Hotel Plaza Boulevard – Disney Springs Area, FL

First off I’ll apologize for the delay in getting around to writing about these new penny press machines.  These were released weeks ago while I was out-of-town on a Family vacation.  It’s amazing how just a week away can put everything so far behind.  I’m still trying to time to write about our trip.  But in the mean time I figured I needed to try and catch up on some of these “newer” machines.

I’ve mentioned in a previous post about these hotels that are located on Walt Disney World property but are not Disney owned.  They are usually referred to as “Good Neighbor” hotels.  You get most of the same benefits (fast passes, early park hours, and transportation to the parks) but usually at a much lower price which is nice.  Located to the east of Disney Springs right along Hotel Plaza Boulevard are these seven hotels.  Each of these hotels does have a Disney gift shop located inside, but in the past none of them ever had a pressed penny machine.  Then all of a sudden five of these hotels received machines and I had to head over as soon as I was back in town to check them out.

Since I had never visited these hotels before I wasn’t sure what the parking situation would be like and was worried about high hourly parking rates.  So instead I parked (for free) in one of the Disney Springs parking garages and walked to each of the hotels.  I walked through the Marketplace and just beside the Once Upon a Toy Store is a walkway that allows you to cross the busy Buena Vista Drive.

These walkways were actually pretty nice, and my daughter had a great time watching the cars pass by underneath our feet.  Eventually we ended up on the far side of Hotel Plaza Boulevard and headed into the first hotel.

The Hilton Orlando Buena Vista was out first stop.  Heading inside through the main lobby area we hung a right and down the hallway we saw the familiar Disney Store sign.

There is nothing unique about these stores.  After visiting all of them they pretty much carried the same items, standard souvenirs, plush character, drinks, snacks and toiletries.

   

Just inside the store on the right side was the penny press machine.  The cabinet was painted the classic Mickey red which was a nice surprise.  The designs available in this machine were of  Mickey & Pluto, Lilo with a  Camera, and Stitch playing a Ukulele.

The hotels are next to each other, but there is still quite a walk in between each one.  It was a nice walk although this time of year the Florida sun and humidity can get to you pretty quickly.

The second hotel was the Holiday Inn Orlando.  We headed inside past the check-in area, hung a left and just near the lounge area was the gift shop.

As my daughter checked out the souvenirs (although I think by now she has pretty much all of them) I found the machine along the sidewalk and pressed my coins.

   

The designs at this machine were of two new designs: Chef Minnie with a Cake, and Goofy fishing, but the third design was of Lumiere & Cogsworth from Beauty and the Beast.  This last design used to be available at the Once Upon a Time gift shop in Hollywood Studios.  It had been removed back in July 2017 when two new 8-design touch screen machines were located there instead.

Still on the same side of the boulevard the next stop was at the B Resort & Spa.  Strange name, but this was a beautiful looking hotel.

I was only able to check out the lobby and gift shop but from what I could see this looks really nice and I’d be interested in checking it out in the future.

As I walked into the gift shop I noticed a large mural behind the check out area.  I’m sure it was just an interchangeable piece of wallpaper but it was still fun to look at with the Magic Kingdom and it’s landmarks depicted in the image.

Plus the penny machine was right beside it so while I used the machine I took a closer look at it.  I’ve seen some t-shirts and other merchandise in some of the park stores with this style drawing so I’m sure this is the new 2018 design.  I may have to pick something up the next time I’m in the parks.

   

The designs at this machine were of Minnie with her hands together, Pluto jumping on Mickey.  Both of which were brand new images.  The third design is of Anna & Elsa from Frozen.  This used to be at the Puffin’s Roost in Epcot at the Norway Pavilion but had been removed a year or so ago.

The last hotel on this side of the boulevard was the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton.

This was an interesting designed building, but the lobby area was not very big.  As soon as I walked in the check-in desk was to the right, and the Disney store was to the left.  Pretty easy to find.

   

While I used this machine to press the pennies the cast member in the store came by to  talk.  She mentioned the machine has just been brought in a few days prior.  I asked if she knew whether all the “Good Neighbor” hotels were getting them and she wasn’t sure, but more on that in a bit.  The designs in this machine were of Minnie Mouse, Donald in a Tuxedo, and Jiminy Cricket.

Once I had left the DoubleTree suites it was time to cross over the boulevard.  This is a very busy street so be careful crossing.  I didn’t want to risk just running across especially with my young daughter along for the visit.  So we waited, and waited and waited for the traffic light to change.  But made for a much safer crossing.  On the other side were a couple of hotels but we had to head all the way back towards Disney Springs.

At this intersection of Hotel Plaza Boulevard and East Buena Vista Drive is where the overhead walkways where that we had initially taken to cross the street.  On this side of the boulevard there was a sidewalk so we just headed to the right down East Buena Vista Drive.

After a bit of a walk we found the last hotel on this trip the Hilton Palace Buena Vista.

This Disney store is a little more difficult to find.  If you come in through the front main entrance of the hotel you need to take the elevator down a floor.  In this area is where the food court section is and the gift shop is just nearby.

This was yet another beautiful looking hotel and I was really surprised.  I’m not sure why I just assumed these would be a little run down or outdated but they were definitely not what I was expecting.

   

This was the last machine to use and unfortunately it was a little temperamental.  It seemed like the slide the finished pressed penny uses to eventually end up in the cup at the bottom wasn’t lined up correctly.  The machine seemed to press the coins fine, but once they slide down they apparently ended up in the bottom of the cabinet.  I asked the cast member for help but they said they didn’t have the key to open up the machine.  Thankfully I had a few extra sets of quarters and pennies for just this type of situation.  After a few test runs I found that if I kept my hand just inside the bottom cup it would help keep the pennies from dropping inside the machine.  Hopefully this has been fixed as the cast member said they would bring it up with their manager.

With all these new pennies stored away in my pocket we decided to make our way back over the walkways to Disney Springs.

Now I did mention that I had asked the cast member at the DoubleTree Suites about other machines in the area.  As you can see from the picture of the area map I found along the sidewalk there are seven Good Neighbor resorts.

As of this visit I made there were only five of these resorts with penny machines.  However I have read online that rumors are swirling about the remaining two hotels (Best Western and Wyndham) will be getting machines in the near future.  Fingers crossed!

   

Plus you can read here about the Hilton over at Bonnet Creek that got a new machine that I had posted about earlier.  It definitely seems like Disney has been releasing a lot of new penny press machines in locations they never had before.  I’m hoping this is due to the popularity of these machines and they realize people really enjoy them plus of course they make the resorts some money.

This was quite a bit of walking to start in Disney Springs, and make the long trek to each resort.  But it took about an hour and a half at a leisurely pace.  We tried not to rush and once I was inside these hotels I did want to spend a bit of time checking them out.  I didn’t see any of the guest rooms, but if they are anything like the lobby’s and mail hotel areas I would absolutely keep these in mind when visiting the area.  Plus they have penny machines so that’s always a plus in my books.

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