The Seas with Nemo and Friends Pressed Pennies – Epcot

Weren’t we just at Epcot?  It seems like I’ve been here the last few weeks documenting penny machines.  Well that’s okay I’m not going to complain about Disney released new Pressed Penny designs.  As you may remember a week ago I had visited the park to find all the penny machines that had been converted to $1, and one of the last machines was at The Seas with Nemo and Friends gift shop.  While I was checking out that machine I saw a couple techs working on a new 8-design machine so I knew I had to come back and get more info on it.

Did I mention the front of Epcot is a huge construction site?  Yes, it’s a bit of a hot mess to try and get into the park at the time of writing.  There is quite a walk from the parking lot into the park even if you take the tram but I keep telling myself it will be great once all is done….in a few years (gulp!).  Thankfully I wasn’t going too far into the park as I just need to stay in Future World and headed towards the Seas with Nemo and Friends.

This is a bit of an older attraction but one that kids and adults all seem to like since it’s not too intense for those not interested in roller coasters or space simulators.

Due to this, you can usually get a fast pass pretty easily, or if that’s not available the standby wait time is usually fairly short.  I was able to get a Fastpass and headed right in.  The attraction has you getting into a sea shell ride vehicle and takes you through the Finding Nemo story.  There are some screens projecting Nemo and his friends that are surrounded by coral or other underwater scenery and is just a nice relaxing way to soak up some air conditioning.  At the end of the ride, you exit out into the Seabase (large aquarium) area of the building.  Eventually, you exit out through a gift shop.

If you would rather not ride on the attraction that is no problem when looking at the front entrance to the ride where you would hop into line just turn to the left and follow the pathway around back.  This will bring you directly into that gift shop.

On the far side of the gift shop, you can see the penny machines.  the one on the right side is the recently converted 4-design machine that was changed to $1 per penny and I wrote about previously.

However, the machine we were here to see this day was the one on the left.  This is the new 8-design penny machine.

Standard (now) touchscreen interface, the cost is $1 per penny or $5 for all 8 designs.  The machine accepts cash, credit card or digital payment like ApplePay.

The machine supplies shiny new pennies and they came out really nice.  The images are mostly themed around the Pixar movie Finding Dory the sequel to Finding Nemo.  But there are also a couple designs from The Little Mermaid including one of Ariel and Ursula’s Moray Eel Minions Flotsam and Jetsam.

What a nice new set of pennies and it fits in really nicely with this area of the park.  I’m a sucker for aquariums and when they have a fun ride, manatees, and pressed pennies I’m all in.

Epcot Machines Converting to $1 per Penny Design

I think we all knew this was inevitable.  First, we saw the new penny machine in Toy Story Land released at $1 per penny, then all the 4-design machines in the Magic Kingdom were converted to $1.  Now I’ve seen it with my own eyes, Epcot has been changed as well.

I’ll try not to keep harping on this but Epcot basically is a big construction site right now. So many changes are coming and I’m sure that it will be beautiful once all done.  It makes getting around this park now a bit of a pain with all the construction walls and buildings being torn down but I was on a mission to find all these converted machines.

Just beyond Spaceship Earth (the big golf ball) is Pin Central.  Basically, just a stand where you can buy a ton of different Disney Pins, or trade with cast members and other guests.  On the left and right sides of this stand were two penny machines.

   

In the pictures above the machine on the left is the “before” and the machine on the right is the “after”.  You can see the cabinet has been changed slightly.  It has some new graphics, no longer has the coin slider since the machine supplies the pennies now, and also has been given a credit card component.  The 4 penny designs have not changed: Phineas & Ferb playing guitars, Spaceship Earth with a Goofy Hat, Agent P, and Duffy the Disney Bear.

   

If you walk to the opposite side of the Pin Stand you can find the second machine available here.  Left is before and the right picture is after the conversion.  As with all these machines, the images have not changed.

   

Next, I headed over to the Land Pavilion in Future World (soon to be part of World Nature after Epcot’s renovations).  Inside the Land Pavilion is where you would find the main attraction Soarin’, as well as the Living with the Land attraction where you take a boat ride through a greenhouse.  Once inside the pavilion on the lower level is the Sunshine Season’s food court area and is where you can find the above penny machine.

I included a close up of the new usage details that are located on the front of the machine.  Due to the machine supplying the penny after payment is made there is a slightly different method of use.  Not much has changed, but you do need to “take your take” and don’t just start cranking the handle after you insert payment.  You do need to give it a few extra seconds to load the penny in place or your end result will be a mis-rolled coin.

   

We will be back to finish off Future World in a little bit, but for now, I headed into the World Showcase and my first stop was the Japan Pavilion.  The first machine here has been moved towards the back of the pavilion after it’s conversion.  This makes it easy to find and is now right next to the second machine.

   

It was nice to see that these unique cabinets have been kept the same other than the new instructions and payment methods.  I always like the way these looked and they fit into the pavilion nicely.

   

After the Japan pavilion, we had a bit of a trek through a few other Countries until we eventually found the African Outpost.  This is not a full pavilion but has a unique store and also a tent with a very talented woodcarver working on various pieces for purchase.  I’ve spent lots of time just watching him work as it’s really fascinating.  It was nice to see this cabinet get a bit of an update, there is now a marquee on the top with large images of the designs available in the machine that was not there previously.

   

We were almost done with the World Showcase but had one Pavilion left to check out. I headed into the China Pavilion and found the first machine about halfway towards the back near an outdoor stand that was selling puppets.

   

The second machine is all the way in the back of the Pavilion.  It’s near the exit to the movie theater where you can see the Reflections of China video.  The cabinets are fun designs for these machines as well and look to have received a fresh coat of paint.

Initially, these were all the machines that had been converted to $1, but strangely there was still one other 4-design machine in the park that had remained unchanged.

It was located back in Future World at the Seas with Nemo and Friends attraction in the gift shop.  Above is a picture of the machine.  After some conversations with other collectors we figured it would be changed eventually but due to it being a combination cabinet that housed not just the penny machine, but also a quarter press and a change machine all in one.  This was probably a bit of a complex machine to upgrade.  I held off on writing this post for weeks hoping that the machine would be changed and I could put the completed stamp on this park but it seemed like months were passing by and it still hadn’t changed.  So I started to detail out all the other machines, and of course just as I was about to publish the post I visited the park one random evening and witnessed them putting the machine out and getting it setup.

As you can see the machine was split out from that massive combo design.  It now has a new stand-alone design, but the images are still the same.  I chatted with the wonderful tech that was working on the machine as I’ve met her a few times in the past.  She mentioned the quarter press has been removed completely along with the change machine.  This is a bit sad since I really like the pressed quarter machines since the coins are larger they have nicer final images pressed and the details are always more pronounced.  Thankfully there are still a few quarter press machines around the property so I just hope they don’t decide to start removing them.

You may have noticed from the above picture of the new penny machine that there appears to be another machine beside it.  I was going to gloss over it and hope you didn’t notice but it was kind of hard to hide it from.  In place of the removed quarter press, they did release a new 8-design penny press machine.  It wasn’t completely working when I visited to get the above pictures so I’ll be going back in the next few days to use the machine and get more details on it.  At that time I’ll write a separate post on the pennies available in that new set.

Where will the next set of machines be converted?  My guess is Hollywood Studios but there are also a few machines at Disney Springs and a couple at the resorts.  I’ll be making some extra trips to these locations over the next few weeks to try and keep everyone up to date on the changes.  Happy collecting!!

Epcot’s International Food and Wine 2019 – Collectible Medallion

It’s that time of year again for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.  Well technically it’s been going on for almost 3 months at this point but I was finally able to get over there and visit some food booths plus I was able to find a collectible medallion that was released for the festival.

Before we get into those medallions lets take a tour around the festival.  With all the construction currently going on at Epcot, there is not much at the front of the park.  Usually, there is a topiary or signage after you scan your ticket into the park.  That area has completely been torn down, and one side is behind construction walls.  So they have moved most of that stuff out to the main entrance to the World Showcase.

I was immediately drawn towards the smell of grilling meats and found myself quickly waiting in line at the Flavors from Fire booth.

It was nice to see an actual grill out behind the booth.  Most of the booths have the components of the food items made in a kitchen somewhere else in the park and then transported by cart to the booths to be constructed.  That can make for a less than “fresh” feeling with the food items, but with the grills going strong I was hoping that wouldn’t be the case here.

There were a few items here that I wanted to try, but a few were the same from last year.  We were trying to make a push for some new items this year.  First, we tried the Steakhouse Blended Burger.  It was a blended Beef and Mushroom slider with brie cheese fondue, arugula, and a truffle and blue cheese potato chip on a brioche bun.

The second item we got here was the Charred Chimichurri skirt steak on a smoked corn cake with pickled vegetable slaw and cilantro aioli.  This was definitely our favorite item the entire day, even my 7-year-old daughter loved this one.

Not too far away we headed into a little courtyard that had a few booths all right beside each other.  The one we checked out was Active Eats.

Above is a picture of the Loaded Macaroni & Cheese with Nueske’s pepper bacon, cheddar cheese, and leeks.

Just a few steps away was the Coastal Eats booth which had a menu designed around seafood.

This was an item my daughter (who is trying to be a little more adventurous with her foods) chose to try.  This was the lump crab cake with Napa cabbage slaw and avocado-lemongrass cream.

We then started to head into the main World Showcase loop and just couldn’t pass up the Canada booth.  They have had the same items for the last couple years due to being fan favorites, I do wish they would change it up a bit but it’s hard to argue with the items they do keep bringing back.

Pictured above is their famous Canadian cheddar and bacon soup serviced with a pretzel roll.  This is the exact same soup available inside the Pavilion at Le Cellier steakhouse restaurant just smaller size.  I was able to get a copy of the recipe from the restaurant years ago and make it at home every so often and it really doesn’t disappoint.

This next item is one of the more expensive throughout the entire festival but it’s a classic that is hard to pass up.  Le Cellier wild mushroom beef filet mignon with truffle butter sauce.  You can also see a small cup in the background which is one of our favorite ice wines from the Niagara on the Lake region of Canada (near Niagara Falls). It is a Vidal Icewine from the Chateau Des Charmes Vinyard.

With so many food booths it’s easy to start getting filled up before you really get into the heart of the festival.  We decided to skip a few of the booths near the United Kingdom pavilion and France.  I thought our daughter may want to try the Escargot Croissant in France but she said she wasn’t ready to try eating snails yet.  Maybe next year!!  Just beyond France was the Morocco booth with some interesting items.

First was a NY strip steak green shermoula flatbread with fresh radish and tomato salsa.  This was really fantastic, kind of like a steak taco.  The steak was a bit spicy but was definitely on the top of my list this year.

We broke one of our rules and had a sweet treat before finishing up our savory items but when I saw Chocolate Baklava I just had to get it.  This is rolled phyllo dough with toasted almonds and dark chocolate sauce.

The next booth was over in the Japan pavilion and was something I had seen pictures of online, and video reviews where people were really enjoying it.

This was the Frothy Ramen, chilled noodles and dashi broth with a light foam topping.  It looked really good and I’m a sucker for ramen noddles but whoa this was not for me.  The flavor was extremely strong and overpowering for my palette.  I’ve been waiting for someone else to review it online and say they didn’t like it but so far I haven’t seen one so maybe this is just not my thing.

Our kids were pretty stuffed by this thing and my wife was getting close to her limit as well.  But of course, I wanted to keep going so we skipped a few more booths and stopped in Italy.  You just can’t go wrong with some pasta.

Pictured above were the Ravioli carbonara, parmesan, and pecorino ravioli, egg yolk, cream, and bacon.  The presentation we got in the little paper boat was a bit of a mess, but the flavor was really good and helped cleans the Frothy ramen taste off my tongue.

After that pretty heavy pasta dish, I was ready to call it a day and wasn’t sure how I would be able to comfortably get back to our car.  As we finished the last bit of the showcase we decided to head into the Port of Entry store to see what kind of Festival merchandise was available.

As my family looked around picking out t-shirts, Christmas tree ornaments and maybe a bottle of wine or two, I was drawn to an area on the opposite side of the store.  Earlier this year during the Flower and Garden festival they had released specially designed coins that you can read out here.  Fellow collectors had been wondering since then if Disney would continue this with other festivals and sure enough, here it was for the Food and Wine.

The cost for these coins was the same as before (thankfully!) at $5 for one coin or $10 for three.  So if you want all four that will run you $15.  Yes, it’s a bit pricey but these designs are just so fun it’s hard to say no.

There are quite a few coins on display in the center second of the machine.  Other machines around Disney have coins in here spinning on little risers but this machine didn’t have that and instead was just laying flat.

Here is a close up of the entire set.  They have designs of Chef Mickey, Chef Remy, Chef Minnie, and Chef Figment.

On the back of each coin is the same design regardless of the front image you select.  It’s the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival 2019 logo which I really like.

With my $15 souvenirs packed away, I headed over to my family that had picked out quite a bit more in other merchandise but that’s okay.  It’s a fun festival to enjoy each fall, and we always like trying new food items we wouldn’t normally try.  The Festival runs from August 29, 2019 through November 23, 2019 so you still have a few weeks left to visit.  Then we get into the Festival of the Holidays and I wonder if we can count on another new set of collectible medallions?

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.

Walt Disney World Theme Parks “Coin Set”

One evening I was over at Disney’s Magic Kingdom with nothing in particular on the agenda.  I always feel very fortunate to be able to visit the parks as often as I do, and sometimes go just to walk through the parks and take in the magic.  Whenever possible I offer to help families take pictures, or help guide someone that looks a bit lost.

Of course, as I wander around the parks I’m also keeping an eye our on the pressed penny machines.  Trying to keep up to date on if new machines have shown up, or existing machines have been changed or removed.  I walked over to Storybook Circus to check on the penny machine in the Big Top Souvenir shop (which FYI was removed and we think being changed into a $1 per penny machine click here to read more).

While I was inside I took a look at some of the new items and on this spinning rack fixture something caught my eye.

This was a package of what they titled a “Coin Set”.

It also had the official “Authentic Original Disney Parks” seal of approval.

The cost for the coins was $12.99, so that’s $3.25 per coin not including tax.  I also received a passholder discount which helped reduce the cost a bit.

Once I got home I took them out of the package to get a better look.  Each coin is a different color.  I don’t think they are actually made out of different metals, but rather just a different coating.  Each coin represents the different theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and the Animal Kingdom.  The coins also include the year that each of the parks was originally opened.

On the back of each coin is the corresponding park name and logo.

These coins are pretty hefty and do have some weight to them.  I tried to take a bit of a profile picture above so you could see how thick they are.  They are pretty cool and I just couldn’t resist picking up a set for my collection.  I doubt this would be an ongoing series with new coins being released periodically but with Disney, you just never know.  So far the Big Top Souvenir store is the only place I’ve seen this coin set available, but I’m sure they can be found in other stores on property you just have to keep your eyes open for them.

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.

Mickey’s 90th Celebration Pressed Pennies

Back on November 18, 1928 Mickey Mouse made his debut and things have never been the same.  Walt Disney has a famous quote “I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing…that it was all started with a mouse.”  If only Walt could see what has become of his little friend now I’m sure it would have exceeded even his expectations.

Now here we are celebrating his 90th birthday, and Disney has extended this celebration to all aspect of the park.  There are special merchandise, cupcakes, and even some special costumes for the characters.  But the most exciting release (at least for me) was that they had released five special Pressed Pennies.

I just happened to come across the first penny as I was visiting Disney Springs.  My daughters have become obsessed with Pin Trading so I usually visit the Pin Trader store to see if there are any new pins they may like.  This is also a place that currently has 5 penny machines.  As I walked by one of the machines I noticed a new design.

 

I immediately pressed a few copies of the penny, took my pictures of the machine and posted them online for the collecting community.  Then we found out that there were other sightings of similar new designs popping up all over property.  So we now had a new plan for the day.

We then drove over to Epcot and into the Mouse Gear store which is where another collector mentioned they had seen one of the new designs.

 

Sure enough the new design was added to the machine that has the dated 2019 penny from earlier this year.  This was another nice design with Mickey inside the Zero of the 90 for his celebration.

The next stop was just a quick Monorail ride over to the Magic Kingdom.  Rumors were there had been two new designs released here.  First was just after the main entrance to the park at the Newsstand.

 

This is probably my favorite design of the new set.  I always liked Steamboat Willie Mickey and we don’t get many pressed designs with him on it.  After using this machine we headed down Main Street and over towards Adventureland.

Just past the Skipper Canteen restaurant there is a store called the Island Supply.  Just before that is a place known as the Verandah Breezeway but this is basically where the restrooms are located in this section of the park.

 

Inside this area is always packed with people but along one of the walls is where the penny machine can be found.  The penny here had a new 2019 design with Mickey in the Zero.

The fifth and last penny was found the next over at Hollywood Studios.  Unfortunately the studios closes early  so it took a few days before I was able to get over there and visit the machine.

 

Back near the Disney Junior and Star Wars Launch Bay area of the park is a little place called The Studio Store.  This penny has both Mickey and Minnie looking like they are ready to Celebrate.

We have all kept our eyes open for any additional designs, but so far it’s only been these five.  They make for a nice set, and as always was fun to hunt around property looking for them.  As with the other 2019 coins these were located in some unusual machine locations, but that was all part of the adventure.

These pennies will definitely not be around too long so make sure you try and get a set before too long.  Over the next couple years there are lots of special anniversaries at the Florida parks so hopefully this is something they continue releasing to help Celebrate the magic of Disney.

Lunar New Year Pressed Penny Set – China Pavilion in Epcot

Chinese New Year commonly known as the Lunar New Year is a festival celebrating the new year on the traditional Chinese calendar.  For 2019 the first day of the Lunar New Year will be on February 5th initiating the Year of the Pig.

Previous years have included the Year of the Rat, Sheep, Ox and a few others as these are on a 12 year cycle and will repeat.  Year of the Pig happens to be the 12th in the cycle and will not be celebrated again until 2031.

Over on the West Coast in Disney California Adventure they have a Lunar New Year festival with food booths and special entertainment to celebrate.  However on the East Coast in Epcot there is an ever rotating cycle of festivals going on all throughout the year.  At this time the Festival of the Arts is in full swing.

The Festival has plenty of food booths and also some tents setup with Disney artwork for purchase.

Oswald has become a new favorite of mine.  Hopefully he appears a little more often in the parks.

On a recent visit to check out some of the food options at the Festival of the Arts we made our way over to the China Pavilion.  The line for the food booth here is always busy as they usually some very popular items.  We decided to head back into the pavilion instead as I had heard about a new penny machine.

Past the Nine Dragons restaurant and quick service Lotus Blossom Cafe is the main gift shop called the House of Good Fortunate.

Just inside the doors used to be a 3 design penny machine but that has been removed.  Now in its place is a new 12 design penny machine.

The cool thing about this machine is that the designs are all of the different animals representing the 12 year cycle of the Chinese / Lunar New Year.  But with a slight twist.  Each animal is represented by a Disney character of the same animal.  Year of the Rat has Remy from Ratatouille, Year of the Tiger has Tigger from Winnie the Pooh, and Year of the Monkey has Abu from Aladdin.  What a really fun set of designs.

Please take notice of the cost for this set.  The cost is still $1 for an individual penny, but if you are like me and want the full set it will run you $10 (yikes!).

The machine does have samples of each pressed penny inside so you can see what the finished coin will look like in person.

Photo credit: parkpennies.com

Something I found out after I got home and was cataloging these new coins is that they had already been available in the Shanghai Disney Resort.  Above is a picture from the parkpennies.com which is a great resource I use for my Disneyland collection.  The images are the same but obviously the park name has been altered to Walt Disney World.  Now I feel like I need to collect some of these Shanghai Disney pressed coins as they really have some nice designs available.  But that will be a project for another day.

Back at the Festival of the Arts.  I will say that I really enjoy all the art work, and some of the food items are really pretty to look but none of them really stood out as a favorite.  I’ll have to go back another day and try some different food booths and see if I can find something else a little more enjoyable.  The Flower and Garden Festival will be here soon and that is one of my favorites, and maybe a new pressed penny machine will make an appearance as well.

Coco Pressed Pennies – Mexico Pavilion in Epcot

In Epcot’s world showcase one of the more popular pavilions is Mexico.  Whether this is due to the tequila bar La Cava, Mexican food which I personally enjoy, or if like my daughters it’s the slow-moving boat ride attraction.

When the pavilion initially opened the boat ride was called El Rio del Tiempo (The River of Time), and took visitors through various scenes in Mexican history.

Then in 2007 the attraction was changed to the Grand First Tour featuring The Three Caballeros.  For those of you that may not have seen the 1944 Disney animated movie the Three Caballeros are Donald Duck, Jose Carioca, and Panchito Pistoles.  It’s still a slow-moving boat ride, but the Three Caballeros are supposed to perform a concert but Donald is off on his own exploring Mexico.  It’s a cute little ride and my kids absolutely love it.  On most visits to Epcot we hop on at least 2 or 3 times.  But we will get back to the ride shortly.

The part I always loved about this pavilion is how you are inside, but it’s designed to look like you are outside in a Mexican market.  There are building exteriors around the perimeter of the pavilion, and various carts selling all sorts of beautiful art, as well as t-shirts, sombrero and plenty of Disney merchandise.

I brought up about the change to the boat ride in 2007 for a reason.  With the popularity of the 2017 Pixar animated movie Coco, there have been rumors swirling around that the Grand Fiesta tour ride would be changed / updated to revolve around the Coco story and characters.  So far nothing has been confirmed by Disney, but maybe one step in that direction has to do with a new pressed penny machine that was just released inside the Pavilion.

Located outside La Tienda Encantada store (also by the exit to the boat ride) is where there used to be a 3-design penny machine.  That was removed and replaced with a new 8-design touch screen machine.

The designs on these new pennies are all characters from the Coco movie.

The images include Miguel with his Guitar, Ernesto del La Cruz, Hector, Abuelita, Mama Coco, Dante the Dog, Abuelita pinching Miguel’s cheeks, and Miguel sitting with his face painted.  The details on these coins are really nice and made me want to watch the movie again.  These characters were really great and the story in the movie is fantastic.

I mentioned that there used to be 3-design penny machine here that initially I thought had been removed completely.  However after we wandered around the pavilion a bit and contemplated eating at the San Angel Inn we found the machine.

It’s now located just outside restaurant near the check-in area.

The designs have not changed, but it’s nice to still have this machine available.

I guess only time will tell on whether we will get an updated Coco boat ride inside the Pavilion.  But until then this is still a fun place to visit and just spend some time checking out all the details.  Plus there’s free air conditioning inside which is a blessing in the middle of the Florida summer.