This was a penny machine I had heard about a few months ago but wasn’t sure I would be able to visit. The Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa is located in Orlando on Turkey Lake Road not too far from the Universal Studios parks.
Westgate resorts are part of a timeshare company. I’ve been through a timeshare presentation it was not really something I wanted to go through again. At first I thought maybe I would just pay full price for a room for a staycation with my wife. But before shelling out that kind of money I thought I would just head over and see if I could visit without actually staying there.
There is a security area that you check in with. They were very nice and I said I was just looking to check out the resort. That was no issue and they gave me some detailed instructions on where to park.
The parking garage had no fee to park during the day. Not sure if this is different if you are staying at the resort, or if you visit at night. However the garage was pretty full and we ended up parking almost at the very top. From up there got a nice overview of the resort and it did look really nice.
Down on ground level there was an arcade, a gift shop / souvenir shop / deli that had pretty much anything you could want on your stay. There was also a sports bar that wasn’t opened yet when we got there but looked like a lot of fun.
I’m not sure how many pools they have in total, but this one seemed to be the largest we could find. It was behind a locked gate so you do need to be staying at the resort to access the pool.
After we had walked around most of the property we headed into the main reception building. There was a larger front area to the building that had valet parking available, but we entered in through the back near the above pool.
Inside was a nice large lobby area with lots of things going on. People were checking-in, or getting help with park tickets.
Along one side of the lobby was a little gift shop, and a cafe with some grab and go food items. Just outside this cafe was where we found the penny machine.
The machine only had one design available. It was the standard $0.50 plus your penny. As soon as you push your change into the machine it automatically comes to live and pressed your coin.
The image on the penny is the Westgate Resorts logo, and the machine pressed it really nicely.
So after this experience I will say a few things. Timeshare companies have a bad reputation for those high pressure sales meetings. I did not sit through one at this resort so I don’t know how it would compare to others, but I was worried that I may get dragged into one while here but that wasn’t the case. Whenever I visit places looking for pressed pennies with all my cameras and other equipment I’m always very up front with what I’m doing. This resort was very welcoming, many of the guests and staff were friendly and I didn’t have any security escorting me off property for taking my pictures. Sometimes when there is someone wandering around taking pictures it raises some concern. In any event this resort was very accommodating with my quick little visit so don’t be afraid to try and stop by yourself sometime.
I was hoping the penny design would be location specific and actually say Orlando on it which would make for a nice collection when visiting other Westgate Resorts. The coin was still a nice addition to the collection and I may actually try staying at the resort in the future.