Hotel Plaza Boulevard – Disney Springs Area, FL

First off I’ll apologize for the delay in getting around to writing about these new penny press machines.  These were released weeks ago while I was out-of-town on a Family vacation.  It’s amazing how just a week away can put everything so far behind.  I’m still trying to time to write about our trip.  But in the mean time I figured I needed to try and catch up on some of these “newer” machines.

I’ve mentioned in a previous post about these hotels that are located on Walt Disney World property but are not Disney owned.  They are usually referred to as “Good Neighbor” hotels.  You get most of the same benefits (fast passes, early park hours, and transportation to the parks) but usually at a much lower price which is nice.  Located to the east of Disney Springs right along Hotel Plaza Boulevard are these seven hotels.  Each of these hotels does have a Disney gift shop located inside, but in the past none of them ever had a pressed penny machine.  Then all of a sudden five of these hotels received machines and I had to head over as soon as I was back in town to check them out.

Since I had never visited these hotels before I wasn’t sure what the parking situation would be like and was worried about high hourly parking rates.  So instead I parked (for free) in one of the Disney Springs parking garages and walked to each of the hotels.  I walked through the Marketplace and just beside the Once Upon a Toy Store is a walkway that allows you to cross the busy Buena Vista Drive.

These walkways were actually pretty nice, and my daughter had a great time watching the cars pass by underneath our feet.  Eventually we ended up on the far side of Hotel Plaza Boulevard and headed into the first hotel.

The Hilton Orlando Buena Vista was out first stop.  Heading inside through the main lobby area we hung a right and down the hallway we saw the familiar Disney Store sign.

There is nothing unique about these stores.  After visiting all of them they pretty much carried the same items, standard souvenirs, plush character, drinks, snacks and toiletries.

   

Just inside the store on the right side was the penny press machine.  The cabinet was painted the classic Mickey red which was a nice surprise.  The designs available in this machine were of  Mickey & Pluto, Lilo with a  Camera, and Stitch playing a Ukulele.

The hotels are next to each other, but there is still quite a walk in between each one.  It was a nice walk although this time of year the Florida sun and humidity can get to you pretty quickly.

The second hotel was the Holiday Inn Orlando.  We headed inside past the check-in area, hung a left and just near the lounge area was the gift shop.

As my daughter checked out the souvenirs (although I think by now she has pretty much all of them) I found the machine along the sidewalk and pressed my coins.

   

The designs at this machine were of two new designs: Chef Minnie with a Cake, and Goofy fishing, but the third design was of Lumiere & Cogsworth from Beauty and the Beast.  This last design used to be available at the Once Upon a Time gift shop in Hollywood Studios.  It had been removed back in July 2017 when two new 8-design touch screen machines were located there instead.

Still on the same side of the boulevard the next stop was at the B Resort & Spa.  Strange name, but this was a beautiful looking hotel.

I was only able to check out the lobby and gift shop but from what I could see this looks really nice and I’d be interested in checking it out in the future.

As I walked into the gift shop I noticed a large mural behind the check out area.  I’m sure it was just an interchangeable piece of wallpaper but it was still fun to look at with the Magic Kingdom and it’s landmarks depicted in the image.

Plus the penny machine was right beside it so while I used the machine I took a closer look at it.  I’ve seen some t-shirts and other merchandise in some of the park stores with this style drawing so I’m sure this is the new 2018 design.  I may have to pick something up the next time I’m in the parks.

   

The designs at this machine were of Minnie with her hands together, Pluto jumping on Mickey.  Both of which were brand new images.  The third design is of Anna & Elsa from Frozen.  This used to be at the Puffin’s Roost in Epcot at the Norway Pavilion but had been removed a year or so ago.

The last hotel on this side of the boulevard was the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton.

This was an interesting designed building, but the lobby area was not very big.  As soon as I walked in the check-in desk was to the right, and the Disney store was to the left.  Pretty easy to find.

   

While I used this machine to press the pennies the cast member in the store came by to  talk.  She mentioned the machine has just been brought in a few days prior.  I asked if she knew whether all the “Good Neighbor” hotels were getting them and she wasn’t sure, but more on that in a bit.  The designs in this machine were of Minnie Mouse, Donald in a Tuxedo, and Jiminy Cricket.

Once I had left the DoubleTree suites it was time to cross over the boulevard.  This is a very busy street so be careful crossing.  I didn’t want to risk just running across especially with my young daughter along for the visit.  So we waited, and waited and waited for the traffic light to change.  But made for a much safer crossing.  On the other side were a couple of hotels but we had to head all the way back towards Disney Springs.

At this intersection of Hotel Plaza Boulevard and East Buena Vista Drive is where the overhead walkways where that we had initially taken to cross the street.  On this side of the boulevard there was a sidewalk so we just headed to the right down East Buena Vista Drive.

After a bit of a walk we found the last hotel on this trip the Hilton Palace Buena Vista.

This Disney store is a little more difficult to find.  If you come in through the front main entrance of the hotel you need to take the elevator down a floor.  In this area is where the food court section is and the gift shop is just nearby.

This was yet another beautiful looking hotel and I was really surprised.  I’m not sure why I just assumed these would be a little run down or outdated but they were definitely not what I was expecting.

   

This was the last machine to use and unfortunately it was a little temperamental.  It seemed like the slide the finished pressed penny uses to eventually end up in the cup at the bottom wasn’t lined up correctly.  The machine seemed to press the coins fine, but once they slide down they apparently ended up in the bottom of the cabinet.  I asked the cast member for help but they said they didn’t have the key to open up the machine.  Thankfully I had a few extra sets of quarters and pennies for just this type of situation.  After a few test runs I found that if I kept my hand just inside the bottom cup it would help keep the pennies from dropping inside the machine.  Hopefully this has been fixed as the cast member said they would bring it up with their manager.

With all these new pennies stored away in my pocket we decided to make our way back over the walkways to Disney Springs.

Now I did mention that I had asked the cast member at the DoubleTree Suites about other machines in the area.  As you can see from the picture of the area map I found along the sidewalk there are seven Good Neighbor resorts.

As of this visit I made there were only five of these resorts with penny machines.  However I have read online that rumors are swirling about the remaining two hotels (Best Western and Wyndham) will be getting machines in the near future.  Fingers crossed!

   

Plus you can read here about the Hilton over at Bonnet Creek that got a new machine that I had posted about earlier.  It definitely seems like Disney has been releasing a lot of new penny press machines in locations they never had before.  I’m hoping this is due to the popularity of these machines and they realize people really enjoy them plus of course they make the resorts some money.

This was quite a bit of walking to start in Disney Springs, and make the long trek to each resort.  But it took about an hour and a half at a leisurely pace.  We tried not to rush and once I was inside these hotels I did want to spend a bit of time checking them out.  I didn’t see any of the guest rooms, but if they are anything like the lobby’s and mail hotel areas I would absolutely keep these in mind when visiting the area.  Plus they have penny machines so that’s always a plus in my books.

Legoland Florida Second Visit – Winter Haven, FL

A few weeks had gone by since our first trip to Legoland Florida, and this past saturday we found ourselves with nothing schedule and thought we would head back.

After entering into the park my kids headed right for the carousel which is their favorite go to ride right now.  While we were enjoying the ride on one of the revolutions I saw the Lego Studio Store and there was a penny machine near the door.  Once the carousel ride was finished we headed over to check it out.

At first I took this to be a new machine, but after I got home it seems these designs have been available in the past.  So my assumption is the machine was just out for refurbishment during the off-season.  There was another machine I found on this day but we will get to that in a little bit.

   

The designs that were available at this machine included Fabulous Lad Vegas, The White House, Kenny Space Center, and San Francisco.  Next we started making our way through the different sections of the park, and eventually found our way back to minifigure world.  This trip we took a lot more time to take in some of the details they put into these really amazing scenes.

Of course we checked out the Kennedy Space Center shuttle launch, and watch a bit of the Nascar race which always seem to generate a big crowd.  Then we headed towards the back area where we found good old New York City.

This eventually lead us around into a side area that was all about Star Wars.

The different sections in this area had a scene from each movie.

There was even a Millennium Falcon that would take off every few minutes.

My personal favorite The Empire Strikes Back was represented with the battle on the ice planet Hoth.  There were a few more scenes that were really impressive but I don’t want to switch over to Star Wars fanboy mode.  We then spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the rest of the park and even went for another stroll through Cypress Gardens.  On the way out we did make a stop in The Big Store.

Near the middle set of doors to the store I saw a second penny press machine that wasn’t there on our first visit.

While my family was inside looking for new Lego sets to bring home I headed over to check out this additional machine.

   

This machine did roll the pennies a little short.  I tried adjusting a few of the rolls and the above are about the best I was able to do.  The set includes images of the Legoland Florida logo, the Legoland Entrance, Minifigure Blake, and Minifigure Sunny.

When I met back up with my family they had picked out a few new Lego sets and were anxious to get home and start working on them.  We headed out of the park and drove back home.  In total so far I’ve found a total of 6 penny press machines throughout Legoland.  We have not go into the water park yet and I’m hoping maybe there is another machine back there, but I’m not sure when we will be back to check that part out.  I have some family coming into town in a few weeks and they mentioned maybe taking a break from Disney (Gasp!!) so we may suggest Legoland so I can see if any additional machines show up.

Orlando Science Center – Orlando, FL

I’m sure at some point in the next few years my daughters school would probably have a field trip to the Orlando Science Center.  But when I noticed online that there was a penny machine located here I just couldn’t wait that long.  Even though she is probably a little young to understand most of what we were going to see, I figured she would still have a lot of fun with some of the exhibits.

The Science center is made up of multiple floors that you can access by either a central located elevator, or by a spiral staircase that winds around a big tree.  I have been an avid visitor of science and history museums all my life and can say with certainty this was a first.

Starting on the bottom floor has another interesting exhibit which was an indoor nature trail.

The walkway was even formed like a mud trail you would find out in the woods.  It was solid and safe to walk on obviously but was uneven in areas if you weren’t paying attention.

There was an area with some small alligators, turtles and fish all commingling nicely.  As we kept walking there was an alcove to one side with some snakes and reptiles.  Just beyond that was a large fish tank with some coastal sea creatures swimming about.  Did I mention snakes?  There seemed to be quite a few different snakes on display that were all displayed as being native to Florida and “non-venomous” which was only a little reassuring.

Eventually we came to the turtle area which was a little more my speed.  I will also say these exhibits all had a lot of great information on pollution and there were a lot of staff around trying to engage with the kids and explain how to keep things clean and safe for our wildlife friends.

With the first floor done we headed upstairs to the next floor and the first area was called the KinecticZone.  This was classic science museum and I always loved this stuff as a kid.  There were tons of things to touch and my daughter even though she is only a few years old had a great time playing and not realizing she was actually learning.

What kid doesn’t have fun playing with static electricity?  My daughter had a great time zapping me and seeing my reaction.  How could I get mad when I’m pretty sure I did the same thing when I was young.

After we had tried out all the science experiences with magnets, electricity, centripetal forces and much more (sorry can’t think of any other science-y words) we needed a bit of a break.  Just outside the KineticZone was a hallway with some restrooms and a small snack bar.  Just beside the snack bar hidden in the shadows was the penny press machine.

See I told you it was in the shadows.  The machine worked fine and I had recently used a machine similar to this at Old Town in Kissimmee.

However this machine didn’t accept pennies as you can see from the picture above.  This was a machine that would supply the penny to be pressed for you which we have gone over in the past is not my ideal situation, but that wasn’t going to stop me from using the machine.

When the pennies dropped out of the machine into the collection cup I grabbed them out and took a closer look.  The images included Triceratops, T-Rex, and Brontosaurus dinosaurs and a Trilobite fossil.  Now I will say these seemed strange to be in a science museum as usually in my experience dinosaurs are associated with natural history museums.  But I would soon find out differently.

We finished our little pit stop with a bathroom break and snack from the concession area.  Then headed up to the next floor and found DinoDigs.

This room was huge and very spacious.  I wasn’t sure if maybe this was a temporary exhibit here or not, but the dinosaur fossils they had were amazing as always.

There was also a few areas where fossils were buried in these little sandbox type contains that kids could get in and search for.  Thankfully there wasn’t any sand just shopped up plastic or tires maybe but it made the experience thankfully much cleaner.

After digging up our fair share of bones my daughter was looking like it was about time for a nap.  I figured it was a good opportunity to head back to the car and make our way home and the car ride is always a guaranteed way to ensure she sleeps.  The Orlando Science Center was a great mix of standard science exhibits which in my book never get old, and some fun new stuff not usually found at a science museum.  There were a few sections of the museum we didn’t get to see so I know we will be back to check out the rest.  It doesn’t seem like the penny designs change too often but that’s also another reason to stop by in the future.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! – Orlando, FL

This week I headed back over to International Drive in Orlando to visit another roadside attraction.  I had visited a Ripley’s Believe It or Not! back in New Jersey on the Atlantic City Boardwalk years ago.  All I remember is being more disturbed than anything just due to some of the very strange things Mr. Ripley supposedly found along his world travels.

Since this is located right on I-Drive it has to stick out somehow from all the other tourist attractions so the building was designed to look like it was sinking into the group.  It’s a fun little optical illusion, similar to the upside down building at WonderWorks.

As soon as you walk inside there is a small lobby area where you can buy your admission tickets if you didn’t pre-purchase online.  In this area you can find the penny press machine.  Little disclaimer, I have heard that from time to time this machine moves inside the attraction and paid admission is needed.  But for now the machine is right out front and no ticket needed to use it.

For some reason I always find that these style machines tend to roll short more often than not but this one wasn’t too bad.

The designs included in this set were of the Ripley’s Orlando Building, the Two-headed Calf, a Tiny Car, and a Shrunken Head.  Even though I had the pennies already I figured since I was here may as well head inside and see what they have to offer.

When you first get inside you are shown the original Ripley desk.  There is a spooky hologram they project of Robert Ripley sitting behind the desk giving some anecdotes of his travels.  As I mentioned above there are some distributing things in this museum that deal with animal birth defects, to tribal rituals including pretty graphic piercings and other things I’m just going to skip over.  Some people find it fascinating but wasn’t really my cup of tea.  I skipped ahead to a large artifact room that had some more PG items on display.

Such as this cute Wall-E sculpture.  I stood there for a few minutes hoping it would move or talk but it doesn’t.  Just a nice piece of artwork.

After visited with Wall-E I found myself in the Medieval torture section, and I’m pretty sure you can guess the crazy contraptions they had on display in here.  They aren’t too graphic, but just looking at some of these devices can set your imagination wild.

Since we have been living in Florida for about a year and still getting used to all the thunderstorms I thought the above sign was a fun fact.

Eventually I headed into an area with some fun little interactive exhibits like seeing how flexible you are.

Or try your hand at a giant Operation game but for some reason the infamous funny bone is missing.

There was also a room with a large piece of the Berlin Wall, and also a room with some wax figures of Ripley’s famous human attractions so you can take selfies with.

As a last test for some reason before you exit into the gift shop you get to walk down this hallway that spins around you.  Of course you get dizzy and you have trouble walking straight through.  There is a bypass but this is fun to watch people experience.  Once you pass through this area you exit into the gift shop which is very small and hard to get through if there are even a few people in there.

This is a place that is just a little too weird for me, and I’m usually into that kind of stuff. I’m glad the penny press machine is outside so you don’t necessarily have to go through the museum if you are a little squeamish or just not interesting in this type of museum.  I probably won’t be back any time soon unless someone from out-of-town really want to check it out.  There is a lot of stuff inside and you could spend a few hours if you take your time but I would recommend checking out their website first to sample what’s there before you venture inside.

SeaWorld Seven Seas Food Festival – Orlando, FL

In some past posts I’ve reviewed the different festivals that have gone on over at Epcot, but just recently I tried something new.  My youngest daughter has really enjoyed SeaWorld lately and we have found ourselves over there more often than I had anticipated.

On a recent trip we found ourselves visiting the park in the middle of their Seven Seas Food.  I had heard some advertisements on the radio and TV about the festival but to be honest it has started to seem like every park and town are having their own food festivals now.

However since we had been to SeaWorld quite few times in the last month I was looking for something different to try.  As much as I like the Food and Wine or Flower and Garden at Epcot they can definitely get pricey after while.  At the Seven Seas Food Festival you can buy everything al la carte, or they do offer special lanyard.

These lanyard can be purchased for a set price depending on the total number of samples you would like.  As an annual passholder they also had special bonus samples offered for free when you buy a lanyard.  Then when you visit the different booths you can get any of the food or beverage options and each will only cost you one punch on the lanyard regardless of the item price.

The food options were overall pretty good.  As you enter the main festival area there are passport booklets that review the festival, and the food/beverage options.  There is also a map inside showing you where all the booth locations are throughout the park.

I didn’t want to go too crazy with the food, but figured we would at least sample a few things as we walked around.  First we stopped by the Cocina Criolla booth and tried the Pincho de Cerdo con Tostones which was skewered flame grilled pork with a sweet and spicy BBQ sauce which I have pictured above.

Next we headed over towards the Brazilian Market and sampled a few things.

Above was the Brazilian Churrasco which was grilled skirt steak with chimichurri and garbanzo frito.

There was also an interesting Brazilian chicken salad with chicken, ham, raisins, carrots, apples and olives topped with shoestring potatoes.

My daughter likes the Arctic Encounter so we always make sure and check that out so we can visit the beluga whales and polar bears.  As we exited there was the Polynesian Market where I sampled a Lumpia which was a spring roll filled with pork and served with a Thai pineapple sauce.

There were a few additional items I sampled while we walked around the park but we actually had a surprise encounter.  Over near the Mexican Market we ran into Executive Chef Hector Colon.  He oversees the menu development for not just SeaWorld Orlando, but also Discovery Cove and Aquatica water park.  I had recognized him from a behind the scene documentary on SeaWorld.  It was really fantastic to meet him and we appreciated the time he took out of his day to chat with us and take a picture.  We thanked him for all his work on the festival and the food throughout the parks as they really have raised the bar.  I felt that was a great way to top off our day at the park and decided it was time to head out.

As we headed towards the exit we passed by the Shamu Emporium.  It’s still under construction right now, and a whole bunch of penny machines from around the park are now temporary located here.  I took a quick review of each machine in the area and found one that was either new or somehow missed on my previous trips.

The machine was working nicely but I did have an issue pressing one of the designs.  I tried it a couple of times and each time rolled a little short.

The designs look to be some classic SeaWorld images of Shamu the famous Orca whale.  When I was back home I checked my collection and didn’t see these included so I think they may be new designs or at the very least new to me.

The Seven Seas Food Festival was a lot of fun, the live music was great and the food was really fantastic and different.  Unfortunately the festival concluded at the end of April but I will definitely be back next year.

Grand Floridian Resort NEW Pressed Pennies

As luck would have it I go out-of-town for a week and when I get back home there was a bunch of new penny machines released.  I’m not complaining but it did make for a busy few days as I tried to get caught up on what I had missed.

For this first stop I headed over to the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.  If you aren’t staying at this resort or have a dining reservation parking here is usually off-limits.  Depending on who you get at the security booth sometimes they let me park for 10 minutes to run in and use the penny machines.  But don’t bank on this every time as I’ve only been able to do that a couple of times.  In most instances I park over at the Ticket and Transportation Center and take the monorail over.

To access this new machine that was just released you need to head up to the second floor of the main building.  However, as mentioned above if you take the monorail over you will enter the resort already on the correct floor.

Just inside the doors to the monorail station is where the new 8 design machine can be found.

The plain white cabinet of this machine fits right in with the style of this resort.

All of the designs say “Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort” on them which is already nice to have included.  The images included in this set are of Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, Mickey & Minnie, Pluto, Tinker Bell and Bambi.  This was a nice new set to have released and I’m curious to see if more of these 8 design machines start showing up at other resorts.  They definitely seem to be the machine of choice at Disney lately.

Before we go, some of you eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that this machine is located in the same place a previous 3 design machine was.  Well as part two of this adventure I headed over to the Yacht & Beach Club Resorts which is where that machine had been moved to.

The machine can be accessed from either the Yacht Club or Beach Club resort as it can be found outside the Lafferty Arcade which is pretty much in between both resorts.  This is also just a short walk from the famous Beaches and Cream Soda Shop.  As you can see in the picture above to the far right is Beaches and Cream with the original penny machine found at this resort.  In the middle is the Arcade and on the left side is the penny machine relocated here.

The machine is the same, and the three designs are also unchanged.  For those of you still trying to collect the 2018 dates pressed coin set this is where the 2018 Chip & Dale penny can now be found.

This was an interesting choice of locations for this machine, but it does kind of fit with the design of these moderate resorts.  I’m just happy they didn’t make this disappear for a while as it would be inconvenience to lose out on the 2018 penny.

As I mentioned before there are still some other new machines out there that I’m working on visiting and documenting.  I should have details on those shortly, and will be sure to share with everyone what the new coins looks like and where they can be found.

Crayola Experience Visit #2 – Orlando, FL

Last summer I had gone over to the Florida mall in Orlando and found a few penny machines inside.  Two at the M&M Candy Store, and another machine in the Crayola Experience.  You can check it out here.  During that visit I only used the 8-Design machine located in the crayola store but I knew there was another machine there but a paid admission ticket was required.  I knew at some point we would need to go back.

 My daughters love to make a mess especially when it comes to arts and crafts.  We decided to take another trip over to the mall but this time specifically just to check out the rest of the Crayola Experience.

If you park in the right area of the parking lot you can walk right inside, or if you are already in the mall shopping there is a separate entrance from the mall as well.  Once inside we bought our tickets and headed up to the second floor.

My girls fell in love with this place as soon as we got upstairs.  Everything is painted really bright and colorful.  The whole area is pretty big and have various sections where kids and adults can try different types of art.

There are areas with plain old crayons, and paint, or more interesting things like melted wax or digital coloring.

There are stations where you can create your own crayon which really means you just design a custom label that gets stuck on a stock crayon from a machine.

There is also a small cafe inside.  We just checked out the snack bar area that had soda, candy and fresh made fudge.

There are also a couple different indoor play grounds for the kids to expel some energy after eating candy and fudge from the snack bar.  We had spent a good part of the day and had a bag full of custom crayons and fresh new artwork for our refrigerator at home.  On the way back towards the stairs and elevators there is a desk where you can view some of the digital artwork created during your visit.

Right beside this desk was the second penny machine which was a four design hand crank model.

As with the rest of the building this machine was bright and colorful.  I wish I had thought to take pictures of the side of this machine as there was some cute artwork of crayons people melting in the Florida sunshine.

The designs on these pennies are of some crayon people experiencing some of Florida fun activities like a roller coaster, playing gold, the water skier pyramid, and building sand castles on the beach.

After pressing the pennies we headed back downstairs and over to the food court for some lunch.  The crayola experience is a great place to visit if you have children that really enjoy creating artwork.  The staff is very nice and helped show us what to do at each station.  I don’t think there is enough there to spend an entire day, but you can definitely enjoy a few hours here.  The cost seems a little pricey but after seeing all the art work we came home with which was included in the admission price it seems to justify the cost.  It was a lot of fun here and our kids are already asking when we will be heading back.

Food Truck Pavilion – Disney Springs, FL

Fresh off the new release of the 2018 dates set of pressed coins Disney didn’t waste much time getting out another new set of pressed pennies.  The new machine can be found over at Disney Springs which seems to be a popular spot lately for new machines.

Over on the West Side is where you can find the big AMC movie theatre, Cirque du Soleil theatre, a Starbucks and some other interesting stores and restaurants.  This area is under quite a bit of construction right now with the recently demolished Disney Quest building making way for a new NBA Experience, and some other new restaurants.

Just past the Starbucks and across from the Star Wars Galactic Outpost and Marvel Superhero Headquarters is an open area just along the water front.  This area is where you can now find the Disney Food Trucks.

Usually there are three different food trucks here but lately only two have been available with the third one on the move around property.

   

The Springs Street Tacos obviously has various tacos for sale.  The Fantasy Fare truck has things like empanadas, chicken taquitos, and Mexican meatball sliders.  This area also does have live music later on at night and can get quite crowded with spectators.

If you are walking along the main pathway you will see the penny machine just to the center entrance to the Food Truck Pavilion.

The machine has some nice artwork on the cabinet.  The design is of the Disney Springs logo which I think is pretty cool.

This is a cute unique set of pennies that I hope they continue releasing.  The set includes images of Minnie eating an ice cream cone, Chef Goofy with a Turkey, Chef Mickey with a Sandwich and Dopey Dwarf eating Cake.  With the recent changes to Disney Springs and the massive amount of new restaurants now available these coins just fit right in to this area.

Above is a picture I took of the machine at night which you can see the area does get busier, plus there is a mobile bar right beside the machine which usually has a long line. This can cause a little congestion around the machine but people are usually nice to step aside if you ask to use the machine.

As I mentioned before I really like this set and think it’s a great new addition to anyones collection.  Hopefully they continue on this pace of releasing some more creative designs like these ones.  Side note, if you are visiting Disney Springs make sure to check out some of the new restaurants they really are great.  A few of my favorites are Art Smith’s Homecomin’, and Maria & Enzo’s.  Enjoy!

SeaWorld Part 3 – Orlando, FL

On this third time around to SeaWorld another few weeks after my previous visit I decided to start early in the day and stay late if needed to find the last batch of penny machines.  The entire drive over to the park my youngest daughter kept saying she wanted to see sharks.  So I make sure that our first stop once we got through security was over to the shark exhibit.

This type of exhibit is pretty common now among aquariums where you are surrounded by the tanks.

Once nice feature is that when you do make it to the large main tank with the sharks, there is a moving walkway which prevents people from blocking the pathway.  This keeps everyone moving through, but at a nice leisurely pace so you can take some nice pictures or have the sharks swim along with you.  After we were done with the sharks we headed into the far side of the park that we hadn’t visited before.

A strange sight in the middle of Florida were ice glaciers, and snow.  This was all themed to be like you were in Antarctica and is where we found the Empire of the Penguin exhibit.

Once inside where you can see all the penguins I will admit it’s freezing in there.  This obviously is for the comfort of the penguins, but since we were wearing t-shirts and shorts we didn’t stay inside too long.  As we exited of course we found ourselves in a penguin themed gift shop.

The shop wasn’t too big, but did have a penny machine located inside.  It’s kind of around the corner, and I think that if we didn’t go through the penguin exhibit I may not have noticed it was here.

   

With these pennies pressed and stored away we headed out the far side of “Antarctica” and heard the familiar screams / laughter from a water flume ride.  Here at SeaWorld they have one called Journey to Atlantis..

I’m not a fan of getting soaking wet in a theme park and avoid these water drop rides most of the time.  My sister loves Splash Mountain so when her family is in town visiting I’ll join her on that one just like when we were kids.

On this visit I decided to try to stay dry so we just stood by and watched a few boats go down the large drop and get drenched at the bottom.  When you are looking directly at this ride if you turn 180 degrees you will see the above three machines just waiting to be used.

   

The first machine on the left side was labeled around the Journey to Atlantis ride but strangely the penny designs didn’t have anything to do with that ride.

   

The machine in the middle of this trio was themed around the Kraken which is another intense roller coaster nearby.

   

The third machine has designs of some seals.  This is probably due to the Pacific Point Preserve area of the park back near Antarctica.

Before we headed on I wanted to make a quick stop into the gift shop for the Journey to Atlantis ride.  Whenever I’m hunting for penny machines Disney has met pretty trained to look inside souvenir stores.  Unfortunately there weren’t any penny machines there but they did have a small little aquarium.  As we wandered around the store I also found a pressed penny booklet that I just had to get.

I’ve posted in the past that I store all my pressed coins in 2×2 cardboard holders inside three-ring binders.  However that still doesn’t stop me from collecting these booklets.  I have a large plastic container in my house just filled with them.

A little further past the Journey to Atlantis ride was a pit stop area with some restrooms.  We made the stop but only because two more penny machines were located here.

   

One machine is by the women’s restroom and the second by the mens.  I’ve never been a fan of having penny machines hear restrooms as they just end up being used to lean on, or people loitering around them.  Most are nice enough to move aside when asked, and more often than not you also get a group of kids wanting to see how the machine works.

   

While using this second machine I did have a nice family give me a heads up about some other penny machines near by.  We chatted for a bit about pressing coins and also let them know about TEC (The Elongated Collectors)  Club which they were unaware of.  Wishing each other well on our collection we split up and went in search of the last few machines.

Taking the instructions from my new friends we headed over to the TurtleTrek and Manatee rehabilitation area.

Turtles are cool, but there is nothing like a manatee.  I’m still fascinated by these creatures.  There was a staff member near by giving a little presentation about some of their newest additions.

Two orphaned baby manatees.  It was a heartbreaking story that is always sad to hear.  People just not paying attention with their boats and these slows moving animals.  The two just don’t mix.  But these little ones were being well taken care of and they were just really fun to watch.

   

After visiting with the baby manatees I headed back over to the Turtle area and found the next penny machine.  By this time we had explored almost the entire park, but we had one last area to check out.

Dolphins, how could I have forgotten about dolphins.  At the top of the tank they do have feeding times where you can help feed the dolphins.  Or for a better view of these amazing mammals you can go to the underwater viewing area.

If you walk down the pathway towards the viewing area is where we found the last two penny machines.

   

The machines are on either side of the pathway, but because this is both the entrance and exit to the viewing area and of course with the popularity of dolphins this area does get a little congested.

   

It had been another busy day but we enjoyed every moment of it.  After visiting with the dolphins for a little while we headed back towards the front of the park.  We had visited every corner and gift shop of the park and found all the penny machines currently available.

SeaWorld definitely has a lot of offer and we will be back hopefully before too long.  With a total of 24 machines each with 4 penny designs that’s a total of 96 pennies.  Most of the machines do have the ability to make change if needed but I always recommend coming prepared whenever possible.  This would be a massive project to try to collect all of these during one visit, but not completely out of the question.  I’m not sure you would have time for much else.  As I mentioned there is a lot to see and do here so take your time and enjoy it.

SeaWorld Part 2 – Orlando, FL

A couple of weeks after my first visit to SeaWorld I finally got some free time to go back and pick up where I left off.  There were still quite a few penny machines here somewhere and I was determined to find them.

I headed back towards the Mako roller coaster but turned in towards the Shark Underwater Grill & Bar.  This is a restaurant that is similar to the Coral Reef in Epcot if you have ever visit it.  Basically you get to eat a table service meal in front of a large aquarium tank.  This one as the name would imply has quite a few sharks keeping their eyes on you while you eat.

Just outside the Shark restaurant is an area that you can feed sharks at certain designated times during the day.  Now I will admit you won’t be feeding great white sharks, instead they are much smaller and friendlier.

Located in this area are two penny machines.  One at each end of the feeding tank.

   

During feeding times this area can get a little crowded, and it was hard to use these machines as people were completely surrounding them.  But if you go during a non-feeding time they are pretty easily accessible.

   

Just down a short walk away is the other big roller coaster this park is home to called Manta.  This is a coaster that has you flying kind of like superman underneath a Manta Ray ride vehicle.  It looks really cool, but would be way out of my league.

Just outside the entrance / exit to Manta is a small little gift shop, and directly across the walk way is where I found the next penny machine.

   

There is a second penny machine just down the pathway towards the Flamingo exhibit.

   

It was getting a little late in the afternoon and I was supposed to meet my father over at the Orlando Convention Center to check out the Auto Show.  So unfortunately I only had time for a couple more machines.  There was one place I remember having a few machines years ago and thought I would stop by.

The Sting Ray lagoon and Feeding area is one big touch tank, and they do have staff nearby willing to answer questions and give presentations about the rays.

   

This first machine is located right in front of the lagoon as you walk up towards it.  The machine seemed like it needed a new dose of grease in the gears as it was really squeaky.  The hand crank was pretty tough to turn, and as you can see by the coins above they were rolling short.  I actually tried using this machine a few times over a couple other trips and the set pictured was the best of each coin.  Hopefully they will get someone out there to do some service on it.

There are quite a lot of rays available in this tank.  If you reference the times guide for the park you can find out when the feedings take place and for a small fee can help feed them.

At the back of the lagoon are some sinks so you can wash your hands after feeding or touching the sting rays.  This is also the area where you can buy the food during feeding times.  Back here is also where you can find the second penny machine.

   

This machine was working much better than the one out front.  With this second batch of pennies pressed my second visit was about over.  I headed back out of the park and eventually made it over to the convention center for the auto show.  Unfortunately there were not penny machines there (what were they thinking!).

SeaWorld was definitely growing on me and I couldn’t wait to get back.  There was another whole area I hadn’t checked out yet, more sea creatures to visit and of course a few more penny machines to find.