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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As you can probably see from the machine’s marquee in the above picture these designs are all Frozen related.
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.
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.
As you walk around the store there is a side entrance/exit where you can find one of the penny machines located here.
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.
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.
The first two penny machines are located almost immediately upon entering the store.
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.
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.
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.