(Update) Flashback – 100 Years of Magic 2002 WDW

There are a lot of unique pressed coin sets released by Disney over the years.  Some are easier to located by just checking on eBay or a yard sale, but some others are much harder to find.  One of these sets I’ve been working on for quite a few years.  I wrote about it previously here if you want to get some additional back story.

The 100 Years of Magic pressed quarter set is something I work on periodically.  Some times at night I go through eBay, or other coin selling communities just to see what’s out there.  But I don’t spend too much time on it as these coins don’t show up too often.  This all changed when I received an email one day, and almost seemed too good to be true.  This friendly stranger let me know he had come across a set of the 100 Years of Magic pressed quarters he had acquired when he was younger.  He didn’t have much need for them now but came across my initial post and thought I may be interested in them.  We traded numerous emails and he sent some pictures and he was right this was something I just couldn’t pass up.

Now it’s time to take a look as this wonderful additions to my collection with some really great designs.

I tried to separate these out in to smaller related groups.  The above includes designs from the Magic Kingdom: Cinderella’s Castle, Mickey on Main Street, Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland.

Next is over at Epcot.  These designs include Test Track, Body Wars, Living Seas, Innoventions, Imagination Institute, and Honey I Shrunk the Audience.

This set was found over at MGM Studios (before Hollywood Studios).  The images in this group were of the Sorcerer’s Hat, Director Mickey, Tower of Terror, Fantasmic, Rockin’ Roller Coaster, and Beauty & the Beast.

Last but not least was Animal Kingdom.  These had designs of It’s Tough to be a Bug, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Dinoland, Camp Minnie & Mickey, Festival of the Lion King, and Asia.

The icing on the cake was these coins had all been stored in this special release booklet created just for this Disney celebration.  Unfortunately the set is still incomplete, but the addition of these 25 quarters helped fill in quite a few missing pieces.  This was really a lucky find.  Keep your on the lookout as you just never know when you may come across your needle in a haystack.

Toy Story Land – Hollywood Studios, FL

The below is based on my visit that took place Tuesday July 3rd, 2018.  Things may change and I’ll try to keep everyone updated.
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As we all knows penny machines can and often do change or move all over Walt Disney World property.  Just a couple of days ago (on July 3rd) I was able to head over and check out the brand new Toy Story Land over at Hollywood Studios.

Online since the new land opened on June 30th, there have been all sorts of unconfirmed rumors of new penny machines, or didn’t see any machines but wasn’t really looking scenarios.  So on this, my first trip to the new land I was making sure to check every nook and cranny hunting out new or maybe just relocated machines.

For those of you that are interested in where this new land is located.  After you enter into the park you head straight back down Hollywood Boulevard towards the Chinese Theatre.

Then you enter into Animation Courtyard and head left past the Voyage of the Little Mermaid show.  This is basically the same area where the Toy Story Midway Mania ride was located.  But just before that building you will see the crown turning right.  Plus there is a lot of cast members guiding the way.

As you walk up a big friendly face is waiting to great you into Andy’s backyard.

The idea is that we are all shrunken down to the size of toys and are a part of Andy’s imagination that he has set up in his backyard.

This includes the main attraction which is the Slinky Dog Dash family roller coaster.

The pathways are illuminated by Christmas lights, and tinker toys.

As you can see from the above picture the crowds are busy but not totally crazy.  When I visited it was the fourth day this new land was open, and I got there around 9am.  The pathways were pretty wide open, but the standby lines for the rides were pretty long.  Slinky Dog was about a 90 minute wait, and there is not much shade or cover in any of these areas.

The second new attraction is the Alien Swirling Saucers.  This had about a 60 minute standby wait, but thankfully I had been able to find a fastness online and didn’t wait more than 5 minutes.

This ride has you as the passenger of a space ship piloted by the little green men from the Toy Story movies.  The ride kind of moves in figure eights, and the ship kind of whips you around the corners as they turn.  I don’t do the tea cups in Magic Kingdom, but was able to ride this without any issue.  It’s pretty tame, but still very cute and entertaining.

After the ride I headed over to Woody’s lunch box for a late breakfast.  This is the quick service food option available.

I opted to try something a little different that grabbed my eye.  It was a S’Mores French Toast.  Marshmallow and Chocolate ganache on Brioche french toast encrusted with graham cracker crumbs.  It was very sweet, but still interesting and enjoyable.  I’ll have to come back some day for lunch or dinner and try some of the other items as this place is definitely intriguing.

With breakfast done I was back on my hunt and passed by the new entrance to Toy Story Mania.  I had gone down each pathway I could find, near all the attractions, and Woody’s lunch box but couldn’t find any pressed penny machines.

Just to be sure I made a second walk through and still nothing.  There isn’t a standard gift shop in this new land which would have been the most probably location for a new machine.  But currently there are only merchandise carts located near each of the attractions.  Unfortunately I have to say as of this day no machines (new or old) were to be found inside Toy Story Land.

Feeling a little disappointed at not being able to discover a new set of pressed pennies I decided to make sure the existing machine was still available.  I headed out of Toy Story Land and down into Pixar Place.  There is still some things going on here like a meet and greet with Buzz Lightyear or Cruz Ramirez from Cars 3.  But this area pretty much just dead-ends and forces you to u-turn back the way you came.

I did take a quick look at the old entrance to Toy Story Midway Mania and it is all boarded up.

Directly across from this is the Story Department store which is where the previous machine was located.  But as you can see from the above picture it’s no longer here.  Now I needed to figure out where it had gone.

Thankfully I found it pretty easily and didn’t even ask a cast member.  Back in the Animation Courtyard near Star Wars Launch Bay is a gift shop called In Character.  This place used to be all princesses all the time (trust me I know, this was my daughters favorite place).  But now it’s a make ship Toy Story Land gift shop.  I don’t know if this will be permanent or not, but for now it’s all about Toy Story.

   

This machine is exactly the same as it’s been for a while.  The designs include Hamm, Wheezy, Rex and one of the Little Green Men.  Now those of you that recognize where this machine is located may be saying, but what happened to the 12-Design Heroines penny machine.  Well I thought the same thing so I asked a cast member where that machine went.  I was told it was removed completely (gasp!).  Is this forever, I don’t know and honestly don’t think so.  That was a pretty popular machine and was always busy whenever I visited it.  Just to make sure it wasn’t moved somewhere else without the cast member knowing I wondered the rest of the park and sure enough didn’t see it anywhere.

One of the last places I checked was the Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost shop.  As I mentioned above it wasn’t here, but they did have a design that I thought fit into today’s events so I pressed a copy just for the heck of it.

   

Good old Buzz Lightyear, but so far away from the new Toy Story Land I wonder why.  Maybe Woody had something to do with this.  Anyways, this does seem kind of strange to be so far away, but maybe he will get moved in the weeks to come.

Well that was my Toy Story day in Hollywood Studios.  I am definitely disappointed that there were no new machines, but am hopeful they are still on the way.  If the existing machine had just been moved into the land then I would be more apt to assume no new machines are coming.  However since this machine was moved to another spot outside the land I think this is a good sign at least one new machine is on the way.  As always only time will tell and I’ll be sure to check back.  I do have some days scheduled to go back with my family a few times in the next couple weeks.  I’ll be sure to keep my eyes open and will share any new info I find.

Toy Story Land is definitely a fun place and the new rides are entertaining for all ages.  Nothing too extreme, but still enjoyable.  I don’t think it’s as immersive as Pandora over in the Animal Kingdom which is truly amazing.  Toy Story land is fun, just not a place I see people spending their entire days inside.

2018 Dated Walt Disney World Pressed Coins Set (Completed)

Click here to see my YouTube channel video on all these coins
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They’re here!!  It’s that time of year again and the 2018 dated pressed coins have started showing up all over property.  I spent the good part of my weekend driving to all the parks and resorts in an attempt to get all these new coins.  But unfortunately not all of them have been made available.  Just like the last few years there will be a total of 15 designs.  I was able to get 11 of them, and will be updating this post as I acquire the last 4.  I’m sure these final few designs will be made available in the next couple weeks at the latest.  So let’s get started.

My trip started early Saturday morning at the Animal Kingdom.  To my surprise the large crowds were there to visit Pandora and not get these brand new coins.  But I guess that works out better for us collectors.

   

Located in Dinoland USA in a store called Chester & Hester’s Dino Treasures.  The penny at this machine has 2018 with the new slogan “The Year to be Here” and a small Tree of Life.

   

The second machine in the Animal Kingdom is at the Harambe Railroad Station platform.  This train will take you to Rafiki’s Planet Watch but is not required to use the machine.  This machine pressed a quarter of Pluto and the year 2018.

After leaving Animal Kingdom my next stop was over at the All-Star Sports resort.  Located just outside the Game Point Arcade is where the machine is found.

   

This machine had 2018 Donald Duck pressed on a quarter.  Thankfully the next machine wasn’t too far away and just down the street in the All-Star Music resort.

   

Spending more time just outside the Note’able Games arcade to use the machine and press a quarter with 2018 Minnie Mouse.  I grabbed a quick snack in the food court and hopped back in my car for the next stop.

I was making pretty good time heading all over Disney property and found myself at Epcot for the next three machines.  First was in the Mouse Gear gift shop.

   

This penny design is similar to the one I collected earlier at the Animal Kingdom except it has Spaceship earth and 2018 The Year to be Here.  Somehow I managed to leave this store without buying anything which almost never happens, but my wallet definitely thanked me.  After leaving the store I headed towards the World Showcase and into the Disney Traders store.

   

Every time I use this machine I think it should do more than just press pennies as it looks pretty fancy.  But alas is just pressed pennies which is still fine with me.  The design from this machine is on a penny and is the main mouse himself Mickey leaning on the 2018.  With the penny safely stored away I checked my Disney Parks app and was able to grab a fastness for Soarin’ which is one of my favorite rides.

Over at the Land pavilion I headed in to use my fastness, but once done I headed upstairs towards the Garden Grill which is a revolving restaurant where you can meet Mickey, Pluto and Chip and Dale.  Right beside the restaurant is also where I found the next machine.

   

Just like in the restaurant this pressed quarter has the dynamic duo of Chip and Dale underneath a Mickey ears hat and 2018.  For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to leave my car in the Epcot parking lot and take the monorail over to the next two stops.  Once back at the Ticketing and Transportation center I switched monorail and decided to check out the Contemporary Resort first.

For anyone that has taken the monorail over to the Contemporary you exit onto a planform and then need to take an escalator down to the fourth floor concourse.  This is where you can find Chef Mickey’s or the Contempo Cafe for something to each.  But this is also where the Game Station arcade.

   

The first machine here had a design of Goofy with 2018 The Year to be Here.

   

A few steps to the left and I was face to face with the second machine offering a 2018 design.  This machine had an image of Minnie Mouse and The Year to Be Here pressed on a quarter.  I left the arcade and headed back up to the monorail platform so I could head into the Magic Kingdom.

   

Immediately upon entering the kingdom I headed underneath the Main Street Railroad station.  There are two machines down here but only the quarter machine had a new 2018 Cinderella’s Castle design.  A little further up main street I headed into the Emporium for the last available 2018 design.

   

This one is probably my favorite this year.  It has 2018 with the soon to be famous tag line for this year (I promise not to type it down again).  But the big winner on this penny is the image of Walt and Mickey holding hands.  This is based on the famous Partners statue that is a reminder to all how this all started.

Update 01/09/17:
I made it over for a quick follow-up visit to Disney’s flagship Grand Floridian Resort & spa.  About a week ago I visited here and the design hadn’t been updated, but on this visit the change had finally been made.  It’s on the second floor concourse right near the doors that led out to the monorail platform.  This design is of Chip & Dale under a Mickey Ears hat and the year 2018.

   

Update 01/10/17:
After work I took a quick drive over to Hollywood Studios to try to get the penny that was released in the Rock Around the Shop.  This is the gift store at the exit to Rockin’ Roller Coaster.  However, if you are a chicken like me and don’t want to ride the coaster, you can just walk in the “Exit” and up the ramp into the store.  The design is of Mickey’s face with 2018 and the new slogan.

   

Update 01/13/17:
Since we are just out of the holiday season I don’t want to say this is a slow time at the parks but it is a little less crowded.  Due to this the parks all have much shorter operating hours during the week so it was hard to get into the Magic Kingdom after work.  However I was finally able to get over there today and get the pressed penny at Sir Mickey’s

Updated 01/24/2017:
The last pressed quarter finally showed up today but it wasn’t where we were anticipating it to be.  It was rumored that this coin would be available in the same location as last year which is the Stage 1 Company (Muppets) gift shop in Hollywood Studios.  But due to this location being partially under construction and the machine mysteriously behind a construction wall this design was moved (temporarily?) to the All-Star Movies Resort.  Right alongside the other 3 machines in the World Premier Food Court is where you can find this last design.

 

This design may not be here all year and potentially could move over to the Muppets store in Hollywood Studios once construction is completed, but only time will tell.

Here’s a look at the eight pressed penny designs.

and the seven pressed quarter designs.

These new 2018 pressed coins are really nice again this year.  This has become one of my favorite times of year for collecting pressed coins.  It’s exciting to see the new designs and of course a lot of fun to trek around property collecting them all.  Make sure to grab a set or two for your collection before the year ends.

Moved – Big Hero 6 Pressed Penny Set now at Epcot

Flashback to 2014 when Disney released a new animated movie  called Big Hero 6.  It is not one of my favorite movies, but the story is interesting and who doesn’t like Baymax.  That same year there was a set of pressed pennies placed in the Magic of Disney Animation building at the Hollywood Studios theme park.

I remember years ago there used to be a show where an animator would walk the audience through how to draw certain Disney characters.  At the end of each show there was one lucky audience member that would get the drawing from the animator, but I was just never that lucky.  More recently this was a meet and greet area where at one point you could meet Baymax and Hiro from Big Hero 6.

Near this meet location was where the original penny press machine was located in a nice wood grace cabinet.

A short time after this machine was made available the Magic of Disney Animation building closed down as it was being redesigned as the Star Wars Launch Bay.  During this closure the Big Hero 6 penny machine was nowhere to be found.  Then in 2015 the machine showed up.

This time it was back in the Muppet’s Courtyard at the Pizza Planet quick service restaurant.  During this time Pizza Planet was a bit of a dumping ground for penny machines and I believe the Big Hero 6 was the fifth or sixth machine there.  But that wouldn’t last long as Pizza Planet got closed down not too longer after.  This closed down so it could be redesigned as PizzeRizzo’s, and this penny set disappeared again for almost two years.

Flash forward to 2017, and I read online that this missing machine thought to have been retired shows up in Epcot of all places.

In-between Spaceship Earth and the Fountain if you head towards The Land pavilion where Soarin’ is located you pass two Character Spot’s with meet and greets.

Once of these locations is where Innoventions West used to be and is now where you can meet Joy and Sadness from Pixar’s Inside Out.  Also in here is Baymax (no Hiro anymore for some reason).

   

Just inside the doors to this Character Spot is where the penny machine can be found.  The cabinet has been repainted.

But the designs are still exactly the same.

The images on these coins include Baymax, Hiro, and Fred all with the BH6 logo on them.  It’s took bad they didn’t issue different designs when they brought back this machine.  But with all the movement this machine has had I’m sure there are a lot of people who weren’t able to press these coins the first few times it was available.

I hate to mention this but, there are a lot of changes coming to Epcot over the next few years.  This character spot is in a location that seems to be unrecognizable in the concept art that Disney has released.  This is a nice place for the machine, but who knows how long these designs will be here.  Go get them before they disappear again.

Click here to see my YouTube channel video on this move and the designs.

Tower of Terror 8-Design Machine – Hollywood Studios, FL

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the Tower of Terror scares me and I get uncomfortable even going near it.  I’m a fan of the original Twilight Zone TV show, but the thought of being sat inside an elevator car and being dropped numerous times down the elevators shaft is not my idea of fun.  Walking anywhere near that area of Hollywood Studios I can just hear the screams coming from the ride and just shake my head.  But I know that this has a huge following, and there are a lot of people who truly enjoy that experience.

Usually I just try to stay away from this area of the park but one day I received a note that a new 8-Design penny (sized token) machine was place in the gift shop of the Hollywood Tower Hotel.  I psyched myself up and headed over to the park.  Now I will say right up front I did not ride the Tower of Terror, thankfully you can access the coin machines without having to ride.

If you are like me and would prefer to avoid the ride then you can just walk past the queue line entrance and you will eventually see the gift shop exit/entrance.  They do have some cool Tower of Terror themed merchandise in here, and there is a lot of Stitch stuff too for some reason.  Towards the back of the gift shop near where the photo preview area where riders can see their terrified faces as they drop down the elevator shaft.

I apologize for the dark photo above of the machine, this area is really dark inside and with the bright light of the marquee makes taking pictures here pretty difficult.  This was the best of the bunch I tried to take.  As I mentioned earlier this is another 8-Design penny sized token machine.  One design is $1 or all eight for $5.

These are all themed around the Hollywood Tower Hotel and includes designs of: Bellhop Goofy, Bellhop Mickey, THE Bellhop, Bellhops Chip & Dale, Hollywood Tower Hotel Key, Est 1917, Bellhop Stitch, and Bellhop Donald.

As I used the machine to press my sets I could hear groups of people checking out their pictures behind me laughing and truly having a good time.  As much as that ride terrifies me there are people who can’t wait to experience it.  My niece is 5 years old and loves this ride, I’m worried she will try to drag me on the next time she comes for a visit.  If Disney decides to move a new penny machine into the queue of the ride may be the only way I attempt going on this attraction.  But for now I’m glad the penny machines are available to all visitors regardless of how much of a chicken they are.

Click here to see my YouTube channel video on this new machine.

Celebrity 5 & 10 – Hollywood Studios, FL

As I’m sure everyone is already aware of, majority of Hollywood Studios is under construction.  Within a few years this place will be completely transformed with Toy Story Land and Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge (Disney confirmed name).  But for now there are quite a few attractions still available, but construction scrim are all over the place.

A few weeks ago I visited this park with my family for a quick afternoon visit and hit up a few rides, checked out a few penny existing penny machines and headed back home.  The very next day I received a note that a new machine was just released.  What terrible timing since I had just been there.  While at work I quickly checked the Disney app on my phone and was able to get a Toy Story Midway Mania Fastpass.  This was the bribery I used with my daughter to have her accompany me back to the park for a very quick trip.

I barely got the words out of my mouth before my daughter was putting on her sneakers and heading out to the car.  We drove over to the park, rode her original favorite ride the Tram to and from the parking lot.  After getting into the park we went right back to the Toy Story ride and had a great time on it.  My daughter is still trying to master the cannon style thing you use to interact with the midway games.  We haven’t broken any point records yet, but it’s still fun to see how excite she gets when we are waiting in the queue and then while on the ride.  I was really trying to keep this as a quick trip since Hanna had school the next day and I had work (boo).  So we headed back towards the front of the park but still had one quick stop to make.

Located right on Hollywood Boulevard towards the entrance/exit to the park is a store called Celebrity 5 & 10.

Inside is your standard Disney souvenir shop.  Mugs, Candy, T-Shirts, etc fill this entire place.  Quick tip for the hot Florida summer days, this place (and all other gift shops) offer Free Air Conditioning.  I always see people walking around the parks that look like they are about to pass out due to the heat.  Make sure to take some time throughout your trip and just walk through the gift shops to cool off.  I know the fancy things inside can be tempting, but make sure you keep cool.  It will make your trip that much more enjoyable.

Just inside the door that would be closes to the entrance/exit of the park is where the new penny-sized token machine was located.  This is another 8-design touch screen model.  I’ve mentioned in the past that they do accept, cash, credit cards, and mobile payments like Apple Pay or Google Wallet.  You do not get to supply your own coins, but instead the machine will press the designs on tokens.

As you can see from the above the tokens come out very similar to a penny sized pressing.  They are also very shiny, but much like my stainless steel microwave, collects fingerprints very easily.  The designs available at this machine include: Mickey & Pluto, Goofy, Apprentice Mickey with Fantasia Dragon, Donald with a Parrot, Pluto, Minnie with a long Boa, Chip with a Movie Clapboard, and Movie Director Mickey.

This was a nice unique set of designs that goes back to the initial theming of the Hollywood Studios park.  Being a Star Wars fan I love the new coins that have been coming out, but between that and Frozen there are a lot of coins out there that seem very similar to each other.  These were nice new designs that make a nice additional to the collection.  It’s nice to see new machines still making their way over to Hollywood Studios.  I probably wouldn’t spend as much time here if it weren’t for the machines.  But that will all change when these new lands start opening up.

Click here to see my YouTube channel video on this new machine.

Last Great Movie Ride & Once Upon a Time Gift Shop – Hollywood Studios

The time is getting closer for a few attractions at Walt Disney World to have their last guest on board.  Over at Hollywood Studios it was announced recently that The Great Movie Ride would be closing down to make way for something brand new (opening in 3-5 years I’m sure).  This was a ride that has been around as long as I can remember, and I know that we went on in numerous times when I was young.  With my parents not being thrill ride people, these were more the family friendly rides we could all enjoy together.  I’ve been trying to figure out a time to go and ride this one last time before it closes for good on August 13th, 2017 and today was the day.

Located right at the end of Hollywood Boulevard the famous Theatre can be seen as you first walk into the park.  Word definitely has gotten around as the wait time for this ride has been over an hour the last week or so.  Disney even listed the blackout dates for some levels of annual pass holders so they can come and experience the ride one (or more) last time before it closes.  Luckily a fastpass is not hard to get, so I was able to walk right on with my wife, daughter Hanna, and my father.  Hanna had never been on this ride before but I really wanted to her experience it at least once.

We walked right through the queue, and were led towards our ride vehicle.  For the first time we were sat in the very front row beside our tour guide.

This is a trackless system which is kind of cool, and the idea is that we are going in side some of the most famous movies ever made.

Of course this being Disney we couldn’t forget one of the most beloved live action movies Marry Poppins.

I always loved seeing these detailed sets that you got to drive through.  Depending on the rotation the experiences can change.  There is always a moment where some action is taking place around the vehicle like a shoot out between gangsters or bank robbers in the old west.  On our tour our tour guide was removed and replaced temporarily with a gangster.  My daughter Hanna was not impressed.

Our trip continued through the jungle scenes from Tarzan and Jane.

Next was one of my father’s all time favorite movies Casablanca and the famous goodbye scene.

One of the last scenes we went through was following the yellow brick road through Oz.  But as you may guess we were stopped by the Wicked Witch.

Before we knew it our final ride was coming to an end.  It’s not the most thrilling ride, but the sets are still really cool to drive through and you can’t beat some of these movies you get to visit.  It will be sad to say goodbye when it finally closes, but at least we got one last trip.  After we headed outside I had one other stop to make.

Walking down Sunset Boulevard as if we were heading towards the Tower of Terror there is quite a row of souvenir shops down this way.  Just down near where the Beauty and the Beast stage show is situation is a gift shop called Once Upon a Time.

Inside this gift shop has the usual t-shirts, sweaters, coffee mugs, and tons of plush toys.  They also have a quite a lot of princess dolls but I’m sure that’s the same in most Disney gift shops.

Just inside one of the doors to the gift shop was the first of two new penny machines just placed on stage today.

Both of these machines are the 8-Design touch screen models that have taken over the parks.  They are growing on me despite the hardcore collector in me really wanting to use my own pennies.

The first set is a new numbers set of eight designs from Disney’s very first animated feature Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  The designs as you can probably guess include: Snow White, Grumpy, Dopy, Doc, Happy, Sleepy, Sneezy, and Bashful.

Across from the first machine is the second 8-Design machine that upon a quick glance looks exactly the same, but does include a different set of designs.

This second set is from Beauty and the Beast which is fitting since the stage show is right next door.  The designs in this set include: Belle & the Beast, The Enchanted Rose, Beast, Belle & her Prince, Lumiere & Cogsworth, Chip, Mrs. Potts, and Gaston.

It was getting a little late, and we were getting some rain and wind from nearby Tropical Storm Emily so we decided to call it a night.  These new machines were my excuse to finally come to the park and kill two birds with one stone.  New pennies and one last tour on The Great Movie Ride.

Click here to see my youtube channel video on this new machine.

PizzeRizzo’s Restaurant – Hollywood Studios, FL

I’ve mentioned in the past that I used to live in New Jersey, and was about an hour away from New York City.  We had some of the best pizza places around, and yet after moving down to Florida finding good pizza can be a little challenging.  Then thrown in Disney Theme park pizza and it’s really not very good.  Of course there are a few shining places like Via Napoli in the Italy Pavilion at Epcot, and I will admit I like the new Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza at Disney Springs.

I remember a few years ago visiting Hollywood Studios and was looking for some penny machines that were located near the Muppet Courtyard in a quick service restaurant called Pizza Planet.  This was an homage to the restaurant and specifically delivery truck found in most Pixar movies as an easter egg.  I grabbed a small personal pizza as a snack and don’t think I ate more than a slice, it was just you not very good.  I’m not really a pizza snob and have eaten and enjoyed a lot of crappy pizza, but this just didn’t do it for me.  Fast forward a few years and I hear the rumors that Pizza Planet is closing for a Muppet’s Themed restaurant and I get intrigued…until I hear that it’s another pizza place.

The quick service restaurant was named PizzeRizzo after the Rat from the Muppets.  As you can probably guess I was just got in any rush to try this pizza, so I have avoided it since it had opened.  However that all recently changed when I saw online that two new penny machines were placed inside this restaurant so I figured I may as well check it out.

There are two floors with a lot of tables and seating throughout.  It’s decor on the main bottom floor looks like it’s straight out of a classic New York Pizzeria.

Just inside the set of doors roughly in the middle of the restaurant is where the first penny machine was found.

The designs included a nice image of the PizzeRizzo Logo with the famous Rat himself, Syndrome from The Incredibles and Anna & Elsa from Frozen.  The last two coins used to be located at another store in Hollywood Studios but had been removed a year or so ago.

The ordering area is pretty spacious to accommodate large crowds which undoubtably pack in here during busy times of the day.

The large stair case leads you upstairs to the second floor which is just more seating.

There was also access to the outdoor balcony area with more tables.  But with the heat in Florida lately you’d have to be crazy to sit out here and enjoy your lunch.

Back inside there is a separate area themed like a gaudy New York wedding ballroom.  The blue seems like it would get annoying after a while and mess up your rods and cones in your eyeballs.

   

Near the doors that take you out on the balcony is where the second penny machine was situated.

This machine seemed a little out-of-place.  The cabinet was nice but the designs just didn’t make sense in this Muppet themed restaurant.  The designs included an old one that has come back The Walt Disney Studios Logo, and two new ones of Tinker Bell, and Stitch playing in the sand.

There were some interesting caricatures on the wall, and even the trash can seemed to have a little New York attitude.

After I had finished walking around the entire restaurant I decided it was time to head out.  But what about the Pizza?  I am sorry to say that I really did plan on eating here, and had heard the pizza was better than its predecessor.  However as you can see from all the pictures above this place was completely deserted and not operational on this day.  I don’t know why, maybe it was in-between lunch and dinner service but this seems like a place that would pretty much be open all day.  I went around 6pm and would have thought that’s prime time dinner service, but it was not serving any food.

A friend of mine had eaten there previously and said it was much better than Pizza Planet but I’m not sure if that’s really an earth shattering review.  Above is a picture of the new pizza and tiny side salad.  I will make sure that I try this at some point in the future, but to be honest the picture isn’t making me rush over there any time soon.

Either way I’m not here as a food critic and you should always be sure to enjoy whatever food you like.  I’ll stick to collecting pressed coins and try to keep you up to date on new machines, and can always snack on Churros and Dole Whip.

2016 WDW Trip Day 4 – Hollywood Studios

With two young daughters we don’t get to sleep in too much, especially not on vacation.  We were up early as usual and had planned to visit Hollywood Studios.  With all the changes going on at that park we weren’t planning on being there for more than half a day.  First we decided to get some breakfast at our resort and there was a place nearby that would allow us a few character interactions at the same time.

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The Cape May Cafe is located right near the main lobby of the Beach Club Resort.  Our reservation was for the first available time so the restaurant wasn’t even open yet when we arrived.  There was a short wait while they got things setup, but it was nice to have the place almost completely to ourselves.  This was also a nice perk for when the characters started coming by and we got to spend a nice extended amount of time each of them.

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Minnie Mouse was of course the favorite for our girls.  Since we were at the Beach Club each character was dressed appropriately in beach attire.  We also got to visit with Goofy and Donald.

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Unfortunately Mickey isn’t here for a visit, but the three we did get to visit with were really great with the kids, posed for lots of pictures and of course we couldn’t let them go without signing our autograph book.  The food here is a buffet style and had most of the standard Disney breakfast items, but there were a few more unique items available.  After breakfast we headed out to the water front and hopped on one of the boats that transport guests between Epcot, Yacht & Beach Club resorts, the Boardwalk resort, Swan and Dolphin and finally Hollywood Studios.

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There is no “express” option to take you directly to the Studios, so it can take a little while to visit the other resorts first but it’s actually a very nice method of getting to the park.  Once we arrived we got off the boat and headed inside, and right down the main boulevard.  We had no fastpasses booked and nothing particularly planned for this day so we wanted to just wander around and see what we could find to do.  Just outside the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular were the first couple penny machines.

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The first machine is near the exit to the Stunt show, but can be accessed without having to sit through the show (but who could pass up a chance to see Indy).  The four designs here include the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular Logo, Silvermist Fairy, Indiana Chip, and Indiana Mickey with a Whip.  The second machine is located nearby at the Indiana Jones Outpost.  The pennies here have images of Mickey with an Old Time Camera, Merida from Brave, Agent P, and Buzz Lightyear.

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We were heading towards Star Tours but I needed to make a quick stop at a relatively new gift shop called Frozen Fractal Gifts.  I had written about these coins before and you can read out it here.  But this was the first time I was able to use check out the machine in person.

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This is another one of those 8-design touch screen models becoming more popular throughout the parks.  This is not a numbered set, but as you can assume it’s a Frozen themed set.  The designs include Anna & Olaf, Olaf & Elsa, Kristoff & Anna, Sven, Kristoff Olaf Sven Anna Elsa, Olaf, Anna, and Elsa.  Now it was time to get our Star Wars on.  This was Hanna’s first ride on Star Tours and it was a little too jerky for her.  She didn’t complain much but we may need to wait another year or so before trying to get her back on it.  Since we are on the topic of Star Wars, we couldn’t see anything behind the construction walls about the new Star Wars land, but they did have some concept art up on the wall.

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This wall is up along the walkway you take towards the Muppet’s courtyard.  The kids didn’t seem interested in the Muppet Vision movie attraction, but instead we checked out the Stage 1 Company Muppet Shop.

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There are three machines available here, but two of them hadn’t changed so I only visited one of them.  The designs here included the 2016 Sorcerer’s Hat logo, Minnie in a Costume, and Belle with the Hollywood Studios Logo all pressed on quarters.  Due to the construction areas the Muppet’s Courtyard has turned into a dead-end, and you need to head back towards Star Tours to be rerouted towards the rest of the park.

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Over in the Animation area we checked out the Toy Story Midway Mania attraction but wait times were already beyond 90 minutes and our kids wouldn’t last that long.  We were able to distract Hanna with the opportunity to get her face painted which she jumped at the change and forgot all out the Midway Mania ride.  While she got her face painted I used the nearby Toy Story penny machine.  The pennies have images of Hamm, Wheezy, Rex and the Toy Alien.

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We were getting close to the Star Wars Launch Bay which was new from the last time we had visited.  But in the Animation Courtyard there was a store called the In Character Shop with a 12-Design touch screen machine.

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I’ve written about this machine a few times and won’t go into details at this time, but I did post recently about a change to the coins this machine was pre-loaded with.  Check out my post here that gives a comparison of the coins I pressed in 2015 vs 2016.  Right next door is another shop called The Studio Store.  While the kids checked out the wall of plush characters I used the machine hidden inside.

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The pennies in this machine had designs of Chick Hicks from Pixar’s Cars, Donald Goofy & Mickey with Mickey Hats, and Luigi from Pixar’s Cars.

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Now it was time for more Star Wars.  Unfortunately the wait time for the Launch Bay and visited with some of the characters was just way too long.  Instead we headed in to the Launch Bay gift shop which is still pretty cool.  They are some nice movie memorabilia inside to check out, and some Star Wars toys and souvenirs I just haven’t seen anywhere else.  As you exit the store there is a new penny machine right outside.

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The theming of this machine is really cool and fits in perfectly with the Launch Bay.  It’s another touch screen model and has 8 designs available.  Technically you can get just one but why would you do that.  The designs here are of Kylo Ren Fighting, BB-8, Kylo Ren holding his Lightsaber, Finn, Star Wars The Force Awakens Logo, Rey holding a staff, Stormtrooper, and Rey with a Lightsaber.  We now headed towards the Sunset Boulevard area of the park and came across two machines in a location known as Hollywood Junction.

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The first machine on the left had pennies with designs of Phineas Flynn, Carl from the movie Up, Doug & Russell also from the movie Up, and Ferb.  The second machine on the right had images of Mike Wazowski, Sully Sullivan, Boo, and Randall Boggs all from Monsters Inc.  Sunset Boulevard is always a busy place with crowds heading down towards the two big attractions which we will get to shortly.  Partway down the street we came across the Sunset Ranch.

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The four pennies you can press at this machine include Guido holding a set of tires, Movie Producer Mickey, Singing Daisy, and Mater & Lightning McQueen.  Next we headed towards the Rock n Roller Coaster courtyard for the next set of machines.

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Both machines have four penny designs.  The first one on the left has images of Mater, Lightning McQueen, Radiator Springs, and Mater & Lightning McQueen together.  The second machine includes pennies of Mickey playing a Guitar, Rock n Roller Coaster Limo, Singing Goofy, and the Rock n Roller Coaster flaming guitar logo.  We are not fans of the Aerosmith ride, but the shop at the end of the ride has a penny machine so I just headed inside to check it out.

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The store is known as the Rock Around the Shop and it a pretty unique place.  Even the penny machine shown above has the cabinet designed like a piece of concert equipment.  The pennies here have pictures of Rock n Roller Coaster Logo, Mickey riding the Coaster, and The Walt Disney Studios Logo.  Back through the courtyard and across Sunset Boulevard is the other big attraction here the Tower of Terror.  Again this is something that makes my stomach drop just thinking about it.  But my brother in-law and niece Ava were all about going on this.  I followed them to take some pictures but let them go one without me once they got to the queue.  While I waited I headed into the gift shop.

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Inside the Tower of Terror shop is a machine pressing quarters.  The designs on these coins include Goofy with a Microphone, The Hollywood Tower Hotel, and Stitch dressed as a Bellhop.  Back outside just near the beginning of the queue for the ride is a newer machine that was placed here earlier in 2016.

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This machine has more Tower of Terror themed designs including Bellhop Mickey, Bellhop Minnie, Bellhop Goofy, and Bellhops Chip & Dale.  I headed back to meet up with the rest of my family while we waiting for our brave Tower riders to finish up with the ride.  When they were done Ava seemed to enjoy the ride but was in no rush to go back on.  We had pretty much seen everything there was to do at the Studios due to all the construction and current closures.  As we headed back towards the front of the park I made one last stop in the Legends of Hollywood store.

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For those Star Wars fans out there this is another nice set of coins.  The images are of Kylo Ren from The Force Awakens, R2-D2, and Yoda.  After that we finished heading out of the park, back to the dock, onto the ferry and back to our Resort.  We took a nice break in the room, and then spent the rest of the afternoon at the pool.  It had been a quick day at the park but very enjoyable none the less.  After seeing some of the areas blocked off that will be transformed into the new Star Wars and Toy Story lands we can’t wait to see how they turn out.  Hopefully we don’t need to wait too long, and I’m crossing my fingers for a lot of new (highly themed) penny press machines.

2017 Walt Disney World Pressed Coins – Follow Up

** See below for contest to win a free set of 2017 WDW coins **

For those of you that read my original post with the concept design pictures of the new 2017 pressed coin designs this is a quick follow-up.  Shortly after that post I was contacted by a representative at CTM Group (The Pennymen), and we traded a few messages back and forth.  They were nice enough to offer a copy of the entire set of coins fresh from the machines throughout the resort so I could post pictures of the actual coins.

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Above is a picture of all the coins together.  There are the same number as last year but I think the designs this year have definitely gone up in detail.

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Here I have a picture of all the penny designs together.

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Next are all the quarter designs.

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The picture above shows a close up of a cool little sub-set within the 2017 dates set.  Each theme park had one design with Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey in the middle, and an icon from each park above his head.  For Epcot there is Spaceship Earth, Animal Kingdom has the Tree of Life, Hollywood Studios has The Tower of Terror, and the Magic Kingdom of course has Cinderella’s Castle.  These four designs are a numbered set which is listed directly on each coin.

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All of these designs are really nice this year, but I must say the one listed above is my personal favorite.  When I first saw it I just thought it was fantastic.  This design is located in the Magic Kingdom at the Main Street Railroad Station.  It’s cool that all four of the park iconic symbols are all on one coin along with the 2017 year.  This is really a great way to start off the new year.

Obviously these will be around for the entire year, but do not hesitate to get yourself a set.  These are a great addition to any collection and will be gone before you know it.

**Thank you to the CTM Group team for all their work on these new designs, and for taking the time to reach out.  It was very much appreciated!

CONTEST:
This is a chance for you to get a complete set of the 2017 Coins listed above.  This will include all 15 coins (8 Pennies and 7 Quarters).

All you need to do is post a comment below with any ideas you have for the 2018 annual set that you would like to see for next year.  This can be a set of movies, characters, ride or attractions, food (Mmm…Dole Whip Penny), let your imagination run wild.

Post as many times as you like.  Then at the end of the month (3/31/2017) I’ll randomly select a winner and will contact you for your mailing information.

Good luck!!