Universal’s Mardi Gras 2022 | Collectible Medallions

Let the Good Times Roll!

It’s that time of year again for one of my favorite events at Universal their Mardi Gras Celebration.

The festivities can be found since the Universal Studios theme park and includes some great food, concerts, a scavenger hunt, decorations, a parade and a brand new set of collectible medallions. But before we get to those new coins let’s take a stroll around the park first.

I’ve visited Universal’s Mardi Gras the last few years and always have a great time. There are decorations all throughout the park, but the heart of the festival for some reason is in the New York section of the park.

Be on the look out for the King and Queen of Mardi Gras. I usually find them riding their marquee float during the parade.

Of course any good festival will have a lot of food trucks and food booths to experience and this was no different.

My recommendation is to go during the week to help avoid some of the crowds. When the food booths first open is usually a great time to jump in short lines and enjoy the hot fresh food.

This year one of the tag lines for the festival was that it was “Spicier” and that was certainly the case. Many times at the theme parks they tend to tone down the spice just due to the wide range of guests tastes. But I can attest that a few of the items this year definitely brought the spice. The Nashville Hot Chicken Mac & Cheese was amazing, and the Blackend Chicken Po-Boy was also a great option. The different varieties of Arepas we tried were very flavorful and one of my favorites was the Pressed Garlic Bread Meatball slider. So many great options, there are almost too many to try in just one visit.

After indulging in some great food it was time to explore the latest version of the Tribute Store. This time around it was themed around a Float Factory. The facades they create for these stores are always so details and really gave me some Horror Nights vibes (soon my precious…soon).

As with the other Tribute Stores we have experience in the past there are multiple rooms each telling a different part of a larger story. Inside this Float Factory each room took us through the process of designing and creating a parade float. Above was the second room we encountered and showed how they start carving in foam the details for the float.

The next room detailed the paint and decoration process for a float. Plus did I mention all the merchandise we’ve encountered. There were scented candles, masks, beads, t-shirts, sweaters, hats, Christmas ornaments and so much more.

The last room which always contains a lot of amazing themed snacks and desserts was also where we found the finished Space Gator float. Now I was a little disappointed that we didn’t see the actual parade floats but I guess that would have been just way too big to fit inside this store. Still the details of the entire float creation process was very unique and definitely interesting to see all the steps involved.

On the way out of the Tribute Store there is one last scene before you head back out into the park and this is where we found the new Collectible Medallions machine.

The cabinet looked to be the exact same machine we have found here recently for the Holiday Tribute Store and last years Halloween Horror Nights. But I’m certainly happy to see they have kept up the trend of releasing new medallions for each of their big events throughout the year. The cost was $5 per Medallion or $15 for all four designs.

Each design has a nice Mardi Gras theme to it including the tag line I mentioned for this year “Louder, Wilder and Spicier”, a Fleur-De-Lis, a classic Mardi Gras mask, and an interesting Voodoo design. The reverse of each coin all had the same Mardi Gras at Universal 2022 design.

I had so much fun again this year at Universal’s Mardi Gras and thankfully there is still plenty of time to go back and experience more food and more fun. The parade is always one of my highlights to watch and if you are lucky enough you may also get to ride on the float and toss those highly sought after beads at all the gusts along the parade route. Then before you jump back in your car you can toss a few of your beads onto the famous Mardi Gras bead tree.

I am so happy to see another set of collectible medallions released and can’t wait to see what’s next. Will this be it until Horror Nights? Who knows, I’m kind of hoping we see something new in-between these two marquee events. Only time will tell, but I’ll make sure and let you know as soon as I find out.


Disney Skyway Pressed Coin – Privately Designed

Disney fans are always talking about the monorail as their favorite way to get into the parks. I agree that it’s a unique way to get around property, and I have some very fond memories of vacations from my youth where hoping on the monorail was how I knew we were on vacation.

It will always have a special place in my heart, but not too long ago in 2019 Walt Disney World opened their latest mode of Transportation the Skyliner.

The Disney Skyliner connects Hollywood Studios, Epcot and a few resorts in between. This has quickly become my new favorite way to move around property and gives an amazing birds eye view along the way. But this is not the first time Disney has installed a gondola type system in their parks.

Not long after the opening of Disneyland California a similar gondola system called the Skyway debuted in 1956. In was built by Von Roll Limited based in Bern Switzerland. Then when the Magic Kingdom here in Florida opened the same gondola system was implemented and a third was build in Tokyo Disneyland. The attraction took riders back and forth between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland

Then after many years of operation the California version of the Skyway closed in late 1994 and was attributed to metal fatigue in the supporting structures. In 1998 Tokyo Disneyland closed its Skyway.

Shortly after in 1999 the Skyway here in Florida’s Magic Kingdom closed, with the Tomorrowland station demolished in 2009 and the Fantasyland station was removed a few years later in 2012 was then replaced with a new Tangled-themed restroom area that has become a fan favorite area.

Even though its been many years since the Skyway has been removed from all Disney parks, it is still fondly remembered by many guests. To celebrate this classic attraction our friend Don Cade has designed another wonderful pressed coin. The design shows the familiar Skyway buckets hanging from the transport cable, soaring overtop of the Disneyland Autopia and Astro Orbiter attractions. Don made this design available on various coin denominations but he was gracious to send me one on a very unique coin. As you can see in the above picture of the coin it has an eye catching edge to it.

This was pressed on not our usual US coin, but instead an Israeli One Agora coin. This is really amazing and I’m so happy to share it all with you. Thank you for stopping by and checking out some more privately designs elongated coins. There are so many more out there and I can’t wait to see what we find next. Keep on Pressing!

Hard Rock Cafe Pressed Pennies | Universal’s CityWalk Florida

We have spent a lot of time in the past reviewing all the different CityWalk pressed penny machines, and even the more recent collectible medallions. I’ve eaten at pretty much every restaurant in CityWalk, and that includes Hard Rock Cafe. But one thing that never really crossed paths were pressed pennies and the Hard Rock until now.

I last visited this Hard Rock Cafe a few years ago with friends. Since it’s a chain I find the menu options nothing extraordinary so we really just used it as a last resort when we couldn’t get into any other CityWalk restaurant. During that last visit however I can confirm that there was no pressed penny machine. Just recently however I received a message from our friend and fellow collector Joe W who informed me that there was a pressed penny machine inside. So you know what that means we had to head over and investigate.

I did make a reservation for lunch just in case it was busy, but since my friend and I were there mid-week for lunch the place was pretty much empty. Once inside I remembered just how much memorabilia they have on display there. This place is basically a big music history museum. After we were seated at our table our server said we were free to wonder around and check out everything they had on display.

Being the Bloggers / Vloggers we are you didn’t need to tell us twice. We first headed upstairs for our self guided tour and it’s truly amazing what they have there.

Items from The Clut, to The Cure and even Smashing Pumpkins.

I found some clothing from Slash with Guns n’ Roses and even Joe Perry’s jacket from Aerosmith.

These few wall displays I showcased here is only a small smidgen of the things you can find here. Now I will say that we were lucky it wasn’t busy inside and that allowed us to really be able to see these things up close. The only issue would be if it’s busy inside, these items hang along the walls where all the booths are located and would have patrons sitting there eating their meals while you are trying to snap a picture of Eric Clapton’s guitar. Could be a bit awkward, but wanted to mention this so you can plan your visit accordingly.

After we were done exploring it was perfect timing as our food had just arrived back at our table. I started with the “One Night in Bangkok Spicy Shrimp” which were crispy shrimp tossed in a creamy spicy sauce and topped with scallions and served on a bed of coleslaw. These were nice a fresh, big shrimp that were perfectly crunchy. The sauce was not to spicy but had a nice kick. These are very similar to versions I’ve had at other chain restaurants but I was pleasantly surprised with this version. For my main entree I had the “Original Legendary Burger” which is labeled as a steak burger with applewood bacon, cheddar cheese, crispy onion ring, leaf lettuce and vine-ripened tomato. Similar to the shrimp this was a nicely prepared burger, the patty was fresh and cooked perfectly to my liking, the veggies were crisp and the bacon was crunchy. Overall it wasn’t anything I hadn’t had before, but I really enjoyed it and would order this again.

Since we were planning to head into the parks after our lunch we decided to skip dessert (I had a Crepe in mind for my sweet snack later on). We paid our tab and headed back towards the front of the restaurant where the Rock Shop was located. The pressed penny machine is just outside the shop actually very near where you would check in to eat at the restaurant. Due to it’s location you do not need to actually eat here to use the machine, you can just inside the doors to press your pennies.

Quick note on this machine, it is $1.00 to press your penny but the machine takes four quarters instead of a dollar bill. Thankfully I always bring extra change just in case.

This was a pretty standard machine, and the cabinet had a black and chrome looking style around the bottom which I guess is kind of “Rock-like”, but that could just be me grasping for some type of theming.

The penny designs available here include the Hard Rock Cafe Orlando logo, the Building Facade, a Guitar and a T-Shirt. I always love when these types of designs are created for a specific location and makes for a fun little sub-set to collect when visiting other locations.

Our experience at the Hard Rock Cafe Orlando was really great. The atmosphere inside is really amazing and if you love music history or maybe even just have a favorite band or performer they probably have something inside for you to check out. The meal was much better than I remember having the last time and I would put this on my list of places to visit again soon. Of course the pressed pennies were a great find and thank you again to Joe W for letting us know about them. I will say I’m a bit embraced that it took so long to find these, and we may need to explore a little more thoroughly in some other places in CityWalk. The Chocolate Emporium is another spot that I’m amazed does not have any pennies but maybe we will find them soon, or who knows they may already have one there and I’ll have to go check it out. Have a great week, Keep on Pressing and Rock On!

Pressed Penny Machine Model

If you’ve been hanging out here with us for any length of time you may notice that periodically I post about some unique items. I’m obsessed with anything even remotely related to pressed pennies or elongated coins. In the past we have reviewed jewelry, art work, videos games and most recently a pressed penny Christmas tree ornament. Just recently I came across another item we can add to this unique list.

One of my daily routines is scrolling through my Facebook pressed penny group pages to see what people have posted throughout the day. One post that caught my eye was from fellow collector Florian from Germany. He had designed and crated a 3-D printed model of a pressed penny machine. The pictures he posted looked pretty cool but I was certainly intrigued and wanted one for myself. I reached out to Florida, placed my order and a few weeks later my package arrived.

As you can see it’s pretty large and stands a little under 7 inches tall. I love the elongated coins that are attached to the “cabinet” of the machine.

The details of the internal mechanics are pretty impressive as well with the coin slider, die and gears. The hand crank does turn but obviously this does not actually press anything. I have this sitting on my desk next to my computer and just love seeing it there. Maybe future versions will have some of the internal parts like the gears actually turn, but for now I’m really happy with this model. I don’t know anything about 3-D printing but I’m sure designing this took quite awhile and many prototypes. A huge thank you to Floridan for putting this together and making it available.

If you know of or come across any unique items related to pressed coins or the machines please be sure to leave me a comment below I’d love to hear all about it. Have a fantastic week and as always Keep on Pressing!

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway NEW Pressed Pennies | Hollywood Studios

One of the latest attractions to open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Now for those of you that have been visiting the parks for awhile may remember the previous ride known as the Great Movie Ride. Many guests were hoping that original attraction would just get a bit of TLC and a bit of updating. Instead Disney decided to just close it down completely and replace it with Mickey Mouse’s first ever attraction.

Back in March 2020 I was there on opening day when this brand new attraction had it’s grand opening. I had to get to the park very early in the morning along with thousands of other fans all with similar ideas. The wait time for the ride immediately skyrockets to multiple hours once the park opened, but everyone was in high spirits and how could you not be when there was a new ride to experience. It was a long day, but we had lots of fun, the ride was amazing, the merchandise was great but something was missing. There were no new pressed pennies!

Well here we are about two years later and that is all about to change. Disney has finally released a new set of pressed pennies themed for this new attraction and we are here at Hollywood Studios to “track” them down.

But first I thought maybe we needed to set the stage and get into the proper frame of mind. What better way then to hop aboard this crazy train for a refresher then we will work on those pennies afterwards. Please note there will be some spoilers below about the attraction but I’ll try to keep them brief. Once you enter the park, basically you just need to head straight down Hollywood Boulevard towards the large theater looming in the background. If you are lucky enough to be here at night, just follow the mesmerizing neon lights that just seem to drawn you inside.

After you wait in line which usually starts outside, then winds inside past various movie posters along the walls showcasing different Mickey cartoon shorts you will find yourself in one of two movie theaters to watch the latest cartoon Perfect Picnic. Be warned that the music is very catchy and even as I’m sitting in my office writing this I have the song playing in my head. The cartoon is cute and had Mickey and Minnie packing their car for a picnic at the park. After some unforeseen events Goofy crashes his train into the barn which tears a hole into the movie screen. We are prompted to head on into the cartoon for a very special tour.

We load into train cars led by Engineer Goofy as he attempts to take us on a guided tour of a nature park. We come across Mickey and Minnie on their way to their picnic when we hit the track switch and Goofy goes one way while the rest of us head out of control through various scenes including the Wild West, a Carnival, Daisy’s dance studio and eventually in a large factory where we narrowly space the smasher thanks to Mickey and Minnie saving the day.

Miraculously we are reconnect with Goofy who is none the wiser that anything was amiss, and we get to see Mickey, Minnie and Pluto finally able to enjoy their picnic. Now it may be hard to tell from the above pictures but Disney toted this attraction as having 3 1/2-D basically it is a 3D effect but with no need for those crazy glasses. It’s a mixture of projected effects and a really great paint design that really makes you feel like you are moving through a Mickey cartoon. I think they did a fantastic job.

Once you exit the train, and head outside you will come across a small little souvenir booth. There are some attraction themed shirts, sweaters, ornaments and plush toys. When I was here on opening day there was a lot more items available but now it seems pretty scarce. More importantly however note that the pressed penny machine is nowhere to be found. You would think that it should be right here or at least near the theater but that is not the case.

Instead we need to head down Sunset Boulevard which is the pathway you would take heading towards the Tower of Terror. You only need to go about halfway down when you will see a little side street that dead ends.

At the back of this side street you will find a set of Restrooms and as we know Disney loves putting pressed penny machines near Restrooms which honestly drives me a bit crazy.

This machine has been in this location for quite a while, but used to have different designs that were pretty outdated at this point. Thankfully they have now been updated with this fun new set of designs. The machine does supply each penny to be pressed, and will cost $1 each.

The designs on each penny include Mickey & Minnie, Engineer Goofy, Angry looking Donald and Grumpy Pete. All are designed to look just like the attraction and the newer style of Mickey Cartoons found on Disney+. When I first started watching these new cartoons I wasn’t a big fan of this new style, but it has grown on me and now I really like it.

I’ll forever wonder why Disney takes so long to come out with new pressed penny designs for their movies and even new attractions. I guess two years isn’t bad from when the ride opened until we got these new pennies. It could have been like one of my favorite Disney movies Robin Hood which came out in 1973 and we only just got penny designs for that one last year. I’m still crossing my fingers that we will see Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge pennies some time soon, or how about Encanto? I mean common Disney what’s the hold up. With all that said I guess it’s better late than never and these are great new pressed pennies for a really fantastic family attraction and I’m very happy to have these in my collection.