Jungle Adventures – Christmas, FL

Merry Christmas!!

Ok this is a bit of a stretch I’ll admit but when I was trying to figure out something to write about for this holiday season I was kind of drawing a blank.  I did find a new online penny vendor with some new holiday designs but that’s what I usually do, and this year I wanted it to be a bit different.  As I scoured the internet I was trying to see if there was a local Christmas festival or anything that may have a pressed penny design but kept coming up empty.  However eventually I did notice something on a map of central Florida during these searches, and found a little town called Christmas.

Yes you read that right, Christmas Florida is an actual place and it was only about an hour away from our house.  Plus the icing on top was that there was a roadside attraction in this town that had a penny machine.  The pieces were all falling into place.  Pennies, Christmas, and Alligators…sure why not.

Jungle Adventures is where we were headed.  It was a nice Florida “winter” day in the high sixties (sorry if you are from up north), and the as a nice change of pace from the usual Orlando traffic, there were not many cars on the road in this part of town.

As we turned off the highway we were greeted by Swampy the World’s largest Gator.  This is just the design of the main building that includes the gift shop and admission desk.  Quite the roadside attraction.  We got parked, headed inside to buy our tickets to the park and started our Adventure.

After leaving the main building we came to the Golden Gator Bridge that takes you over the water to the Wild Animal Island.  The green stuff on top of the water is called Duckweed that is a flowering aquatic plant that floats on still or slow-moving wetlands.  While walking over the bridge we could see quite a few gators just floating along very slowly.  Then on the other side we came face with some really big ones.

As you can see from the above picture the walkway allows you to get right up close to the fence but there are signs everywhere stating not to put your fingers in the case.  Seemed like good advice.

The fence is only 5 feet or so high, and I was able to reach over for some pictures.  The big guys didn’t flinch at all.  I was worried they may move around a bit as we got closer but they must be used to all the attention.  There is staff all around to answer any questions and you can also buy various bags of food in the gift shop for feeding all the different animals.

There were a couple Florida Panthers here as well, but just like our cats at home they were enjoying a nap which I’m sure is how they spend most of their day.

There is an elevated nature walk along this boardwalk.  Thankfully it’s all screened in at the bottom to keep you safe.  This literally takes you right through the swamp.

There were a large amount of vultures here when we visited.  I’m sure they are there for the scape of food left behind, but they can be a little intimating as they are pretty big when you get close to them.

I saw this little guy resting on a branch just above the water and thought he looked pretty comfortable.  It was a little surprising that all the gators weren’t more active, and I think I maybe saw one moving slightly but that was about it.  A few times my daughter even asked if they were real, which I assured her they were.

After feeding some of the animals, and having a nice afternoon visit we headed back into the main building.  Inside the gift shop area was where the penny press machine was located.

It was a nice old school three design electric model.  The machine worked great and the pennies pressed very nicely.

The set of pennies included the Jungle Adventures Logo, a Gator and a Florida Panther.  This place isn’t huge, but does have a nice big collection of animals to visit with and learn about.  We have visited Gatorland which I believe has more gators, but at Jungle Adventure I felt like we were able to get much closer to the gators which may or may not have been a good thing.    They do offer a boat tour that gets you even closer to some of the gators, but it unfortunately was not operating during our visit due to inclement weather.

This was a classic Florida attraction, with some fun things to do and there was practically no one there.  I think we only saw 2 or 3 other families there which is a nice change from the more popular theme parks.

As I said at the beginning this was a bit of a stretch for a Christmas post but hope you enjoyed it.  Have a great Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone.  Stay safe and remember 2019 is just around the corner.  So many more pennies still to find and we have lots of things planned for next year.

Riverside Depot – Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Just this past weekend we have news of a new penny machine.  I was surprised by this as I figured Disney was preparing to release the new 2019 dates sets which usually happens around this time of yer.  But instead we were given an early Christmas gift with a new machine.

The machine was released over at the Animal Kingdom park.  There are some holiday decorations up but the other parks are definitely more decked out.

The huge tree is just past the security check at the front of the park, but before the ticket windows.  There are quite a few photo pass photographers around the tree offering to take your picture.

If only they had a way to get some lights up in the Tree of Life that would be really cool.  They do have a projection show on the trunk of the tree at night, but from what I remember it’s not holiday themed this time of year.

When you enter the park and cross over the bridge to see the big Tree of Life in front of you, there is a store on your right hand side called the Riverside Depot.  This is connected to the Discovery Trading Co. store which already has three penny machines.

Discovery Trading Co is more t-shirts, sweaters and other apparel you can wear.  The Riverside Depot however is where you can get some plush characters, holiday ornaments, candy, pins for pin trading, and a wide selection of items.

Towards the back of the store is the new and only penny machine in the Riverside Depot.  As you can see from the above picture it a 8-design multi machine.

This is the first machine of this style located in the Animal Kingdom, but I’m sure it won’t be the last.

A nice feature of this machine is that a portion of the purchase amount goes towards the Disney Conservation Fund.

This set has some of your favorite Disney animal characters from  various movies.  The designs include Abu from Aladdin, Tigger from Winnie the Pooh, Squirt from Finding Nemo/Dory, Terk from Tarzan, Rhino Guard from Robin Hood, Hathi Jr from The Jungle Book, Bruce from Finding Nemo, and Heimlich from A Bug’s Life.

Another great set of designs.  I especially like the Rhino Guard from Robin Hood.  That is one of my all-time favorite Disney movies as it’s one of the few videos we had on tape that my sister and I would watch endlessly.  If only they would release some of the other characters like Robin, Little John, Maid Marian, the Sheriff.  Oh I could go on, that would be a great set but maybe someday my wish will come true.  Stay tuned for next week as I have something a little unique setup for Christmas.  For anyone traveling this coming week please stay safe.

Blizzard Beach Water Park – WDW Florida

Yes it’s December, and Yes I’m going to talk about a water park.  But this was actually a visit my family made a couple of months ago that I’m just getting around to writing about.  Hopefully if you are somewhere with snow on the ground, and cold temperatures this gives you a bit of a reprieve from the winter.

As a child I loved water parks, but unfortunately up in Canada we didn’t have too many and they were only open for short periods of the year in between all the snow and cold weather we would encounter.  Now that we are down in Florida our daughters like spending time in the pool but I didn’t know how they would do at the Water Park.  When our Disney annual passes came up for renewal I upgraded to the option that included the Water Parks as a test for future years.  Well after just one trip to Blizzard Beach it appears we will be keeping these passes.

Our girls absolutely loved it.  They were a little small for some of the bigger water slides, but the lazy river, wave pool and the family tube rides were things they continue to talk about weeks after we visited.

The story behind this park is that there was a freak snow storm in the area which led to the opening of Florida’s first ski resort.  With the usual Florida temperatures the snow didn’t last long, and the ski resort was transformed into a water park.  Due to this there is a chair lift that takes you up mount gush more to some of the water slide attractions, including the flagship slide Summit Plummet a 120 feet tall reaching speeds of 60 miles per hour.

In the middle of the park is the giant wave pool known as Melt-Away Bay.  Surrounding the wave pool is a large area filled with lounge chairs and cabanas.

Running around the perimeter of the park is Cross Country Creek the 3,000 foot long lazy river.  Be careful when you float through Mount Rushmore as the glaciers are melting which makes for some icy cold water dripping down on your head.

They also have water slide racers called Downhill Double Dipper where you can see who the fastest is in your family.  A little competition is always fun to watch as some families really get into this one.

After you have had your fill of water attractions you may be looking to do a bit of souvenir shopping.  The main gift shop here is called the Beach Haus.

Inside you can buy bathing suits in case you forgot one, or towels, flip-flops and more.

You can see the parks mascot Ice Gator had a bit of a skiing accident and crashed right into the side of the building.

The store of course sells t-shirts with the water parks logos on them, and they also have a penny press machine near one of the side entrances.

The machine is a three design electric model.  It’s a plain cabinet which I kind of wish was more themed.  It would be cool to have the insides look like a water slide for your penny to go down when being pressed, or the whole machine would look like it’s a melting block of ice.  Oh well they can’t all be overly themed.

The penny designs available at this machine include Daisy sun tanning, Goofy Mickey & Donald tubing, and Mickey just lounging on the beach.  All of the pennies include the Blizzard Beach logo that makes for a nice souvenir of your visit.

Not only was this our daughters first visit to the water park, but it was mine as well.  In all the years I’ve visited Walt Disney World I never made it over.  It was a lot of fun, and since our kids are now obsesses with water parks this will not be our last visit.  Thankfully in the Orlando area we have quite a few Water parks so we should have plenty of options, and I’ll be sure to keep an eye open for their penny machines.

Newly Renovated World of Disney Store – Disney Springs Florida

Over the last few years we have witnessed the transformation from Downtown Disney to the new and fresh Disney Springs.  The changes have been really unbelievable.  Years ago when I would visit Florida on vacation I always headed to Downtown Disney on my travels days.  The restaurants were never great and the shopping was for the most part just a bunch of Disney gift shops.

But now it’s a destination that I visit quite often, and enjoy all the new restaurants and shopping options.  With this fresh new design, and brand new theming there was still one place that seemed like it needed a refresh.  Thankfully Disney thought the same thing and put their flagship store the World of Disney through a refurbishment that took almost a year to fully complete.

Even after the update the big Stitch came back with a fresh coat of paint.  He does still “spit” on unsuspecting guests below, and is now located on top of the new World of Disney logo.

Inside the store looks much larger than it did before.  The above picture was taken before the entire store had been completed which is why you could see the black curtain at the back of the store.

Just inside the middle set of entrance doors to the store is the first of three new penny machines.  Previously there were three machines with only four designs per machine, but they have been replaced with these new 8-design touch screen machines.

This first set of 8 pressed penny designs include Mickey and all of his famous friends.

One section of the store is all about plush and it was amazing to see in person.  Look at that wall of Mickey’s against the back.  I’m sure they have no problem going through all of those on a frequent basis.  The number of people in here at any point is staggering.  I visited the store a few times after it had the grand reopening and it’s always packed no matter what time of day you go.

In the side of the store closed to the Lego store or the Town Center is set up as their seasonal area.  This time of year it’s filled with Christmas and all sorts of holiday merchandise.  Of course ornaments are a huge part of this and the selection seems to get bigger each year.

Over on this side of the store is where the second penny press machine is found.  It’s stashed in the corner near the front set of doors.

This is another great set that I was surprised they released.  This has designs from some of their famous animated movies like Aladdin, Up, Pinocchio and Alice in Wonderland plus a few others.

The back section of the store that was originally behind the black curtain was eventually opened and is my daughters favorite area.  This is where all the Princess things are.  They even project some of the Princesses up on the wall in scenes from their movies.  All of their dresses, accessories, and dolls can be found in this area.

The third and final machine was one that I uncovered on the pennycollector website before it was actually placed in the store.  I had found a concept drawing of the designs for the location and knew it would be arriving before too long.  It was eventually placed in this back section of the store near the Marvel and Star Wars sections of the store.

The designs in this set are all Winnie the Pooh and his friends.  It seems a little strange to put this machine in the Marvel and Star Wars sections but I guess we have enough of those penny designs already so nice to see Pooh bear getting some love with a set of coins.

If you visit this store be sure not to just walk around with your eyes towards the ground or on all the merchandise.  This store is beautiful and there are so many magical things going on all over the place.  I mentioned the princess projections on the back wall, but they also have animated sketches on the wall that come to live and change periodically.  Tinker Bell also shows up on the wall behind some of the check-out areas and she dances around some bottles of paint and helps animate picture frames with images of some Disney classics.  The store is almost an attraction in and of itself which is a lot of fun.  Plus you can get 24 pressed pennies all in one place.

Nightmare Before Christmas Quarter Set – Disneyland, CA

This new pressed Quarter set actually came out a couple of weeks before Halloween but I was having some difficulty getting my hands on it.  Usually I can reach out to some fellow collectors in California but everyone seemed to be on vacation or out-of-town all at the same time.  However after some patience and perseverance I was finally able to get a set shipped to my home.

I haven’t been to Disneyland in quite a few years and am looking forward to going back hopefully in the next couple years.  Due to this I’m not as familiar with the park layout as my home parks in Florida.  This new machine is in New Orleans Square at the Port Royal Curios and Curiosities gift shop.

As previously mentioned this is a set of pressed quarters which is a nice change from all the pennies we usually find throughout the parks.  The images on these coins are of Jack Skellington, Zero and Oogie Boogie all with the Nightmare Before Christmas logo.

Keep in mine these are not part of the usually Holiday dates coin sets that Disneyland and California Adventure release.  Those are still to come (and hopefully soon).  This is a really fun set of coins from a great movie that has definitely been getting more attention within the parks.

Icon Orlando – Orlando, FL

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!
—————————————–

Over a year ago I had taken my daughters to check out an attraction we found along International Drive in Orlando called the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye.  This was a huge ferris wheel that can be seen for miles around the surrounding areas.  Not too long ago it had been rebranded as the Icon Orlando, and rumor had it that the pressed penny designs here had been updated due to this change.

It was time for another visit to see what has changed.  We jumped in our car and made the drive down I-4 towards International Drive.

One really nice thing about this area is that they offer free parking in their garage.  We parked the car and as we headed out towards the Icon Orlando we could see the rebranded starting all around.

Inside the previously red interior color has been changed to blue, and the new sign above the ticket counters has been updated to the new name.

We didn’t have time to actually go up in the attraction this visit but thankfully the penny machine does not need paid admission to access.  Just to the right of the ticket counter is the exit / gift shop and the penny machine right outside.

The cabinet is pretty much the same, but does have one slight difference.  Just below the touch screen is the Icon Orlando Skyline logo.

Here is a close up of the touch screen with all the designs available.  The price is still $1 for 1 penny, or $5 for all 8.  I’m sure you know which option I went for.

The designs are fairly similar to the previous ones but do now have the new name Icon Orlando on them.

After I had pressed a few sets of the coins we headed into the gift shop to look around.  All the new merch was available and I do like the new blue color.  There is absolutely no sign of the previous Coca-Cola branding.

This is really a fun place to visit and other than the Icon Orlando, you can also visit Madame Tussauds or the SeaLife aquarium.  The Icon Orlando though is quite the experience and once up at the very top you have fantastic views of the Orlando area.  If you aren’t a fan of heights you may want to skip it, but just remember the pennies are easily obtained without admission.  Happy Collecting!

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.