Lunar New Year Pressed Penny Set – China Pavilion in Epcot

Chinese New Year commonly known as the Lunar New Year is a festival celebrating the new year on the traditional Chinese calendar.  For 2019 the first day of the Lunar New Year will be on February 5th initiating the Year of the Pig.

Previous years have included the Year of the Rat, Sheep, Ox and a few others as these are on a 12 year cycle and will repeat.  Year of the Pig happens to be the 12th in the cycle and will not be celebrated again until 2031.

Over on the West Coast in Disney California Adventure they have a Lunar New Year festival with food booths and special entertainment to celebrate.  However on the East Coast in Epcot there is an ever rotating cycle of festivals going on all throughout the year.  At this time the Festival of the Arts is in full swing.

The Festival has plenty of food booths and also some tents setup with Disney artwork for purchase.

Oswald has become a new favorite of mine.  Hopefully he appears a little more often in the parks.

On a recent visit to check out some of the food options at the Festival of the Arts we made our way over to the China Pavilion.  The line for the food booth here is always busy as they usually some very popular items.  We decided to head back into the pavilion instead as I had heard about a new penny machine.

Past the Nine Dragons restaurant and quick service Lotus Blossom Cafe is the main gift shop called the House of Good Fortunate.

Just inside the doors used to be a 3 design penny machine but that has been removed.  Now in its place is a new 12 design penny machine.

The cool thing about this machine is that the designs are all of the different animals representing the 12 year cycle of the Chinese / Lunar New Year.  But with a slight twist.  Each animal is represented by a Disney character of the same animal.  Year of the Rat has Remy from Ratatouille, Year of the Tiger has Tigger from Winnie the Pooh, and Year of the Monkey has Abu from Aladdin.  What a really fun set of designs.

Please take notice of the cost for this set.  The cost is still $1 for an individual penny, but if you are like me and want the full set it will run you $10 (yikes!).

The machine does have samples of each pressed penny inside so you can see what the finished coin will look like in person.

Photo credit: parkpennies.com

Something I found out after I got home and was cataloging these new coins is that they had already been available in the Shanghai Disney Resort.  Above is a picture from the parkpennies.com which is a great resource I use for my Disneyland collection.  The images are the same but obviously the park name has been altered to Walt Disney World.  Now I feel like I need to collect some of these Shanghai Disney pressed coins as they really have some nice designs available.  But that will be a project for another day.

Back at the Festival of the Arts.  I will say that I really enjoy all the art work, and some of the food items are really pretty to look but none of them really stood out as a favorite.  I’ll have to go back another day and try some different food booths and see if I can find something else a little more enjoyable.  The Flower and Garden Festival will be here soon and that is one of my favorites, and maybe a new pressed penny machine will make an appearance as well.

2019 WDW Dated Pressed Quarter Change

In a bit a strange move, this past weekend the 2019 pressed quarter design of Minnie Mouse that was at the All-Star Music resort has been removed.  So far it hasn’t been moved to another location (although we are keeping an eye out for this).

The machine is still located just outside the Note’Able Games arcade, but now has a new 2019 design.

The design is the same Fantasmic / Maleficent Dragon image that is on a penny in the Rock around the Shop.

Technically this makes 17 designs released as part of the 2019 dated set.  But with the Minnie Mouse quarter design missing, there are still just 16 designs available for pressing.  Hopefully you got one of the Minnie Mouse designs before it was removed.  This may make for a limited release design and something not everyone would have been able to acquire in the month or so it was available.

Coco Pressed Pennies – Mexico Pavilion in Epcot

In Epcot’s world showcase one of the more popular pavilions is Mexico.  Whether this is due to the tequila bar La Cava, Mexican food which I personally enjoy, or if like my daughters it’s the slow-moving boat ride attraction.

When the pavilion initially opened the boat ride was called El Rio del Tiempo (The River of Time), and took visitors through various scenes in Mexican history.

Then in 2007 the attraction was changed to the Grand First Tour featuring The Three Caballeros.  For those of you that may not have seen the 1944 Disney animated movie the Three Caballeros are Donald Duck, Jose Carioca, and Panchito Pistoles.  It’s still a slow-moving boat ride, but the Three Caballeros are supposed to perform a concert but Donald is off on his own exploring Mexico.  It’s a cute little ride and my kids absolutely love it.  On most visits to Epcot we hop on at least 2 or 3 times.  But we will get back to the ride shortly.

The part I always loved about this pavilion is how you are inside, but it’s designed to look like you are outside in a Mexican market.  There are building exteriors around the perimeter of the pavilion, and various carts selling all sorts of beautiful art, as well as t-shirts, sombrero and plenty of Disney merchandise.

I brought up about the change to the boat ride in 2007 for a reason.  With the popularity of the 2017 Pixar animated movie Coco, there have been rumors swirling around that the Grand Fiesta tour ride would be changed / updated to revolve around the Coco story and characters.  So far nothing has been confirmed by Disney, but maybe one step in that direction has to do with a new pressed penny machine that was just released inside the Pavilion.

Located outside La Tienda Encantada store (also by the exit to the boat ride) is where there used to be a 3-design penny machine.  That was removed and replaced with a new 8-design touch screen machine.

The designs on these new pennies are all characters from the Coco movie.

The images include Miguel with his Guitar, Ernesto del La Cruz, Hector, Abuelita, Mama Coco, Dante the Dog, Abuelita pinching Miguel’s cheeks, and Miguel sitting with his face painted.  The details on these coins are really nice and made me want to watch the movie again.  These characters were really great and the story in the movie is fantastic.

I mentioned that there used to be 3-design penny machine here that initially I thought had been removed completely.  However after we wandered around the pavilion a bit and contemplated eating at the San Angel Inn we found the machine.

It’s now located just outside restaurant near the check-in area.

The designs have not changed, but it’s nice to still have this machine available.

I guess only time will tell on whether we will get an updated Coco boat ride inside the Pavilion.  But until then this is still a fun place to visit and just spend some time checking out all the details.  Plus there’s free air conditioning inside which is a blessing in the middle of the Florida summer.