Island Market & Export NEW Pressed Pennies | Universal’s Islands of Adventure

This past week I was over at Universal Studios Florida with the plan of just going with the flow. I had no plans and just wanted to head in an enjoy a slow paced day at the park. I made it on The Mummy coaster one last time before it was closed a day later for a very lengthy refurbishment. Then I headed over to Central Park Crepes for my favorite snack a Strawberry Hazelnut Crepe and then sat at a table in the shade to eat it while I people watched a bit. Things were going great until I decided to head over to Islands of Adventure to continue my leisurely visit and maybe grab a churro.

Shortly after I entered the park I stopped inside the Import Market & Export Candy shop to check it out. This place has going through a bit of change recently.

It’s packed with all things candy and sweet treats. As you first walk in there are lots of prepackaged popcorn, chocolate bars and many different kinds of sweets.

How can you say no to Chewy Unicorn Treats or some birthday cake dough bites. They even have Back to the Future chocolate bars and Simpson’s themed chocolate covered bacon bars.

Along the back wall is where most of the recent changes have taken place. There is now a fresh fudge kitchen, and then a long treat counter with tons of themed items.

The cupcakes are so cute, almost too cute to eat but not quite. They also had red velvet whoopee pies, rice crispy treats with all different kinds of candy mixed inside, and of course a smorgasbord of candy coated apples.

But just as I was about to head back out into the park I figured I would check on the penny press machine that is usually in this store. As I walked up to where it usually was I noticed it had gotten taller, and offered more pennies than usual.

I quickly transferred into my collector mode and started documenting the new machine and of course these beautiful new designs. The cabinet is the same style and design wood that the previous machine was I guess it kind of matches the inside of this shop. The machine has the touch screen interface we have become quite familiar with, and the pennies cost $1 per design or all 8 for $5. Thankfully no change to the cost.

The full set of penny designs was a bit interesting to me. Usually they keep Islands of Adventure themed in this park and Universal Studios themes in that park, but for this set the designs were a mix of both parks all in one. We can see the classic Universal Studios Globe logo, the Back to the Future Delorean, Jaws, Kong, E.T. Woody Woodypecker, Bumblebee the Transformer, and a nice new Velocicoaster coin.

I do really love this set as almost a complete overview of their greatest hits within the Universal theme parks, well maybe not Woody. With this new set safely stored away I headed out into the park and back into leisure mode and eventually got a churro from my favorite snack stand within the park. It was a great day even though I didn’t really accomplish much. But I think every so often I have to remind myself to do this and really enjoy these amazing parks. Not everyone has access to them like we do and I never want to take that for granted.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and make sure you take some time for yourself to just go slow and enjoy the journey. But if you come across a pressed penny machine be sure to Keep on Pressing!

FUN Coin Show Winter 2022 – Orlando Florida

Florida United Numismatists that just rolls off the tongue doesn’t it? Maybe not, and I guess that’s why they shorten it to just FUN and that definitely is a great way to attract people into a convention. I mean who doesn’t want to go to the FUN Convention. In all seriousness the FUN Coin Show / Convention has quickly become one of my favorite events to experience each year. I started going about 4 or 5 years ago and thankfully since then each Winter version of this show has taken place in Orlando which is very close to my home. This years show was from January 6th through 9th and unfortunately due to my schedule I was only able to attend on the Friday morning.

The event was held at the Orange County Convention Center in the North Concourse area. There was a fee of $10 to park, but that was it there was no separate entrance fee for the coin show. As with most convention centers this one is huge but there are plenty of staff around to help point you in the right direction.

Once inside you just need to find the guest registration area. Even though there is no cost to enter you still need to get a name tag to get down into the show floor. I was there shortly after the event started for the day and the line was very short and within minutes I had my name tag and a goody bag.

One of the freebies in the goody bag was a nice hefty medallions that was created specifically for this convention. This years theme was celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Lincoln Memorial. Above is a picture of one side of the coin.

The reverse side of the coin included the FUN information including that it was the 67th annual, and listed the dates of the show. It also had a map of Florida and a star for this years location Orlando. I have received similar coins at past events and always look forward to it. These have quickly become a special little side collection.

Once inside the event the size can be a little overwhelming. There are hundreds and hundreds of vendors buying and selling all sorts of different items. Most are coins and various types of domestic or foreign currency. I even saw some jewelry, watches, even gold bars. There was an area selling coin collecting supplies, and some companies known for grading coins were available to answer questions and you could submit your precious items for a fee to be professionally graded.

I took my time wondering around all the different vendors, but my collection is primary elongated coins and those were hard to find. But some items did catch my Disney-fan eye like the above coin celebrating Steamboat Willie / Mickey.

Another vendor had a pretty big pile of old Disney money that used to be available for purchase / redemption in the theme parks years ago. I remember seeing these on vacations years ago, and need to go through my collection because I’m sure I have some saved someplace. There was quite a markup on these items now that it’s out of circulation and certainly a popular item to collect.

Towards the back of the show floor was an area set aside for the member exhibits. These are always fun to look at as the themed can be on such a wide variety of topics. I saw one that was all about the reed edges on Roosevelt dimes, and another on Kenned Half Dollar error coins. Members put a lot of work in to these and some are quite elaborate. The above one caught my eye since it was showcasing some elongated coins.

After I checked out most of the convention I hunted down The Elongated Collector (TEC) table and was so happy to see my friend Cindy and her sister volunteering at the table. There were some exhibit cases on display with copies of the club newsletter, and other unique items. There were bins filled with various elongated coins at some amazingly cheap prices.

Each year when TEC attends the FUN coin show they have a unique elongated die created. They press quite a few coins and have them available for anyone that stops by the table.

The die is also placed inside the above manual press and visitors can use this to elongated any of their own spare change they may have on hand.

I made a bit of a mistake during my visit and grabbed one of the coins from the table but after speaking with Cindy she let me know those were zinc pennies. She liked to put those out as the shiny zinc coins always seems to attract some of the younger visitors. But for collectors she had a secret stash of copper coins available and I was able to get one for my collection.

Comparing the elongated penny and convention coin I like that TEC decided to make a similar design to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln memorial. I had a fantastic time once again at this show, and can’t wait to come back next year. It was always great to see and be able to visit with Cindy from TEC and truly appreciate all the work she put into during this event. For more details on FUN in case you are interested in visiting a future show you can visit their website here.