Disneyland Pressed Tokens Experiment – Flashback 2013

Every few years the conversation starts up about whether the U.S. will finally remove the penny.  I’m sure you have all heard the rumors and they seem to be picking up again.  The reason for this always comes down to cost, and it’s really quite amazing when you find out that back in 2018 the cost to mint a 1 cent penny was about 2.06 cents.  It costs more than double face value.  Canada for one removed their penny back in 2012 and many other countries have also removed their lowest denomination coins due to similar costs.  But for some reason, the U.S. is still holding on to its penny at least for now.

Of course, this does bring a bit of concern to pressed penny collectors.  What would we do without pennies available to squish at our favorite Theme Park or roadside attraction?  This is something I’m sure the vendors have already been thinking about.  Places like Tokyo Disneyland use Planchets or coin blanks and they result in pretty nice final designs.  Plenty of penny presses in the U.S. have started to switch over where the machine supplies the penny.  Currently, they are still using pennies, but I could see this easily being converted over to coin blanks instead.

While I was thinking about this recently I remembered back in 2013 that Disneyland out in California had tried something for a short period of time.

Inside the park at Tomorrowland was the Starcade near Space Mountain.

This was kind of like a gift shop mashed up with a classic arcade.

The arcade games required a special token, and these tokens cost $0.25 each.  Their physical size was slightly larger than a quarter as you can see from the comparison above.

   
Photo Credit: Parkpennies.com

Starting in May 2013 three of the penny machines were converted to press these Starcade Tokens instead.  The cost to use these machines was 3 tokens, 2 were the cost to use the machine, and the 3rd was the one to be elongated.  Costing you $0.75 per pressed token.

The first set was from Tron and included the Light Runner, Flynn, and a Light Cycle.

The second set was themed for the Space Mountain attraction.

The last set was from the Animated movie Wreck-It Ralph.

Above is just a quick comparison of the tokens again the same designs pressed on pennies.  You can see that with the larger size of the tokens there was more room for the design and they pressed pretty nicely.  Unfortunately, this change only lasted for a few months and was eventually removed in August 2013 due to refurbishment of the Starcade and just never returned.  It’s too bad as I actually kind of liked this option and thought it was a nice alternative to using pennies, plus the Tokens were already available here for the arcade.  Now the issue would be if all machines in the park were converted to press tokens then you would either have to install more token change machines throughout the park.  Otherwise all pressed coin collectors would have to head over to the arcade first and load up on tokens before exploring the rest of the park.

Will this option return?  I guess only time will tell.  It didn’t last long and I haven’t seen any other places try this same option so I kind of think it’s not going to come back.  My assumption is that we will see more pre-loaded machines released and eventually if the U.S. penny does go the way of the Dodo bird then we will more than likely just see coin blanks instead.  I’ll keep my fingers crossed that we can get copper blanks but that may be asking too much!

2020 Disneyland COVID Shutdown Pressed Coin Set

In another attempt to put a little smile on everyone’s face I’m going to share a new set of pennies I received.  Unfortunately, it does surround a touchy subject and maybe even more sensitive to Disney fans is the Disneyland shutdown currently going on.

This set was engraved by Don Cade and I think he did a great job.  The set included the design pressed on a Penny, Nickel and Quarter.  These were not available in any pressed penny machine, but instead available to fellow pressed coin collectors and a few sets made it on eBay.  I’m not sure they are currently still available there but it never hurts to double-check.

Here is a bit of a closer look at the pressed nickel.  I thought this would make for an interesting way to remember this unique situation we have found ourselves in.

Be sure to wash your hands, try not to touch your face, and just try to stay safe!

Disneyland Adventures XBOX Video Game – Pressed Pennies

It’s been about a month since I was in a theme park and, to be honest, I’m starting to get the twitch that I need to get back for some magic.  I’m not sure how I used to deal in the past with long periods of time between visits to Disney.  But ever since we moved down to Orlando it just became part of our weekly routine and without it, I’m definitely missing it more than other things.  I’m also not the only one in my family missing the parks, and thankfully my oldest daughter has a much better memory than I do and asked if we could play the Disney video game.  It took me a bit to remember exactly what she was referencing and once I figured it out I couldn’t have fired up our the Xbox quick enough.

The game is called Disneyland Adventures.  It was originally released back in 2011 for the Xbox Kinect but I didn’t know about it at that time.  Then in 2017, they released the game with remastered 4K HDR graphics, updated Kinect support but also the option to not use Kinect and instead just use the standard Xbox controllers.  They also released this in 2018 for Windows PC users.

We did have a Kinect but who knows where it went, probably in some random box located in our garage.  Thankfully we have a newer Xbox One console and I had received this as a Christmas gift a year or so ago but never really got to play it, but now was our chance.

What is really cool about this game is the software designers recreated the entire Disneyland theme park in California.  Obviously, I’m more familiar with the Florida WDW park, so some things in this game seem a little out of place for me but the details they put into this make for a fun alternative during our current self-quarantine status.

I had watched a video from a Media Preview on this game when it was being released in 2017.  Something I thought was really interesting was that one of the creators said to get all the details as accurate as possible he spent around 5 months in the park and took over 50,000 pictures of buildings, sidewalks, textures, even trash cans, and park bench locations.

They even recreated Walt Disney’s quote on the arch as you walk underneath the Main Street Train Station.  You start by picking your character either a young boy or girl and can design their hair color, and initial outfit.  Then you can just start walking through the park.

This is what’s known as an “Open World” game where you are not forced to follow any specific story or path.  You can just wander aimlessly as I usually do and check out all the different lands of the park.

Walking down Main Street USA you can see Sleeping Beauty Castle in the distance.  Along the way are all the storefronts you have come to know.  Some you can visit to buy things like Autograph books, or Photo Albums which you will use later on in the game.  Some stores also sell new clothing to wear or even costumes if you prefer.  My favorite Princess is Jasmine so my daughter insisted we buy a Jasmine T-shirt for our character.

I was very impressed to see they even included the Partners statue with Walt and Mickey.  Plus check out that crows, wow I wish this was how things were in the actual parks.

Some of your favorite characters can be found throughout the park, like Mickey in front of the Castle.

Or Minnie Mouse near the entrance to Adventureland.  You can interact with these characters by having them sign your autograph book (if you purchased one).  Just like the real Disney, they want you to spend as much money as possible, so there are different autograph books for certain groups of characters like Princesses, Villains, Alice and Wonderland plus a few others.

You can also dance with the characters, give them a hug, or a high five.  It’s fun to try these with each one as the dances are different and how they sign your book changes.

The cast of characters is quite diverse.  There is, of course, the main cast of Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, and Plus.  Then you can also find Chip and Dale, Stitch and even Br’er Bear or Br’er Fox.

Then you can also find many Princesses like Belle.  Be on the lookout as the Beast is also somewhere nearby.

We have also found Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, and Tiana.  I’m sure there are more we just haven’t gotten to them yet.  Another interaction you can have with the characters is they will sometimes ask you for help.  Tiana wanted to make some of her famous Gumbo and asked us to find the ingredients.  The game then will help you search the park for the required ingredients and once you have them all collected to make sure to bring them back to Tiana.

Did I mention Villians?  Yes, they are here too.  My daughter loves trying to hug the villains as they seem to horrified or cower away when you try.

When some people visit the parks they don’t go for the characters but instead for the rides and attractions.  Well, this game has most of them recreate like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride shown above.

Pirates of the Caribbean are also here and it’s fun to walk near the attraction to see other guests lined up in the queue plus the familiar attraction soundtrack can be heard.

My personal favorite is the Haunted Mansion.  I do kind of wish that you could virtually ride the actual rides with maybe some interactivity happening for coins or points.  But instead, when you head towards the entrance there are portals that will take you to a mini-game themed around that attraction.  They are fun but some seem to go on way too long and I just get anxious to exit back to the park.

I liked standing near Splash Mountain to hear the people screaming as they crest over the top of the drop.

Some of the rides unfortunately you can only watch and do not include any type of mini-game.  Like the famous Tea Cups.

The Matterhorn is also here and a nice plus is being able to watch the Monorail zoom around its beam.

Some attractions are not included in the game like Star Tours or the Indiana Jones adventure.  From what I read Disney did not own Lucasfilms at the time this game was being developed and licensing those properties would have been too difficult.  One thing I did find that I thought was funny was Captain EO.  That is definitely a throwback.

Of course, I couldn’t overlook It’s a Small World, just such a classic ride and I love the exterior of the attraction in Disneyland so much better than the Florida version.

We’ve visited most of the themed lands like Tomorrowland, Adventureland, and Fantasyland and eventually I did find Mickey’s Toontown.

This is another fun area of the game with lots to see and do, plus Mickey and his pals are also here for more autographs and pictures.

One of the areas of the park is Critter Country that has Winnie the Pooh and his friends.  While we were interacting with Eeyore I noticed something in the background.

Are those Pressed penny machines!?!?  Holy cow that is pretty cool.

I then had an idea that I wanted to see how many other machines were located throughout the park.  My next stop was the Penny Arcade on Main Street.

The last time I was physically in Disneyland was back in 2008 and I remember the Penny Arcade as being the Holy Grail of Pressed Penny machines.  Now years later I know that is no longer the case, but remember this game was released originally in 2012 so the creators were probably there a couple years before that taking all their pictures and is the time period the game is situated.

Ah, the good old days with so many penny machines all in one place.

Now if you are like me you are probably wondering if you can use the machines in the game.  So far I don’t think so.  In the hours we have played so far, there doesn’t appear to be a way to use them.  I’ve also read some online guides and forums but nothing seems to mention using these machines.  It’s too bad because that would have been awesome!  In the gift shops along with the autograph books, they could sell the penny booklets and let you use the coins you pick up around the park in the machines to collect a themed set.  My daughter is currently in love with this game so we will be continuing to play it for quite a while I’m sure and if I do find you can somehow use the machines I’ll post an update here.  However, one thing I did do some research on was I wanted to try and figure out which designs they were using on the machines.  They all look to have the same marquee with the same three designs.  Remembering when the designers were at the park I eventually found the set in my personal collection.

I did get a lot of help from my favorite Disneyland pressed penny resource www.ParkPennies.com. The information they had on these coins was a big help to ensure this was the correct set.  All three of these designs were initially released on October 18, 2006, and were removed on January 4, 2012, when the Penny Arcade was closed down for a refurbishment.  When it eventually opened up again the machines inside did not return and these pennies were considered retired.

The middle design was really what stuck out for me in the pictures from the game and helped me find the set.  Snow White I was also pretty certain of but the third design was tough to make out initially but once I saw the information on ParkPennies website the full set revealed itself.

I’m crossing my fingers that we can hopefully move passed the current self-quartine situation we have found ourselves in.  I am anxious to get back to the parks and to a bit more of a normal routine.  Plus I really need to press some pennies it’s an addiction you know.  But in the meantime, my daughter and I will be enjoying our Virtual adventures with this Disneyland game.

2020 Nickel Set – Trolley Treats California Adventure, CA

Not too long ago I was able to get my hands on the new 2020 Nickel set from Disneyland.  Then shortly after that, the other set was made available over in the California Adventure park.

This new set of pressed nickels can be found in the usual location called Trolley Treats.

The designs on these new coins are similar in style to the ones found over in Disneyland which I really like.

The images include Minnie Mouse inside the 0 of 2020, Mickey’s Fun Wheel, and the Carthay Circle Theater.

Will this be the only new coins we see in the West Coast parks this year?  Hopefully not as they really do come up with some great designs.  The detail is really amazing, and I do enjoy the backstamps they put on most of the coins now.  I’m crossing my fingers that new coins will be released on a more frequent schedule.

2020 Pressed Nickel Set – Disneyland, CA

I don’t want to jinx anything, but Disneyland is kind of on a roll with new pressed coin designs.  Not too long ago we had the new Haunted Mansion set released, and now just about a month into the new year, they have released the new 2020 pressed Nickels.

This machine can be found just about halfway down Main Street at the Penny Arcade.

I like this set a lot.  The Mickey head in 2020 is a nice little touch.  The castle is always one of my favorite landmarks, but I think this year I’m enjoying the one with the Matterhorn on it.  That’s pretty unique and I can’t think of when I had last seen a pressed coin with the bobsled attraction on it.

As always, we can try to guess that these will available for the remainder of this calendar year.  However I would recommend getting a set as soon as possible, you just never know when a machine will disappear.

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.

2019 Nickel Set – Trolley Treats California Adventure, CA

What has been going on over in California with the Disneyland pressed coins this year?

It has just seemed like month after month pass by with no new coins being released.  Then all of a sudden I get word that the 2019 Nickel set in the California Adventure park was released.

2019??…but it’s October and there are only a few months left before 2020.  Are these going to be removed shortly for the Holiday set?  So many questions that unfortunately I just don’t have answers for.

This new set of pressed nickels can be found in the Jolly Trolley Treats store in Disney California Adventure park.  They replace the 2018 versions that you can read about here.

What I would recommend is getting this set as soon as possible.  Their release schedule of coins seems to be all over the place so who knows how long this set will be available. Now we just need to see if / when the 2019 Disneyland set will be released.  At this rate, they may almost be better off skipping 2019 and just go directly for 2020 to get ahead of the game.

D23 Expo 2019 Pressed Pennies

Shortly after I had moved to Florida my Sister gave me a gift membership into D23 (The official Disney Fan Club) which was an amazing gift for a Disney fan like myself.  To be honest, when I first got the membership I wasn’t sure exactly what it was all about or what perks I potentially could get, so I did some research.  The name itself is interesting as the D stands for “Disney, and the 23 is for 1923 the year Walt Disney founded the company.  You do get a very nice magazine each quarter that basically just advertises all the new movies, or theme park attractions soon to be released.  They also have a schedule of events that only members can sign up for, most of them have an additional cost to participate.  One of these events that my wife and I went to last year was a special screening of the animated classic Robin Hood which was celebrating its 45th anniversary.  Not only did we get to watch the movie on the big screen but there was a Q&A with one of the animators Burny Mattinson which was fantastic.  He spoke about his career with Disney and even went through some of the scenes in Robin Hood that he animated.

Photo Credit: D23.com

But the main event that most D23 members wait for is the biennial expo.  For 2019 the event was held on August 23rd – 25th in Anaheim at the Anaheim Convention Center.  I wish this was something that I could have attended in person, but flying to California for a weekend just wasn’t meant to be this year, however, I’ll be trying my best to make it to the next one.

This huge event has all sorts of things going on for any type of Disney fan.  There is special merchandise available, meet and greets, induction of new Disney Legends, and the most popular are the different panels that go over things like new Movies, or Theme Park Attractions.  This year with Disney acquiring fox they even had a Simpsons panel (whoever would have thought that would happen).

While I sat at home that weekend refreshing the online blogs for all the latest details being released I saw a picture from the official Disney Blog that caught my eye.

Photo Credit: D23.com

There was a special penny press available in the D23 Gold member lounge.  It was free to use but you did need to supply your own penny.  I was almost in a panic trying to figure out how in the world I would be able to get a set of this.  First I tried posting on Facebook in the different pressed penny groups I’m a part of, hoping someone was attending the convention and could get a set.  There was plenty of interest and other collectors jumped on board hoping to get a set for themselves, but unfortunately, it appeared like no one was close enough to try and get them.  Then I took to Instagram and Twitter hoping some friends would be able to get them, but that too didn’t pan out. With the convention only going on for a few days it seemed like it just wasn’t meant to be.

Suddenly I had an idea of one last potential opportunity.  I have an acquaintance in the industry that over the past couple of years I have become friends with and we communicate numerous times via email throughout the year about pressed pennies.  I really went back and forth on whether I should even ask about this set as I never want to take our relationship for granted.  I appreciate everything he shares with me and wouldn’t want to risk that because I was trying to get just a simple set of pennies.  However, his kind nature always gave me the impression that he enjoys helping and sharing info whenever he can so I thought I would simply ask if there was any way he had access to a set of the coins and if so I would be more than happy to pay for them.  I heard back pretty quickly and he was more than happy to see if there was any way to obtain a set.

A few weeks went by and the most magical package arrived at my house with a set of these amazing pennies.

The first design is the D23 logo with the 10 year anniversary added to it for 2019.

Of course, what would a Disney expo be without the famous Mouse himself.

Probably my favorite of the three is the above with Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.  I remember reading the details of how Walt Disney originally created Oswald and then lost him due to a contract technicality, and then in 2006 Disney traded NFL Play-by-play announcer Al Michaels for the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.  It’s an unbelievable story and if you are interested to be sure and check it out online.

This really was a great set of pressed pennies from an event that had pretty limited availability.  I had barely got these coins out of the package before I was sending my friend a thank you email and trying to portray how appreciative I was of his efforts to get this set for my collection.  I’m hoping someday in the future he may need my help for something and I will be jumping at the opportunity to return the favor.

Mary Poppins Pressed Pennies – Disneyland, CA

You know what we haven’t talked about it a while?  Disneyland pressed pennies.  I know they have few parks, few resorts and overall fewer penny press machines than the Florida parks.  But in the past it was still pretty common for them to release quite a few new penny designs throughout the year.  Recently this seems to have changed, and there just aren’t as many new designs coming out.  However I have good news!  Just released a week ago was a new set of pennies over at the Main Street Penny Arcade.

I may have mentioned this in the past but my last visit to Disneyland was in 2008 and I remember walking into the Penny Arcade and was amazed with the number of penny machines.  There must have been 10 or 12 at least all in this one place.  It was a pressed penny collectors dream.  Another unfortunately change recently at the parks is most of those machines have been moved out and required.  Now there are usually two machines here all the time, and then a third machine with the annual holiday designs shows up for a few weeks around Christmas and New Years before it’s removed again.

These designs are in one of those two machines so not a brand new machine, but the designs are really nice.  As you can see from the picture above they are all of everyone’s favorite Nanny Mary Poppins.  One with her famous Umbrella, another where she is floating, and the third has her penguin friends.

The back design on each of these coins is the Mary Poppins logo and her famous shoes. This is something I wish the Florida parks would do as I think it really adds a nice addition to the pennies to have these special back images / logos.

With the theatrical release of Mary Poppins Returns taking place December 19th, 2019 and I’m sure it’s just recently been available on Blu-ray and Digital services so it makes sense these designs were released.  There are so many new Disney movies coming out this year like the Avengers Endgame, Toy Story 4, live action versions of Aladdin and the Lion King, plus Star Wars episode IX the possibilities for new penny designs could be very interesting.

2018 Holiday Nickels – Disneyland and California Adventure

This is going to be a quick post because well the holiday’s are over and we have a  lot of other things to see and do with the new year upon us.  But these coins were part of a strange situation that we don’t know much about and made them a bit of a hot commodity this year.

On December 21st it was reported that the pressed nickel set was released in the California Adventure park at Jolly Trolley Treats on Buena Vista Street.

As always they have a nice backstamp on each of the pressed coins with a bit of holiday decoration.  I only noticed after taking the above pictures of this set that the Mickey and Minnie designs go together with Mickey holding some Mistletoe and Minnie leaning in to give him a kiss.  Kind of a cute set within the set.

Then Christmas came and went with no Disneyland set.  Followed shortly after by New Years coming and going and still no Disneyland set.

Then on January 2nd the Disneyland Holiday Nickel set finally appears in the Main Street Penny Arcade.

Similar backstamp for the Disneyland coins, and to be honest even the front designs are very similar with the characters just in different positions.

The strange thing is that these coins were then pulled off-stage only a week later on January 8th.  So these sets were only available for a very short time, especially the Disneyland set which was only a week.  Luckily I was able to get a set from a friend in California, but just be aware that if you are looking for these on eBay or another aftermarket merchant the cost may be higher than usually due to this limited availability.  I’m not sure if there was a problem getting the designs made, or if they had to scrap other designs and that’s why we got similar ones.  Either way it was still nice to keep this annual tradition going and hopefully next year the machines will be available for just a bit longer allowing more people to press a set.