Pirates of the Caribbean Collectible Medallions – Magic Kingdom WDW

Throughout 2019 we have noticed that the 4-design pressed penny machines around Walt Disney World property have been slowly converted to have a higher cost per penny…now at a whopping $1.  This is up from the standard $0.50 which seems to be the norm for most of the penny presses around the United States.  You can read about some of the recent changes here.   While thoughts on this increase among collectors various with some not happy about the increase, others upset that they can no longer use their own pennies, to others agreeing this was inevitable with the assumed rising cost to maintain the machines.  However, you fell about this change about increased cost I have started to notice something else start popping up around property that is even more expensive…collectible medallions.

Initially, when a set of these came out I had convinced myself I wouldn’t get them and wanted to stay focused on the pressed pennies.  Then they released a special medallion for the Flower and Garden Festival in Epcot (something I’ve always wanted with pressed pennies), and I finally broke.  Thankfully at the time, there were only a couple machines but it seems like more and more of these are making appearances.  Just a few weeks ago I received a message on Facebook about a new set of medallions but this time in the Magic Kingdom for the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.

The first chance I got I headed over to the park and visited one of my favorite rides.  I was able to get a last-minute fastness so I enjoyed the ride first and then headed towards the gift shop in search of the machine.

The store is actually called the Plaza del Sol Caribe Bazaar but most people just say the gift shop at the end of the Pirates ride.

It didn’t take long to find the machine since it’s located pretty much in the dead center of the store.  This is good and bad, easy to find but in a very busy spot.  There are people both exiting the attraction that pass right by it, and also people shopping all around.  I stood here about a good 5 minutes just to try and get a clear picture of the machine and the above is about the best I could do.

The cabinet for the medallions is pretty cool looking.  The distressed wood makes it look like it came straight off a pirate ship or was made of old treasure chests.

I find these machines a bit interesting as to how they are setup.  In the middle of the machine are large glass pieces where you can see inside where the coins are stored.  But these never move so they are not actually the ones you get after you pay for them.  I guess this is where the “extras” are stored until needed, but wouldn’t it look strange when the inside is empty due to the coins all being loaded for dispensing?  To be honest I’ve never seen one of these medallion machines without any coins in this middle display section but you would think eventually they would want to sell off those coins as well.  If I ever find someone doing some maintenance on these machines I’ll have to try and ask how it works.

Here are the buttons that you would press to pick the medallions you want after paying for them.  The cost is $5 each, or 3 of them for $10.  So if you want all 4 that will run you $15.  The machine does accept cash or credit card, but be aware if paying with a credit card it will only allow the $10 option (for three coins).

As per usual I just couldn’t resist the entire set.  The coins are made of different materials, although I would actually assume the core of them is the same but with a different coating/finish on the outside.  The designs are Pirate Mickey, Pirate Minnie, Pluto and the Skeleton steering the ship from the ride.

The back of all the medallions has the same design for the Pirates of the Caribbean with the skull and crossbones.  These coins aren’t dated like some of the other ones released this year so I would think this set may be sticking around for a while but you just never know with Disney.

Now back to my original conversation on the increased cost to the pressed pennies.  Am I happy about an increase in cost, of course not!  I wish they could stay at $0.50 forever especially with my obsessive need to collect all of them that would help keep my expense budget down.  But I do really enjoy this hobby and even at $1 per penny, it’s still a pretty good steak for a collectible and souvenir from Disney.  It would be nice to be able to use my own penny but the machines now do seem to be supplying uncirculated pennies that come out nice and shiny and hopefully will hold up over the years if properly stored, only time will tell.  Then we come to these new medallions and at $5 a coin they are now starting to push their luck.  The coins are hefty and solid, not cheaply made and I enjoy the unique designs on them.  I don’t know if I would pay much more than the current cost for these medallions so hopefully, they stay this cost for now and limit the total number of medallions available to help keep these all affordable for collectibles and casual fans alike.  If the costs rise too much more and my budget allows for only medallions or pressed pennies, the pennies will win out every time.  Although even that has a limit of how much we would be willing to pay for our beloved pressed pennies.

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.

NEW Medallion Art of Disney Store – Disney Springs

On August 2nd the Disney Channel released the final movie in their Descendants series.  This is a series of movies my daughters have only recently found, but were immediately drawn into them and are their current obsession.  Basically the story revolves around the VKs (Villain Kids), the children of all the famous Disney movie villains like Mal the daughter of Maleficent, or Evie the daughter of the Evil Queen from Snow White, Carlos is the son of Cruella de Vil, and Jay the son of Jafar just to name a few.

To celebrate this new movie, over at Disney Springs on the Waterside Stage they started having nightly DescenDance Parties.  Basically, there is a DJ up on stage encouraging everyone to dance, and periodically there are video clips show on stage with the Villain Kids showing off new dance moves or of course promoting the new movie.  When I told my girls about it they immediately wanted to head over and check it out.  To be honest, I was kind of blown away, the movie is great and the kids absolutely loved it.  Most of the adults are sitting back on the benches watching, and down front by the stage are all the kids (or kids at heart) dancing around enjoying their favorite songs.  The show starts nightly at 7:30pm and runs through 10:30pm.  We stuck around for a couple hours at which time our girls were exhausted but we still had to drag them away.  No one was quite ready to head home yet so we wondered around Disney Springs a bit and just window shopped a few of our favorite stores.

Over near Rainforest Cafe is one of my favorite stores the Art of Disney.  I try not to buy too many items from this place but they have so much cool stuff it’s hard to just look and not buy.  It had been a while since my last visit so we headed inside to see what was new.

The artwork is constantly being rotated in the store but mostly because it’s very popular and people buy up all the artwork as quickly as they put it out.  They have paintings, prints, posters, sculptures and so much more.  There are even animators on hand that will hand draw your favorite Disney character if you want.

As we walked through the store I noticed in the far back corner where the collectible Medallion machine usually was located, it was no longer there.

I headed over to that side of the store just to make sure but did find it had just been moved to the opposite corner.  This seemed a little strange so I headed up to it just to see if anything else had changed.

The machine itself was the same with no changes.

Then when I looked at the designs that were available one immediately stuck out.  There used to be a Frozen design with Anna and Elsa as the far left option.  But now there was Mickey’s 90th Celebration design.

Here is a close up of the button on the machine.

Above is a picture of the actual medallion that I picked up for my collection.  The cost is also the same as before, $10 for 3 medallions or $5 each.  Definitely a bit pricey but these are not plastic or cheaply made coins, they have quite some weight to them and the designs have very nice detail with Mickey and his birthday hat.  Plus I love the slogan World’s Biggest Mouse Party.  This will make a nice addition to my Mickey’s 90th Celebration set of pressed pennies that the parks released earlier this year.  If you want to read about those pennies you can check it out here.

Since Mickey’s 90th is only going on until the end of the year, and this machine also has a dated 2019 medallion the odds are good they won’t be around forever.  I’ll have to remember to keep a closer eye on this machine as the designs seems to be changing more frequently than I would have guess.

Inside Out Pressed Pennies – Epcot Mouse Gear

When I had originally heard about this machine being released it seems a bit strange.  I’m all for getting new pressed penny machines but the designs on this one were from a movie released back in 2015.  Why were new designs just being released now?  Well, spoiler I don’t have any idea and no one seems to know.  I guess we should just be happy they arrived at all.

To investigate I headed over to Epcot on the weekend to find the machine and see what else was new.

One thing that I found was new was at the front of the park the Leave a Legacy monuments were removed from the right side.  For those that may not know, back in 1995-96 the park offered you the chance to Leave a Legacy which was basically a picture of yourself engraved on a metal sheet with thousands of other people.  They placed these images on large marble monuments that were located on the left and right sides as you enter the park heading towards Spaceship Earth.  I will admit I was one of the people that bought a location and my picture is currently still up there somewhere.  Their removal is the beginning of the Epcot transformation that will be taking place over the next few years that includes new attractions, restaurants, maybe a new world pavilion and plenty more things they have yet to announce.  I will admit that with these monuments gone the front of the park is much more wide open and easier to walk through.

First, we decided to meet some characters and my daughters latest favorites are Joy and Sadness from Inside Out which works perfectly for this post.

The characters are very cute and do a great job with the kids and adults too.  They always make for a fun photo op.

After that, it was time to get down to business.  We headed across future world and into the main gift shop called Mouse Gear.

I tried to find some Inside Out merchandise but there really wasn’t much available.  I asked a few cast members and was pointed towards only a small area with some Joy and Anger plush dolls.

We continued to walk around the store looking for the new penny machine I had heard about and found it located around the middle of the store near the dressing rooms.

 

The machine is an 8-design touch screen model that supplies pre-loaded zinc pennies.

I will admit this is a really cute set of pennies.  The images include Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, Fear, Bing Bong and then a few more with various characters together.  Even though this is an “older” movie it’s definitely popular.  There were quite a few people ahead of me and then waiting behind me for this machine.

Before we left I did see some “Farewell to Illuminations” merchandise around the check out areas.  Illuminations is the long-running nighttime fireworks show that happens at Epcot every night.  Disney announced they are retiring it and will be replaced with an all-new show.  Disney fans are obsessed with this type of merch and buy it up as quickly as it’s released.

I do still find it a little interesting that they decided to release some pennies for a movie that came out a few years ago, but people really like it so that’s probably a good move on their end.  Hopefully, this is the start of a new series where they release more machines with designs themed around older movies.  I’m still holding out hope that someday I can get some Robin Hood pennies, which is one of my favorite Disney animated movies.

Magic Kingdom Machines Converting to $1 per Penny Design

If you have been following along recently you will most likely have noticed my last few posts about the new 4-design penny press machines and the increase in cost.

This change has a lot of collectors not too happy, but not necessarily just because of the higher price.  This is something that I feel was inevitable and am kind of surprised it didn’t happen earlier.  From what I have been hearing from collectors they are more upset about the machine supplying the penny.  We have talked in the past about the preference for a lot of pressed penny collectors to use pre-1982 pennies due to their higher copper content.  This usually results in much better final pressings.  But as we have found with the new larger format machines (8 or 12 design machines) that already supply new shiny zinc (copper coated) penny.  The jury is still out on how well these pressed pennies will hold up over time.

The first few machines to be released on Walt Disney World property were two machines at the Main Street Train Station in the Magic Kingdom, and the new machine in Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios.  However these were brand new machines just released, and this immediately sparked another concern about whether any existing machines would get the price increase as well.

I have checked out all the parks and so far only one other machine over in Tomorrowland has been changed.

   

Over near the Tomorrowland Speedway was a 4-design hand crank machine that has been here for a while.

As you can see from the above picture, the machine has been upgraded (?!?! updated) to the new price point.

 

Fortunately (or maybe not if you don’t already have these coins) the designs have not changed.  They are still the same as they were before the price increase.  Thankfully for my collection I already had a set pressed on some older (pre-1982) pennies, but went ahead and pressed a new set just to see how they came out.

There were a few other 4-design machines that were temporarily missing from the Magic Kingdom.  As we assumed they have returned with the updated cabinet and the new price and payment system.

First was over in Tomorrowland near where the TTA People Mover line forms.  The designs have not changed.

Next over in the Tomorrowland Light & Power store (Space Mountain Gift shop) has two machines.

The first penny machine also has the same designs as before.

However, this location also used to have a pressed dime machine that was very unique.  That machine has been converted to a penny machine but still has the same original designs.

I spoke with some other collectors about these pennies, and it appears the dies inside the machine are the same dime sized as before, but the tension/pressure of the machine has been adjusted to press pennies.  Due to this, the pennies come out much shorter than usual.  As you can see from the comparison picture above the pennies come out almost the same size as the dimes.

The next machine was in Storybook Circus (where the classic Dumbo ride is located) in the Big Top Souvenir gift shop.  Located all the way in the back this machine can be easily missed.  The four penny designs are the same as before it’s updated, the only change is to the price and payment options.

Heading over to Liberty Square we checked on the machine near the Haunted Mansion.  These designs have also returned unchanged but the instructions on how to use the machine have been updated and are more detailed.

Just a short stroll into Frontierland the machine located across from the Frontier Trading Post has also got a new cabinet with updated pricing.  Designs are unchanged.

Finally, the last machine is over by the world-famous Jungle Cruise attraction.  The cabinet has been updated but as with most of these machines, the designs are the same as before.

I also visited Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and Disney Springs but didn’t find any other 4-design machines missing.  I would think this is probably a bit of a time-consuming process to update the machine cabinets so they are probably systematically doing each park one at a time to limit the number of machines that will be unavailable.

Being a collector that prefers to use my own pennies this is a bit of a bummer to see the machines converted over to pre-loaded.  I had used some pre-loaded machines in the past at other places around Niagara Falls and received some pretty shabby pennies.  On the plus side, it does appear Disney is trying to use some brand new shiny pennies, but they are zinc.  We will just have to wait and see how they hold up over time like the preferred copper pennies.

NEW Toy Story Land Pressed Pennies (Finally) – Hollywood Studios, FL

Over in Hollywood Studios back on June 30th, 2018 Toy Story Land officially opened.  There were two new attractions (Slinky Dog Dash, and Alien Swirling Saucers) and one that just had the entrance moved into his new land (Toy Story Mania).  I remember heading over just a couple days after the new land opened on a mission to not only explore the new area but to see if there were any new penny machines.  You can read about that here…spoiler no new machines.  But that all just changed and it only took about 10 months.

On a quick side note, this is also the 30th anniversary of Hollywood Studios so there is a lot of special signage throughout the park.

I sped walked to the back of the park and directly into Toy Story Land.  Woody is right there at the entrance welcoming all the new toys into Andy’s backyard.

Some areas of this land can be a bit deceiving.  When I saw the above “crowd” I thought it wasn’t going to be too busy, but the wait times for the attractions were pretty high as usual.

As an example, the Slinky Dog Dash coaster wait time was at 120 minutes.  Way too hot to be standing in the blistering sun.  The ride is a lot of fun but yikes that’s a long wait.

It may be a bit hard to see in the above picture, but the Toy Story Mania had a 70-minute wait.

The last attraction Alien Swirling Saucers had an 80-minute stand-by wait.  So it was definitely a busy day in the park, but may be due to the sun people were hiding in the shade or other buildings as the pathways were not too congested.

The new penny machine is located in a bit of a side area in between Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers.  There is a large Green Alien statue nearby which can act as a nice marker if you are looking for the machine.

The cabinet of this machine is big and red.  The blue machine beside it on the right created engraved dog tags.

I really like this set of pennies.  The images are of the three attractions, and fourth is of Woody and Buzz with the Toy Story Land logo.  This is exactly what I was hoping would have been in the land last year when it first opened.  Not sure if there was a delay or some other issue getting this machine made, but in any case, I’m glad it did finally make it.  This does seem to be a very popular machine.

Did you notice it’s another $1 per penny style machine?  That’s right, these seem to be the new version that will be coming to the parks soon.  Just like the other new machines at the Magic Kingdom Train Station, the machine supplies the penny.  It does take $1 bills for individual pennies, or you can use a credit card to pay the $4 for all four designs.

I’m keeping a close eye out on the other 4 design machines around Disney Property and will post an update if any other machines start getting this conversion to $1.

Main Street Train Station NEW $1 Penny Machines – Magic Kingdom, FL

To try and keep up with all the new pressed penny machines I spend a lot of my “spare” time looking at online blogs, websites and reading emails, tweets and blog/vlog comments.  I always make sure to have little baggies of quarters and pennies on the ready should a new machine be posted so I can try to go visit it as soon as possible.  However when I read about these new penny machines that were released at the Magic Kingdom they threw me for a bit of a loop.  A cost increase!

To see what exactly was going on I headed into the park and made my way towards the Main Street Train Station.

First I wanted to go upstairs and check out the Train that is currently just being kept there since the actual track around the park is being relocated.  This is all due to the new Tron roller coaster currently being built over by Space Mountain.

This does make for a fun little attraction where you can get up and personal with the steam engine.

I don’t think many people realize that you can still come up here to check out the train.  You can’t get into the engine, but there are engineers around that will answer your questions.

You can look inside the engine, and they also have the pull cord for the steam whistle dangling out the window for kids (of all ages) to pull periodically.

After we finished visiting with the train, we headed inside and down the stairs to the first level.

Located just behind the staircases on the first floor is where the two new penny machines were found.  Previously in this spot were two 3-design machines, one was a penny press and the other was a quarter press.  Now both machines are 4-design penny press manual machines.

The first machine we checked out was on the left side.  As you can see in the above picture shows the new price at $1 per penny.  I will review at the bottom how to use the machine and the different payment options.

 

This first set of pennies had some cute designs with Mickey and Minnie Mouse.  One did say “Main Street” on it, and another design had Mickey in a Stream Engine.

The second machine on the right side also $1 per design and supplied the pennies.

 

This set has four more 2019 designs with images of Captain Hooks Pirate Ship, Cinderella’s Castle, Space Mountain, and Dumbo.  I always like these dated designs as they make for a fun souvenir each year.  But this is going to make for quite the project in 2020 to replace all these designs plus the other 2019 coins all over the property.

After pressing all these new coins I decided to walk around the park and see if any more of these new $1 penny machines had shown up and I’ll post separately around that so stay tuned.

Now before we finish up let me review how payment on these new machines works.  I did talk with someone that works on these machines and there have been a lot of issues with them already.  Apparently, people are not reading the instructions correction since the process it a bit different so just make sure to follow those on machine instructions.

The machine supplies the penny so you can no longer use your own preferred pennies.  If you are using cash, you turn the handle until the arrow lines up with the design you want to press.  Then insert your $1 bill, wait a few seconds until you hear the penny drop in place and then start turning the handle as per usual process.  The machine will not accept larger than a $1 bill as it doesn’t give change.  If you want to get the entire set you would need to repeat the above 4 times.  The machine does also accept credit cards or mobile payment like ApplePay.  If you use this method to pay it only allows you to pay for the entire set and charges your card $4.  Just make sure you line up the arrow to one of the designs, then swipe your card and wait for it to be approved.  Then you will hear the first penny drop in place and you just keep turning the handle and all 4 designs will press one after the other.

I witnessed someone swipe their debit card and then only roll one penny and walk away.  As I mentioned above the machine still charges you the full $4 so make sure you press all 4 of your designs.  I called the family back over and explained it to them so they could press the other 3 pennies.  I believe that some new instructions will be placed on these machines in the future to try and help make sure they are working properly and being used correctly.

Epcot Flower and Garden 2019 – New Booklet and Medallions

Well better late than never I guess.  The Epcot Flower and Garden festival for 2019 started back on March 6th and ends June 3rd.  I’ve mentioned this in the past, but this is my favorite festival.  The flowers are beautiful and smell fantastic, the food booths are pretty good (not as good as food and wine) but the biggest perk I find is that the crowds aren’t as crazy.

I do like Food and Wine in the fall but holy cow those crowds are out of control.  So I always prefer the Flower and Garden.  Since the festival started in March we have been over to enjoy it a few times.  I was hoping for either a new pressed penny booklet like last year or even some new pennies but nothing had been released.  With nothing new to write about I was a bit sad that I wouldn’t be able to post about the festival this year.  But then on my last visit, I found not one but two new things and couldn’t wait to share them.

Before I get into the new things I found let’s take a bit of a stroll through the festival.  Don’t worry our first stop is pretty close by.  Behind Spaceship earth was a new topiary this year of Daisy Duck.

Okay, that was long enough let’s go into Mouse Gear and check out the first new item.

I’m not sure if this is just a coincidence or not, but I found a new pressed penny booklet in this gift shop.  In the above picture, it is the one on the right.  The entire booklet is pink and covered with all your favorite Disney Princesses.  Yes, that is the correct price $12.99 but it holds about 48 pennies so that’s not too bad.

Back to the festival and some more topiaries and flowers.  Here was Goofy as we leave Spaceship Earth behind and head towards the World Showcase.

The beautiful flowers all laid out around the lagoon and surrounding areas are really amazing.  The bright colors are just screaming to have their picture taken.

Right at the entrance to World Showcase, we find our favorite mice Mickey and Minnie surrounded by plenty of heart topiaries.

 

Near the Canadian pavilion was the next set of new topiaries this year depicting Bambi, Flower, and Thumper.  Flower was always my favorite little skunk.

 

In the United Kingdom area, we found Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet, and Rabbit.

 

Continuing around the showcase we headed into France and found the above fantastic topiaries of Kermit and Miss Piggy.  These were definitely fan favorites this year and there was quite a line of people trying to take their perfect pictures of the muppets.

Some of the other pavilions had similar topiaries from last year but just located in different locations.  Above were Snow White and Dopey dwarf just outside the Germany pavilion.

Of course, we couldn’t pass by Norway without seeing Anna and Elsa from Frozen.

Finishing up our tour around the World Showcase we saw the Three Caballeros near the Mexico Pavilion.

Here is my attempt at a postcard shot.  A nice reflection of Spaceship Earth and the flower beds along the water.  All I’m missing was the Monorail driving through.

Do you remember seeing this building on your trips to Epcot?  It’s called the Odyssey building and in years past used to have more going on inside.  Usually, in my past visits, this was where we would make a quick bathroom break as we cut over to Test Track or back into the World Showcase.  However, this has now become the new festival center.

During the Flower and Garden Festival, it’s being called the Gardeners Terrace.  Inside is one of the food booth locations but I heard rumor it will soon be a Starbucks when Epcot’s future world starts going through some changes and that Starbucks is relocated.

Also in this area is some Festival merchandise including shirts, Minnie ears, pictures, and paintings and a whole lot more.

While we were in here looking at some of the items for sale I turned around and caught a glimpse of this new machine.

Obviously, this is not a pressed penny (or quarter machine) like we probably would have preferred.  But instead, it had those souvenir medallions that are slowing popping up like the ones I found in Disney Springs last year.  Plus they were themed specifically for the Flower and Garden Festival.

There were four different medallions in total.  They have a section in the middle of the machine where you can see what they will actually look like.  This is a bit of a strange setup as these coins are not what is dispensed to you when you buy them.  They are just there for display.

So you may be asking how about the cost.  It’s the same as the one at Disney Springs, $5 for one, or 3 for $10.  The machine does not give out change so you either need to have exactly $15 if you want all 4 medallions.  However, something that has been changed a bit from the first machine like this I used.  If you are using a credit card when you swipe your card there is a count down on the display that gives you 10 or 15 seconds to make your selections.  This is how the machine calculates how much to charge your card.  So during the time if you only select 1 design, when the countdown is done it will confirm you are being billed $5.  But you cannot select all 4 in one transaction.  I used my credit card and when I selected the first 3 designs it immediately completed the transaction and told me my card was billed $10.  So I had to swipe a second time and select just the 1 remaining medallions to complete the set.  Then I had to stand there and wait until the timer completed making sure someone else didn’t come up and charge more coins to my card.  Just be mindful of this if you are using the machine so you are only billed for what you want.

Two of the coins are a nice shiny gold color and the other two have more of a darker tarnished look.  Two of them have Figment the dragon on them, one has Minnie Mouse with a flower and the last has the 2019 Flower and Garden logo on it.

The back of all the coins has the same design pictured above with Spaceship Earth, World Showcase, the Monorail, and the Epcot logo.

This is really a great set of coins.  Yes, I absolutely wish these were pressed pennies instead, but as soon as I saw them I couldn’t get my money out fast enough.  I love having souvenirs with the different events on them and especially the year which helps document when we were there.  These were very popular when I visited and can’t imagine them not continuing this moving forward.  Starting August 29th is the Food and Wine festival so crossing our fingers we get some new coins for that, and maybe then the Festival of the Holidays.

I mentioned at the very top that the Flower and Garden Festival ends June 3rd, 2019 so if you get a chance make sure you pick up these medallions as I’m sure they won’t be around very much longer.

Typhoon Lagoon Water Park – WDW Florida

Our annual Disney passes were coming up for renewal and I asked our daughters if they enjoyed the water parks last year.  They almost popped my eardrums as they screamed yes they wanted water parks again this year.  Once our passes were renewed we decided to celebrate by heading over to one of those water parks.

We had visited Typhoon Lagoon last year but it had rained for most of the day and we didn’t get to enjoy the full park.  So this time we made sure the weather was going to be in our favor and headed in for some fun in the sun…and water.

As we walked in we were greeted by Lagoona Gator.  This is always a popular photo spot but a little hint if you visit this later in the day it will be less crowded.  Everyone seems to want this picture first thing in the morning.

Here is a bit of an overview of the water park.  It’s really beautiful and has plenty of areas with shade or out in the sun if you are looking to work on your tan.

We always prefer a shaded area and were able to find some lounge chairs run under a bunch of large palm trees giving us plenty of cover.  Then after we loaded up on sunscreen it was time to check out the wave pool first.  The story of this park is that a typhoon wreaked havoc on a pristine tropical paradise.  Ships, surfboards and all sorts of other items were all thrown about as the storm hit.  All the way in the back of the wave pool is the centerpiece known as Miss Tilly.  This was a shrimp boat launched during the storm and impaled atop Mount Mayday.

After spending some time in the wave pool my youngest wanted to check out the kid’s area known as Ketchakiddee Creek.  There are plenty of little slides, and water spraying from all different areas.

Eventually, we decided to walk around more of the park and just do some exploring.  We found this bridge that takes you back closer towards the Miss Tilly.  You also get a bird’s eye view of the lazy river.

This pathway also takes you behind the wave pool giving an interesting perspective of it.  As you can see we definitely lucked out with a beautiful day to visit.

Of course, there are also a few places to get food as well as a couple bars.  This was my favorite bar and thought the theming of it was really well done.

We did hop in the lazy river a few times.  But unfortunately, when the park is busy this can be anything but lazy or relaxing.  Sometimes it takes a while to find an available tube to use, and some of the areas get quite bottlenecked with all the tubes crashing into each other.

Our girls were a little too small for the water coasters Crush n’ Gusher but I headed on them and they definitely take water slides to the next level.  In most water slides you are just slowly making your way downhill, but in these water coasters, there are jets that actually propelled you uphill a bit before you start coming back down.  They really are a lot of fun and hopefully, I can get my girls on them at some point in the future when they are a little bigger.

The main gift shop is called Singapore Sals.  It’s located near the entrance/exit to the park and has beach towels, swimming goggles, and even bathing suits if you forgot one.  Plus lots of souvenirs and sunscreen if needed.

Towards the left side of the store when you are walking inside is where the penny machine was located.

I was happy to see that the designs were themed for the water park which makes them a little more unique.

Years ago this was a machine I needed to complete my WDW Pressed penny set and I remember trying to write a letter asking if a cast member would be able to press my coins that I had included in the envelope.  It took a couple weeks but sure enough, I got the pennies back in the mail with a very nice letter from the staff.  They really do go above and beyond for their guests even when you aren’t there visiting.  The designs haven’t changed since then, but I went ahead and pressed a new set anyways.

By the late afternoon, we had a full day of swimming, sliding and just enjoying the bright Florida sunshine.  Everyone was starting to get a bit tired and cranky so we knew it was time to head home.  We did really enjoy this park, and now that we have our newly renewed annual passes we will be back again soon.

Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort – Pressed Penny Design Changes

This small change to one of the penny press machines over at Disney’s All-Star Sports resort almost went unnoticed due to all the other new machines on property.

I took a quick drive over to the All-Star Sports resort which is one of the value resorts on Disney property.  When I was younger and taking trips down to Florida on my own, these were the resorts I stayed at most.  The majority of my days were spent at the parks or resort hopping as I tried to press all the pennies and quarters on property.   So I spent very little time in my room and it seems like a waste to spend more on a resort with better accommodations that I really wasn’t going to be using.  They are still a lot of fun to stay at, but they are no frills and fighting the crowds in the food court style eatery is not a great experience.

After parking my car I headed into the main building of the resort.  Past the check-in area towards the back of the building is where the End Zone food court is found and across from that is the Game Point Arcade.  Just outside the arcade is the above group of penny press machines.  There is one pressed quarter machine, and the other three are penny machines.  A nice addition here is the change machine which is a nice way to load up on quarters if you didn’t get enough before your trip.

The machine located all the way on the right is the one that received some new/old designs.

I say as they are new to this machine, but these designs were actually located at Hollywood Studios a few years ago and had been retired.  Or so we thought.  The two Beauty and the Beast designs were originally at the Once Upon a Time store along Hollywood Boulevard, and the Mickey Film Strip design was at the Pizza Planet restaurant near Muppets Courtyard.

It just goes to show you just when you think something may be retired and no longer available they may surprise us and bring them back.  Although it’s probably just a good idea to try and get them the first time around just in case.