Velocicoaster Grand Opening Pressed Penny

Universal Studios in Orlando has had the worst kept secret for months. Back in 2019 inside the Islands of Adventure theme park a large area of land was being cleared out around the Jurassic Park Discovery center building. As the months went by, large metal support structures started to go vertical and new building started to take shape. Fans were questioning Universal about what was going on and through the parks social media accounts they joking said it was a new churro stand. Obviously this was a joke but one that to this day they have continued to play on. Soon after however there was a flooding of leaked news online about the new coaster and that it was to be called Velocicoaster.

Even from a distance this new attraction is quite impressive. It’s now listed as the parks Tallest and Fastest roller coaster and is the fastest launched coaster in all of Florida. It features two launches with one reaching 70 mph in 2.4 seconds, on a track of more than 4,700 feet, and a top heigh of 155 feet.

I visited the park a few weeks ago prior to the official opening on June 10th, 2021 and it has a surprised soft opening. Now I’ll say right up front this attraction looks a little too intense for me. So far at the time of posting this I have not ridden this, but I will say I’m definitely intrigued by it so the possibility for a ride in the future may still happen.

Even though on this visit I wasn’t going to ride the coaster, the soft opening did allow me to get up close and personal with this new area of the park. Just out front are some pretty intimidating looking Raptor statues.

There is a big courtyard out from of the main entrance to the coaster, but this filled up quickly as the crowds arrive to jump in line. As I stood in this courtyard the coaster vehicle zooms past at top speed in various different spots and even goes upside down right over the pathway with guests screaming the whole time.

Around the other side of the Discovery Center is the initial section of track for this coaster. It twists and turns in and out of various rock structures and you can hear Raptor’s screeching as they give chase to the coaster.

Inside the Discovery Center is a new gift shop for the Velocicoaster. I headed inside to take a look hoping for a new pressed penny machine. This is actually the same location that I previously found a new Jurassic World machine a couple years prior and you read out it here. Unfortunately there was no new machine here, and to add insult to injury that other machine was also missing. Whenever possible I do try to speak with team members to see if they have any insight. Sometimes they don’t have any info, but on this day I lucked out and a very friendly team member named Jennifer told me that she heard there was a special Velocicoaster penny available. She didn’t know exactly where it was but she thought it was near some restrooms. I thanked Jennifer profusely and with this new lead was off to hunt around. I knew of three different sets of restroom nearby and the first two didn’t pay off. The third was a little bit of a walk from the Velocicoaster, past the River Adventure attraction, and around the corner from the Jurassic Outfitters gift shop.

There is was just down this pathway near the restrooms and water fountain. This did seem like a very strange place to put this machine especially so far away from the new attraction and I would think it would get so much more use if it was closer to the actual ride. My guess is this will be moving at some point in the future but if not you will now be in the know of exactly where to find it.

The machine had a fun cabinet design which I assumed was to try and replicate stone or rock. As you can see it also has the new payment system available and each design costs $1 plus the machine will supply the penny to be pressed.

Now there are a few interesting things to note about these designs. First off, the first and third designs are the same ones that were in that machine I had found inside the Discovery Center (mentioned earlier in this post) that on this visit had been missing. Well I guess I found out what happened to it. So those two designs were the same as before, but the second or middle design was brand new and absolutely georgous.

That new design has the Velocicoaster logo on it, some of the track and of course a ferocious raptor. It also says Grand Opening 2021 which I just love. My assumption is this design will be available during this inaugural year of operation and will eventually be retired. But we have seen other dated coins kept around many months after that year has come and gone so I would recommend getting this coin as soon as you can. Otherwise you may lose out.

Oh one other oddity with these designs is that if you compare the pennies I received from the machine with the marquee picture above one of the images is different. On the marquee design #3 looks like a Triceratops skull / head, but in the pennies I received this design didn’t come out. Instead another design was pressed. I’m not sure if the die is incorrect or if the marquee is wrong. I don’t even know if Universal or the vendor that maintains the machines knows this happened. I’ll keep an eye on it during future visits to see if this changes, but wanted to let you know in case you went to press your own set.

Well it wasn’t a churro cart, and even though I haven’t gotten up the nerve to ride this yet I think this was a better attraction for this park. The reviews from fellow guests have been incredible and the wait times have been pretty crazy so I think they have a hit on their hands. This new “limited” pressed penny is just so incredible I hope we see more like this in the future celebrating new attractions. Geez all this talk of churros I feel like I need a snack, now if only I can find an actual churro stand nearby.

Thanks for visiting and Keep on Pressing!

National Donut Day Pressed Penny

On January 6th, 2021 a new specialty donut shop opened in Disney Springs called Everglazed. I came out on that opening day because I’m a sucker for a good donut and was immediately blown away with their unique creations.

The only problem I had was how to share this place with you my penny pals, since there wasn’t a pressed penny machine inside, or anywhere near here. So I just enjoyed the donuts by myself and have gone back numerous times since that first visit.

They have two different styles of donuts, first what they called The New Classics like a Vanilla Iced with Sprinkles or the Fruity Pebbles. Then they also have some wilder donuts called The Funky Bunch like the Cookies & Cream, Peanut Butter Explosion, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Mounds Coconut Cream pictures above. Plus it’s hard to tell in the pictures but these donuts are huge. They are yeast style donuts made from scratch daily and in limited quantities so they do sell out of the more popular flavors.

After a couple visits I’d tried all their usual line up of donuts, but then found out that through tier Instagram account they post new donuts for most holidays. Some are only available for one or two days so I always jumped at the opportunity to try these as well. Above I’ve got pictures their Cinco de Oh-My-O Donut which was a flaky croissant dough sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and topped with buttercream, crushed heath bar, drizzled with caramel and chocolate then topped with a hand made churro. Wow that was a mouth full, not only the description but this donut was fantastic.

Just a few weeks ago they released what they called S’mores Galore. A chocolate iced donut topped with marshmallow fluff, crushed golden grahams and a giant toasted marshmallow for a true campfire flavor. It was simply heavenly. These are just the tip of the iceberg for this place, I’ve also tried a special Girl Scouts Thin Mint Donut, a St. Patrick’s Day donut with lucky charms marshmallows on it, and my wife loved the Mother’s day donut. Maybe a father’s day donut is in my very near future? I could go on and on with pictures and descriptions but I need to get this story back on track.

If you ever find yourself in Disney Springs with a need to indulge your sweet tooth head over to the West Side and Everglazed is in-between the AMC movie Theater and Splitsville Bowling Alley. You won’t be disappointed!

Since this place opened I’ve still always held out hope that a pressed penny could come along that would tie into this place as I really wanted to share it with everyone. Then just recently as if a sign from the Donut and Elongated Coin heavens I saw an intriguing post on the TEC Facebook group page from fellow coin collector Tyler Tyson.

Tyler is always coming up with fun and unique pressed coin designs and in this post he inquired with other collector’s to see if anyone was interested in a National Donut Day design. He had hand drawn a concept of his design and I really thought he did a great job with it. I sent him a note to put my name on the list if he did decide to proceed with creating the design.

Before we proceed I wanted to give a little information on National Donut Day since I honestly didn’t know much about it. This special day is celebrated on the first Friday in June each year and the tradition dates back to the first World War. The Salvation Army volunteers cooked up donuts to cheer up army troops and we’ve been celebrating ever since.

Tyler had received enough interest in his design to proceed with creating the die. He created this one by hand which really gives the finished design a fun and truly custom look to it. Then he pressed enough coins for the orders and then cancelled the die which means it won’t be used every again.

It didn’t take too long for my penny to arrive in the mail and I absolutely love it. Tyler really did a great job with this, and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with in the future. With this new addition to my collection I feel like celebrating, maybe with some more donuts from Everglazed? Sounds like a good idea to me.

Central Florida Zoo Pressed Pennies – Sanford, FL

I’ve mentioned this numerous times in the past but I absolutely love visiting aquariums and zoos. If I’m out traveling around and there is one nearby I’ll go out of my way to check them out. Some are huge, and others are much smaller but it just doesn’t matter. I enjoy the different exhibits, animals and of course they more often than not have a pressed penny machine somewhere on the property.

A few years ago I found out about the Central Florida Zoo in Sanford which is about an hour north of Orlando. Above some further research they also were listed on as having a penny press so I packed up my kids and headed out to visit. Unfortunately at that time the zoo was under some pretty heavy renovations and many of the exhibits were unavailable. An even further travesty was that the penny press was no where to be found. We finished up our day and headed home a little disappointed.

Fast forward a few years and I get a message from a fellow collector that was visiting the Orlando area and checked out the Central Florida Zoo. His report back mentioned the construction was all done and the penny machine was back and fully operational. That was all I needed to hear to know what we were doing that following weekend. I packed up my family on a Saturday morning and we headed back to Sanford to check out the new and improved zoo.

The front part of the zoo was pretty much the same, and most of the elevated wooden boardwalk paths throughout the zoo were also unchanged but had received some much needed repairs. But as we headed further back into the zoo we found many of the new exhibits and all of it’s residents seemed to be enjoying their new surroundings.

I also found there was a nice flow to the park. Nothing bugs me more than having to retrace my steps in a park when a certain area just kind of dead ends.

Inside the reptile house were many Florida local creatures which always scares me a little bit. I’m definitely not a snake person but always feel I should make sure I know as much about them incase I find one on my lanai at home.

Lemurs are one of my favorite animals to visit, they always look so interested in everything that is going on. Most of the zoos I’ve visited seem to prefer the white and black ring-tailed lemur, but here they had a beautiful red and black friend that was really amazing.

Located right about in the middle of the property is a petting zoo. This was pretty standard and had the usual animals to visit with like goats and sheep, but we also found an alpaca in the back. He didn’t come close enough for us to visit with, but he was showing off his pretty cute haircut from a distance.

In the same area as the petting zoo was the ZOOfari Outpost, basically the zoo gift shop. Outside under that covered awning was a mold-o-rama machine which I’ve seen more and more around the Central Florida area. Even Universal Studios now has a few of these inside their parks.

The gift shop was pretty small inside and didn’t have a huge selection of items for sale. Plenty of t-shirts and photo frames but a far cry what what we are used to seeing at the larger theme parks. As you walk in through the main door the penny press machine was located straight back.

This machine immediately caught my eye when I walked inside. It has a nice bright paint job and the animal artwork on the cabinet was really beautiful.

The pennies rolled out really nicely, only one ended up rolling a bit long with a tail but the images were all nicely pressed. I always really like when they have the zoo location listed in the design as opposed to just generic animal designs. The River Otter, Rhino, Giraffe and Alligator designs were fairly standard and I’m sure we have seen similar at other locations but I was still happy to finally have this set for my personal collection.

The Central Florida Zoo has come a long way from that first time I visited and we had a really fantastic day. This is not a huge zoo, but you can definitely spend a good portion of your day here if you really take your time exploring all the exhibits and different activities available throughout the day. They do also have a few places to purchase food so you can really make a day of it. Don’t forget to visit the Outpost and press a set of these pennies for your own collection and as always be sure to Keep on Pressing!

Satchel’s Pizza – Gainesville, FL

I hate to be “that” person, but I do feel that I’m a connoisseurs of pizza. Living in New Jersey we had some really great pizza, including the locally known Tomato Pie, plus I visited New York City many many times for a lot of pizza. I’ve even visited Chicago for authentic deep dish pizza and I honestly love it all. Sometimes I’m in the mood for thin crust and other times deep dish is what’s calling my name. The long and the short of it is that I just really love pizza as I think so many of you do as well. Now some of you may be asking now this pertains to pressed coins. If you have been following my adventures on this blog I’m sure you have noticed that we have pretty much collected all the pressed coins available in the Orlando area and most central Florida locations. When that happens it’s just time to start expanding our collecting boundaries and venture a little further away from home. One of these cities on my to do list was Gainesville Florida. I’ve already documented a couple places we visited on previous trips but I was saving the best for last, a place called Satchel’s Pizza.

I’ll get the pizza review in a little bit, but first I just wanted to mention that this is probably the most unique pizza joint I have ever visited. Satchel’s pizza opened on March 7th, 2003 by Satchel Raye the founder and owner of the restaurant. Their mission was to make great food in a beautiful atmosphere. Basically this entire place is a collection of unique and one of a kind works of art. Just wait and I’ll show you what I mean.

The front of the building has a fun garden area with tables that you can sit and wait for your table. This place gets so busy that there can be wait times of up to and over an hour if you don’t get their early. Also, see that van on the left? There is a table inside and you can actually sit and eat your meal inside that van. This could be a bit hot in the summertime, but still seems like an interesting table option for those adventurous types.

Just around the one side of the front door area are some of their outdoor tables. They all have pretty mosaic designs on top, and even the walls have wonderful art work and designs on them.

Along the other main side of the building where the parking lot is located the art work continues. This one wall was covered in all different kinds of sports trophies.

There was a bit of a pass through walkway between the restaurants two buildings and the exterior design continued everywhere. This wall had all sorts of different items mounted directly on it.

That second building I mentioned towards the back is called Lightnin Salvage Enterprises and has a pretty large bar inside that is also surrounded with some additional tables. I think this is used as kind of overflow seating for the main dining room and you do have access to the full food menu in addition to the bar offerings. The above picture was taken in the parking lot area and you can see some interesting looking items all the way in the back of the lot. Let’s take a closer look.

This covered area was like an open air greenhouse and we will step inside shortly, but what first caught my eye was the airplane mounted up on top.

Underneath the airplane were plenty of potted plants and some additional seating. It was raining when we visited so no one was outside other than myself trying to take these pictures. But I can see this being a fun place to eat your pizza.

We then came across another section with some larger picnic tables and cement tables for diners.

Here are the few seating areas inside the greenhouse. There is no glass along the walls so this is an open air place to eat. I would think it could get pretty hot inside here if you are eating during the middle of the summer, plus the tables are not very large so this could be a tough seat to get if you really wanted to eat here.

Along the back wall of the building I found a section that was covered in a mosaic style patter of cell phone cases in every different color you can imaging.

The last little area outside was a “kids play area”. I put that in quotes as I’m not sure any kids would actually want to play here, and it reminds me of something you may find at an abandoned school in some horror movie. My daughters just kind of walked through this area and didn’t seem interested in actually playing here. Maybe that was due to the rain, or maybe some other reason.

I mentioned earlier that this place can have really long wait times to get a table, so I made sure we arrived before it even opened which is why we took our tour of the grounds first. Once we had finished outside it was perfect timing and the restaurant was just opening, but even at this time in the morning it filled up pretty quickly. The interesting decorations continued on the inside as you can see from the things hanging from the ceiling and all along the walls.

Above is a picture I took of the menu just to show there disclaimer that it could take a while for your food to be prepared if they are busy. Also during our visit they were cash only but they did have an ATM machine inside to use but there is a service fee to use so you may want to plan ahead. I have seen online that they are now accepting credit cards and digital payments probably due to increase demand for touch-less payment options which is nice.

On our visit the pizza didn’t take too long and it was delivered to our table within 20 minutes. By this time we were starving and we couldn’t wait to dive in. My daughters wanted just plain cheese and I opted for pepperoni and green peppers. This pizza was fantastic! As you can see it’s not really a thin crust pizza, but definitely not a deep dish is kind of in between. The crust exterior was crunch, but soft and garlicky on the outside. There was so much cheese on top which I love and the tops on my side were fresh and flavorful.

The pizza was definitely filling, but when offered dessert we just had to see what was available. Instead of a regular paper dessert menu, they brought over an old school view master with a photo disc inside of all the sweet offerings.

I tried to take a picture of the view master menu above.

It’s a bit small and the 3D obviously doesn’t work, but this was still a cool way for guests to see the menu. My kids really got a kick out of the view master and couldn’t believe this was a toy I had when I was young. A far cry from all the fancy tech they have now.

After our lunch we headed back outside and walked towards the back building Lightnin Salvage which as I mentioned before is a bar and additional seating for the main restaurant but also has a small gift shop.

The tile work on these walls was very eye catching. For some reason the area to the right of the door just reminded me of a bunch of post-it notes covering the wall.

Here is a picture of the inside where the bar could be found. You can see some small trinkets in the lower right corner that I’m sure kids would enjoy.

This is just a sample of some items they had for sale in the gift shop. They had plenty of things with Satchel’s Pizza on it like mugs, t-shirts, sweaters and even their salad dressing for sale.

But of course other than the pizza I was here to find their pressed penny machine and this is where you can find it. I actually thought it would have been in the main restaurant area, but when I couldn’t find it my very kind server said it was back near the bar. I really liked that they had a van model on the top of the machine. It didn’t quite match the one they have outside to eat in, but still a fun addition to their machine.

This machine style is one I’ve used quite a few times in the past, and I always find they seem to roll the designs a bit short. However I was pleasantly surprised to see that my pressed coins came out very nicely and I really loved these designs. If you saw these on eBay or somewhere out of context you probably would have no idea what they were all about, but once you have visited Satchel’s you instantly recognize each of the designs.

All I can say is that this was definitely a unique place and I cannot wait to go back. I only wish it was a bit closer to our home so I could get back there more often. It will be on my list of places to visit again anytime we are in that area, or even just passing through. Be sure to get their early, or just have some patience when waiting for your table and food. It will be well worth the wait, make sure you get your pressed pennies, and don’t forget to check out all the artwork. Though as you can see from the pictures above it’s pretty hard to miss since the restaurant itself is the art work. Keep on Pressing!

Magic Kingdom Converting 3-Design Electric Penny Machines to $1

A few months ago I posted about the first 3-design electronic penny machine I came across at Disney’s Magic Kingdom that had been converted over to $1. In case you haven’t read that article I’ve got it linked here. When that machine was changed over we all knew it was inevitable that the rest would soon follow. This is not a quick process as the vendor and I’m sure Disney don’t want to have all the machines removed at once so they take a few at a time. I’ve been documenting the changes and all the machines at Magic Kingdom have finally been swapped. I will state right here at the beginning that none of the penny designs have changed, they are all exactly the same as they were before this conversion so we won’t spend much time on those. I will include pictures of the new coins since for the most part the machines are pre-loaded with shiny new zinc pennies. We have seen reports from fellow collectors that sometimes they luck out and get a machine with some older copper pennies inside, but it seems to be a mix bag at this point. So without any further delay let’s hop on the monorail and get inside the Magic Kingdom.

The parks have recently been relaxing some of their heath requirements and the crowds have definitely started to return.

Once inside the Magic Kingdom we are going to take a quick trip through the entire park showcasing all the newly replaced machines without much sightseeing in between locations. First up we head into the Main Street Fire Station. This has recently got through a bit of a change inside.

This use to be where you could sign up to play the Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom interactive game, but that has been removed and inside has now returned to looking just like a turn of the century firehouse.

The next machine was quite a ways away, we skipped down Main Street USA, cut through Adventureland and ended up in Frontierland back near Splash Mountain. There is a penny machine hidden near the exit to Splash Mountain, but you do NOT need to actually ride the attraction to access this machine. You can just walk back here and use the machine and stay completely dry.

This machine received a nice makeover during it’s removal. The old cabinet was pretty beat up and now it’s been nice and refurbished and repainted.

Next we headed past the Peco’s Bill quick service restaurant, past the Country Bears Jamboree and just off to the side of the main pathway is the Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade.

This location has two machines and both have been converted over. The first one is located on the right side of the shootin’ arcade.

On the left side of the arcade is the second machine. This one has also received a nice new pain job and looks ready to press some coins.

Leaving Frontierland we next find ourselves in Liberty Square. If you head in the direction towards Cinderella Castle there is a pathway that goes past the exit to the Hall of Presidents attraction.

In this little alcove is where our next stop was to check on this 3-design pressed penny machine. The designs haven’t changed, but I always really liked this set and they definitely seem popular among guests.

Above is a close up of the new payment system. These machines no longer accept quarters and pennies, instead due to the higher cost the machine will accept $1 bills through the scanner towards the bottom. Please note that the machine does not give change so you will need the correct denomination to use. This is also the only way to press just individual designs. If you want to use the electronic payment system with either a credit card or digital wallet like ApplePay or Google Wallet you will automatically be charged the full $3 and will get all 3 designs.

Continuing our tour around the park we skipped through New Fantastyland and Tomorrowland since there were no 3-design machines in these areas. We found ourselves heading back down Main Street USA towards the front of the park and headed inside Tony’s Town Square Restaurant.

The machine is just past the check-in desk for the restaurant but not actually inside the area with all the dining tables.

This was another machine that was overdue for a bit of a facelift and it back looking much nicer than before. I do find that this machine still presses it’s designs a little short and more often than not they get cut off on the one side.

Sorry for the whirlwind tour of the park, but we have visited each of these machines in detail previously and I didn’t want to dwell on them too much this time around. But since they have been changed over to the new payment system and higher cost I did want to document them and share these changes with everyone so you can be prepared for your upcoming trips and squishin’ missions.

What do you think of the increased cost? Will this change how you collect or make you more selective of the designs you press. Be sure to let me know down in the comments below and we can discuss. Have a fantastic week and as always be sure to Keep on Pressing!