ESPN Club – Disney’s Boardwalk

Years ago when I had been visited Walt Disney World on vacations we always spent most of our time obviously in theme parks.  Whether we were going on rides, eating snacks, or big meals, and especially when penny pressing we were more often than not in those parks.  After we moved down to Florida I was able to try and explore more of WDW property since we didn’t need to spend all of our time in the parks anymore.  Some of these trips had us find some hidden gems like the Sebastien’s Restaurant over at Caribbean Beach Resort or the secret dinner menu over at the All-Star Movie Resort.  But one place had ended up being my go-to spot when I just want a bit of Disney pixie dust without heading into a park, and that ended up being the Disney Boardwalk.

The Boardwalk wraps around about half of Crescent Lake just outside of Epcot.  Directly across from the Boardwalk is the Yacht & Beach Club Resorts, the Swan & Dolphin Resorts are also just a quick walk away.  Then right on the Boardwalk is the Inn  (Resort) that you can stay at during your visit and is a beautiful place is you don’t mind the creepy clown slide by the pool.

Along the Boardwalk are some carnival-style games where you can win prizes, along with plenty of restaurants, bars, and live entertainment at night.  I have visited most of the restaurants and shops along here, but one that I had never experienced was the ESPN Club.  This place can get very during televised sporting events.  Finally it was time to go and see what this club was all about, so I made sure we went shortly after it opened on a Saturday to try and avoid the crowds later on.

They do list the upcoming games on the marquee out front so you can keep an eye out for your favorite team.  But as you will see inside there are plenty of TVs to cover any game you may be looking for.

This is not some secret club and you don’t need to sign up for anything ahead of time.  This is open to the public just like any other restaurant or bar.

As you walk inside past the check-in stand the main bar is straight ahead.  Notice all those TV screens around the bar, that’s just the tip of the ice burg.

The sports memorabilia is also in full force here and amazing to see their collection.

This was the main dining room that was set up like a basketball court which was neat, and lots more autographed items all around the walls.

They had items from all different teams among the major sports like Baseball, Football, Hockey, and Basketball.

The autographed jerseys are all nicely framed and I’m pretty sure that no matter who your favorite player is they probably have his jersey.  The amount of stuff in here is amazing.

This wall had some Hockey jerseys of some players I remember from when I was younger.  I especially liked the Chiefs one in the middle of the famous Hanson Brothers from the Paul Newman movie Slap Shot.

 

I had wondered around to see all the memorabilia while I waited for my lunch which did arrive pretty quickly (a perk of going early).  For an appetizer I tried their House Made Chili which was okay nothing I would go out of my way for.  Then as my main entree I had the Reuben sandwich.  It was fine but again nothing extraordinary and I wouldn’t rush back for it.  They did have a big menu so I would definitely come back again to try something else.

Once my lunch was done I skipped dessert and paid my bill.  This way I was able to spend a little more time checking out the decorations.  In the little hallway that connects the main entrance to the larger dining room I was seated as is where the pressed penny machine was located.

This is also part of the waiting area for guests in the restaurant.  There were a few seats along the sidewall and I would anticipate this area gets pretty crowded if all you are looking to do is use the penny press.  Pro-tip: go early!

Here is a picture of the marquee on the machine with the designs for each available penny.

My original set of pressed pennies from here were in pretty bad shape and I had used crumby pennies.  So I used this as an excuse to get a fresh new set.  The images are of Mickey playing Football, Donald playing Basketball, and Daisy playing Softball.

Overall I had a fun time here and as much as I make it sound like I want to avoid crowds, I think this would be a great place to watch an important playoff game or even the College Basketball tournament.  Having all the screens with different games, and plenty of beer on tap plus I’m sure the crowds inside would just add to the atmosphere.  I may have to try this out sometime in the future.  The food is fine and I did enjoy what I got but would be interested in trying something different next time like some Buffalo wings…mmm wings.

The pressed pennies hadn’t changed in the years since I last stopped in, and it would be nice to see some updated designs at some point.  I do like the ESPN Club logo on each design which made a unique touch to this set.  After I left the restaurant I enjoyed the rest of my morning just taking in the sights along the Boardwalk which really is a great place to visit when you need a little break from the parks.  Keep on Rollin’!!

Disney Springs / WDW Resort Machines Converting to $1 per Penny Design

The below was all documented prior to the closing of the theme parks.  With the recent announcement that Disney Springs will have a limited reopening on May 20th only time will tell if the machines are still available or if using them will change due to new health concerns.  When I feel it’s safe to revisit I’ll go back and post an update.  Enjoy!
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With all the Disney Theme parks changed over the conversion finally made it’s way to Disney Springs and the Disney Resorts.  This did seem to be a much longer transition for some reason, but I was keeping a close eye on them and was able to document the last few machines before all the park closures.

Let’s start this tour over at Disney Springs which is really one of my favorite places to visit on property.  Mostly because I love food and there are so many great restaurants there, but they do also have plenty of penny machines.

I parked my car in the Orange Parking garage since it’s closest to the Westside of Disney Springs near the AMC Movie Theater.  Not too far from the parking garage is the Food Truck Pavilion where the first machine was located.

 

I usually mention this at some point in each of the conversion blogs but wanted to make sure I didn’t forget to mention that all these machines were converted to $1 per design.  The machine supplies a shiny zinc penny, however, the designs have not changed and are the same as they were before the change.

Next, I headed towards the Town Center area which is where you can find Planet Hollywood, the Coca-cola Store, Guy Fieri’s Chicken Guy, and one of my favorites Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill.

 

In between the Coke store and Wolfgang Puck is the Fire House Restrooms and a Pressed Penny Machine is just outside.

I had a bit of a walk to the next machine which is outside the big World of Disney store at the Marketplace Stage.

 

Not much changed with the machine other than maybe a fresh coat of paint, and new signage for how to use the machine and the updated payment system.

Continuing through Disney Springs I miraculously passed by the Ghiradelli’s store without buying any ice cream, pass the Dockside Margarita stand, and instead over to the Once Upon a Toy store.  Wow, I have very interesting priorities!

 

This was a machine I thought would need more work to have converted just due to its different shape and design.  But the vendor somehow figured out a way to do it while keeping the overall look of the machine pretty similar.

After leaving the toy store I cut through the Pin Trader store, and then through the Star Wars Trading Post.  It does surprise me this store doesn’t have a penny machine, but exiting out this store I could see the next machine up against the outside wall of Goofy’s Candy Co near a Winnie the Pooh photo spot.

 

These machines do accept cash and credit cards or digital payments like Apple Pay.  Please note that if you are only looking to press one coin the only option is to use cash.  If you opt for a credit card or Apple Pay you are automatically charged $4 and get the entire set.  This does cause confusion for some people and I’ve seen them leave after only pressing one penny and I always call them back to try and help ensure they get their full set.

Right around the corner is the main entrance for Goofy’s Candy Co.  I try to avoid this place whenever possible as it’s just too tempting when you walk inside.

 

But on this trip, I needed to face my candy enemy and head inside to check on the penny machine and maybe buy a piece of Cookies and Cream fudge..or maybe two pieces I can’t help myself.

That finishes up all the machines at Disney Springs, but next, I wanted to check out the machines at the Resorts.  Thankfully there are only two 4-design machines on property.  Since my car was all the way on the other side of Disney Springs I decided to grab a Bus over to the first resort.

My first stop was at the Port Orleans French Quarter resort.  This is one of my favorite resorts.  My wife and I spent a week here years ago and really enjoyed the resort plus we made sure to pick up beignets each day after visiting the parks so we had a snack in our room.  I’m sure housekeeping wasn’t happy with the excessive amount of powdered sugar we managed to get all over the floor.

 

Inside the main Lobby of the Resort just outside the Scat Cat’s Club near the restrooms is the penny machine I was looking for.  Since my two pieces of fudge at Disney Springs didn’t satisfy my sweet tooth I headed to the food court and picked up an order of beignets for the road.  I waited for the Resort bus to Epcot to arrive and enjoyed my snack on the bus.

Once at Epcot, I cut through the park and over to the International Gateway where I headed towards the Boardwalk Inn.

 

During the day the Boardwalk by the water doesn’t have a lot of entertainment going on, but this is a fun place to be after the sun sets.  There are buskers doing all sorts of shows for passersby.  The penny machine is located near the dock where you get the Friendship boats back to Epcot, Hollywood Studios, or a couple of the other resorts along the waterway.

That was the last 4-design machine on property and they have now all been converted to $1 pre-loaded machines.  This was a fun day trip, but I always enjoy checking out the penny machines and just enjoying the resorts and parks. Will they decide to change the 3-design electronic machines I truly don’t know but kind of think it may be inevitable.  It will be very interesting to see what happens with all the machines once the parks open up again after this longer than anticipated closure.

Stay safe and Happy Collecting!

Hollywood Studios Machines Converting to $1 per Penny Design

At the time of writing this, Walt Disney World Theme parks currently closed due to the Covid-19 virus and the social distancing going on throughout the United States we are all pretty much confined to our homes.  But this does give us some time to catch up on things like cleaning up the house, or maybe spending some time outside weeding our garden…however, in my case, those still sound very boring and I’d rather write about pressed pennies.  Thankfully we had so many new pennies released, and I still have our family vacation from last year to write about that this may just be the time I need to get all those adventures posted.  First, though I wanted to continue reviewing the next park at Walt Disney World to convert their 4-design penny machines over to $1.

Hollywood Studios has had an exciting year, with 2019 bringing us Star Wars (Land) Galaxy’s Edge, then in December we got the new Rise of the Resistance ride which is unbelievably amazing, and now just a few weeks ago the new Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway opened.  This has finally completed (for now) the park’s transformation and part of that was swapping out these penny machines.

Let’s get started by heading straight up Hollywood Boulevard to where it intersects with Sunset Boulevard.  There is a little building here called Hollywood Junction.  On the backside of this building, there used to be two machines.

  

But unfortunately one of these machines has not returned.  It’s been weeks since these machines were all changed so I’m assuming that the second machine has been retired and not coming back.  Maybe it was to make room for the new ATM placed in this area, but in the picture above on the right, there still looks to be plenty of room for that machine.

I’ll say this just once at this time but please note this is the same for all the other machines I’ll review today.  After the conversion, the machine(s) have returned with the new $1 per penny price tag.  It accepts cash, credit card or digital payments like ApplePay.  The machine also supplies a pre-loaded zinc penny.  You can no longer use your own preferred pennies.  Also, the designs have not changed and are exactly the same as they were before the change.

Next, I headed over to the Muppet Courtyard into the Stage 1 Company gift shop which is all Muppet’s Themed.

 

This machine is located in the back of the store where they usually have most of the plush toys but of course, that can change.  This store does have two other machines, but this is the only 4-design model available here.

I had to kind of backtrack a little bit towards the Echo Lake area.  Near the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular show is a little shop called the Adventure Outpost.

 

The first machine at this location is right out front before you even enter the store.  The cabinet of the machine has changed slightly but still is pretty similar to what it was before.

 

The second machine is inside the store.  As I mentioned above this store is small so it isn’t hard to find this machine but it can be a little difficult to use if the store is busy.

If you do decide to go and watch the Indiana Jones stunt show one of the exits brings you out near the Backlot Express quick-service restaurant.  There is also a little outdoor gift shop here that has the next penny machine.

 

The machine has moved slightly after the change but is still in the same general area of that outdoor shop.

 

Next, we headed to the other side of the park and started heading down Sunset Boulevard.  About halfway down you will come to the Sunset Ranch which has a couple quick-services places to eat, plus a pin store, and a little stand called Anaheim Product with churros, pretzels, frozen lemonade, and other snacks.  Right out from of this stand is the above pictures penny machine.  I always liked this machine with the cabinet designed to looks like crates of produce.  When the machines get themed like that it always just seems to add to the fun.

If you spin around 180 degrees you will see a little alleyway in between some larger stores.  At the back of this alleyway are a set of restrooms and a penny machine.

 

I always dislike when penny machines are placed outside restrooms but that seems to be a very common location for them.  Guess people need something to do while waiting for their family members.

 

At the end of Sunset Boulevard, we took a left into the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Courtyard.  Just beside the face painting tent is the penny machine.

Past the entrance to Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is an area of the park that was previously only open for certain events, but now is open all the time with a new attraction at the Sunset Showcase Theater called Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy.

 

The penny machine in this area is located just outside the exit to the theater.  You do not need to sit through the show to access the machine as it is outside for anyone to see.  But the show is cute and has a really cool Lightning McQueen animatronic inside.  Originally this machine was located back in the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Courtyard near the previous machine but was relocated here once the show opened premiered.

Finally, we come to the last 4-design machine in this park.  It’s over near the Tower of Terror, outside the Hollywood Tower Gift Shop in the courtyard.

 

You do not need to ride Tower of Terror to use this machine (thankfully).  That ride is not one of my favorites so I’m glad I can just walk over to use this machine with the screams of the attraction riders hollering out in the background.

Hollywood Studios had the most 4-design machines of all the parks.  They were changed out over the course of a month or so.  It’s interesting to watch how they handle this by removing about half of the machines first, then once those are changed out they remove the second half.  However, these definitely seem to take longer than the other locations to get all the machines back.  As I mentioned way back at the beginning we did lose one of the machines that still has not returned and I don’t think it will.  But the park still has lots of other machines and plenty of penny designs available to keep you busy.  Oh and if you have some time in between pressing your coins, make sure to try out some of the new rides you won’t be disappointed.

Fantasy Faire Pressed Pennies – Magic Kingdom

I had just finished up finding a new penny machine over at the Wilderness Lodge when I received a message from a fellow collector that another new machine was at the Magic Kingdom.  A nice leisurely way to travel over to the park from this resort is by boat.

So I headed out back and thankfully didn’t have to wait too long before the boat arrived.

With the windows open and a nice breeze coming inside the boat it definitely is a nice alternative to the buses or even monorail if you park in the Transportation and Ticket Center lot.

The boat will pass by the Contemporary Resort and then into Seven Seas Lagoon where it eventually drops you off right in front of the Magic Kingdom.

Once inside I headed straight down Main Street, cut through Cinderella’s Castle and found myself inside Fantasyland.

I had been told the name of the store (Fantasy Faire) where this new machine was supposed to be located, but for the life of me, I couldn’t think of where it was located within the park.  There are always plenty of cast members around willing to help and they even walked me right over to where it was located beside Mickey’s Philharmagic.

For those of you that may not be familiar with Mickey’s Philharmagic, it’s one of those 4-D movie attractions.  The premise is that Mickey will be conducting an Orchestra, but Donald gets a hold of the Sorcerer’s Hat and is dragged into some of Disney’s famous animated musical scenes.  Be Our Guest (Beauty and the Beast), Can’t wait to be King (The Lion King), A Whole New World (Aladdin) and a few more.  The scenes are all recreated in 3-D and you periodically are splashed with some water or scents are sprayed in your direction depending on what is on the screen.  I think this definitely needs an upgrade to the screen and the 3D is a bit weak, but the music is really fun and gets everyone in the theater singing along.  After the show is over you exit down a hallway back into the park but along the way, there is an opening to the Fantasy Faire gift shop.  Inside the theming continues with the orchestra and plenty of musical touches.

You can also get into this store without having to go through the attraction.  Just to the right of the Philharmagic attraction entrance is another entrance to the store.

Over along one wall that is covered with Minnie and Mickey Ears was where I found the new penny machine.

The only issue I ran into with this machine is that it’s located right next to a Cast Member door which opens out into the store.  So if you are standing a bit too close to the machine the door won’t hit you but does come close especially with the Cast Members coming in and out of the door.

The designs for this new set include all your favorite Disney characters like Mickey, Minnie, Donald and more playing various musical instruments.

This new set is cute but I wish it actually had the Philharmagic logo on them or just included images from the actual attraction.  But it’s still nice to have another new set of pennies for my collection.  After pressing the coins I jumped in line to watch Mickey’s Philharmagic and then grabbed a Pineapple Dole Whip before I headed out of the park.

Happy Collecting!

2020 Dated Walt Disney World Pressed Coins Set

Happy New Year!!  Ok sorry I know it’s February but I have some great news, all the 2020 pressed coins have been released at Walt Disney World.  Well, most of them are available…but we will get to that in a bit.  This year was a bit chaotic, we came out of the gate early in January with a hand full of new coins, then it took some time for the rest to appear.

Just recently the last few 2019 designs were finally removed and replaced with old retired designs, not new 2020 ones.  I was trying to hold out as long as I could before writing this to keep all this information in one post.  I’ve spoken with some fellow collectors and we believe that the 2020 dated designs have all been released.  As always if anything changes I’ll be sure to update everyone.

We will star over in Epcot at the Mouse Gear store.  This is the main gift shop just behind Spaceship Earth and has been home to a dated penny design for quite a few years.

   

The penny machine can be found along a wall covered in the 2020 merchandise like t-shirts, sweaters, snow globs, picture frames and so much more.  The penny available here was of Spaceship Earth.

Remember at the beginning when I said most of the designs are available well this is the one exception for now.  I was at Epcot the day this design was released.  But for some reason about a week, later this store was closed up for a lengthy refurbishment.  As of the date, I’m writing this penny machine has not been moved and is currently unavailable.  There is a new “Temporary” Mouse Gear store behind the Electric Umbrella quick service restaurant, but the machine hasn’t been placed there yet.  This design has become a highly sought after design for now since it was only available for a few days not many people were able to get one.  Rumors are that the machine cabinet is being rethemed and will then return.  I’ll be sure to post an update if it shows up again.

   

Epcot also had a second penny design available back in the World Showcase at the Disney Trader’s gift shop.  The design is of Chip and Dale carrying what I think is Donald’s hat.  After pressing this penny I headed over to the International Gateway and grabbed the new Skyliner over to Hollywood Studios.

   

The first new design is back in the Rock Around the Shop the gift shop for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.  I really like the design of this machine’s cabinet and hope they don’t change it.  It just really fits in well here.  The penny design here was of Chip and Dale in 2020.

 

Not too far away was the next coin in the Tower Hotel Gifts which is the store for the Tower of Terror attraction.  This pressed quarter has a similar design from previous years of the Tower of Terror.

With Hollywood Studios completed we headed over to the Animal Kingdom.  Back in Dinoland USA at the Chester and Hester Dino Treasures gift shop is where the penny machine is located.

 

The penny in this store is of the Tree of Life the icon of the park also with 2020 at the bottom.  Animal Kingdom used to have a dated pressed quarter located at the Harambe Train Station but this machine did not get a 2020 design.

Now we were off to check out some of the resorts for new coins.  First, we stopped at the All-Star Sports resort.

 

The machines are located in the main lobby building just outside the Arcade.  There is one-quarter machine available and the design here is of 2020 Goofy.

A little further down the road, we visited the All-Star Music resort.  These machines are also located in the main building just outside the Note’ Able Arcade.

 

The pressed quarter design at this resort is of Pluto with 2020 on it.

The last All-Star resort is Movies and ended strong with two pressed coin designs.

 

These machines are found in the World Premier Food Court and can be a busy place if you visit during common mealtime.  The pressed quarter design is of Donald Duck.

 

Just a few steps to the right is the penny machine with the new 2020 design of Pluto.  This completed the All-Star resorts so we jumped back in our car and headed over to the Art of Animation resort.

This resort has one of my favorite food courts called the Landscape of Flavors.  When you first walk in there is a pretty big gift shop, then the food court is just beyond that.  The penny machines are just past the gift shop.

 

The design available at this machine is another horizontal image of Donald Duck in 2020.  There was just one more resort we needed to visit and it probably my all-time favorite.

I love the theming at the Polynesian Village Resort, and the food options are great.  Inside the main lobby building called the Grand Ceremonial House, up on the second floor is the Moana Mercantile and the penny machine is right outside the store.

 

Of all the designs this year I think this one is my favorite, 2020 Minnie Mouse.

After a quick ride on the Monorail, we were inside the Magic Kingdom.  I headed right down Main Street, through the Castle and into Fantasyland.

Near the carousel is a store called Sir Mickey’s.  This is also the store you exit into after you experience a Princess Meet and Greet.

 

In previous years this machine has been my archnemesis.  I think in 2019 I had to visit this machine about 3-4 times before it was finally working to press the penny.  This year I lucked out and it was working without any issue.  This is another cute design of 2020 Mickey Mouse.

In previous years the Main Street Emporium had a dated penny and quarter, but not in 2020.  This year those old designs were replaced with previously retired designs from other locations.  But I did find another machine at the Main Street Train Station.

 

This was a new machine placed here in 2019 and all four of the designs were replaced with new 2020 penny designs.  This set has images of Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Cinderella’s Castle.  We had just one more place to visit to finalize all the 2020 coins, we grabbed a bus over to Disney Springs.

   

In the Pin Traders store, there is a collectible medallion machine.  This has moved around a bit over the last year, but this seems to be it’s new “permanent” location.  There was a 2019 design here and it has been replaced with a new 2020 medallion.

Wow, I don’t know about you but that was quite a trek around WDW property.

This year there are only 4 pressed quarter designs.  It does seem like these pressed quarter machines are slowly being removed as quite a few of them were taken away last year and have not returned.  There were 12 pennies and 1 collectible medallion, making for a grand total of 17 dated coins.

Keep in mind that penny from Epcot’s Mouse Gear is not currently available, and is also a prime example of making sure you try to get these coins as soon as you can.  With so many things changing around Walt Disney World property these machines seem to come and go periodically which can leave holes in your collection.

Have a great 2020 and I’ll be sure to keep you up to date with any changes to this setup or if that pesky Mouse Gear penny shows up somewhere.  I think this is going to be another big year at WDW with new coin released so we will definitely be busy.

Keep on Smashing!!

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.

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!

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!

Landry’s Restaurant Machines Converting to $1 per Penny Design (Walt Disney World)

Did someone say price increase?  Yup, it’s that time again to review some penny machines around Walt Disney World property that have been converted to the new cost of $1.  These machines that I’m about to review were actually not on my radar as they are in locations not directly owned by Disney.

Some of you may be familiar with the Landry’s name as they run some popular chain restaurants like Rainforest Cafe, T-Rex Cafe, Bubba Gump and many more.  But it seems they have also decided to increase the cost of their penny machines.  They do have a few different restaurants on Disney property so first up we will head over to Disney Springs.

We are in full Fall season swing in Florida, although the temperatures are still in the 90s so not much has changed.  It’s not raining as often which I guess is a plus.

Located in the Marketplace section of Disney Springs is the T-Rex Cafe.  It’s a very unique themed restaurant with a giant dinosaur fossil on display out front.  Inside there are animatronic dinosaurs near the tables and even a meteor shower takes place every 15-20 minutes.

They do have a pretty large gift shop with plenty of dino related merchandise.  This is also where the penny press machines are located.  The first machine is just inside the main entrance.

The designs on the pennies have not changed on any of these machines, but along with the price increase you no longer use your own chosen penny to press.  The machine supplies a penny for you.  It does appear that they are using uncirculated new pennies so they come out nice an shiny.  But a lot of collectors are not happy about this and prefer to use their own pennies which is just no longer available.  Even though the designs haven’t changed I’m going to include pictures of all the pennies so you can see what the supplied pennies look like.

The second machine is located not too far from the first machine.  There is a hallway that leads back outside to an enclosed kids play area while you wait for your table to become available.  This is where the second machine can be found.

As you can see from the above, the pennies that the machine supplied are not too bad.  I’ll be interested to see how they hold up over time and whether they tarnish more easily due to the newer metallic combination used in modern minted pennies.

After T-Rex, we headed to the opposite side of the Marketplace area of Disney Springs to the Rainforest Cafe.  I’ve posted many times about Rainforest Cafes that I have visited in different cities.  They are all pretty similar and have animatronic elephants, gorillas and other jungle creatures situations around the restaurant.  The food is not my favorite, but I really enjoy the atmosphere and eat here probably more often than I should.

Just like T-Rex, they have a pretty large gift shop with lots of Rainforest Cafe logo merchandise.  Near the check-in area is where the penny machines are located.

The penny designs haven’t changed in this location either, just the increase to the cost and supplied pennies.

You can see the last design on the right rolled a bit short.  I actually tried to press this design about 4 times (yes $1 per attempt) and they all came out the same.  I did mention it to the staff and they gave me back $3 of my dollars and were going to report the machine so a tech can come and try to realign it.

Right next to that first machine is the second penny machine.

This set of pennies pressed without any issues and looked pretty good.  You may have noticed that there was a third machine here.  But that machine is a pressed quarter machine, the designs are the same and the cost has not changed it’s still $1.25 per quarter.  I’m crossing my fingers they don’t increase those machines.

Those were the two restaurants in Disney Springs so next we headed over to Disney’s Animal Kingdom for the next couple places.

In case you didn’t know there are actually two Rainforest Cafe restaurants on Disney property.

Similar to the one in Disney Springs they have three machines in total.  Two of them are penny machines, and the third is a quarter machine which hasn’t changed.

Other than the increase in cost not much has changed with the cabinet.

This was another nice set of pennies, and they pressed without any major issue.

The second machine squeezed in the middle.  Since these machines are located right near the main entrance it can be a bit busy here as people try to check-in for their reservations.

After pressing these pennies I started taking a closer look at the inner workings of the machine and noticed the hopper of where the pile of pennies is kept while they wait to be pressed.

That large pipe to the right of the hopper is just where they load the pennies into the machine.  It does hold quite a few pennies and I’d be curious how often they need to refill this.

Here is just a close up of the signage on the front of the machine reflecting the new $1.00 cost.  It does let you know “No Penny, No Problem: We Supply!”

Only one more restaurant to check out and it’s back in the Asia section of the park.  The restaurant is called Yak & Yeti with some Asian fusion food.  This is one of my favorite restaurants to eat at in the park, but it’s very busy and hard to get reservations for.  Walk-ins can happen but you have to try and go early.

The machine is located just inside the main doors by the check-in desk.  This is also the main area where people situate themselves while waiting for their table.  It can get very packed in here, and I had to wait a few minutes just to maneuver my way over to the machine.

Another cute set of pennies themed around the restaurant which I always like.  Well, that completes all the Landry’s restaurants on Walt Disney World property and is all of their pressed penny machines (other than the pressed quarter machines) that have been converted to $1.  On a side note both Disney Springs restaurants and the Rainforest Cafe at Animal Kingdom do NOT require theme park admission.  Disney Springs currently has free parking so you could visit T-Rex and that Rainforest free of charge other than the $1 per penny.  Parking at Animal Kingdom as of 2019 is $26 but that will change without notice so it could be an expensive price to pay if you just want to go and get those Rainforest Cafe pennies.  Yak & Yeti is inside the park so you would need a ticket to access that machine.

There are still some 4-design penny machines around that haven’t been converted yet but we will keep our eyes open and report back as those are swamped out.  Happy Collecting!!