I mentioned previously that our Resort this time was the Beach Club. Due to our party size we were assigned one of the villas which are primarily for the Vacation club members.
The villas include two bedrooms, a living room area and dine-in kitchen which made for plenty of room since we were a group of six. The villas were a little bit of a hike from the main lobby and we actually got lost the first time trying to find them. But ran into a very nice cast member that was more than happy to walk us over and make sure we found it.
There was actually a private pool for villas guests which was just a quick elevator ride down to the main floor.
The resort was under a bit of construction but we really didn’t run into any inconveniences. One of the really nice perks of the villas was a pathway that lead right over towards Epcot and in about a 10 minutes walk we could be in the park. On our second day we took advantage of this and had planned to spend the day here. When we arrive at the back/side entrance to Epcot we scanned our MagicBands but had to wait a few minutes for the park to open. As you would assume Disney has this area strategically setup with a gift shop called the World Traveler.
We decided to spend a few minutes wandering through this store and I came across the first machine of many this day.
This machine’s cabinet struck me a quite unique. It wasn’t overly flashy or themed but was just a nice looking piece of hardware. It worked very well and gave me a nice set of pennies. The images on the coins were of Mulan, the China Pavilion, and Elsa from Frozen. We saw people starting to move around outside and realized they were about to drop the rope. Now something to remember is that the International Gateway opens up later in the morning so you are somewhat ushered towards the front part of Epcot where Spaceship Earth and Test Track are located.
One of our guilty pleasures at Epcot is Spaceship Earth. It’s not the most thrilling ride but always entertaining and reminds me of visiting this park as a child. We then headed over to the Land Pavilion for our Soarin’ Fastpass. This year Hanna was tall enough to ride this with us and this was also our first time seeing the new Soarin’ Around the World experience. I have heard a lot of negative things about it but I just try to enjoy it for what it is and not be overly critical. Some of the in your face transitions between scenes are obviously heavily CGI, but it’s still enjoyable and Hanna was really amazed with it and talked about it for the rest of the day. Some of our group needed a pit stop so I always take these opportunities to find nearby machines.
Just outside the Garden Grill revolving restaurant are three machines. I had documented all three last year, and this year only one of the designs had changed. This is one of the locations that has the new yearly designs. This machine pressed the images on quarters and shows 2016 Donald with a Tuba, Merida with her Three Bear Brothers, and Mickey Donald & Goofy Soarin’. Just a short walk from the Land Pavilion is the Journey into Imagination with Figment attraction. I know I had been on the original version back when I was a child, and to be honest don’t think I’ve been on it in over 10 years. I thought this would be fun for the kids this time around and they really seemed to like Figment. After the ride was over we found ourselves checking out the Image Works store.
I had used this machine about 5 or 6 years ago and I must have been desperate for pennies because the ones I had used were almost completely black and the images were next to impossible to make out. This time around I made sure to use much better quality coins and they came out great. The designs had Imagination Institute Logo, Figment, and an Epcot Logo. By this time the World Showcase had opened and we were on a missing to hit as many of the Pavilions as we could before the kids needed a break back at the resort. One event we weren’t prepared for was that the Wine and Food Festival was going on and the crowds were crazy, at least crazier than we were used to. To try to bypass the bottleneck of people flooding into this area of the park we immediately jumped on the ferry from the Friendship port that transported us over to the France Pavilion. We stopped inside for a quick-lunch and I went to find the penny machine located in Les Halles Patisserie.
This machine is located in the back of the gift shop. The designs are of Mickey with the Eiffel Tower, and the France Pavilion. Wait only two pennies? I’ll let you in on a secret, there is a hidden third coin available here. But as you can see from the picture above of the machine there is no button for a third design. There is actually an in park game called Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure. Agent P is a secret agent platypus from the Disney cartoon Phineas and Ferb. You get an interactive phone that gives you clues taking you around the World Showcase trying to catch the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz. One of the locations you go to is the France Pavilion and you use the phone on the penny machine to press the hidden design. Now another quick tip, the game is random and you may not get the France clue so sometimes it takes a few games before you can get the coin. Below I have a picture of this secret penny from my collection. Kind of a cool way to make a special souvenir.
Right next door to France is Morocco, sorry not geographically just Epcot Pavilion wise. This is a really cool pavilion that I enjoy wandering through as the shops are really unique and the details of the architecture are really intriguing. Hidden away in one of the side shops is their penny machine.
The penny available here have pictures of Mickey wearing a Fez hat, the Morocco Pavilion, and Mickey with a Suitcase and Globe. A little further around the lagoon we stopped into the American Adventure.
In the gift shop (as with pretty much all of the pavilions) the penny machine was just inside the main door. These pennies had designs of Uncle Same Mickey, Baseball Mickey USA, and Duffy Bear wearing a Baseball uniform. Next up was the Italian Pavilion which has a nice wine shop that you cut through to the main gift shop. They do have a very nice wine selection of imported Italian vino.
The penny machine in the Italy pavilion has very similar designs to many of the other pavilions. These included Mickey with the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Italy Pavilion, and Mickey’s Face / Italy. The next stop has always kind of seemed out-of-place in the World Showcase, it’s not a full pavilion but is knows as the African Outpost. There are some carts along the walkway with things for sale and a little shack/shed type building with some more items for sale.
This place has one of the few 4 design hand crank machines available. The images are of Rafiki’s drawing of Simba, Pumbaa Simba & Timon, Safari Donald, and Tracker Mickey. Another short walk away was the China Pavilion which is always fun to check out. We actually ate dinner here one night at the Nine Dragons restaurant. I had heard mixed reviews about the food and service, but on our visit everything was really wonderful and my family said it was one of the more memorable meals we had on this trip. Make sure you stop by and give it a try.
I had written about these new designs earlier in 2016 and you can read about them here. This stop just gave me the change to take some pictures of the new machines I wasn’t able to get previously. Now we were at the big one, Norway. I only say that because this pavilion has gotten crazy with the recent opening of the new Frozen Ever After ride that replaced the fan favorite Maelstrom. We actually had Fastpasses to check out the ride but just as we got there all our phones started buzzing with notifications. Apparently the ride was temporary down (broken) and we could either try coming back later and use our Fastpasses or we could experience any other attraction instead. Not knowing exactly when this ride would be operational again we opted to ride Test Track once we were done with the pavilions. So for now we just checked out the gift shops now filled with even more Frozen merchandise.
The first machine is located in the Puffin’s Roost shop and has designs of Mickey with a Viking Hat, the Norway Pavilion, and Mickey Holding lot of different Country Flags. The second machine is an 8-design touch screen that was moved here recently. This machine used to be located at the Once Upon a Toy Store in Disney Springs. The images haven’t changed and it’s still a numbered set all with Frozen characters. Feel up for a Margarita? By this time of day we definitely were in need of some tequila and luckily the Mexico Pavilion was right next door.
This penny machine is right in the middle of the pavilion and this place is pretty dark inside. I’ve tried on various occasions to take pictures of this machine and they always come out terrible. This time was a little better, but I included a photo of the marquee so you can see the designs a little better. You can see they have Mickey with a Sombrero, Duffy Bear wearing a Poncho, and the Mexico Pavilion. We were almost done with the pavilions but wanted to head over to use our Fastpass for Test Track I mentioned earlier. Hanna wasn’t a fan of this ride but it’s still one of our favorites. I quickly headed over to the Mission Space attraction gift shop. Years ago I rode this ride and it was pretty intense for me so I haven’t ridden it since. But that doesn’t stop me from heading into the gift shop to press the pennies here from time to time.
This machine has a nice themed cabinet but I find the coins press a little short every so often. The pennies have pictures of Mickey and his team in Space Suits, the Mission Space Logo, Mickey Minnie and Pluto in Space Suits. With an upcoming dinner reservation at the Polynesian Village Resort’s O’Hana we needed to get moving towards the front of the park to hop on the Monorail. Cutting through the huge Mouse Gears gift shop was our next stop.
Interested in more of the 2016 annual designs? Good because this is where to find one. This machine has Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey with Spaceship Earth, Anna from Frozen, and Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey 2016 all pressed on pennies.
I’ll review our dinner at ‘Ohana and our trip to all the Monorail resorts to get more coins in the next post. For now we will just skip forward a few hours and we are cutting through Epcot heading back to our resort. Along the way through there were a few final machines I needed to visit. Right where Future World and the World Showcase meet are two gift shops.
The machine on the left is from the Disney Trader’s store. I’m not really sure what is going on with the design of this machine, but it pressed pennies perfectly so I’m not going to complain. The images on these coins are Jessica Rabbit, Jack Jack from The Incredibles and a Large 2016 with Sorcerer’s Hat. The machine on the right is from the Port of Entry store, and has coins with Tourist Mickey, Uncle Sam Mickey, and Duffy with a Chinese Outfit on. We made a quick stop by the Canadian Pavilion (a must for us former Canadians) and finished our trip around the world at the United Kingdom Pavilion.
As far as I know this machine has never moved in all the years I’ve been visiting. But it always is the hardest one for me to remember where it is located. Most of the gift shops here are all interconnected but it’s in one towards the back of the pavilion. If you ask the cast members here will be more than happy to show you where it is. These pennies have pictures of Mickey with Big Ben, the UK Pavilion, and Duffy wearing a Kilt and Hat.
I’m sure you can image that by this time our little ones (and big ones myself included) were pretty exhausted. Thankfully we only had a short walk back past the World Traveler store, over the bridge (and through the woods, just kidding) back to our resort room. Everyone crashed pretty quickly without much complaint. We had more parks to visit and a whole lot more machines to check out.