Main Street Emporium NEW 2020 Medallions – Magic Kingdom

I know a few years ago when Disney first released a collectible Medallion machine that I was at first intrigued enough to get a set but tried to convince myself I wouldn’t keep getting them.  But as time has gone on, and more and more of these machines are released I have found my medallion collection growing a bit out of control.  The Festival medallions over at Epcot are probably my favorite and I have been keeping an eye on that machine, but then out of the blue, we got a report about a new set not too far away at the Magic Kingdom.

After work, I took a quick trip over to the park to try and find these new medallions.  I always enjoy walking under the Railroad station and having Main Street USA just reveals itself.  In my mind, it’s always a fun way to be welcomed into the park.

I continued up Main Street towards the Emporium.  Just a quick note on this store, with the current situation in the park they are trying to keep everyone moving in one direction so many of the doorways here are listed as “Exit Only”.  To get into the store you do need to head about halfway up Main Street and enter near the Disney Clothiers store.

Brace yourself when you enter this store as it can be quite chaotic.  It gets worse later on when the park is closing down for the night, with people trying to get their last-minute souvenirs.  The medallion machine is tucked away near the area of the store that has a big selection of Plush toys (sorry it’s hard to be more specific).  Just around the side of one of the checkout counters.

The machine is in a pretty plain cabinet but does actually blend in well with the aesthetics of the Emporium.

The cost is the same as the other machines around the property.  $5 per medallion or you can get all 4 for $15.  This is a slight change from before, where if you were paying with a credit card it would only allow you to get 3 of the coins for $10, and then you had to come up with cash for the 4th design which was pretty inconvenient.  Now they let you get all 4 at once which is much nicer.

The designs on each medallion include Mickey & Minnie holding hands, Pluto, Donald, and Goofy.  On the front of the coin with each character are the words Magic Kingdom, and Walt Disney World.  On the back of each coin is the 2020 Cinderella Castle logo they have been using this year.

This is another great set of medallions, but wow they get expensive.  Especially since pressed pennies are now increasing to $1 each, and medallions at $5 each I may need to get a second job to keep up with my collection.  I did find it a little strange that it’s October and they are releasing another set of dated 2020 medallions but figured these were probably already in the pipeline to be released earlier this summer but got delayed due to all the shutdowns.  Guess in a few months we can look forward to seeing what 2021 designs we get.

Happy Collecting!

WDW Converting Older 3-Design Electric Penny Machines to $1

Over the past year or so we have reviewed how Walt Disney World (and some other theme parks around Central Florida) have begun converting their penny machines over to $1.  The machines being convered were the 4-design hand crank models and we were hoping it would stop there.

But unfortunately on a recent visit to the Magic Kingdom I found what a lot of collectors had been worried about.

I didn’t even make it very far into the park before noticing the very first machine over near the Newsstand looked different.

 
Old Machine                                   New Machine

Above on the left is how the machine looked only a few weeks before.  The picture on the right is how it looked after coming back.  When I noticed the credit card payment system I knew what had happened.

The marquee at the top is a bit different as well, with added information on the new increased cost and they also announce proudly that “We provide the penny”.

Here is a close up of the payment system and information on how it works.  Please note that if you chose to use a credit card or digital payment like ApplePay you will automatically be charge the full $3 and will get all 3 pennies.  You cannot use this type of payment for only one design.  For that you need to use cash and it must be exact the machine does not give change.  So make sure you have your dollar bills ready.  After you insert your dollar, the button will light up and you can chose your design to press.

Here is a picture of the penny set.  They are exactly the same as before the machine was converted.  No variances that I can see like the Frontierland Railroad Station machine we reviewed last week.  The pennies the machine supplied were not great and I’ve definitely seen better with other machines.  But I’ll try cleaning them up a bit and hopefully that will help.

I’ve mentioned this numerous times in the past that many collectors aren’t happy about not being able to use their own preferred pennies.  I do like to use my own whenever possible, but I just enjoy this hobby too much for this small detail to deter me from collecting.  It’s more about the adventure and just simple enjoyment of watching a penny get squished into a fun souvenir.

We are anticipating that since this machine has been changed over the rest of the 3-design electronic machines will soon follow.  On this most recent visit to Magic Kingdom I did check on the other machines but no others had been convered as of yet.  As always we will keep you up to date on the changes.  I don’t think I’ll review each machine individually as they are converted and may instead wait for all of them to be done and write one large article about all of them.  Let me know what you think.  Will you continue to collect these pressed pennies?

Stay safe and Keep on Pressing!

Frontierland Railroad Station NEWish Pressed Pennies – Magic Kingdom

Fresh off a couple new penny machines over at Epcot, it now was time to head back over to the Magic Kingdom for a NEW-ish machine.  What do I mean by that…well we will get to that in a little bit.

I was able to get a park reservation for a Sunday and above is a picture of the entrance to the park.  It was pretty quiet on this visit.

We headed back towards Frontierland only stopping once for a Dole Whip (I’m so weak), then back to Splash Mountain.

As you stand in front of the entrance to Splash Mountain, if you look up you will see the Frontierland Railroad Station.  Unfortunately due to the Tron Coaster construction currently underway the railroad is not running.

But that’s okay since the place we are actually heading is not up to the railroad platform.  Instead, you walk just to the right of Splash Mountain underneath the train station.

If you decide that you would rather take a trip down the Briar Patch by riding Splash Mountain first that’s no problem.  Once you exit the ride you will have to walk underneath the train station as well to get back to the park.  Which is perfect since this is where you will find the new penny machine.

Previously this location had a 3-design electronic penny machine that was removed fairly recently.  Then with the latest news that Splash Mountain will be rethemed to Princess and the Frog, I assumed this machine may not return until after that retheming.  But I was wrong.

As you can see from the image above the machine has returned but is noticeably different.  For one it is now a 4 design manual press machine.  It has also been updated to the new $1 per penny price point, and the machine supplies a shiny new zinc penny.

Here is a look at the new set of pressed pennies from this machine.  Now if you have been collecting Walt Disney World pressed pennies you may be like me and at a glad recognized these designs.  After I had pressed this set I was pretty sure these were previously retired designs that were just brought back.  But once I got home I took a closer look to compare these with the older designs I remembered.

 

First, we will look at the Br’er Vulture design.  It was originally at this very same location under the Frontierland Railroad Station.  However, when I put the two pennies together (New is on the Left, and Old is on the Right) you can see there are some differences.  There is now a notch at the top of the design that splits the dot border, and the Magic Kingdom banner is in a different location.

 

The second penny with Br’er Rabbit was also at the old machine in this same location.  The notch on the left is now splitting the dot border, Br’er Rabbit looks to be a little smaller, the Magic Kingdom banner is larger and the (c) Disney is now on the left of the design.

 

The third penny design that has Mickey and Minnie splashing in some water is STILL available at the Splashdown Photo Preview area.  This is located at the exit of Splash Mountain where there is a wall of video screens showing the ride photos.  In this same area is a sort of hidden penny machine.  That notch is splitting the border again on the new design, the Splash Mountain logo looks a little different, and Mickey & Minnie are more spread apart.

 

The last penny design used to be inside the Country Bear Jamboree waiting area but was recently removed and replaced with an 8-design touch screen machine.  That notch is again splitting the border, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad appears to be a new font, the Train and tracks look a bit more detailed, and the Magic Kingdom banner has been raised a bit and isn’t as wide.

As you can see these are technically new penny designs, but upon closer look, they are very similar to other designs just with some slight variances.  I obviously still picked up a set for my collection and many other collectors enjoy finding variant designs so I’m sure these will be popular.  However, if you remember I did mention above that Splash Mountain is going to be rethemed shortly so I do find it a bit odd that they kept some of the Splash Mountain designs.  You may want to get a set of these before this machine inevitably changed for some new Princess and the Frog designs.

Happy Collecting!!

Magic Kingdom Reopening Preview – NEW Pressed Pennies!!

Back on March 15th, 2020, the Walt Disney World Theme Parks closed due to the COVID Pandemic.  I was there on the last night before it closed and it was a very different experience that I don’t know if I’ll ever see again.  Cast Members were hugging each other in tears, not knowing if or when they may see each other again.  Guests were sitting all along Main Street after the park had officially closed but were just so reluctant to leave not knowing when they may be back in the park.  Eventually, once we had emotionally prepared ourselves to leave we passed by the Main Street Train Station where Mickey and some of his friends were there waving goodbye as we left the park.  I knew we would be back and hoped it would only be a month or so, but soon that closure time extended to two months, then three.

Finally, after about 117 days, Walt Disney World was ready to attempt a reopening with a lot of changes to not just crowd levels but also ride procedures and face coverings.  A few days before the Magic Kingdom was going to reopen to the general public they offered a special preview for Annual Passholders and I made sure to snag one of those limited spots.  Here is a review of my first trip back to the Magic Kingdom.

The park was scheduled to open that day at 9am, but I was wake by 6 in the morning and was just too anxious to get there.  Obviously from the above picture, I was not the only one and there was quite a line at the parking plaza to get into the lots.  To try and help keep everyone spaced out they were pulsing groups of cars through the plaza.  This caused the line to move a bit as a few cars to pass through, then you would sit at a standstill for a while waiting for that previous group to make their way into the parking lot.

It didn’t take too long to get parked but it was a bit of a process.  After we were guided into a spot the trams were not operating so we had to walk from the parking lot to the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC).  Then it was time for our temperature screening.  This was a simple process, you just keep your distance from other guests until it’s your turn and then an Advent Healthcare worker used a non-invasive thermometer to scan your forehead and give you the go-ahead to proceed inside.  After that was the security screening and then on to the first choice of the day…Monorail or Ferry boat.

The line wasn’t too bad for the Monorail so I opted to check that out first.  The number of guests in each car was limited and in my case, I had the entire car to myself.  You can see in the above picture that they have installed a divider over that center bench to try and keep the two parts of the car separated a bit.  But you can see there is a gap around the edge so this is not a full-proof solution.

My ride in the Monorail was pretty quick and before I knew it I was back in the Magic Kingdom with the Train Station looming over the Main Entrance.  The fingerprint scanners have been covered over and not required at this time.  You just touch your Magic Band to the touchpoint and walk on in.

I walked under the train station and onto Main Street feeling like I had never left.  It was a wonderful feeling to be back inside the park, but you did have the sense that things were different.  Up high on the Train Station platform was Mickey and a group of his Friends all welcoming us back which was wonderful.

Main Street USA was fairly empty especially compared to what I’ve been used to over the past few years but was a nice change and I wish it could be like this all the time.

My first stop was over to Adventureland and I was looking forward to getting on Pirates of the Caribbean.  You can see in the above picture that the extended queue is set up with the social distancing markers.  Due to the current low capacity the park is allowing, there was no wait and I walked right on the ride.

After I had completed my Caribbean tour with my favorite pirates I needed a Dole Whip.  Not just because it had been months since my last taste, but also it was extremely hot and humid as we have all come to know Florida for.  That first taste of Dole Whip was heavenly and I savored every moment before continuing on.

Now that I had cooled off a bit, I headed into Frontierland and did make it on Splash Mountain.  I’m sure by now you have heard that Disney announced Splash Mountain will be rethemed to Princess and the Frog.  No time frame has been released yet, but this was definitely the most popular ride in the park with many fans trying to make sure they got in one last ride just in case the ride closes sooner than later.  Then I headed over towards the Country Bear Jamboree and found some of the bears on the second-floor balcony waiving and interactive with guests passing by below them.

With the Country Bears having fun outside I couldn’t pass up a visit to their Jamboree and also figured I would enjoy some Air Conditioning at the same time.

Inside the waiting area for the show previously there had been a 3 design pressed penny machine.  But on this visit, I noticed that machine was gone and was replaced with a new 8-design machine.

The pressed penny designs included images of all the different Country Bears from the show including Big Al, Liver Lips, Brother Ted, Teddi Barra, and more.  With the new pennies stored in my pocket, I headed into the show and enjoyed another great Jamboree performance.

Crowd levels were amazingly low.  Once I left the Country Bears I wondered through Liberty Square, took a quick ride inside the Haunted Mansion, Peter Pan, and then over towards New Fantasyland.  The above picture is of the Stroller Parking near the Carousel.  For anyone that has experienced this area on a normal day, the above picture at least for me was shocking.

The pathway in front of the Little Mermaid attraction was completely deserted.

This continued over into Storybook Circus and Tomorrowland as shown above.

Space Mountain was another attraction that had a posted wait time of around 15 minutes for most of the day but was just a walk-on.  I think the 15 minutes was just the length of time it took to walk through that long queue line.

In the Tomorrowland Terrace was one of the Relaxation Stations.  This is a place just like Universal offered where they have tables separated from each other allowing you a place to remove your mask for a bit of a break.

This is a nice place to sit and relax since it’s open allowing for a nice amount of airflow, but you are also covered from the sun or rain.

By this time I had made almost a complete tour of the park, but wanted to head back down Main Street to visit the Emporium.

But once I got down in that area I was just taken back by how empty it was.  I was almost speechless but wanted to enjoy it for as long as I could.

Not too long after as I was just sitting along Main Street one of the random Character Cavalcades was headed my way.  One of the recent changes Disney made was doing away with the scheduled afternoon parade.  Instead, they have these small Cavalcades which is usually just a single float with a few characters on it.  These are released into the park sporadically to avoid people standing around in groups.  It’s actually a great way to do it without the large crowds.

Getting into the Main Street Emporium is a little different.  This store has a LOT of different doors, but only the set about halfway up Main Street is available to actually enter the store.  All the other doors are marked as Exit Only and have Cast Members there to prevent you from entering the wrong way.  This is to ensure they can manage the number of guests inside the store.  As you enter, a Cast Member has a Tablet that they “Add” you as a guest in the store.  It’s connected to the Cast Members near the exits that are “Removing” guests as they leave.  If there are too many people inside the store they will set up a queue where you need to wait before being allowed inside.

I walked around not really looking to buy any merchandise (I’ve already got plenty and need to try and cut back).  But as I entered the main section of the Emporium I noticed a new Pressed Penny machine.  In this area previously were two machines, a 3-design Quarter Press and a 3-design Penny Press.

But after searching around I can confirm those machines have been removed and replaced with this new 8-design model.

More of a surprise was the addition of more 2020 dated designs.  With 2020 about half over it seems kind of strange to release these now.  Plus I’m curious to see what happens in 2021, will only the dated designs be replaced or will we get a whole new set of 8-designs.  This set has designs of Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Princess Aurora, and a few other familiar characters.

After I finished using that new machine I kept walked around just seeing what was new, and towards one of the exits, I saw another new penny machine.

These 8-design machines are certainly becoming a popular choice at Walt Disney World.  In this location, there used to be a 3-design penny press which has also been retired and replaced with this second new machine.

More 2020 designs are available in this set along with images of Tinker Bell, Snow White, Mickey, and more of his Friends.

This was a really great day.  I was a little apprehensive about heading back into the parks especially since Florida has been having some high numbers of confirmed COVID cases lately.  But with all the precautions Disney has taken, I did feel quite safe and was always trying to ensure I didn’t touch too many things and tried to keep myself distanced from others as much as possible.  There is nothing like visiting a Disney Park to brighten your spirits, and finding three new pressed penny machines was just the icing on the cake.

Fantasy Faire Pressed Pennies – Magic Kingdom

I had just finished up finding a new penny machine over at the Wilderness Lodge when I received a message from a fellow collector that another new machine was at the Magic Kingdom.  A nice leisurely way to travel over to the park from this resort is by boat.

So I headed out back and thankfully didn’t have to wait too long before the boat arrived.

With the windows open and a nice breeze coming inside the boat it definitely is a nice alternative to the buses or even monorail if you park in the Transportation and Ticket Center lot.

The boat will pass by the Contemporary Resort and then into Seven Seas Lagoon where it eventually drops you off right in front of the Magic Kingdom.

Once inside I headed straight down Main Street, cut through Cinderella’s Castle and found myself inside Fantasyland.

I had been told the name of the store (Fantasy Faire) where this new machine was supposed to be located, but for the life of me, I couldn’t think of where it was located within the park.  There are always plenty of cast members around willing to help and they even walked me right over to where it was located beside Mickey’s Philharmagic.

For those of you that may not be familiar with Mickey’s Philharmagic, it’s one of those 4-D movie attractions.  The premise is that Mickey will be conducting an Orchestra, but Donald gets a hold of the Sorcerer’s Hat and is dragged into some of Disney’s famous animated musical scenes.  Be Our Guest (Beauty and the Beast), Can’t wait to be King (The Lion King), A Whole New World (Aladdin) and a few more.  The scenes are all recreated in 3-D and you periodically are splashed with some water or scents are sprayed in your direction depending on what is on the screen.  I think this definitely needs an upgrade to the screen and the 3D is a bit weak, but the music is really fun and gets everyone in the theater singing along.  After the show is over you exit down a hallway back into the park but along the way, there is an opening to the Fantasy Faire gift shop.  Inside the theming continues with the orchestra and plenty of musical touches.

You can also get into this store without having to go through the attraction.  Just to the right of the Philharmagic attraction entrance is another entrance to the store.

Over along one wall that is covered with Minnie and Mickey Ears was where I found the new penny machine.

The only issue I ran into with this machine is that it’s located right next to a Cast Member door which opens out into the store.  So if you are standing a bit too close to the machine the door won’t hit you but does come close especially with the Cast Members coming in and out of the door.

The designs for this new set include all your favorite Disney characters like Mickey, Minnie, Donald and more playing various musical instruments.

This new set is cute but I wish it actually had the Philharmagic logo on them or just included images from the actual attraction.  But it’s still nice to have another new set of pennies for my collection.  After pressing the coins I jumped in line to watch Mickey’s Philharmagic and then grabbed a Pineapple Dole Whip before I headed out of the park.

Happy Collecting!

2020 Dated Walt Disney World Pressed Coins Set

Happy New Year!!  Ok sorry I know it’s February but I have some great news, all the 2020 pressed coins have been released at Walt Disney World.  Well, most of them are available…but we will get to that in a bit.  This year was a bit chaotic, we came out of the gate early in January with a hand full of new coins, then it took some time for the rest to appear.

Just recently the last few 2019 designs were finally removed and replaced with old retired designs, not new 2020 ones.  I was trying to hold out as long as I could before writing this to keep all this information in one post.  I’ve spoken with some fellow collectors and we believe that the 2020 dated designs have all been released.  As always if anything changes I’ll be sure to update everyone.

We will star over in Epcot at the Mouse Gear store.  This is the main gift shop just behind Spaceship Earth and has been home to a dated penny design for quite a few years.

   

The penny machine can be found along a wall covered in the 2020 merchandise like t-shirts, sweaters, snow globs, picture frames and so much more.  The penny available here was of Spaceship Earth.

Remember at the beginning when I said most of the designs are available well this is the one exception for now.  I was at Epcot the day this design was released.  But for some reason about a week, later this store was closed up for a lengthy refurbishment.  As of the date, I’m writing this penny machine has not been moved and is currently unavailable.  There is a new “Temporary” Mouse Gear store behind the Electric Umbrella quick service restaurant, but the machine hasn’t been placed there yet.  This design has become a highly sought after design for now since it was only available for a few days not many people were able to get one.  Rumors are that the machine cabinet is being rethemed and will then return.  I’ll be sure to post an update if it shows up again.

   

Epcot also had a second penny design available back in the World Showcase at the Disney Trader’s gift shop.  The design is of Chip and Dale carrying what I think is Donald’s hat.  After pressing this penny I headed over to the International Gateway and grabbed the new Skyliner over to Hollywood Studios.

   

The first new design is back in the Rock Around the Shop the gift shop for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.  I really like the design of this machine’s cabinet and hope they don’t change it.  It just really fits in well here.  The penny design here was of Chip and Dale in 2020.

 

Not too far away was the next coin in the Tower Hotel Gifts which is the store for the Tower of Terror attraction.  This pressed quarter has a similar design from previous years of the Tower of Terror.

With Hollywood Studios completed we headed over to the Animal Kingdom.  Back in Dinoland USA at the Chester and Hester Dino Treasures gift shop is where the penny machine is located.

 

The penny in this store is of the Tree of Life the icon of the park also with 2020 at the bottom.  Animal Kingdom used to have a dated pressed quarter located at the Harambe Train Station but this machine did not get a 2020 design.

Now we were off to check out some of the resorts for new coins.  First, we stopped at the All-Star Sports resort.

 

The machines are located in the main lobby building just outside the Arcade.  There is one-quarter machine available and the design here is of 2020 Goofy.

A little further down the road, we visited the All-Star Music resort.  These machines are also located in the main building just outside the Note’ Able Arcade.

 

The pressed quarter design at this resort is of Pluto with 2020 on it.

The last All-Star resort is Movies and ended strong with two pressed coin designs.

 

These machines are found in the World Premier Food Court and can be a busy place if you visit during common mealtime.  The pressed quarter design is of Donald Duck.

 

Just a few steps to the right is the penny machine with the new 2020 design of Pluto.  This completed the All-Star resorts so we jumped back in our car and headed over to the Art of Animation resort.

This resort has one of my favorite food courts called the Landscape of Flavors.  When you first walk in there is a pretty big gift shop, then the food court is just beyond that.  The penny machines are just past the gift shop.

 

The design available at this machine is another horizontal image of Donald Duck in 2020.  There was just one more resort we needed to visit and it probably my all-time favorite.

I love the theming at the Polynesian Village Resort, and the food options are great.  Inside the main lobby building called the Grand Ceremonial House, up on the second floor is the Moana Mercantile and the penny machine is right outside the store.

 

Of all the designs this year I think this one is my favorite, 2020 Minnie Mouse.

After a quick ride on the Monorail, we were inside the Magic Kingdom.  I headed right down Main Street, through the Castle and into Fantasyland.

Near the carousel is a store called Sir Mickey’s.  This is also the store you exit into after you experience a Princess Meet and Greet.

 

In previous years this machine has been my archnemesis.  I think in 2019 I had to visit this machine about 3-4 times before it was finally working to press the penny.  This year I lucked out and it was working without any issue.  This is another cute design of 2020 Mickey Mouse.

In previous years the Main Street Emporium had a dated penny and quarter, but not in 2020.  This year those old designs were replaced with previously retired designs from other locations.  But I did find another machine at the Main Street Train Station.

 

This was a new machine placed here in 2019 and all four of the designs were replaced with new 2020 penny designs.  This set has images of Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Cinderella’s Castle.  We had just one more place to visit to finalize all the 2020 coins, we grabbed a bus over to Disney Springs.

   

In the Pin Traders store, there is a collectible medallion machine.  This has moved around a bit over the last year, but this seems to be it’s new “permanent” location.  There was a 2019 design here and it has been replaced with a new 2020 medallion.

Wow, I don’t know about you but that was quite a trek around WDW property.

This year there are only 4 pressed quarter designs.  It does seem like these pressed quarter machines are slowly being removed as quite a few of them were taken away last year and have not returned.  There were 12 pennies and 1 collectible medallion, making for a grand total of 17 dated coins.

Keep in mind that penny from Epcot’s Mouse Gear is not currently available, and is also a prime example of making sure you try to get these coins as soon as you can.  With so many things changing around Walt Disney World property these machines seem to come and go periodically which can leave holes in your collection.

Have a great 2020 and I’ll be sure to keep you up to date with any changes to this setup or if that pesky Mouse Gear penny shows up somewhere.  I think this is going to be another big year at WDW with new coin released so we will definitely be busy.

Keep on Smashing!!

First 2020 Penny Set and Souvenir Medallion – Walt Disney World Resort

Walt Disney World has started releasing the 2020 coins.  The machines with the individual designs in each park and a few resorts are still coming out and I’ll have a big post about all of those once they are available.

However, there were a few separate 2020 coins that were released and I thought I would go ahead and share them with you separately.

First was over at Disney Springs in the Pin Trader store.  This location does have quite a few penny machines but those designs have not changed.  The new design that I came across was in the Collectible Medallion machine.

This machine seems to have its designs swapped out on a fairly regular schedule.  I feel like I was just over here getting a new coin not too long ago.

The cost of these coins is still the same at $5 per coin or 3 for $10.  Above is a picture of all the current designs available.  The second design from the left is the one we had found just a few weeks ago.

This medallion is pretty similar to the 2019 version it replaced.  It has a similar Disney Springs pattern on the front with Mickey Mouse on top obviously now it has 2020.  The back design is still the standard Disney Springs logo on all the other medallions here.

Next, we actually headed into the Magic Kingdom.  We visited on January 4th and it was a crazy madhouse.  Thankfully we weren’t going in too far for these new penny designs and just headed into the Main Street Railroad Station.

Not too long ago this location used to have a 3-design pressed quarter machine, but that was replaced in 2019 with this machine that had 4 designs all dated with 2019.  I actually thought this would be one of the last machines swapped out, but sure enough, it was one of the first.

This is still a 4-design hand-crank machine, but it’s one of the recently converted models that cost $1 per design.  This machine does accept credit cards or digital payments like ApplePay however, if you use those forms of payment you must get all 4 pennies for $4.   If you only want one penny (or less than the full set of 4) you need to use cash.

Above is a picture of the marquee at the top of the machine.  I liked the Train logo in the middle from last year and am glad to see it return.  It’s just a nice little touch to signify where it is in the park.  They should have a machine at each train station and make a fun subset to collect for a penny pressing trip around the Train loop.

The designs here all have 2020 on them with images of Cinderella’s Castle, Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy.

Well, this was just a quick taste of the new 2020 pressed coins still on the way.  I think I have about half of them collected.  Hopefully, the rest will be released soon as these are highly popular to collect each year and I know people are anxious to know where they are all located.

Here’s to a fantastic 2020 with lots more pennies to press!

Pirates of the Caribbean Collectible Medallions – Magic Kingdom WDW

Throughout 2019 we have noticed that the 4-design pressed penny machines around Walt Disney World property have been slowly converted to have a higher cost per penny…now at a whopping $1.  This is up from the standard $0.50 which seems to be the norm for most of the penny presses around the United States.  You can read about some of the recent changes here.   While thoughts on this increase among collectors various with some not happy about the increase, others upset that they can no longer use their own pennies, to others agreeing this was inevitable with the assumed rising cost to maintain the machines.  However, you fell about this change about increased cost I have started to notice something else start popping up around property that is even more expensive…collectible medallions.

Initially, when a set of these came out I had convinced myself I wouldn’t get them and wanted to stay focused on the pressed pennies.  Then they released a special medallion for the Flower and Garden Festival in Epcot (something I’ve always wanted with pressed pennies), and I finally broke.  Thankfully at the time, there were only a couple machines but it seems like more and more of these are making appearances.  Just a few weeks ago I received a message on Facebook about a new set of medallions but this time in the Magic Kingdom for the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.

The first chance I got I headed over to the park and visited one of my favorite rides.  I was able to get a last-minute fastness so I enjoyed the ride first and then headed towards the gift shop in search of the machine.

The store is actually called the Plaza del Sol Caribe Bazaar but most people just say the gift shop at the end of the Pirates ride.

It didn’t take long to find the machine since it’s located pretty much in the dead center of the store.  This is good and bad, easy to find but in a very busy spot.  There are people both exiting the attraction that pass right by it, and also people shopping all around.  I stood here about a good 5 minutes just to try and get a clear picture of the machine and the above is about the best I could do.

The cabinet for the medallions is pretty cool looking.  The distressed wood makes it look like it came straight off a pirate ship or was made of old treasure chests.

I find these machines a bit interesting as to how they are setup.  In the middle of the machine are large glass pieces where you can see inside where the coins are stored.  But these never move so they are not actually the ones you get after you pay for them.  I guess this is where the “extras” are stored until needed, but wouldn’t it look strange when the inside is empty due to the coins all being loaded for dispensing?  To be honest I’ve never seen one of these medallion machines without any coins in this middle display section but you would think eventually they would want to sell off those coins as well.  If I ever find someone doing some maintenance on these machines I’ll have to try and ask how it works.

Here are the buttons that you would press to pick the medallions you want after paying for them.  The cost is $5 each, or 3 of them for $10.  So if you want all 4 that will run you $15.  The machine does accept cash or credit card, but be aware if paying with a credit card it will only allow the $10 option (for three coins).

As per usual I just couldn’t resist the entire set.  The coins are made of different materials, although I would actually assume the core of them is the same but with a different coating/finish on the outside.  The designs are Pirate Mickey, Pirate Minnie, Pluto and the Skeleton steering the ship from the ride.

The back of all the medallions has the same design for the Pirates of the Caribbean with the skull and crossbones.  These coins aren’t dated like some of the other ones released this year so I would think this set may be sticking around for a while but you just never know with Disney.

Now back to my original conversation on the increased cost to the pressed pennies.  Am I happy about an increase in cost, of course not!  I wish they could stay at $0.50 forever especially with my obsessive need to collect all of them that would help keep my expense budget down.  But I do really enjoy this hobby and even at $1 per penny, it’s still a pretty good steak for a collectible and souvenir from Disney.  It would be nice to be able to use my own penny but the machines now do seem to be supplying uncirculated pennies that come out nice and shiny and hopefully will hold up over the years if properly stored, only time will tell.  Then we come to these new medallions and at $5 a coin they are now starting to push their luck.  The coins are hefty and solid, not cheaply made and I enjoy the unique designs on them.  I don’t know if I would pay much more than the current cost for these medallions so hopefully, they stay this cost for now and limit the total number of medallions available to help keep these all affordable for collectibles and casual fans alike.  If the costs rise too much more and my budget allows for only medallions or pressed pennies, the pennies will win out every time.  Although even that has a limit of how much we would be willing to pay for our beloved pressed pennies.

Magic Kingdom Machines Converting to $1 per Penny Design

If you have been following along recently you will most likely have noticed my last few posts about the new 4-design penny press machines and the increase in cost.

This change has a lot of collectors not too happy, but not necessarily just because of the higher price.  This is something that I feel was inevitable and am kind of surprised it didn’t happen earlier.  From what I have been hearing from collectors they are more upset about the machine supplying the penny.  We have talked in the past about the preference for a lot of pressed penny collectors to use pre-1982 pennies due to their higher copper content.  This usually results in much better final pressings.  But as we have found with the new larger format machines (8 or 12 design machines) that already supply new shiny zinc (copper coated) penny.  The jury is still out on how well these pressed pennies will hold up over time.

The first few machines to be released on Walt Disney World property were two machines at the Main Street Train Station in the Magic Kingdom, and the new machine in Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios.  However these were brand new machines just released, and this immediately sparked another concern about whether any existing machines would get the price increase as well.

I have checked out all the parks and so far only one other machine over in Tomorrowland has been changed.

   

Over near the Tomorrowland Speedway was a 4-design hand crank machine that has been here for a while.

As you can see from the above picture, the machine has been upgraded (?!?! updated) to the new price point.

 

Fortunately (or maybe not if you don’t already have these coins) the designs have not changed.  They are still the same as they were before the price increase.  Thankfully for my collection I already had a set pressed on some older (pre-1982) pennies, but went ahead and pressed a new set just to see how they came out.

There were a few other 4-design machines that were temporarily missing from the Magic Kingdom.  As we assumed they have returned with the updated cabinet and the new price and payment system.

First was over in Tomorrowland near where the TTA People Mover line forms.  The designs have not changed.

Next over in the Tomorrowland Light & Power store (Space Mountain Gift shop) has two machines.

The first penny machine also has the same designs as before.

However, this location also used to have a pressed dime machine that was very unique.  That machine has been converted to a penny machine but still has the same original designs.

I spoke with some other collectors about these pennies, and it appears the dies inside the machine are the same dime sized as before, but the tension/pressure of the machine has been adjusted to press pennies.  Due to this, the pennies come out much shorter than usual.  As you can see from the comparison picture above the pennies come out almost the same size as the dimes.

The next machine was in Storybook Circus (where the classic Dumbo ride is located) in the Big Top Souvenir gift shop.  Located all the way in the back this machine can be easily missed.  The four penny designs are the same as before it’s updated, the only change is to the price and payment options.

Heading over to Liberty Square we checked on the machine near the Haunted Mansion.  These designs have also returned unchanged but the instructions on how to use the machine have been updated and are more detailed.

Just a short stroll into Frontierland the machine located across from the Frontier Trading Post has also got a new cabinet with updated pricing.  Designs are unchanged.

Finally, the last machine is over by the world-famous Jungle Cruise attraction.  The cabinet has been updated but as with most of these machines, the designs are the same as before.

I also visited Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and Disney Springs but didn’t find any other 4-design machines missing.  I would think this is probably a bit of a time-consuming process to update the machine cabinets so they are probably systematically doing each park one at a time to limit the number of machines that will be unavailable.

Being a collector that prefers to use my own pennies this is a bit of a bummer to see the machines converted over to pre-loaded.  I had used some pre-loaded machines in the past at other places around Niagara Falls and received some pretty shabby pennies.  On the plus side, it does appear Disney is trying to use some brand new shiny pennies, but they are zinc.  We will just have to wait and see how they hold up over time like the preferred copper pennies.

Walt Disney World Theme Parks “Coin Set”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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