South of the Border – Dillon, SC

So I’ll start off by officially announcing that we have moved to Florida.  I think I have mentioned this in brief passing in some previous posts which also explains all the short trips to Orlando over the last few months.  This was partly due to Family and partly due to work but it was a big move for our family and we are taking this new adventure one step at a time.  Of course being in the Theme Park capital of the world is also going to help everyone with that transition.  Anyways, we have been here about a month so far and still have boxes all over the place.  As I was going through some bags I found a pressed coin that I was able to press on our moving trip down to Florida.  The first day we drove to North Carolina and stayed in a hotel.  The next day we got up early and hit the road.  By the time we crossed the border into South Carolina we were all ready for a quick bathroom stop.  As luck would have it we had been seeing billboards for about 50 miles advertising THE MUST STOP PLACE South of the Border.  We saw the exit sign and did as we were told.

As you exit the highway you can this huge character known as Pedro showing the way.  We pulled right in the parking area below this huge sign.

It’s actually a very interesting area to wonder around.  There are different stores, restaurants, a gas station, reptile museum, and a huge fireworks store if that’s your thing.

The buildings, and colors of this place are very unique but interesting at the same time. We didn’t want to spend too much time here as we still had a long drive ahead of us but we found the restrooms inside a building called Mexico Shop East.

Of course you know the restrooms wouldn’t be right at the front but instead all the way towards the back.  This way you can walk through the huge store of souvenirs and all sorts of crazy nick knacks.

You can get carried away buying some of this stuff if you aren’t careful.  My kids were in heaven with all the toys but we had very little room available in our car at the moment so we limited them to one small toy to keep them occupied for the next 8 hours.

The penny machine that is located in this store is right inside the main door you enter when coming in from the parking area.  It’s a 1 design electric press and still costs only 50 cents plus your penny.

   

On the left is a close up of the marquee sign on the machine with instructions on how to use it.  Since there is only one design you pretty much just put your coins in the slide and push it back.  A few seconds later and your new pressed coins drops out the bottom.  As you can see the finished coins did press a little short, but the design still came out pretty nice.  There are notes on pennycollector.com that there is another machine in one of the restaurants but it has the same design.  I didn’t have time to try to find it to confirm but their website is usually pretty accurate in my experience.

Thankfully I had some extra quarters and pennies stashed away in my car.  I’ve said it over and over again you just never know when you will come across a machine you didn’t know about.  After seeing the machine I went back to my car grabbed some change and added another cool pressed coin to my collection.

Florida Mall – Orlando, FL

While in the Orlando area for a quick weekend trip I found myself with a little free time
(not enough to visit a theme park) so I decided to go check out the Florida Mall.  I had been here years ago and remember it just being really busy.  This visit was no different. I couldn’t find a parking spot anywhere near and entrance and seemed like I had to walk across the entire parking lot just to get in.

Truth be told I was here to visit two specific stores, but that didn’t prevent me from just aimless wandering around.  This mall also seems to have gotten much bigger than when I was here last, but that may not actually be true.  The walkways just seem to go on and on, and after you turn a corned they go on and on some more.  Eventually I came to the first place I wanted to visit.

M&M World, a chocolate candy lovers paradise.  We have one of these back up in New York in Times Square which I have visited almost religiously when I’m in the city.  This one isn’t quite as big, but still has a lot of M&M related merchandise, and of course candy.

Towards the middle of the store I found the first penny machine.  This was actually an interesting machine as it had part in the middle that would make change for you all in one machine.  I always come prepared so didn’t need to use this feature, but still pretty cool.

The machine pressed four designs with M&M Characters on them and the Racing Team logo.  I only know these characters by their color (Red, Yellow, Green, and Blue) and am not sure if they actually have other names.

The second machine was right around the corner from the first one so it didn’t require much detective work to find it (sometimes that the best part).

This set included the same four M&M Characters but all said “In Candy We Trust” on the designs.  They also included the M&M World Logo.  Once I got home I did notice that these are the exact same designs as the ones that are available in New York City, the only difference is these ones say Orlando instead of New York.  Too bad they were a little more unique, but still a nice addition to my ongoing M&M collection.

Before I left the store I had to pick up a few souvenirs for my daughters and used the opportunity to also buy a new version of the M&M World Pressed Coin Booklet.  They have had a few versions in the past but this seems to be the latest edition.

Just as short walk away was my next stop.  I’m not sure how long this has been at the mall but it was definitely busy and looked like a lot of fun for kinds of all ages.  When you enter from inside the mall you are greeted by the gift shop with everything Crayola.  Crayons, markers, pencils, coloring books, model clay kits, clothing and so much more.  Just inside the main entrance was one of those new 8-design touch screen penny/token machines.

The cost is $1 for 1 design, or $3 for all 8 which just seems like a no brainer.  I placed my order and watched through the window as my tokens were pressed.

The designs as you would guess are all Crayola inspired.  They have various Crayola logos, I Heart Crayola, and Coloring Pencils, Markers and Crayons.  This was another pretty nice set to acquire.  Towards the back of the store is where you can enter the Crayola Experience.  This is where they have some interactive exhibits that allow you to create your own crayon label, or marker, and give some info on how those products are created.  This is not an actual Crayola factor but more of a museum.  There is another one of these in Eaton, PA that we have visited with our kids and they love.  On this trip I didn’t have time to pay the admission fee and go through to get a better look.  I found out afterwards that there was an additional penny machine (4 design only) back in the Experience that can only be accessed with paid admission.  Guess this  means I’ll have to bring the kids back and go get that other set of pennies.

I didn’t do much other shopping and only stopped for a soft pretzel on my way out, but this was a nice way to get some exercise and pick up some new pennies while I was at it.

Turkey Hill Experience – Columbia, PA

I’ll admit this was kind of a strange weekend adventure we decided to take.  Yes it was February and quite cold in New Jersey but when I saw that there was a new penny machine available at the Turkey Hill Experience over in Pennsylvania I figured why not. Plus when you tell your kids they are going to an Ice Cream factory they are immediately putting their jackets on and jumping into the car.  For those of you not familiar with Turkey Hill they are a pretty big supplier of Ice Cream and Iced Tea / Fruit Juice providers around Pennsylvania, New Jersey and many other states in the North east.  They probably extend further out but am not sure exactly how far their distribution goes across the country.  The Turkey Hill Experience technically isn’t the factory where the ice cream is made, but instead a gift shop / interactive museum.  It was about 2 hours away from our house in Jersey and is in the general area of Lancaster and Hershey Pennsylvania.

turkey-hill-01

As you make your way through the parking lot up to the front of the building you are greeted by Callie the Cow (mascot?!?).  Inside you are immediately located in the gift shop with everything you can image just ice cream themed, and they also sell their iced teas and juices for the ride home.  At the ticket counter you can pay the pretty reasonable entrance fee to access the experience upstairs.  Once upstairs the museum and self-guides tour begins.

turkey-hill-02

The tour takes you through the process of creating ice cream.  Your ticket also has a code on it that allows you to virtually design your own ice cream flavor, packaging, and towards the end your own commercial advertising the latest flavor creation.  You get an email once you are back home with a link to everything you did and allows you to download a copy of your commercial which was a really cool and at no additional cost.

turkey-hill-03

At the end of the self guided tour there is a free sample bar with about a dozen or so flavors of ice cream and sorbet.  These samples are unlimited, oh and did I mentioned free.  We hadn’t had lunch by this time and I think ended up having about 9 or 10 samples to share among ourself.  Some are already available flavors and some are soon to be released.  With the tour completed and our stomachs full of dairy we headed back towards the elevators to head downstairs, but first made a quick stop at the penny machine.

pa-turkey-hill-experience-machine-01

As you can see in the picture above there is a chance machine available, but if you have followed me before you know I always come prepared.  This machine cabinet was themed nicely for the location and blended in nicely with the nearby cow statutes.

turkey-hill-pennies

The penny designs included an Ice Cream Cone, a Farm with Silos, Callie the Cow, and an Ice Cream Carton with Iced Tea bottles.  All designs include “Turkey Hill Experience” on them.  After finishing up using the machine we headed downstairs to the gift shop and I found another nice surprise.

turkey-hill-booklet

They have their own Penny booklet for less than $5.  Another nice colorful booklet and includes a special penny.

turkey-hill-booklet-penny

I always think it’s a little weird to have a penny booklet at an attraction with only one machine, and makes me second guess myself sometimes on whether I missed additional machines.  But I still collect the booklets regardless and these are always a fun surprise when you find them.

The Turkey Hill Experience was a fun little outing for our family and everyone enjoyed all the free ice cream.  The sugar rush didn’t last long thankfully and the ride home was pretty quiet after their crash and lengthy nap.  The tour was less than $10 and well worth it, plus you can get a nice set of pressed pennies.

Once Upon A Toy Store More Pennies – Disney Springs

I’m back with another update from Disney Springs as I heard about some new penny machines.  This trip took me back over to Once Upon a Toy Store which I could swear I had just visited?!?!  Click here to read about my last visit for some Star Wars pennies.

img_0347

In any case I shouldn’t complain since there is nothing wrong with more new pennies.  As I’ve mentioned in the past this is a huge toy store, and my inner child would love to just buy half the stuff they have here.  But I couldn’t be distracted as I was on a mission to find the new pennies machines.  Thankfully the first one was right inside the main doors.

once-upon-a-toy-store-machine-03

I should mention that this machine was actually located in this store years ago and was removed in 2015.  Just recently it has made its way back to the store but the designs have stayed the same as before.

once-upon-a-toy-cars-incred-pennies

This 4-design hand crank machine has Mater and Ramone from Pixar’s Cars Movie, Dash and Frozone from Pixar’s The Incredibles Movie.  Now this store is kind of setup as three stores in one.  The first part had all the standard Disney characters and souvenirs, the very back of the store is all Star Wars (this is where the other machine was located), but right in the middle is the Marvel’s Superhero section.

once-upon-a-toy-store-machine-02

This is where I found the second machine which as you can see is an 8-design touch screen model (Love these!).

once-upon-a-toy-avengers

The touch screen is easy to use and the instructions walk you through exactly what to do.  Being the nerd I am I used my Apple Pay as payment and my coins started dropping out the bottom.  This was a numbered set with images of Spiderman (1 of 8), Nick Fury (2 of 8), Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (3 of 8), Ant-Man (4 of 8), Black Panther (5 of 8), Vision (6 of 8), War Machine (7 of 8), and Falcon (8 of 8).

I wish I could say I stayed away from the Star Wars area but the Force was too strong (sorry I had to).  Eventually after deciding on just a half-dozen items I paid for my things and headed back out into the light so we could find something to eat…and maybe more pennies.

Splash Mountain – Magic Kingdom, FL

My family got back from a Wedding in October that was held at the Grand Floridian hotel on Walt Disney World properly in Florida.  We took the opportunity to extend this trip into a week-long vacation.  As you can probably imagine I took every opportunity I could to visit the parks and collect some pressed coins.  Mostly I was updating my picture collection of the machines, also updating some coins that I had collected years ago and were in need of a fresh pressing.  I’ll go over all of my adventures in some upcoming posts, but for now I wanted to review some of the new machines that were recently made available.  First up let’s check out the Magic Kingdom.

mk-castle-halloween

We visited the Magic Kingdom twice on this visit, and one of those times was to attend the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.  Above is the Castle all lit up for the party.

splash-mountain-01

Back on our non-party visit we started bright and early with Splash Mountain.  I’m sure most of you know about this ride whether you love it or hate it the adventures of Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Bear and Br’er Fox is definitely a classic.

splash-mountain-02

This is not usually a ride I enjoy as the stomach in my throat feeling is not my favorite sensation.  But this year my daughter Hanna was old enough and wanted to try it out so I obliged.  I’ll spare her the embarrassment of posting our ride photo here but needless to say she wasn’t a fan this time around.  Once your ride is over you walk by the Splashdown Photo Preview area where you can get a glimpse of your ride photo.  While we waited for our photo to show up I took the opportunity to use the penny machine located right next to the preview screens.

splashdown-preview-01

On a side note for those of you that don’t want to ride Splash Mountain you can still access this machine.  You just have to walk back through the gift shop and will find it near the large crowd looking at their ride pictures.

splashdown-photos-pennies

Earlier this year this machine had one of the 2016 yearly design pennies available, but recently this coin has been removed.  The above designs are what you will find there for now: Mickey/Pluto/Donald/Goofy riding Splash Mountain, Minnie splashing water on Mickey, and Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Fox, and Br’er Bear riding Splash Mountain.

Now you remember me just talking about a gift shop?  That’s right what Disney ride would be complete without forcing you to exit through a gift shop full of wonderful souvenirs you just can’t live without.  In my case this wasn’t a t-shirt or snow globe but instead a new 8-Design penny machine.

splashdown-preview-02

I was amazed at how many of these new touch screen machines there were throughout all the parks.  The price has gone up a bit, and you can’t supply your own pennies but I still think the tokens these machines use are pretty nice and make for a nice finished product.

splashdown-pennies

The pressed coins here were of Big Thunder Mountain, Frontierland Mickey/Donald/Goofy, Splash Mountain Donald/Goofy/Pluto/Mickey, Br’er Bear, Br’er Rabbit, Mickey & Goofy riding Splash Mountain, Br’er Fox, and Mr. Bluebird.  When you exit the gift shop with your pocket jingling with new pressed coins there is a large set of restrooms nearby and just a short walk back towards the entrance to Splash Mountain takes you underneath the Frontierland Railroad Station.

railroad-machine-01

On this trip was the first time I was actually able to use this machine as it always seems to be broken for some reason.  I always loved this machine’s cabinet design.

frontierland-railroad-pennies

The designs are sticking with our friends in the briar patch: Br’er Vulture, Br’er Rabbit and Br’er Bear.  With our clothes soaking wet we met up with the rest of our family to see where we were off to next.  Check back often as there are many more pressed penny machines to visit.

Once Upon A Toy Store – Disney Springs

It’s been very hard to keep up with all the changes and new openings going on at Disney Springs.  I’m attending a Disney Wedding in October and can’t wait to spend some time here checking out all the new stuff.  But with all the changes be sure to check out the old standbys as they still have some great things to offer.

img_0347

Down in the area towards the Rainforest Cafe is a pretty cool store called Once Upon a Toy.  As the name implies this is just one huge toy store.  When I visited in May this was one of the stops I needed to make as they had one of the new super multi-mega penny machines themed for Frozen with 8 unique designs and you can read out it here.

Que the Star Wars music.  I told you in my previous post that pressed coins seem to have ” gone to the dark side” (sorry couldn’t resist) with the Star Wars bug which is fantastic for us fans.  Shortly after the most recent machine at the Star Wars Galactic Outpost there is now a second 8-design penny machine.

img_0352

This machine is located in the far back area of the store where majority of the Star Wars merchandise is located.

Once Upon a Toy Store 2

This set has each design numbers from 1 to 8, and includes the classic characters R2-D2, Chewbacca, Yoda, C-3PO, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, a Stormtrooper, and Darth Vader.

As with the other Star Wars machine I haven’t personally been able to visit this machine yet, but did acquire a set to post about thanks to a co-worker that just happened to be visiting Disney this pas week.  I actually sent her with a package to get some other coins from her resort which I’ll review shortly, but thankfully when she saw this machine and found out it was brand new she didn’t hesitate picking me up a set.  I really do have my friends and family well-trained to always be on the lookout.

Will Disney release any more Star Wars coins?  Only time will tell but with their upcoming release schedule of about one new Star Wars moving a year for the next who knows how many years this is probably a huge new set that will be forever growing.

Star Wars Galactic Outpost – Disney Springs

When I had visited Disney Springs back in April I couldn’t help but check out a fairly new store at the time called Star Wars Galactic Outpost.  For any huge (or casual) Star Wars fan this place is a must stop, and has everything you could possibly imagine.

Star Wars Outpost 01

Inside has clothing, memorabilia, figurines, magnets, key chains, and much, more.

Star Wars Outpost 02

However when I visited I was sad to see that there was no pressed coin machine here.  This boggled my mind as this seemed like the perfect place to have one.  Apparently Disney decided they had enough of my persistent emails (not really) and put a new machine here just a few weeks ago.  Not only is it a machine but one of the new super mega-multi design touch screen units.

Star Wars Outpost Blog

Unfortunately I was not able to actually visit this machine in person yet, but did have a friend check it out for me and send along a set of the new coins so we could review them.  The cost is 1 design for $1 or all 8 for $5 and it works just like all the others.  This set includes coins of Han Solo, Kylo Ren, the Millennium Falcon, an X-Wing Fighter, a Store Trooper, Power First Order, Fan Favorite Droids C-3PO BB-8 & R2-D2, and the Justice Rebel Forces Shield.

I’m heading back to Orlando in October for a Disney Wedding and will be making a special trip to check out all the new things in Disney Springs since our last visit and this machine will be on the top of that list.  If you are a Star Wars fan be sure to pick this setup up as it’s a great addition and seems to be a new hot pressed coin trend as you will see in the very near future.

Frozen Fractal Gifts – Hollywood Studios, FL

With all the recent changes (ahem closings) going on a Hollywood Studios the park in my opinion has really become a half-day visit.  My family is not huge thrill ride fans so two of their major attractions hold little to no appear for us right now.  So all that is left is Toy Story Midway Mania and some stage shows.  But in the world of pressed coin collecting they have managed to keep their large overall number of machines still available and continue to add more.  For example the latest new machine here is located near Echo Lake and the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular and is call Frozen Fractal Gifts.  I know I know another Frozen store and as you may have guessed this machine has all new Frozen designs available.

Frozen Fractal Gifts Blog

At this time I have completely lost count of how many unique Frozen coin designs there are available but I’m sure it’s around 1,000.  At least it seems like that number.  Now as much as I’m over the whole Frozen thing these are still cute designs and any new pressed coins in my option are more than welcome in my collection.

Unlike the other super-multi design touch screen machines this coin set is not a numbered set.  The designs are all of very familiar faces but just in case anyone out there really wants to know the images are of: Anna, Else, Anna & Kristoff, Olaf & the Little Snowmen, the entire Frozen Cast, Anna & Olaf, Elsa & Olaf, and finally Sven.

Whether we like it or not it seems that Frozen is here to stay for a while longer.  I would anticipate this machine will be available for the foreseeable future but you just never know.  Make sure you pick these up for your ever-growing Frozen coin collection.  Plus you never want to pass up an opportunity to use the cool new touch screen machines.