Lowry Park Zoo – Tampa, Fl

The summer is over (although you wouldn’t know it in Florida), and the theme parks saw a slight drop in visitors as school went back into session for most of the country.  Unfortunately that never lasts too long and now the holiday season is quickly approaching.  Just before Halloween we took a drive out-of-town down I-4 to Tampa and checked out a place we had been interested in visiting for a while, the Lowry Park Tampa Zoo.

The zoo is a bit outside of the downtown area of Tampa, but not hard to get to.  A nice perk was that they offered free parking which is something becoming more and more rare around the Orlando area lately.

After buying our tickets and entering inside the park splits into a few different pathways.  They all connect with each other eventually in a main central area of the park where you can also find a pretty big carousel.  We let the kids decide where to go and we were off towards Africa.

Just before the path that led towards Africa was the first penny machine we came across.  This machine was not level on the group so as we turned the handle to press the pennies the entire machine kind of rocked back and forth a bit.  I wasn’t worried about it falling over, but the rocking did make it a little difficult to use.

All of the designs have Lowry Tampa Zoo on them along with a variety of zoo animals.  This set had an Manatee, Ray, Tiger and a wild Dog.  After using the machine we headed towards the Africa Tunnel.  This was an interesting park of the park where you actually walk under a roadway, through a tunnel to the next set of exhibits.  We found out afterwards this is due to the Safari rides they offer where you can get a little closer to some of the animals.  The wait time was more than we wanted to incur on this hot autumn Florida day so we just kept walking.

My girls were intrigued by the large tortoise we found along the way.  They had just been fed some lettuce leaves and he was going to town on them.  The zoo had a nice little cut out of the fence with a piece of plexiglass that made it easier for the younger / shorter visitors to get a nice look.

The rest of the afternoon we visited with some elephants and giraffes.

There were also some rhinos enjoying the shaded area of their exhibit and a few zebras were found nearby.  Eventually we headed back towards the Africa Tunnel but stopped near the Savanna Oasis for some lunch.

After our lunch we found the second penny machine just across the pathway.

This second set of designs included some of the animals we had visited with earlier which my kids always get a kick out of.  The set included an Elephant, Giraffe, Cheetah, and Rhino.  We headed back through the tunnel towards the carousel.  Our daughters always request a ride on the carousel so we took a break for one ride which eventually turned into two rides.  The next area we headed into was the local Florida wildlife which included some birds and alligators of course.  There was also a touch tank with some sting rays inside that had a large crowd.  This is always something that seems to get a lot of attention.  Unfortunately a few of the areas here were also under construction and made for some long periods of walking with nothing much to see.

By this time we had spent a good part of the day at the zoo, and the blazing sun was starting to take its toll on us as it usually does.  The kids were getting a little cranky and my wife and I were about ready for a nap ourselves.  The pathway we were on eventually came out by a set of restrooms near the exit of the park.  This was also where we found the third and final penny machine available at that time.

This machine was in much better working condition and rolled the pennies nicely.  The set had images of an Orangutan, Koala bear, Parrot and a Tiger.  We made one last stop in the gift shop for some souvenirs.  Our kids picked out new plush toys which I’m pretty sure we already had from another park but it makes them happy.  I also found a penny booklet for the zoo that I just had to have.

It was a bit of a slow walk back to our car due to everyone being pretty tired.  They fell asleep almost immediately after I started driving home.  This zoo was a lot of fun, but we are suckers for these types of places and love seeing the animals.  I’ll be curious to see how this place looks next year after they have finished with those exhibits that were under construction on this visit.  Plus of course I have to keep tabs on these penny machines.  You never know when new designs will appear.

Polynesian Village Resort – NEW Pressed Penny Machine

These 8-design penny machines are taking Walt Disney World by storm.  I received word that one of these new machines was put out over at the Polynesian Village Resort.

This is a resort that I visit whenever possible.  Not only does it have one of my favorite restaurants (Ohana) but the island vibe you get just from walking around the property is a lot of fun.

Once inside the main ceremonial house the friendly staff greet you with a flower lei, and the beautiful flowers all around just put you in the vacation mood.  Something else I usually do when visiting here is walk straight back through the rear doors to the Pineapple Lanai for a dole whip.  But on this trip I had a quick pit stop first.

Previously just to the left of these rear doors was a 3 design penny machine, but as you can see it has been removed.  Now there is a new touch screen machine.

The designs available here are all themed around the movie Moana which makes perfect sense at this resort.

The penny designs include Moana herself in a few different poses, Maui, HeiHei, Pua and even a couple of Kakamora.  I think this is a really cool little set for such a great movie.

Before heading outside for my Dole whip I went upstairs to see if those two machines were still there and they were.  Just outside the Moana mercantile are two machines (one has 3 penny designs, and the other has 3 quarter designs).  The designs on all of these coins have remained unchanged…for now.

With the new coins pressed, and the previous machines checked up on it was time for my treat.  I made my way back downstairs and out the back of the ceremonial house to the Pineapple Lanai.  Amazingly there was no one in line so I got right up to the counter and ordered my Dole whip.  I walked it over to the beach along side the seven seas lagoon and just enjoyed a little bit of island time with my feet in the sand before heading back home.

Halloween Horror Nights 2018 Token – Universal Studios Florida

Halloween has always been a favorite holiday of mine.  Something about the fall season, the cooler weather, leaves changing colors and jack-o-lanterns lighting up the neighborhood houses has just the right amount of spooky.  As I got older the horror movie genre became a guilty pleasure and then visiting local haunted house attractions and hay rides was a must each year.  Then about 15 years ago I visited Florida during October and saw commercials in my hotel room about Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights.  It looked amazing and I knew I had to squeeze it into my vacation plans.  To this day that was one of the greatest Halloween events I have ever been to.

Since relocating to Florida this was something I wanted to revisit as soon as possible.  Our daughters are a little too young for this as it can be pretty scary even for adults.  But my wife was interested in going so we got some tickets and a babysitter so we could head over and check it out.  Above is a picture I took of the Universal arches about a week before we actually went to HHN (Halloween Horror Nights).

Above is a picture I took of the line we were in the middle of just to try and get into the event.  It usually starts sometime between 6-6:30pm.  This was taken around 6pm and it took almost an hour to actually get inside the park.

Once inside, since it hadn’t gotten dark yet I wanted to check out the souvenirs first and see what they had to offer.

The logo for this years HHN included the above creepy disfigured pumpkin and it could be found all throughout the park.  As you can also see one of the HHN houses this year was themed around the popular Netflix show Stranger Things and there was a ton of merchandise with that on it.

In the middle of the Universal Studios Store was a collection of vintage arcade games.  Including Pac-man, Asteroids, Donkey Kong and some other popular games.  Now these machines do not take quarters, but instead can only accept special tokens.  The above machine is where you can purchase those tokens.  They were $1 for 2 tokens or discounts if you bought in larger quantities.

Being a pressed penny collector I obviously wished these designs were in a pressed penny format, but I was still happy to see these special tokens.  This is something I always wished Disney would do for their events and parties.  I didn’t want to spend time playing the arcade games (although it was tempting) but I did pick up a few of these tokens for my collection.  They had the creepy pumpkin on one side, and the HHN 2018 logo on the other.

It was now starting to get a little dark out and we met up with some family friends to head over to our first haunted house.  Our strategy because of the huge crowd for this event was to visit the houses at the back of the park first and then move towards the front.  This seemed legitimate in theory but seems lots of other guests has the same idea.  First up we visited the Trick ‘r Treat house which is themed around the cult classic movie of the same name.  Unfortunately for the safety of the guests and scare actors there is no video or photography allowed inside the houses.  If you are interested there are plenty of “media preview” videos inside the houses on YouTube.

The detail inside these houses is really amazing, and with Universal behind the make up and costumes you really get sucked into the houses.  The pathway weaves around sharp corners and through narrow hallways with the scare actors jumping out at you every few feet.  They are not allowed to intentionally touch or grab you, and it all makes for an amazing adventure.

The second house we visited was called Seeds of Extinction.  This is an original house theme based in a post-apocalyptic wasteland overgrown with invasive vegetation.  Basically scary plant creatures jump out at you as you walk through the house.

In between the houses along the main walkways are areas called Scare Zones.  Some of these are IP (intellectual Properties) or original theme zones just like the houses.  One of the more popular scare zones was the Killer Knows from Outer Space zone.  The uber creepy clowns just slowly stalk around you as you try to get through to the next house.

The fog, and lighting in these areas really add to the ambiance and creepiness factor.

Another scare zone was called Vamp 1985.  In this area about every 20-30 minutes the ball drops to celebrate New Years eve.  The only problem is that when the ball drops the vampires storm into the crowd looking for victims.

Up next we visited another original house called Scary Tales.  This was my favorite house we visit this night.  By this time it was around 10pm and the lines for the houses were getting pretty crazy.  The line for this house was posted as being 35 minutes but I’m pretty sure we waited at least 50 minutes, but it was worth it.

The story behind this house is that the Wicked Witch of the West has cursed the land of the fairies, twisting beloved stories beyond recognition.  This just means that all your favorite fairy tales have been turned into horror themed nightmares.  One of the rooms was the witches house from Hansel and Gretel and there was an amazing smell of gingerbread as you walked through.  The scares in here were not too over the top, but the theming was really detailed and amazing.

The Stranger Things house was definitely the longest one all night and it didn’t get much better.  We checked the wait times for this house numerous times during the night and it was always around 60-90 minute wait which was just too long for us.

One of the last scare zones we headed through was called Twisted Traditions.  The description was that an ancient evil had reawakened and transformed Halloween into an abomination.  There were a lot of scary pumpkins, and things handling from trees along this path.  Plus lots of creatures jumping out to see why we were walking through.  One of the coolest features of this zone were all the lit pumpkins decorating the tree tops.

The HHN night we visited was on a Wednesday.  We chose that day as it was supposed to be a lower attendance day, but as you can see from the wait times above it was still pretty busy.  We ended up getting into four houses out of ten that are available, and all the scare zones.  If we can figure out how to visit again before these events are done for the season we will definitely be back.  The houses were amazing, the scare actors were fantastic and it was just a lot of fun.  The night would go on until 2am but we headed out around midnight since we had work the next day.  The souvenir tokens were a very nice surprise and will make a nice addition to my collection.  Hopefully this is something they will continue doing annually.  We are definitely going to visit again next year and this would be a fun little souvenir to get year after year.

Happy Halloween!!!

Hall of Champions – Magic Kingdom Main Street USA *NEW*

The weekends in our house is usually what we call our park days.  Usually by Wednesday or Thursday I try to come up with a plan of what parks we will visit that coming weekend, but there are always asterisks with those selections.  The options can change depending on weather, special events, or more often than not due to a new penny machine.  That was the situation that happened this past weekend.  I had everything setup to check out Universal Studios so we could see some of the Halloween Horror Nights areas in the safety of day light.  But then I heard about a new penny machine and I dropped that plan like a bad habit and instead we headed into the Magic Kingdom.

After a quick trip on the run down Monorail (hopefully new ones are on the way according to rumors), we were found ourselves surrounded by pumpkins and other really cute Halloween decorations.

I was told this new penny machine was in a store down Main Street USA.  My fingers were crossed that this wasn’t mistaken for the machine recently released in the Disney Clothiers store.  Thankfully this was not the case.

Instead this new machine was just a few doors down at the Hall of Champions store.  This place used to house sports themed clothing and merchandise with the usual Disney spin, but now it just seems to be another extension of the Main Street Emporium with pretty standard shirts and clothing.

In this store kind of jammed into a corner between two racks of merchandise were two 3-design penny machines.  Those have been removed and replaced with a new 8-design touch screen machine (the new Standard).

This new machine is literally in the exact same location as the other 2 machines but now has a little more room to stretch out.  This is over against the wall closest to Casey’s Corner the famous hot dog quick service restaurant.

The machine cabinet is a plain wood grain, that looks nice but I do miss some of the fancy cabinet designs or theming that the old 3-design machines would sometimes have.

I pressed a few sets for some fellow collectors, but found that a few of the designs rolled a bit short.  The images in this set are of your favorite Disney character playing various sports.  Baseball Mickey, Tennis Minnie, Golfer Goofy, Golfer Daisy, Mickey & Donald playing Basketball, Baseball Tigger, Soccer Mickey and Football Donald.

This side of Main Street USA currently has a total of 5 pressed coin machines which is great, but these stores from the Emporium to the Hall of Champions gets extremely busy.  It makes trying to use these machines a little difficult from time to time.  After we finished using this new machine and headed outside I glanced across the street and realized that there are a lot of stores over there with no penny machines.  There is the Confectionary, Uptown Jewelers, the Main Street Bakery, Crystal Arts, and the Chapeau store.  These would all make for great locations and hopefully some fun themed designs for store.  I’m crossing my fingers this may be part of their plan.

It’s always fun to have an excuse to visit one of the Disney parks.  This is something I never want to take for granted and feel extremely lucky to have the opportunity to visit as often as I do.

Zoo Miami – Miami, FL

The next day of our Miami Vacation we wanted to be a little more laid back.  We tried not to get up too early, and didn’t rush down for breakfast.  But eventually we did make it out the door of our hotel, into our car and over to our adventure for the day.

Zoo Miami was a bit of a drive from where our hotel was in South Beach, but since we were visiting during the week traffic wasn’t too bad.  I had visited this zoo back in the 80s when I was a kid but didn’t remember much.  We had some old home videos I watched but other than the monorail (yes they have a monorail here) not much else seemed to look familiar so I’m sure there had been extensive renovations since then.

After we got through the main entrance we were greeted by a flock of Flamingos in all their pink glory.  Our two daughters love pink and by association love Flamingos.  We kept to the main path and eventually came to a bike rental stand but we skipped right by it.  They offer pretty big tandem bikes that your entire family can ride thought the zoo.  When we first saw them we kind of laughed, but I will admit by the end of our trip we kind of wished we had rented one as it was a LOT of walking.

This zoo was really nicely designed, and the exhibits were really beautiful.  They had all the standard animals that most zoos have.

We will eventually get to some penny machines, but we did come across a whole bunch of these Mold-A-Matic machines.  I remember these from when I was a kid.  You put in a couple of dollars (or swipe your credit card now a days) and two halves of the metal mold move together, are injected with wax, and then after a minute or so the wax mold drops into the collection bin.

Just for fun we created one of these souvenirs and our kids loved them.  I have them pretty well-trained to help spot penny press machines, but they now had a new mission and would holler out as soon as they found another wax machine.  By the end of the day I think we had accumulated about 7 or 8 of these figures.

The zoo also had a very nice aviary.  Usually I’m not a huge fan of these as the birds always flying over my head is a little unnerving.  But this one was pretty nice and peaceful.  They were quite a few birds but they were mostly in the trees eating and the little pools of water were filled with all sorts of fish and turtles which was fun.

The sun was blazing down by this time of day so it seemed like a good time to take a break and get have a bit of a rest with some drinks.  We found the Critter Connection area that is like their kids section.  When you first walk in there are a set of restrooms, a snack bar, and a playground out back with a carousel.

Also in this area just outside the restrooms was the first penny machine.  The cabinet was nicely decorated for the zoo.  I’m not a huge fan of these type of manual crank machines as always find they don’t press very well.  Either the designs don’t line up, or they roll long or short.  It’s kind of hit or miss.  Also a strange thing with this machine was if you zoom in on the above picture only 3 designs were shows on the cabinet.

But you know me I’m always going to try and see if that 4th design is still available.  Sure enough I was able to press 4 designs in total and as you can see above they all came our really nicely.  The camel one was a little long but much better than most of my experiences with this type of machine.  The set included images of the Zoo Miami Logo, A tree front with a peace sign, a Giraffe, and a Camel.

After we rested in the shade for a bit with some bottles of water and a couple soft pretzels our daughters raced off towards the carousel.  We took a few trips around since there was no line the attendant just let us stay on a couple of times.  Eventually we dragged our girls off as they kicked and screamed about wanting to keep going.  The zoo path we were following wound back and forth in a slalom pattern between exhibits.  There weren’t too many people at the zoo this day, but the path just seemed to be endless.  Eventually we found the elephants which is always just one of those animals we have to see every time.  The trainers were out feeding them and had them put on a bit of a show.  This wasn’t a circus type show, but instead they were trying to show off some of the things they would do in the wild.  At one point they had them “speak” which was just them blowing air out of their trunks machine the well-known honking sound.  I tried to think whether I had ever heard an elephant do this in person, and it was really interesting to witness first hand.

With the elephants fed we headed off to the next place which had giraffes.  They were also being fed at this time of day which kept them a little further away from where we were standing to watch.  They just seem like they should tilt forward with those long necks, but are so graceful when they move.  Really amazing to see in a large open area.

Our youngest daughter had been calling our for the Gorillas all day, and we thankfully found them.  They weren’t doing much other than just sitting on the grass and enjoying the Florida sun.  If you look real close in the picture above there was a really big iguana just in front of the tree stump to the left of the Gorilla.  I’m not really sure how he got in there, but the gorilla didn’t seem fazed by it.  Just another fun odd couple at the zoo.

Eventually it was time for another pit stop.  But this time we figured it was probably a good idea to get some lunch and sit in the shade before we passed out from the heat.  We found the covered area shown above which was called the Oasis Grill.  They had the usual pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, and basic garden salad.  Pretty standard park food but our kids enjoyed it, and my wife and I were just happy to sit for a little bit.

As we sat at our table eating I noted across on the other side in among a few of the tables was the second penny machine.  Same type of machine as the first one with a similar cabinet design but different animals printed at the bottom.

Again these pennies actually pressed pretty nicely.  The set includes images of another Zoo Miami Logo, an Elephant, a Rhino and a Gorilla.

Once lunch was done and we had rehydrated with plenty of water we headed back out into the sun for the last leg of our zoo trip.  Unfortunately by this time everyone was getting pretty tired and a little cranky.  There was definitely a lot of walking.  I was hoping we could make it back to the front of the park seeing everything from ground level, and then take a round trip tour in the sky on the monorail.  But after visiting with a large tortoise, and some familiar Florida animals in the “local” section of the park everyone was ready to head back to our hotel and just chill.

Something to note on these designs is they all said Miami Metro Zoo along the bottom which was the previous official name of the zoo.  Does this mean the designs will be updated soon?  Probably not, but still makes for a fun set of coins to press.

Miami Seaquarium – Miami, FL

Our first full day in Miami started with an early start.  We always go into vacation saying it won’t be too scheduled with things to do, and let’s sleep in.  But with two young kids they seem to wake up even earlier on vacation.  The afternoon was going to be saved for another trip to the beach, bu that gave us the morning to go do something.  We grabbed some breakfast at a nearby diner and then headed to the Miami Seaquarium.

Located on Key Biscayne out in the Bay, it’s a very unique location and makes for a beautiful background for this indoor/outdoor Seaquarium (aquarium).

The front area was under quite a bit of construction.  We saw some concept art of the future grand new entrance and it does look like it will be impressive when done, but for now it was a lot of construction equipment and torn up concrete.  After we had our tickets scanned there was a bit of a walk to the main building and first gift shop.  Just inside this gift shop I found the first penny machine.

The machine was in pretty good shape and worked well.  As with so many of these machines it was also located just outside the bathroom area which makes them a little awkward to use sometimes due to the high traffic area.

This first set of pennies all said Miami Seaquarium Florida on each coin.  The designs included images of a Sea Turtle, a Manatee, Shark and a couple of Dolphins.

We headed through the gift shop into the next part of the building which surrounded a large tank that housed a couple of their dolphins.

If you head upstairs you eventually end up outside on the top of the building where you can get a bird’s eye view of the dolphins.

You can get right up to the edge of the tank but you are still out of reach of the dolphins.  This is more of a viewing area and they do have feeding shows you can watch periodically through the day.

Back downstairs on the main level there was a little side hallway.  Initially I saw just medallion machine which I have not caught the collecting bug on yet.  As I got closer I noticed the penny machine in the distance.

This was a bit of a unique machine.  I have seen models like it from time to time but I have found them to be unreliable when pressing unfortunately.  On this visit it was no different.  There was no out-of-order sign on the machine but when I tried to press the coins it just ate the change and didn’t press anything.  On my way out later in the day I mentioned it to a manager and they credited back my change.  A couple of weeks after we got home from this trip I wrote a letter to the Seaquarium explaining what happened and included some quarters and pennies asking if they could press them when the machine was fixed.  It did take another few weeks but eventually they showed up in the mail.

The designs all say Miami Seaquarium USA, and had images of a couple Manatees, a Whale, a Dolphin and a Seal.  As you can see from the above picture the seal design still pressed pretty short.  Whomever pressed the coins for me did include a few other copies of the seal coin in an attempt to get a better final outcome which was very nice of them.  The above was the best one of the batch.

Eventually after we checked out the rest of the inside aquarium tanks along the wall and another large tank in the middle behind the dolphin one had a lot of various sea creatures inside.  Then we made our way outside to see some of the other exhibits.  They had the usual aquatic life such as seals and sea turtles.

Of course since we were in Florida there had to be some Manatees which I always find fun and relaxing to watch.

From 1963-67 the TV show Flipper had been filmed at the Seaquarium and they have areas designated with signs and historical info on the show and its famous star.

There is also an area that you can walk through (but don’t touch) some parrots and other beautiful birds.  Just be careful as you walk around because there are some large iguanas walking around as well with free roam of the property.

Near the Parrot area is a Sting Ray touch tank which have become a staple exhibit at all aquariums.  My kids love this and we always have to drag them away eventually.

Speaking of kids, towards the very back of the property is a kids area with a playground and other things they can enjoy.  I wished there was more shaded areas for the parents to sit and rest but instead we were out in the blazing Miami sun.

Nearby the kids area was the third penny machine available at the Seaquarium.  It was hiding just around the side of this little covered stand used to house some soda machines.

The machine worked fine, but a note on this as it was located in that sun I was just talking about.  Because of that the handle and cabinet were extremely hot to the touch.

This last set of pennies had images of an Orca Whale, a Penguin, a Ray, and a Seal.  They also had the Miami Seaquarium Florida listed on all the pennies.

The Seaquarium was larger than we had anticipated but were able still able to see everything in a few hours.  Some of the exhibits are a little dated, and all the sea life are common to most aquariums.  The Flipper information was cool, that show was a little before my time but I am well aware of it and plan on re-watching some episodes to see if I can recognize where we visited.  The pressed penny sets were a nice addition to my collection and the first and last machines are obviously newer and work fine.  But that second machine is definitely an older model that probably doesn’t get much regular maintenance.  However if you do run into any issues with the machines don’t hesitate to let someone know.  I’m my experience they are more than happy to help be either refunding your money or sometimes helping to get a set in the future when the machine is fixed.  Never hurts to ask.

Disney Clothiers – Magic Kingdom Main Street USA *NEW*

Tonight I was having dinner at the Contemporary Resort with some friends in town for the week.  During a break in conversation I took a look at my phone and I had some notifications from Instagram (@davidscointravels in case you want to follow along).  Another reader (@followustodisney) had mentioned me in a post about a possible new penny machine.  I took a look and sure enough I didn’t recognize the machine and the designs looks unfamiliar.  After getting some additional details about the location of the machine I checked the Disney park app on my phone to see when Magic Kingdom closed.  Thankfully it was open until 11pm so I had plenty of time to enjoy the rest of our dinner before I bolted over to the park.

Needless to say by the time I got into the park a little around 9:00pm there was quite the crowd trying to leave the park.  It was raining a little bit, but the Happily Ever After fireworks show had finished just a short time before so this was most of the guests cue to leave.

Can you believe they have Halloween decorations up already?  Technically they have started having the Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween parties back in August which seems nuts but people love getting dressed up so Disney knows how to cash in on that. I love these Mickey Jack-o-latern lights and wish they sold them in the gift shops.

After swimming up-stream (Main Street USA) against the crowd I passed the Emporium and after that is another store called Disney Clothiers.  This is connected with the Emporium so if you are instead you probably have walked right through it not realizing it’s actually a separate store.  If you do enter from Main Street through the doors pictures above the penny machine is just inside by the drink cooler.

This area of the store deals primarily in children’s clothing, filled with plenty of Princess dresses, Minnie ears, and anything your young one would probably want to dress up in.

As for me I headed right over to the penny machine.  Well that is after I took a lot of pictures, and video which I will admit was quite the task in this store at this time of night.  The amount of people walking and shopping in here at night is crazy.

This is another 8-Design automatic touch screen machine.  As usual the cost is $1 for 1 design, or $5 for all 8.  The images are a cute set that includes Baby Mickey sitting, Baby Minnie sitting, Baby Donald, Baby Daisy, Baby Goofy, Baby Pluto, Baby Mickey crawling, and Baby Minnie on her back.  This seems to fit right into this store (even though the clothes are not strictly for young babies) but still a fun set and I’m sure it will be popular.

While I was using the machine one of the cast members actually came over to watch how I used it.  I guess they don’t get any special training from Disney on the machines.  She mentioned that the machine was brand new and had only been there for a day or two so hot off the production line.

Thanks again to my friends @followustodisney for the heads up on this new machine.  Be sure to follow them on Instagram as they have a lot of fun Disney adventures over there.  As I always say keep an eye open for new machines you never know when they will pop up.

Best Friends Forever (BFF) Pennies – Disneyland, CA

West Coast Disney is certainly on a roll of late with releasing new pressed pennies designs and this past week added two new machines.  The first machine is in Disneyland in the Main Street Penny Arcade.

The unfortunate consequence of this new machine is that it replaced the Electric Light Parade penny set which was a really cool collection of designs.  But I will admit that these new pennies are not too shabby.

This first set has image of Miguel & Dante from Coco, Linguine & Remy, and Buzz & Woody from Toy Story.  Another interesting thing to notice about these coins is that they all have 2018 listed on them.  So you know this means that they have a limited shelf life.

The second machine released at roughly the same time is found over at the Bonanza Outfitters on the sidewalk.

The pennies at this new machine include Edna & Jack-Jack from The Incredibles 2, Russel & Doug from Up!, and Dory & Nemo from Finding Nemo / Dory.  The images also include BBF, Best Friends and Swim Buddies making for a fun set.  Just like the first set above these pennies also list 2018.

All six of these pennies have the same backstamp that says Pixar Fest which is going on throughout the West coast parks this summer.  These pennies are a cute set of designs and from what I’ve heard they are becoming very popular.  Make sure to get a set before they disappear.

12-Design Princesses / Heroines Penny Machine Available again

This is going to be just a quick update post.  I’ve received a lot of message from reading (Thank you all by the way) about the whereabouts of the famed 12-Design Princesses / Heroines penny machine.  Here’s the history as I’ve written quite a bit about this machine.

You can read about my initial use of this machine back in 2015.  Then a few years later the machine was changed from using actual pennies to the penny sized tokens and I wrote a comparison about it here.  However the most recent post was just a few weeks ago when I discussed my first visit to the new Toy Story Land.  In that post I mentioned that the store where the 12-design machine “was” located was transformed into a Toy Story gift shop and this machine was removed so the Toy Story themed machine could be placed there instead.  At that time I didn’t know where the machine was moved to, and I did inquire with several Disney Cast Members about it and they didn’t know what was going to happen to it.  Then this all changed just a couple of days ago.

Word on the street was this machine had received a fresh coat of paint and was relocated over to Disney Springs which recently has become quite the place for pressed coins.

Over in one of the newer areas of Disney Springs called the Town Center (which is really just an outlet mall) is a newer store called The Disney Corner.

The store has multiple floors.  The first floor is primarily everything you can image Princess related.  This does continue up on the second floor but there are some other Disney characters available in certain areas.

There is an elevator is the stairs are too much (there are quite a few) but otherwise if you do attempt the stairs once you get to the second floor the missing penny machine is right in front of you.

As mentioned the machine does have a bit of a different paint job, but the 12 designs are all the same.

I pressed another set just to see if they were still dispensing the penny sized tokens instead of real pennies and that was still the case.  I’ve said it before and I hold to it this is a really nice set to be able to collect all in one place.  Usually in the past to get something like this you would have to visit various machines throughout the parks and resorts.  At $10 for this set it is a little pricy, but hopefully everyone that was inquiring about it can rest assured the machine is back and ready for some pressing.

NEW Bing Bong’s Sweet Stuff Pressed Pennies – Disney California Adventure

It didn’t take too long for the second rumors pressed penny set to make its appearance at the new Pixar Pier in Disney California Adventure park.  I recently posted about the first set available at Knick’s Knacks, and was able to just get a set of the new pennies.

This new machine can be found in the newly opened Bing Bong’s Sweet Stuff candy store.

In side there is a quite the selection of Pixar merchandise like t-shirts, plush toys and all the other standard items.  But the main draw for this new store was all the candy and snack items themed around your favorite Pixar characters.

After you have indulged in your sugar fix with the cute Bing Bong candy apples, or Wall-E and Eve cake pops make sure to head over and press a set of these new pennies.  The set is themed around the Inside Out movie and has images of Joy, Bing Bong and Anger.

The back of each coin also has the same backstamp with the Pixar Lamp and Ball.  This is the same design that is on the back of the other Pixar Pier pennies at Knick’s Knacks.

Inside Out was a movie that I enjoyed when I first saw it, and seems to get better each time I watch it.  I’m glad to see these new fun designs around this movie.  There are still quite a few other Pixar movies that haven’t been given the pressed penny treatment so hopefully this is a new area of the park that can help solve that problem.