Wednesday morning there were very few people visiting which was great for us.  After heading inside we always head to the furthest location which just so happens to be the KidZone which is a favorite of Hanna’s.

Adv Aquarium 2016 02

If you look very closely in the above picture just inside to the right was the first new penny machine.  Thankfully I checked this out online before we left as these new machines now required a $1 bill for each design.

Adv Aquarium Machine 01

I still reference these as penny machines but no penny is needed just your dollar bills.  The machine automatically loads a blank and after the pressing creates a very nice shiny finished product.

Adv Aquarium 01 Pennies

The only issue I had was that some of the designs did roll a little short.  The first set of images included the Philly Skyline, the Touch Tank, an Alligator, and a Mermaid.  We spent quite a bit of time in the Kidzone and Hanna loved the touch tank with large starfish and a horseshoe crab she reluctantly touched and squealed the entire time.  The next big area we came to was the Diver Tank and we arrived just in time to see some divers feeding the creatures inside.

Adv Aquarium 2016 04

We sat and watched the action for a few minutes before we headed to the next area but at the top of the drive theater was the next penny machine.

Adv Aquarium Machine 02

This machine actually had quite a group around it when we first got to it.  The kids were just playing with the machine and not actually using it.  When we walked up they left us through and were fascinated with how it worked and I proudly showed off the coins when they dropped out into the dispenser.

Adv Aquarium 02 Pennies

The coins had images of an Octopus, Sting Ray, Sharks Teeth, and a Porcupine.  The kids  all immediately scattered towards their parents and I could hear the requests for dollar bills.  Hanna and I headed to the next exhibit before their parents could get their hands on us.

Due to the strange layout of this aquarium we had to back track a bit to get to the next area which included two large and strangely cute Hippos.  There is a viewing area at the top (above water level) of their tank, and a lower viewing area to see them underwater.  Right beside the lower viewing area was the third penny machine.


Adv Aquarium Machine 03

I couldn’t pull Hanna away from the Hippos so she kept an eye on them while I pressed the coins.

Adv Aquarium 03 Pennies

This next batch of coin designs included images of a Hammer-head Shark, a Giant Squid, two Penguins, and a Jelly Fish.  With coins we continued on our way to the Shark area.

Adv Aquarium 2016 03

If only all sharks were as cute as the one above.  I will say I’m completely in awe of sharks and love watching them from a distance, but in truth they scare the daylights out of me.  As with most aquariums now this one has a shark tunnel that lets you walk among the sharks only protected by a 4-inch piece of glass.

Adv Aquarium 2016 05

This does give a very interesting perspective of the sharks and it’s a little creepy when they swim right over top of you.

Adv Aquarium 2016 08

After the tunnel however we came across something I have not seen before and this is apparently brand new attraction.  It’s called the Shark Bridge.

Adv Aquarium 2016 06

There is a very narrow bridge that is suspended across the top of the shark tank.  Yes the exact tank we just walked through we will now be walking over top of.  As all sorts of reasons popped into my head as to why we shouldn’t do this, Hanna was running ahead excited to “walk on the sharks”.

Adv Aquarium 2016 07

As you can see above the bridge (small narrow beam) is really quite sturdy and you are surrounded by strong netting on all sides.  The downside to this is that the netting makes it a little hard to see the sharks swimming below you, but it’s still a really cool experience.  After we finished walking across the Shark Bridge we headed into the last part of the aquarium and according to Hanna the most important, the gift shop.

Adv Aquarium Machine 04

While Hanna searched through bins and shelves of stuffed toys and novelties I went over by the check out area to use the final penny machine.

Adv Aquarium 04 Pennies

This final set of coins included designs of some Penguins, a Great White Shark, a Hippopotamus, and a large Sea Turtle.  I packed all the coins away and walked over to where Hanna had picked out a multi colored rainbow Sting Ray plush toy.  We checked out and headed toward the exit for our ride home.

Now for those of you paying attention you be saying “What happened to Hanna’s morning request to pet some Sting Rays”.  We did head to that area, but when we were there they were closing it down temporarily to let the Rays have a break from the feeding and petting.  No big deal this just means we will have to come back soon for another try.

Star Wars The Force Awakens – Disneyland, CA

Any Star Wars fans out there?

If so you are in luck.  I know at Walt Disney World in Florida they used to put a penny machine out during Star Wars weekends however the designs have never changed.  But now for all you California folks you have a brand spanking new set of Star Wars themed coins and even more cool is they have designs based on the latest blockbuster movie The Force Awakens.  Have you seen it?  What am I talking about of course you have, I think only about 3 people in the entire country haven’t seen it yet.  If any case if you haven’t seen the movie these designs may not make a whole lot of sense (ahem go see the movie) but just take a look these beauties.

I should probably mention both these machines are available in the Disneyland Park at the Star Trader over in Tomorrowland near Space Mountain.

DL - Star Trader 01

As you can see these designs are pressed on nice big quarters which always make for a nice finished product.  The above designs are from the first machine and include images of the Rebel Force Logo, Rey, and Chewbacca.  Before I move on let me show off the fantastic machine.

Star Trader 01 Machine

This thing looks like it should be located at Maz Kanata’s castle on Takodana (see you really need to see the movie).  You can’t tell by the picture but the marquee that shows you the available designs at this particular machine is actually a LCD screen and had a cool little animation that plays on a loop.  I’m trying to get a video of this to post up here and as soon as I have it I’ll make sure to share it

DL - Star Trader 02

The second machine is located right beside the first and also has three designs.  Kylo Ren, The First Order Power Logo, and Captain Phasma.

Star Trader 02 Machine

This machine also has a similar cabinet and also the LCD marquee.  I really hope to see more of these around as I think they really take the experience to another level.  Also be sure to check out the special backstamp image on each coin.


These coins are so popular I have heard that these machines actually have lines of people waiting to use them.  A friend of mine at work is a huge Star Wars fans, and couldn’t care less about press coins (have mercy) but asked me to do whatever I could to get him a set of these coins.  So all I’m going to say is if you haven’t picked up a set yet do so immediately.