Margaritaville – Universal CityWalk Orlando

This week I made a trip back over to Universal Studios to see if anything had changed.  They don’t seem to switch out machines or designs as often as Disney does, but It was a nice excuse to visit the park.  After checking out both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure everything was still the same.  On my way out of the park I was walking through CityWalk and decided to stop in at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville for lunch.

I’ve been in here a few times over the years and always enjoy the food, and the margaritas are also pretty good.

Once out inside it’s designed to make you feel like you are on the beach.

There is even an airplane hanging from the ceiling and other items that are referenced from all your favorite Jimmy Buffett songs.  Cheeseburgers in Paradise anyone?  After grabbing some lunch I took a quick exit through the gift shop called the Smuggler’s Hold to see what they had.

There is an entrance to the store from the outside in case you weren’t eating at the restaurant.  Inside there is a lot of fun Buffett style  merchandise.

As you can guess there were a lot of shot glasses, t-shirts and beach signs reminding you it was 5 o’clock somewhere.

This place was pretty big inside.  As I wandered around I found something new, an 8-Design touch screen penny press.

After I got home I did some searching online and found that this machine had just recently been released.  If I didn’t know any better I would think my subconscious somehow knew.

The set of penny sized tokens pressed pretty well.  I did make a couple sets but some designs did roll a little short.  The images are also themed around Jimmy Buffett and Margaritaville.  There is a Parrot Head, Beach Patrol, Having Fun at Margaritaville, Margaritaville Orlando, No Shirt No Shoes No Problem, Livin for the Weekend, It’s 5 O’Clock somewhere, and Cheeseburger in Paradise.

After finishing up with the machine and taking my pictures and videos it was time to head home.  CityWalk wasn’t too busy at this time of day but always gets a little more popular as the sun goes down.  This was a fun set of pennies to find, and I’m thankful for stumbling across it on this trip.  I’ll be keeping my eye out over here in the future, and may have to spend some more time going through all the shops and restaurants to see if any more surprises show up.

Parking HUB and City Walk – Universal Studios Florida

I feel like lately majority of my posts have been about Walt Disney World or Disneyland.  I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, these are the places my pressed penny collection started and will always hold a special place in my heart.  Plus they are the locations that release the most penny designs throughout the year and I always want to make sure everyone knows what’s released and where to get it.  But the next few posts I’m taking a break and heading to a different part of Orlando.

Just like Disney the Universal Orlando theme parks have a lot of pressed coin machines.  But I find they don’t get updated as often as Disney.  The last time I was at Universal in Orlando was about 5 years ago, and not many of them have changed in that time.  However I was in the area for a trip and had a free day so I figured it was time to go see what’s new and update my collection notes.

After arriving at the property I was directed to their parking structures.  There are two parking areas, the primary one is the South lot with sections designated by “Cat in the Hat”, “E.T.” and “Spiderman”.  There is an additional North lot with section labeled for “Jurassic Park”, “King Kong”, and “Jaws”.  These are just to help you remember where you parked your car.  There are long moving sidewalks that help keep everyone moving towards the parking HUB.  The HUB is kind of like a “Y” with the two arms connecting to the parking lots, and the bottom arm taking you towards City Walk and the Parks.

I tried to put together a map with some notes on it above outlining how it looks.  The reason for this is there are eight pennies machines available in this area.  The South parking area does not have any machines, but if you are coming from that area as soon as you get to the HUB there are four machines before you even hit security.  The other four machines are on the 3rd level of the North Parking lot just at the end of the moving sidewalk.  It would still cost you $20 (for now in 2017) to park here, but you could access all eight of these machines without going into the parks.

   

First up lets take a look at the machines in the HUB.  As soon as I entered the HUB from the South lot I was greeted by this colorful machine that was covered in Minions.  Just to the left of this machine is a little gift shop area, if you cut through this to the other side are the other three machines all lined up together.

   

The second machine was one I had acquired years ago and was still functional with the exact same designs.  This is kind of a greatest hits of Universal with designs of Spiderman, Jurassic Park, The Hulk, and Spongebob.

   

The middle machine was all about Transformers.  This machine was a little finicky.  It pressed 3 of the 4 designs, but the design for Bumblebee just wouldn’t roll at all.  When I got home I searched eBay looking for the missing design and eventually found it to complete this set.

   

The fourth machine was another set of Minions / Despicable Me coins (These are kind of like the Frozen coins at Disney all over the place).  My daughter loves these designs, she can’t get enough of the minions.

So that finishes up the four machines located in HUB.  Before you go through the security scans, if you walk over to the moving sidewalk that takes you to the North parking structure is where the other four machines are at.  These machines are all located on the 3rd level of the parking structure, however if you are coming from the HUB you are already on the right level.  These machines are all located within a 15-20 foot radius of each other, up against various support columns.

   

The first machine has some designs of various attractions in the parks like the Jurassic Park Ride, and the Hulk Coaster.

   

The second machine has images of Spongebob, The Simpsons, Shrek, and the Jaws Ride which is no longer there.  I’m curious how long this image a some other similar ones around the parks will be available.

   

Next up was the third machine which was themed after The Fantastic Four.  The designs included Mister Fantastic, The Invisible Woman, The Human Torch, and The Thing.

   

Finally the last machine out here in parking lot land was a Woody Woodpecker model.  Not sure if kids even know who this is anymore, but I liked it and the designs make for a cool nostalgic set (minus Spongebob).  Images of Woody Woodpecker, Spongebob Squarepants, Scooby-Doo, and Shaggy.

With all the coins I needed jingling in my backpack I headed back towards the HUB, through security and made my towards City Walk which is their shopping and entertainment area (kind of like Disney Springs).

The last time I was here there were a half-dozen penny machines throughout City Walk at some restaurants and shops.  But when I visited there was only one machine available here.

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co is a restaurant obviously themed after the movie starring Tom Hanks.  The penny machine here is the same one way back when I visited last.  Unfortunately these themed restaurant machines don’t change very often/ever.

   

Since I already had these coins I just snapped a new picture and headed back out into the sun.  I was on my way over to one of the theme parks with a big bag of change ready to be squished.  Stop back and see where I went next.