Haunted Mansion Turns 50 – Disneyland, CA

Welcome to a brand new year, and we are already off and running with new pressed coins galore.  So many it’s actually hard for me to keep up with them all.   This post is about one such set featuring my all-time favorite attraction at Disney, The Haunted Mansion.

There are a few variations of this attraction in the different Disney theme parks.  But this time we are going to focus on the original in California.  It’s origins started back in 1951 with the first known illustration of Disneyland.  One area of the map showed a crooked street leading to a church and graveyard with a run-down manor up on a high hill.  However, it was rejected as Disney didn’t like the idea of a run-down building in his brand new park.  Eventually, Disney changed his mind after visiting the famous Winchester Mystery House in San Jose California with its unique design.  In 1961 notices were handed out at Disneyland’s main entrance advertising the new Haunted Mansion attraction opening in 1963.  Construction began a year later, but due to Disney’s involvement in the 1964-65 New York’s World Fair and his eventual death in 1966, the Haunted Mansion would not open until August 9th, 1969.

Even after all the delays, the attraction was an immediate success and quickly became a guest favorite.  It seems like no matter what Disney released with either the Mansion, Hitchhiking Ghosts or the Hat Box Ghost people will stand in huge lines to try and get whatever it is.

Now back to the present day.  As you may have just realized 2019 would have been the 50th anniversary of the Haunted Mansion, and Disney was not going to let that go by without some special items.  There was a lot of merchandise available in the park, but of course, my focus immediately went to the special pressed quarters they released.

I will admit right now it’s 2020, but in my defense, these coins were released around December 12th so it took me a little while to actually acquire them.  Even so, I still think these are a great new set with our favorite Hitchhiking Ghosts Eza, Phineas and Gus.

The back of each coin has a nice 50th logo on the back which I always wish they would do in Florida with our machines.  These reverse designs are always a nice addition to the overall design of the coins.

There are some attractions at Disney that come and go with some people upset about the change.  I’m pretty sure the Haunted Mansion is not going to be going anywhere due to its extreme popularity by all us Foolish Mortals.

FUN Convention 2020 – Orlando Florida

Just this past weekend was the F.U.N. (Florida United Numismatists) Convention for 2020.  It’s also so early in the new year I almost missed it.  But thankfully I had thought ahead and added it to my phone calendar last year so I wouldn’t forget.  This was my second year attending and it seemed to be bigger than last year.  If you are interested in reading about my visit last year you can check it out here.

Once again this year it was over at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.  This place is huge, and it seems like I’m walking miles just to get from the parking lot to the actual convention hall.

There are plenty of signs around to help you find where you need to go.

Eventually, you will come to the registration area.  The convention is free to attend but they do like you to check-in and get a name tag.

The other perk of checking-in is they will give you a coin for visiting.  These are different each year which makes them a fun collectible.  This year’s theme was Walking with Liberty.  The above picture shows the front and back of the coin.

Once you have your name tag you head upstairs to where the coin show is located.

As I entered inside I’m always taken back by just how big this event is.  The number of vendors and clubs with tables can be a bit overwhelming at first.  Thankfully you do get a guide book and the aisles are labeled with numbers to help you navigate around.

All the way in the back is the Educational Exhibits which I love checking out.  I probably spend most of my time back here.  The exhibits range from rare coins to special sets of currency, or even a specific theme.

I check out all of the exhibits but I’m always drawn to the elongated coin ones which are where I spend most of my time.

The time and effort people have put into these exhibits are unbelievable and I hope one day to enter one myself.

There were even some exhibits specifically about our club TEC (The Elongated Collectors).  The above had some sample newsletters, information about the club and even an 1893 Columbia pressed coin which is usually considered the first pressed design available at the Chicago World’s fair.

Another exhibit for TEC showcased some of the special pressed coins available to our members like a recruiter coin, a merit coin and the Dillard exhibit aware, plus there was even a copy of the Yesterday’s Elongated book

After I finished exploring all the exhibits I started wandering up and down all of the aisle.  It’s amazing what is available here.  No matter what type of coin or currency you are interested in, the odds are there is someone here that would be able to help add to your collection.

Over near the U.S. Mint area, was where I found the tables I was really looking forward to finding.  First was the TEC table and right beside it was Mr. Ray Dillard’s table.

Mr. Dillard was there with his trademark machine that he offers to press your pocket change for free.

This year’s design was keeping with the Conventions theme of Walking with Liberty.

Above is a picture of the pressed penny he was handing out to all visitors that stop by his table.

Then as a very special gift, he presented me with the same design but pressed on a US dollar coin.  This was a gift for TEC Members attending the convention.  It was really fantastic and I was completely caught off guard by his generosity.

Over at the TEC table, my daughters and I had a great time chatting with current TEC President Cindy Calhoun.  I had met Cindy years ago at an ANA convention in Philadelphia and it was nice to catch up a bit.  My daughters were so excited when she handed them each some pressed pennies for their own collections included the above “Join TEC” coin which I think is a great way to help spread the word about the club.

With our pockets full of some new pressed coins and plenty of handouts we were ready to head home.  Even though this has only been my second year attending I do look forward to it and have 2021 already programmed into my phone so I don’t forget about it next year.  Everyone we spoke with was very friendly and just so passionate about their hobby and personal collections they just love talking about it.

I don’t talk about it too often but if you are not already a member of TEC you really should check it out.  I’ve been a member for over 10 years now and have thoroughly enjoyed being a member.  The cost is very reasonable and you can opt for either a hard copy of the newsletter to be mailed to your home or you can get a digital copy emailed to you.  Each quarter you also get a nice little package with some unique pressed coins you just won’t find at your average theme park, and you will also get the coveted membership coins each year.  You can join by visiting the website www.tecnews.org and click on the Join/Renew coin.  Be sure to reference member #4237 so they know you heard it from me as I’m always trying to share the adventure of elongated coin collecting.

First 2020 Penny Set and Souvenir Medallion – Walt Disney World Resort

Walt Disney World has started releasing the 2020 coins.  The machines with the individual designs in each park and a few resorts are still coming out and I’ll have a big post about all of those once they are available.

However, there were a few separate 2020 coins that were released and I thought I would go ahead and share them with you separately.

First was over at Disney Springs in the Pin Trader store.  This location does have quite a few penny machines but those designs have not changed.  The new design that I came across was in the Collectible Medallion machine.

This machine seems to have its designs swapped out on a fairly regular schedule.  I feel like I was just over here getting a new coin not too long ago.

The cost of these coins is still the same at $5 per coin or 3 for $10.  Above is a picture of all the current designs available.  The second design from the left is the one we had found just a few weeks ago.

This medallion is pretty similar to the 2019 version it replaced.  It has a similar Disney Springs pattern on the front with Mickey Mouse on top obviously now it has 2020.  The back design is still the standard Disney Springs logo on all the other medallions here.

Next, we actually headed into the Magic Kingdom.  We visited on January 4th and it was a crazy madhouse.  Thankfully we weren’t going in too far for these new penny designs and just headed into the Main Street Railroad Station.

Not too long ago this location used to have a 3-design pressed quarter machine, but that was replaced in 2019 with this machine that had 4 designs all dated with 2019.  I actually thought this would be one of the last machines swapped out, but sure enough, it was one of the first.

This is still a 4-design hand-crank machine, but it’s one of the recently converted models that cost $1 per design.  This machine does accept credit cards or digital payments like ApplePay however, if you use those forms of payment you must get all 4 pennies for $4.   If you only want one penny (or less than the full set of 4) you need to use cash.

Above is a picture of the marquee at the top of the machine.  I liked the Train logo in the middle from last year and am glad to see it return.  It’s just a nice little touch to signify where it is in the park.  They should have a machine at each train station and make a fun subset to collect for a penny pressing trip around the Train loop.

The designs here all have 2020 on them with images of Cinderella’s Castle, Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy.

Well, this was just a quick taste of the new 2020 pressed coins still on the way.  I think I have about half of them collected.  Hopefully, the rest will be released soon as these are highly popular to collect each year and I know people are anxious to know where they are all located.

Here’s to a fantastic 2020 with lots more pennies to press!

Festival of the Holiday’s 2019 – Epcot

Happy New Year!!
Unfortunately, I had planned to write the below post a couple weeks ago but I got sick and some family events happened during the holidays.  I apologize for the delay and this festival has completed for 2019 but the next festival will be upon us before too long.
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Epcot doesn’t waste any time transitioning from one Festival to the next.  It seems like just a few weeks ago I was enjoying the Food and Wine Festival, and then just this past week everything changed over to the Festival of the Holidays.

I will admit this is not one of my favorite festivals, but it still gives me an excuse to head over to the park and try some new food items, or experience the Candlelight Processional which is actually a great show.

This year my two daughters wanted to try and complete the Cookie Stroll.

Last year I had attempted it but only got through a couple cookies before I felt sick from all the sugar and holiday spice.  This year my plan was to break up the sweetness with some savory dishes and hopefully not go home with my tail between my legs utterly defeated and embarrassed.

My two girls were excited and ready for some cookies.  After we got inside the park we picked up our Festival Passport so we knew where to go and headed for the first cookie.

 

The booth over near the Canadian Pavilion was called the Yukon Holiday kitchen, and they had the Peppermint Pinwheel Cookie.  I am not a huge peppermint fan, but this cookie was actually really good.  It was soft, moist and didn’t have an overwhelming amount of peppermint flavor which was a plus for me.

If you are going to try the cookie stroll, make sure you get your passport stamped after you pay for the cookie.

 

The second cookie was at the Fest of the Three Kings booth and was a Chocolate Crinkle Cookie.  This was just okay for us, my girls didn’t really like it.  To be it was almost more like a cake than a cookie, it was a bit dry but had plenty of chocolate flavor.

 

We then had to take a bit of a stroll around the World Showcase until we got to the German Pavilion and the Bavaria Holiday Kitchen booth.  They had the Linzer Cookie which was filled with raspberry jam.  This was fantastic and was my clear favorite of all the cookies we tried that day.

 

Over in the American Adventure pavilion was the American Holiday Table booth.  Here you could try a classic Gingerbread Man cookie.  I do not enjoy gingerbread myself so this was a miss for me, but my girls raved about this cookie.  They liked it so much they begged for a second one to enjoy on the way to our next booth.

 

In between the Morocco and France pavilion was a very popular food booth called L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen.  They had a Pastrami on Rye sandwich which I had tried last year and was really good, as well as a couple different potato Latkes.  But we were here for a cookie and got the Black and White cookie.  This has a nice lemon flavor to it, but nothing too exciting.  My youngest enjoyed eating all the frosting from the top and she said that was her favorite part.

We had done it.  After the Black and White cookie, it was time to head over to the Holiday Sweets and Treats booth for our complimentary Completer cookie.

 

It was a cute Santa Mickey-shaped Sugar Cookie and we even got a free bottle of white milk.  We each took a small bite just to say we tried all of them, but by this time we were sick of cookies and couldn’t really enjoy it so we packaged it up and took it home.

To try and celebrate our glorious victory over the cookie stroll we headed into the Port of Entry gift shop to see what Festival merchandise was available.  There were the standard t-shirts, sweaters, and candy cane flavored popcorn but nothing really called out to me this year.  Then as we wandered around the store I found something.

The collectible coins/medallions were back.  The Food and Wine versions had been removed and replaced with the new Festival of the Holidays designs.

The machine looks exactly the same, but had a new marquee and was filled with the new coins.

They are still the same cost at $5 each, or 3 for $10.

The designs are Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, and Chip & Dale.  The back of the coins has the Festival of the Holidays logo.

I was originally against these coins mostly due to their very high cost, but now that these seem to be coming out for each festival I’ve grown to enjoy.  With everything going on this time of year I actually forgot these may even be available so it was a happy coincidence to come across them.

Later that evening the rest of our family arrived at Epcot and we had dinner in the France Pavilion at Chefs de France.  Then we finished our evening enjoying the Candlelight Processional with guest host Gary Sinise.  He was fantastic, the music was wonderful and the singing just topped off our amazing day.

I hope you have a wonderful Holiday.  Please stay safe and enjoy your special time with family and friends.

Merry Christmas 2019

Merry Christmas from our house to yours!!

I hope you have a wonderful day with your friends and Family. This is such a fun and festive time of year that we look forward to it all year long and once it’s over we start looking to next year. Enjoy the day and make sure to always be safe.

Thanks for being such a great community and group of friends to us here. We truly appreciate you visiting each week and love hearing from you. Happy Holidays!!

Orlando Icon Park – Penny Machines Converted to $1

Our fears have been confirmed.  It seems like Disney is not the only place converting their pressed penny machines to $1.  A very kind friend had sent me a message online that they saw some penny machines in Orlando had the new price rate.  I almost couldn’t believe it so I made sure to head on over as soon as I had a free afternoon to confirm it…and it turns out to be 100% true.

The attraction in question has gone through quite a few name changes over the past couple of years.  Currently, it’s called Icon Park over on International Drive.  I had written about this place previously as the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye and you can read about Madame Tussauds here and the Sealife Aquarium here.

The large Ferris wheel can be seen from all over Orlando, but when you park right beneath it in the lot the actual size can be a bit overwhelming.  It’s very difficult to get it all in one picture.

You can head inside to where the main building is located right behind the giant wheel.  This is where you can get your tickets to ride the Icon (Ferris wheel), or visit the other attractions here.

One of the first places you will come across is Madame Tussauds the famous wax museum.  I didn’t go inside this time, but it is definitely a fun place to experience.  Just outside the exit to the gift shop is where the penny machine is located.  Just as a reminder you do NOT need to pay for admission to use this machine.

You can see the machine has some updated decals on the outside.

This machine accepts dollar bills and supplies a pre-loaded zinc penny.

Even though the machine was removed temporarily to perform the conversion, just like most of the Disney machines, the designs available have not changed.

Located directly across from the wax museum is the Sea Life Aquarium which is really a hidden gem.  I have gone back to this aquarium a few times over the last couple of years and I really enjoy it each and every time.

As much as I do encourage you to buy a ticket and experience this unique aquarium if you are stopping by just for a quick visit to use the penny machine you do not need to pay for admission.  Just to the left of the ticket counter is the entrance to the gift shop.

Just inside the gift shop near the soda cooler and ice cream freezer is where you can find the machine.

The dreaded $1.00 signage and instructions on how to use the machine.  No penny, No problem!

These designs have also remained unchanged.  I did press a new set and they did come out pretty nicely even though they are on pre-loaded zinc pennies.  I will be curious to continue to monitor how they look as the years go by.  Using zinc pennies has always been something long-time collectors have tried to avoid.  I’m crossing my fingers they don’t deteriorate too quickly but I guess we will just have to wait and see.

Living with the Land NEW Pressed Penny Set – Epcot

So we are halfway through the month of December.   This is the time of year that I begin to try and prepare myself for the chaos that ensues when Disney starts releasing the new dated coins all over property.  I assumed those would be the next “new” coins, but then they tried to sneak a new machine over at The Land Pavilion in Epcot.

My family was heading into Epcot for the Candlelight Processional the day after I had heard about this new machine.  So things couldn’t have worked out better.  After we had dinner there was a little time to spare before the show was to start, which gave me the opportunity to visit The Land.

When you walk into this pavilion you are on the second floor.  Directly across is the Garden grill revolving restaurant and just to the right of that is where the coin press machines were located.

There used to a 3 design penny machine and a 3 design quarter machine (see above) here but both have now been removed.  The quarter machine had one of the 2019 dated designs so this may be the beginning of those being retired.

Above is a picture I took to show that both of those old machines are gone and only the new 8-design machine is there along with a dog-tag engraving machine.

Here is a close up of the machine.  It has a similar cabinet design to the previous machines and blends in nicely with The Land Pavilion theme.

The internal working of the press is always very mesmerizing to me.  I enjoy getting down close and watching as it presses my coins.

Here is a picture of the marquee on the top of the machine with the designs available in this set.  Same price as the other similar machines, $1 per penny or all 8 for $5.

Finally above is pictured my complete set after pressing.  There are some fun designs in this set and some characters we don’t see very often like Bambi and Jiminy Cricket.

The entire set has the works “Living with the Land” on them which are in reference to the classic slow movie boat ride that takes you through The Land Pavilion greenhouse.  It’s not a very thrilling ride but has some fun information along the way and you get to see where they grow some of the produce used in the restaurants all over property.

Will this be the last new set before those 2020 coins start showing up.  I’ll be sure to keep you all up to date on where and when that all starts happening.

2019 Holiday Nickels – Disneyland and California Adventure

With the dry spell of very few new pressed coins at Disneyland this year, I was a bit worried the annual Holiday pressed nickel designs may not be released.  Thankfully just a week ago or so I was proven incorrect and it was documented online that the new designs were out.

The first set is available over in Disneyland Park at the Main Street Penny Arcade.  I really like this set, it has designs of Mickey with the word Noel, Minnie Mouse with the word Joy, and the third design with both of them together and two candy canes formed into a heart.

The reverse side of each of these coins says Happy Holidays 2019.

Not too far away over in Disney California Adventure in the Kingswell Camera shop is the second set of pressed nickels.  This set has images of Tinker Bell saying Celebrate the Season, Chip and Dale as the Snow Bros., and Mickey feeding some reindeer.

The reverse image on this set also says Happy Holidays 2019 but inside a Tree Ornament which is pretty cool.

I always look forward to these sets and anxiously await their return each year.  I was a bit worried they may not arrive but once they did I made to pick up a set for my collection as soon as possible.  These are definitely only for a limited time and we just never know how long they will stay out in the parks so get your set quickly!

Happy Holidays!

Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail and New Collectible Medallion

Welcome to December!  Thankfully it’s not too cold here in Florida, but during this time of year, it’s hard to get in the Holiday spirit.  Thankfully Disney puts on some events to help get you feeling festive.  In previous years we have checked out the Mickey’s Very Mery Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom, and last year we saw the holiday projection show down Sunset Boulevard on the Tower of Terror.  But the one thing we have started to make a tradition is the Christmas Tree Trail at Disney Springs.

This is something completely free to do, and you can also try to visit Santa if you don’t mind waiting on average around 200 minutes (a virtual queue is available).  For us, though we usually just pick a nice place to have dinner around 6pm, then just as it gets dark we head over to start the trail.

The main entrance for the trail is over in the Marketplace area of Disney Springs near the Earl of Sandwich or Once Upon a Toy store.  There is a podium set up where you can put your name down for a time to visit with Santa, or you can just head right in and check out the trees.

The trail consists of 23 themed Christmas Trees.  Usually, they are based around specific Disney movies.  Above is the Sleeping Beauty tree with lots of fun ornaments like the fairy godmother hats, some balls of yarn and of course the princess herself Aurora.

This next one was our personal favorite this year.  It was themed around the Princess and the Frog animated movie.  It had some Mardi Gras masks on it and was topped with some Jazz instruments.

The Little Mermaid tree had King Triton’s Trident up at the top and was decorated with lots of seashells, starfish and what we guessed were large pearls.

One of my favorite animated movies is Aladdin and I always look forward to this tree.  It’s located on top of a carpet that looks very much like the magic carpet from the movie.  Jafar’s cobra staff is peeking out about halfway up the tree, and of course, there is the magic lamp right at the top.

With Frozen 2 just released this past week, we knew this was definitely going to be out this year.  There are plenty of carrots on the tree for Olaf’s nose and I’m sure in case Sven the Reindeer is looking for a snack.  The tree has a snow-frosted look to some of the needs which were a nice detail.

I was a bit conflicted with this tree.  I love the Haunted Mansion attraction and have gone on it more times than I can count.  But this tree seemed a bit out of place.  I know it’s very popular among Disney fans but the large Bride torso in the middle of the tree was a bit off-putting.

Cinderella’s tree was very elegant.  the decorations not too overdone, but I enjoyed seeing the pumpkins, fancy ornaments and of course a clock to keep track of when midnight arrives.

I saved this one for last as I thought it was pretty unique.  Having a lightsaber as the topper to the tree was a nice touch.  There were little Jawa ornaments and a Porg or two in there.

Did I mention Disney makes it snow in this area?  Well, sort of anyway.  Periodically you can hear the machines start-up and the snow start to blow into the air and fall all around.  The kids definitely love it but make sure they don’t try to catch any of the flakes on their tongues as it’s actually a type of soap bubble so it won’t taste very good.

After we finished up the Christmas tree trail we headed back towards the parking garages but made a small stop in the Pin Traders store.  Our daughters are always on the lookout for new pins to trade.  While they were trading with cast members I headed over to the Medallion machine that was moved here (previously it was at the Art of Disney store).

It appears from a distance to be unchanged, but something caught my eye and I went in for a closer look.

The price was still the same $5 for one coin or 3 for $10.  Sure enough one of the coins had been replaced.  There used to be a Mickey’s 90th Birthday celebration coin.  But now that 2019 was coming to a close I guess it was time to move out those dated coins.

 

Above is a close up of the medallion on the left and on the right is the artwork from the machine button.  The one and only Mickey Mouse.  With some new medallions in my pocket and the kids with some new pins, it was about time to head home.

There were plenty of great Christmas trees but wow does the trail get busy.  I’ve heard if you go earlier in the day it’s not as bad, but seeing the trees lit up at night is just how we prefer to see them.  It’s hard to get pictures of your family in front of their favorite tree but just be patient as the crowds will eventually give you a split second or two to snap your picture.  Our mantra of the Holiday season…just be patient and keep on collecting!

Happy Thanksgiving 2019!

Wow, I can’t believe it’s already time to start the Holiday season.  This past year has really been amazing and being able to chat with so many of you about our hobby has been something I never thought possible.  The support and interest I hear about on a daily basis from readers is truly something to be thankful for and just fuels my passion for these funny little souvenirs.  Did you know we were selected as one of the top 75 Coin Blogs for 2019?  We were a bit down the list (#45) but still what a fantastic achievement and it’s all thanks to you for visiting and sharing the hobby.

I started this all back in 2014 as just a way to document my penny collection and family vacations, but here we are going into the 6th year and we are stronger than ever.  I’ve tried to expand where you can find us through Social Media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook) and even on YouTube where we make fun videos about all the different pressed pennies we collect.  If you haven’t already, be sure to check these out as they help expand on some of the blog posts I make here.

There are so many more places to visit and new coins to find that I have no plans to slow down.  I’m always thankful for all of you that come back week after week.  Please keep all those comments and messages coming I love hearing from all of you and always enjoy answering any questions you may have about the hobby.

The above pictured pressed penny is from the Bass Pro Shop in Myrtle Beach South Carolina.  I actually thought it would have been easier to find a pressed penny with a Turkey but apparently, they are not very common.  At least in my collection.

Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving!!