Daytona International Speedway

Check out even more of my visit to the Daytona International Speedway by watching our YouTube video at this link.

I will start out by saying that I am by no means a Nascar expert, but I’ve always enjoyed cars in general. I’ve never been to a Nascar race in person but have watched a few races on television. It’s hard to comprehend exactly how fast they are going around that track, and the knowledge that any little error can cause a major wreck just gives me so much respect for the drivers in those vehicles.

For even casual or non-racing fans I think everyone is aware of the Daytona 500. Living in Orlando I’m not too far way from the Daytona International Speedway but have never made the trip over until just recently. A friend of mine was interested in visiting the Buc-ee’s in Daytona Beach that I wrote about here. After that visit I’m always looking for an excuse to head back out for some Beaver Nuggets so we hit the road bright and early. Then after filling up on Buc-ee’s products we still had the whole day ahead of us with nothing planned so I thought it may be a great opportunity to visit the speedway.

It was pretty easy to find and after parking in the visitors lot we walked along the outside of the Speedway and I was completely taken back by how huge it was. There were no races going on so most of it was deserted outside, but we could hear the familiar sounds of cars flying around the track which I think was part of a tour you could take.

Even though there was no race going on during our visit, there is still some areas of the speedway property that we were able to explore.

Inside was an information area, as well as a fun gift shop which we will get to shortly, but where we spent most of our time was in the Motorsports Hall of Fame and museum. It was incredible.

This was a self guided tour, but they had people around to answer questions if you had any. One thing they were sure to let us know was that the museum wasn’t just about Nascar but all Motorsports. We definitely saw that inside with all different types of vehicles and other race vehicles throughout. I even found this cool Fabulous Hudson Hornet car from one of my favorite Pixar animated movies Cars.

One area of the museum that was really cool is where they have the current Daytona 500 Champion car. There is a whole section with pictures of the winning driver, the humongous trophy and the actual car. One of the guides told us that after the race this car is literally just driven off the track and right into this spot.

They even told us to go around the back of the car and look on the opposite side where there is quite a bit of damage from early in the race when the car got a bit too close to the wall.

After we finished with the museum it was time to head into the gift shop. As with many of the other places we visit they had an amazing assortment of items for sale. Plenty of t-shirts, but even die-cast models, seat covers, posters, artwork and so much more.

Out of the back of the gift shop is a little cafe where you can get some drinks and snacks. This is also where I found a pressed penny machine.

The machine cabinet was fun with the checkered pattern along the sides. It was a classic 3-design electric model so it saved my arms from having to crank our my pennies manually.

The designs on the pennies were really great as well. They include the Daytona International Speedway Logo, The Coke 200 Logo, and of course the Daytona 500 Logo. Special thanks to Summers Raceway for supplying some of the props I used in the above picture. If you like Hot Wheels racing be sure to head over to their YouTube channel and check out a race.

I really had a great time at the Daytona International Speedway, and am actually very interested in going back to see a race in person. I’m sure it would definitely be a unique experience. Even if you aren’t a Nascar fan I still think the speedway has a lot of fun things to do and explore, plus you’ll need to pickup a set of these cool pressed pennies.

Have a fantastic week, and Keep on Pressing!

Magic of Disney Store – Orlando International Airport

Tag along with me as I take a drive out to the Orlando International Airport on the hunt for this brand new Pressed Penny Machine at our Youtube channel here.

When people think about going on vacation one of the top places that come to mind if Florida, and if you are a theme park junkie Orlando is probably your ideal place to visit. The Orlando International Airport has become one of the busies airports in the country and on any particular day there can be tens of thousands of people coming and going from there. The airport is not huge, but does jam in a lot of different restaurant and of course shopping for those last minute gifts or souvenirs. In the past I’ve posted about some pressed penny machines that used to be available in some of those stores, but over time they have almost all been removed. There is one store that did continue to keep a machine and that was the Disney Earport shop. This store has recently gone through a closure and renovation but is now back open and has a new pressed penny machine.

There can be a bit of confusion in this airport as there are actually two separate Disney stores. Previously they had slightly different names to help distinguish them, but now after the renovations both are called Magic of Disney. One of the stores is near the security check for gates 1 – 59, this is not the store with the penny machine. Instead you need to head over to the opposite side of the terminal towards security area for gates 70-129.

This is the larger of the two Disney stores, and I will admit that this new look is really fantastic. I like the new fixtures and how all the merchandise is now displayed. It seems much more open, even though it’s jam-packed with many of the items you may have missed at the parks.

Since I visit the parks quite often I didn’t spend much time looking at the merch, instead I was on the hunt for the new pressed penny machine and it didn’t take long for it’s beautiful cabinet to catch my eye.

I love these not-so “hidden” Mickeys made out of US cents that completely cover the cabinet. This is such a fun Disney touch and I hope we see things like this on future machines.

Two of penny designs were brought over from that old machine they used to have here and were of Pilot Mickey and Stitch. This new set now also include additional designs of Donald and Goofy, plus four designs from the Disney animated movie Planes which I believe was a spin-off of the Pixar’s Cars movie. I have not see this movie but guess I’ll have to add it to my Disney+ watch list so I can check it out. The designs are of characters named Dusty, Bravo, Echo and Skipper.

I wish that I was actually at the airport heading into the skies for a fun vacation, but at least for awhile long we are staying close to home with a few scheduled staycations coming up. Stay tuned for posts about those adventures soon. The new cabinet on this machine is really amazing and I do think it was cool that they released some designs for this Planes movie that may be a hidden gem. Between these designs and the recently released Robin Hood pennies at Epcot it seems like Disney may be starting to dig into their vault for some unique new pressed pennies.

Have a great week and as always Keep on Pressing!

Disney’s Robin Hood Pressed Pennies

Interested in tagging along with me as I take a trip on the hunt for this new set of pressed coins. Check out our Youtube video here.

I am so excited to be able to share this with everyone. Back when I was young we didn’t have many Disney movies on VHS tape, but one of the ones we did own was the 1973 Animated Classic Robin Hood. It has always held a special place in my heart and is truly one of my absolute favorite Disney movies. The music is fantastic, and I know that it was unfortunately released during what some consider the dark days of Disney Animation history, but to me it really is a great movie.

As with many guests visiting Walt Disney World or Disneyland who come across many of the pressed penny machines they want to collect the designs for their favorite attraction, character or even movie. For me however this was a problem since Robin Hood just didn’t have any pressed coin designs available anywhere on property, and trust me I looked exhaustively. As the years past I figured it may be a lost cause as the movie just fell further and further out of date.

Apparently my patience has finally paid off and I was browsing one of my favorite Disney pressed coin resources the website and after over 5 months since Disney has last released any sort of new collectible coin they had announced a brand new machine placed in Epcot and best of all it had designed themed after….wait for it ….. Robin Hood! Bam, finally!!!

This just could not wait any longer. I immediately jumped in my car and drove over to Epcot, weaved my way through the immense crowd that had gathered for the 2021 version of Epcot’s Food and Wine festival. That was tempting as well, but I was on the hunt for these Robin Hood pennies and wanted them before Disney realized they had made a mistake and removed them. As I left Future World and arrived at the World Showcase I turned to the left as if you were heading towards the Mexico Pavilion. Before that there is a fairly large souvenir shop that we have visited on many occasions in the past called Disney Traders.

Inside is your standard Disney gift shop with stuffed animals, t-shirts and so much more. Usually they will also house a lot of the Festival merchandise that take place at different times of the year.

Just to the left side of the store’s check out area is a soda cooler and is also where the new pressed penny machine is located. Previously in this location was a 3-design electronic machine that had some generic Frozen designs of Anna, Elsa and Olaf.

I thought it was interesting to see that this new machine was designed just like that old Frozen machine in a solid blue cabinet. I thought for Robin Hood it may be more of a green color, but trust me I’m not complaining with this sweet new set of designs.

These machine had 8 designs in total including images of Robin Hood, Maid Marion, Robin and Marion Together, Friar Tuck, Little John, Skippy, Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham. I do wish they had included a design of Sir Hiss or Alan-A-Dale the Rooster that sings many of the songs. But that’s okay, maybe we can expect another set of Robin Hood designs with some different characters. Maybe that’s asking too much so I’ll just stick with these for now. Another nice thought is that if this movie can still have pressed coins created for it years after its initial release there are hope for many other animated classics still in Disney’s vault. With Walt Disney World about to start celebrating their 50th anniversary I’m looking forward to seeing if any other classic characters get to make their debut as a pressed coin.

Oo-de-lally, oo-de-lally, golly, what a day!!

Buc-ee’s Pressed Pennies | Daytona Beach, Fl

There was so much more to see inside this Buc-ee’s you have to check it out in our YouTube video at this link.

Only a few weeks ago I made the trip up to St. Augustine Florida to visit the very first Buc-ee’s location and I was immediately hooked. In case you haven’t checked out that post you can visit it here. Shortly after that location opened the second Florida store opened in Daytona Beach. Since my first trip I’ve been thinking about those breakfast tacos, and sliced brisket sandwiches. So I had a day off from work and headed for the Atlantic coast to visit my new favorite roadside stop.

As I drove into the parking lot my mouth was already watering and I couldn’t wait to get inside. I did actually need to fill up my car with gas so I decided to do that first and just had to pick out one of their over 100 gas pumps available for travels. Yes I said that correctly, over 100 gas pumps. I don’t think you will ever need to wait for an open pump when visiting these stores.

Since this store had just opened not too long before this visit, they still had their promotional huge Bucky beaver inflated out front greeting guests.

One thing I noticed as I walked inside is the store was almost identical to the St. Augustine store, except that it was flipped in the opposite directly. St. Augustine had the merchandise area on the left of the main entrance, and the food on the right, but here in Daytona it was flipped. Not a big deal but since I was already familiar with the layout from my other trip, it made finding things much easier.

But first things first, I headed over to the penny press machine to ensure I wouldn’t forget to use it. I was so excited for breakfast that I could see myself pigging out and leaving without getting my coveted coins.

The cabinet of the machine was identical to the St. Augustine model, and I’ve checked out online some of the Texas locations and they all seem to be this same design.

I pressed my coins and noticed that they were also exactly the same as the St. Augustine versions except these listed the Daytona Beach location instead. But the rest of the details for each design were the same. Notice the beaver nuggets in the background, yeah I initially picked up just one bag but ran back inside afterwards to pickup another 2 or maybe 6 bags. Who knows when I would be back and these things are very addictive.

One quick side note, on top of the machine was a bin with some Penny Adventure journals available for purchase. In case you haven’t seen these before they are like the penny booklets you find in other locations but so much more than that inside. I already have one of these in my collection at home and posted about it already which you can read about here. Definitely take a look as I think it’s a really cool idea and a nice way to store you collection.

With my new pressed coins stored away I headed back into the food area of the store and just completely went nuts. I couldn’t help myself and ordered enough food for my entire family that should have lasted a few days but I sat in my car and just indulged myself. Feeling a little guilty afterwards I started to make my way back home with my bags of Beaver Nuggets not too far away, you know just in case I needed a snack for the ride home. My family has an upcoming vacation at Daytona Beach so I’ll be making another pit stop here before too long, and be sure to subscribe to our blog so you can check out those future posts. Plenty more pressed penny machines throughout Daytona Beach and I’ll be doing my best to find them all.

Have a fantastic week and be sure to always Keep on Pressing!

Universal CityWalk Converting Penny Machines to $1

Theme Parks around Central Florida have all started their return to an almost pre-pandemic operation. Facial coverings are options for those guests that are fully vaccinated, capacity limits have been removed, and social distancing requirements are also gone. This was a pretty momentous occasion and I wanted to head over to Universal to see how things were going, not just with crowd levels and attraction wait times, but of course I wanted to check on the penny press machines. Would we find any new ones? Unfortunately not, but instead the machines have been converted to the now more common cost of $1 to press. Below I will review each machine, but the designs have not changes, and we’ve previously gone over the new payment system and options so I won’t be doing that again. This will just be a quick trip through Universal’s CityWalk revising all the machines.

This trip will start out by the parking garages and security hub. This area is still available even if you are not parked in this section, but you would need to head towards the Jurassic Park / King Kong / Jaws garage.

Just past the gift shop near security you will find these first two machines. For now these are the only two machines available outside of CityWalk near the parking garages.

Here’s a closer picture of the two machines. Their cabinets are the same, except for the new payment information stickers on them. Both of these machines were located in this same location prior to the change, but there was a third machine here that has been removed. It’s been quite awhile since that machine was removed so I don’t know if it’s still scheduled to come back or maybe it will be moved somewhere else.

Now we are through security and heading into CityWalk. Before we head too far to the right of the Welcome To Universal Orlando sign is the Universal CineMark movie theater.

Out front of the movie theater are two machines. This first machine with the black cabinet used to be on the second level of this area near the food court area. After it’s conversion it has been moved down to this lower level for what I think is a much higher traffic area.

The second machine with the blue cabinet is back in it’s same location from before the change over. Just to make sure I don’t confuse anyone, these machines are located out front of the CineMark movie theater. So you don’t need to go inside to use them. You will actually pass right by these machines as you head towards the theme parks.

As you walk in the general direction towards Islands of Adventure on the left side of the courtyard is a gift shop that has been here for awhile, but it has now been rebranded as the Universal Legacy Store, instead of just the studio store. On the opposite side of the courtyard is a brand new huge Studio Store but no new machines are in there at this time. Hopefully a new one will arrive soon as I’d love to review that new store with all of you.

Inside the Legacy Store there are lots of fun Universal movie props from different movies throughout their history. It’s almost like a museum that also sells Harry Potter merchandise. Near the check out area for the store used to be one of the Harry Potter 8-design machines, but that has been moved over to the new Gift Shop I mentioned above.

Now in this spot they have relocated the 4-design machine that used to be right inside the main doors.

It wouldn’t a trip to CityWalk without stopping for some Voodoo donuts. Did you read all about the National Donut Day pressed penny, if not you can check it out here. But before I grab a pink box of donuts, we headed in-between Voodoo and the NBC Grill & Brew. There is a short hallway that has some exit doors to the Movie Theater, and a set of restrooms.

This is also where the last two pressed penny machines that have been converted can be found. If you don’t know about them you probably wouldn’t ever see them back here. I have spoke to a few other collectors that walked right by this area and didn’t know they were there. It does seem like a strange place to put these, but I know that at night after the parks close Voodoo donuts does encounter a pretty long line that wraps through this area so maybe that’s where these machines get most of their usage.

These aren’t all the machine located in CityWalk, but rather just the versions that have been recently changed. There is a 4-design machine in Bubba Gump Shrimp that is (for now) still just $0.50 per penny. I also mentioned the 8-design Harry Potter machine in the new Universal Studio Store, and one last 8-design machine in the gift shop for Margaritaville. Be sure to check back for updates on Universal’s other machines and they continue to change them.

Thanks for visiting and Keep on Pressing!

Velocicoaster Grand Opening Pressed Penny

Check out even more of this amazing new attraction the VelociCoaster at our YouTube Channel here.

Universal Studios in Orlando has had the worst kept secret for months. Back in 2019 inside the Islands of Adventure theme park a large area of land was being cleared out around the Jurassic Park Discovery center building. As the months went by, large metal support structures started to go vertical and new building started to take shape. Fans were questioning Universal about what was going on and through the parks social media accounts they joking said it was a new churro stand. Obviously this was a joke but one that to this day they have continued to play on. Soon after however there was a flooding of leaked news online about the new coaster and that it was to be called Velocicoaster.

Even from a distance this new attraction is quite impressive. It’s now listed as the parks Tallest and Fastest roller coaster and is the fastest launched coaster in all of Florida. It features two launches with one reaching 70 mph in 2.4 seconds, on a track of more than 4,700 feet, and a top heigh of 155 feet.

I visited the park a few weeks ago prior to the official opening on June 10th, 2021 and it has a surprised soft opening. Now I’ll say right up front this attraction looks a little too intense for me. So far at the time of posting this I have not ridden this, but I will say I’m definitely intrigued by it so the possibility for a ride in the future may still happen.

Even though on this visit I wasn’t going to ride the coaster, the soft opening did allow me to get up close and personal with this new area of the park. Just out front are some pretty intimidating looking Raptor statues.

There is a big courtyard out from of the main entrance to the coaster, but this filled up quickly as the crowds arrive to jump in line. As I stood in this courtyard the coaster vehicle zooms past at top speed in various different spots and even goes upside down right over the pathway with guests screaming the whole time.

Around the other side of the Discovery Center is the initial section of track for this coaster. It twists and turns in and out of various rock structures and you can hear Raptor’s screeching as they give chase to the coaster.

Inside the Discovery Center is a new gift shop for the Velocicoaster. I headed inside to take a look hoping for a new pressed penny machine. This is actually the same location that I previously found a new Jurassic World machine a couple years prior and you read out it here. Unfortunately there was no new machine here, and to add insult to injury that other machine was also missing. Whenever possible I do try to speak with team members to see if they have any insight. Sometimes they don’t have any info, but on this day I lucked out and a very friendly team member named Jennifer told me that she heard there was a special Velocicoaster penny available. She didn’t know exactly where it was but she thought it was near some restrooms. I thanked Jennifer profusely and with this new lead was off to hunt around. I knew of three different sets of restroom nearby and the first two didn’t pay off. The third was a little bit of a walk from the Velocicoaster, past the River Adventure attraction, and around the corner from the Jurassic Outfitters gift shop.

There is was just down this pathway near the restrooms and water fountain. This did seem like a very strange place to put this machine especially so far away from the new attraction and I would think it would get so much more use if it was closer to the actual ride. My guess is this will be moving at some point in the future but if not you will now be in the know of exactly where to find it.

The machine had a fun cabinet design which I assumed was to try and replicate stone or rock. As you can see it also has the new payment system available and each design costs $1 plus the machine will supply the penny to be pressed.

Now there are a few interesting things to note about these designs. First off, the first and third designs are the same ones that were in that machine I had found inside the Discovery Center (mentioned earlier in this post) that on this visit had been missing. Well I guess I found out what happened to it. So those two designs were the same as before, but the second or middle design was brand new and absolutely georgous.

That new design has the Velocicoaster logo on it, some of the track and of course a ferocious raptor. It also says Grand Opening 2021 which I just love. My assumption is this design will be available during this inaugural year of operation and will eventually be retired. But we have seen other dated coins kept around many months after that year has come and gone so I would recommend getting this coin as soon as you can. Otherwise you may lose out.

Oh one other oddity with these designs is that if you compare the pennies I received from the machine with the marquee picture above one of the images is different. On the marquee design #3 looks like a Triceratops skull / head, but in the pennies I received this design didn’t come out. Instead another design was pressed. I’m not sure if the die is incorrect or if the marquee is wrong. I don’t even know if Universal or the vendor that maintains the machines knows this happened. I’ll keep an eye on it during future visits to see if this changes, but wanted to let you know in case you went to press your own set.

Well it wasn’t a churro cart, and even though I haven’t gotten up the nerve to ride this yet I think this was a better attraction for this park. The reviews from fellow guests have been incredible and the wait times have been pretty crazy so I think they have a hit on their hands. This new “limited” pressed penny is just so incredible I hope we see more like this in the future celebrating new attractions. Geez all this talk of churros I feel like I need a snack, now if only I can find an actual churro stand nearby.

Thanks for visiting and Keep on Pressing!

National Donut Day Pressed Penny

What to see even more Everglazed Donuts? Check out our YouTube video at this link.

On January 6th, 2021 a new specialty donut shop opened in Disney Springs called Everglazed. I came out on that opening day because I’m a sucker for a good donut and was immediately blown away with their unique creations.

The only problem I had was how to share this place with you my penny pals, since there wasn’t a pressed penny machine inside, or anywhere near here. So I just enjoyed the donuts by myself and have gone back numerous times since that first visit.

They have two different styles of donuts, first what they called The New Classics like a Vanilla Iced with Sprinkles or the Fruity Pebbles. Then they also have some wilder donuts called The Funky Bunch like the Cookies & Cream, Peanut Butter Explosion, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Mounds Coconut Cream pictures above. Plus it’s hard to tell in the pictures but these donuts are huge. They are yeast style donuts made from scratch daily and in limited quantities so they do sell out of the more popular flavors.

After a couple visits I’d tried all their usual line up of donuts, but then found out that through tier Instagram account they post new donuts for most holidays. Some are only available for one or two days so I always jumped at the opportunity to try these as well. Above I’ve got pictures their Cinco de Oh-My-O Donut which was a flaky croissant dough sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and topped with buttercream, crushed heath bar, drizzled with caramel and chocolate then topped with a hand made churro. Wow that was a mouth full, not only the description but this donut was fantastic.

Just a few weeks ago they released what they called S’mores Galore. A chocolate iced donut topped with marshmallow fluff, crushed golden grahams and a giant toasted marshmallow for a true campfire flavor. It was simply heavenly. These are just the tip of the iceberg for this place, I’ve also tried a special Girl Scouts Thin Mint Donut, a St. Patrick’s Day donut with lucky charms marshmallows on it, and my wife loved the Mother’s day donut. Maybe a father’s day donut is in my very near future? I could go on and on with pictures and descriptions but I need to get this story back on track.

If you ever find yourself in Disney Springs with a need to indulge your sweet tooth head over to the West Side and Everglazed is in-between the AMC movie Theater and Splitsville Bowling Alley. You won’t be disappointed!

Since this place opened I’ve still always held out hope that a pressed penny could come along that would tie into this place as I really wanted to share it with everyone. Then just recently as if a sign from the Donut and Elongated Coin heavens I saw an intriguing post on the TEC Facebook group page from fellow coin collector Tyler Tyson.

Tyler is always coming up with fun and unique pressed coin designs and in this post he inquired with other collector’s to see if anyone was interested in a National Donut Day design. He had hand drawn a concept of his design and I really thought he did a great job with it. I sent him a note to put my name on the list if he did decide to proceed with creating the design.

Before we proceed I wanted to give a little information on National Donut Day since I honestly didn’t know much about it. This special day is celebrated on the first Friday in June each year and the tradition dates back to the first World War. The Salvation Army volunteers cooked up donuts to cheer up army troops and we’ve been celebrating ever since.

Tyler had received enough interest in his design to proceed with creating the die. He created this one by hand which really gives the finished design a fun and truly custom look to it. Then he pressed enough coins for the orders and then cancelled the die which means it won’t be used every again.

It didn’t take too long for my penny to arrive in the mail and I absolutely love it. Tyler really did a great job with this, and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with in the future. With this new addition to my collection I feel like celebrating, maybe with some more donuts from Everglazed? Sounds like a good idea to me.

Central Florida Zoo Pressed Pennies – Sanford, FL

What to see even more of the Central Florida Zoo? Check out our YouTube video at this link.

I’ve mentioned this numerous times in the past but I absolutely love visiting aquariums and zoos. If I’m out traveling around and there is one nearby I’ll go out of my way to check them out. Some are huge, and others are much smaller but it just doesn’t matter. I enjoy the different exhibits, animals and of course they more often than not have a pressed penny machine somewhere on the property.

A few years ago I found out about the Central Florida Zoo in Sanford which is about an hour north of Orlando. Above some further research they also were listed on as having a penny press so I packed up my kids and headed out to visit. Unfortunately at that time the zoo was under some pretty heavy renovations and many of the exhibits were unavailable. An even further travesty was that the penny press was no where to be found. We finished up our day and headed home a little disappointed.

Fast forward a few years and I get a message from a fellow collector that was visiting the Orlando area and checked out the Central Florida Zoo. His report back mentioned the construction was all done and the penny machine was back and fully operational. That was all I needed to hear to know what we were doing that following weekend. I packed up my family on a Saturday morning and we headed back to Sanford to check out the new and improved zoo.

The front part of the zoo was pretty much the same, and most of the elevated wooden boardwalk paths throughout the zoo were also unchanged but had received some much needed repairs. But as we headed further back into the zoo we found many of the new exhibits and all of it’s residents seemed to be enjoying their new surroundings.

I also found there was a nice flow to the park. Nothing bugs me more than having to retrace my steps in a park when a certain area just kind of dead ends.

Inside the reptile house were many Florida local creatures which always scares me a little bit. I’m definitely not a snake person but always feel I should make sure I know as much about them incase I find one on my lanai at home.

Lemurs are one of my favorite animals to visit, they always look so interested in everything that is going on. Most of the zoos I’ve visited seem to prefer the white and black ring-tailed lemur, but here they had a beautiful red and black friend that was really amazing.

Located right about in the middle of the property is a petting zoo. This was pretty standard and had the usual animals to visit with like goats and sheep, but we also found an alpaca in the back. He didn’t come close enough for us to visit with, but he was showing off his pretty cute haircut from a distance.

In the same area as the petting zoo was the ZOOfari Outpost, basically the zoo gift shop. Outside under that covered awning was a mold-o-rama machine which I’ve seen more and more around the Central Florida area. Even Universal Studios now has a few of these inside their parks.

The gift shop was pretty small inside and didn’t have a huge selection of items for sale. Plenty of t-shirts and photo frames but a far cry what what we are used to seeing at the larger theme parks. As you walk in through the main door the penny press machine was located straight back.

This machine immediately caught my eye when I walked inside. It has a nice bright paint job and the animal artwork on the cabinet was really beautiful.

The pennies rolled out really nicely, only one ended up rolling a bit long with a tail but the images were all nicely pressed. I always really like when they have the zoo location listed in the design as opposed to just generic animal designs. The River Otter, Rhino, Giraffe and Alligator designs were fairly standard and I’m sure we have seen similar at other locations but I was still happy to finally have this set for my personal collection.

The Central Florida Zoo has come a long way from that first time I visited and we had a really fantastic day. This is not a huge zoo, but you can definitely spend a good portion of your day here if you really take your time exploring all the exhibits and different activities available throughout the day. They do also have a few places to purchase food so you can really make a day of it. Don’t forget to visit the Outpost and press a set of these pennies for your own collection and as always be sure to Keep on Pressing!

Satchel’s Pizza – Gainesville, FL

For more details on our visit to Satchel’s Pizza you can see our YouTube video at this link.

I hate to be “that” person, but I do feel that I’m a connoisseurs of pizza. Living in New Jersey we had some really great pizza, including the locally known Tomato Pie, plus I visited New York City many many times for a lot of pizza. I’ve even visited Chicago for authentic deep dish pizza and I honestly love it all. Sometimes I’m in the mood for thin crust and other times deep dish is what’s calling my name. The long and the short of it is that I just really love pizza as I think so many of you do as well. Now some of you may be asking now this pertains to pressed coins. If you have been following my adventures on this blog I’m sure you have noticed that we have pretty much collected all the pressed coins available in the Orlando area and most central Florida locations. When that happens it’s just time to start expanding our collecting boundaries and venture a little further away from home. One of these cities on my to do list was Gainesville Florida. I’ve already documented a couple places we visited on previous trips but I was saving the best for last, a place called Satchel’s Pizza.

I’ll get the pizza review in a little bit, but first I just wanted to mention that this is probably the most unique pizza joint I have ever visited. Satchel’s pizza opened on March 7th, 2003 by Satchel Raye the founder and owner of the restaurant. Their mission was to make great food in a beautiful atmosphere. Basically this entire place is a collection of unique and one of a kind works of art. Just wait and I’ll show you what I mean.

The front of the building has a fun garden area with tables that you can sit and wait for your table. This place gets so busy that there can be wait times of up to and over an hour if you don’t get their early. Also, see that van on the left? There is a table inside and you can actually sit and eat your meal inside that van. This could be a bit hot in the summertime, but still seems like an interesting table option for those adventurous types.

Just around the one side of the front door area are some of their outdoor tables. They all have pretty mosaic designs on top, and even the walls have wonderful art work and designs on them.

Along the other main side of the building where the parking lot is located the art work continues. This one wall was covered in all different kinds of sports trophies.

There was a bit of a pass through walkway between the restaurants two buildings and the exterior design continued everywhere. This wall had all sorts of different items mounted directly on it.

That second building I mentioned towards the back is called Lightnin Salvage Enterprises and has a pretty large bar inside that is also surrounded with some additional tables. I think this is used as kind of overflow seating for the main dining room and you do have access to the full food menu in addition to the bar offerings. The above picture was taken in the parking lot area and you can see some interesting looking items all the way in the back of the lot. Let’s take a closer look.

This covered area was like an open air greenhouse and we will step inside shortly, but what first caught my eye was the airplane mounted up on top.

Underneath the airplane were plenty of potted plants and some additional seating. It was raining when we visited so no one was outside other than myself trying to take these pictures. But I can see this being a fun place to eat your pizza.

We then came across another section with some larger picnic tables and cement tables for diners.

Here are the few seating areas inside the greenhouse. There is no glass along the walls so this is an open air place to eat. I would think it could get pretty hot inside here if you are eating during the middle of the summer, plus the tables are not very large so this could be a tough seat to get if you really wanted to eat here.

Along the back wall of the building I found a section that was covered in a mosaic style patter of cell phone cases in every different color you can imaging.

The last little area outside was a “kids play area”. I put that in quotes as I’m not sure any kids would actually want to play here, and it reminds me of something you may find at an abandoned school in some horror movie. My daughters just kind of walked through this area and didn’t seem interested in actually playing here. Maybe that was due to the rain, or maybe some other reason.

I mentioned earlier that this place can have really long wait times to get a table, so I made sure we arrived before it even opened which is why we took our tour of the grounds first. Once we had finished outside it was perfect timing and the restaurant was just opening, but even at this time in the morning it filled up pretty quickly. The interesting decorations continued on the inside as you can see from the things hanging from the ceiling and all along the walls.

Above is a picture I took of the menu just to show there disclaimer that it could take a while for your food to be prepared if they are busy. Also during our visit they were cash only but they did have an ATM machine inside to use but there is a service fee to use so you may want to plan ahead. I have seen online that they are now accepting credit cards and digital payments probably due to increase demand for touch-less payment options which is nice.

On our visit the pizza didn’t take too long and it was delivered to our table within 20 minutes. By this time we were starving and we couldn’t wait to dive in. My daughters wanted just plain cheese and I opted for pepperoni and green peppers. This pizza was fantastic! As you can see it’s not really a thin crust pizza, but definitely not a deep dish is kind of in between. The crust exterior was crunch, but soft and garlicky on the outside. There was so much cheese on top which I love and the tops on my side were fresh and flavorful.

The pizza was definitely filling, but when offered dessert we just had to see what was available. Instead of a regular paper dessert menu, they brought over an old school view master with a photo disc inside of all the sweet offerings.

I tried to take a picture of the view master menu above.

It’s a bit small and the 3D obviously doesn’t work, but this was still a cool way for guests to see the menu. My kids really got a kick out of the view master and couldn’t believe this was a toy I had when I was young. A far cry from all the fancy tech they have now.

After our lunch we headed back outside and walked towards the back building Lightnin Salvage which as I mentioned before is a bar and additional seating for the main restaurant but also has a small gift shop.

The tile work on these walls was very eye catching. For some reason the area to the right of the door just reminded me of a bunch of post-it notes covering the wall.

Here is a picture of the inside where the bar could be found. You can see some small trinkets in the lower right corner that I’m sure kids would enjoy.

This is just a sample of some items they had for sale in the gift shop. They had plenty of things with Satchel’s Pizza on it like mugs, t-shirts, sweaters and even their salad dressing for sale.

But of course other than the pizza I was here to find their pressed penny machine and this is where you can find it. I actually thought it would have been in the main restaurant area, but when I couldn’t find it my very kind server said it was back near the bar. I really liked that they had a van model on the top of the machine. It didn’t quite match the one they have outside to eat in, but still a fun addition to their machine.

This machine style is one I’ve used quite a few times in the past, and I always find they seem to roll the designs a bit short. However I was pleasantly surprised to see that my pressed coins came out very nicely and I really loved these designs. If you saw these on eBay or somewhere out of context you probably would have no idea what they were all about, but once you have visited Satchel’s you instantly recognize each of the designs.

All I can say is that this was definitely a unique place and I cannot wait to go back. I only wish it was a bit closer to our home so I could get back there more often. It will be on my list of places to visit again anytime we are in that area, or even just passing through. Be sure to get their early, or just have some patience when waiting for your table and food. It will be well worth the wait, make sure you get your pressed pennies, and don’t forget to check out all the artwork. Though as you can see from the pictures above it’s pretty hard to miss since the restaurant itself is the art work. Keep on Pressing!

Magic Kingdom Converting 3-Design Electric Penny Machines to $1

For more details on these changes at Magic Kingdom you can see our YouTube video at this link.

A few months ago I posted about the first 3-design electronic penny machine I came across at Disney’s Magic Kingdom that had been converted over to $1. In case you haven’t read that article I’ve got it linked here. When that machine was changed over we all knew it was inevitable that the rest would soon follow. This is not a quick process as the vendor and I’m sure Disney don’t want to have all the machines removed at once so they take a few at a time. I’ve been documenting the changes and all the machines at Magic Kingdom have finally been swapped. I will state right here at the beginning that none of the penny designs have changed, they are all exactly the same as they were before this conversion so we won’t spend much time on those. I will include pictures of the new coins since for the most part the machines are pre-loaded with shiny new zinc pennies. We have seen reports from fellow collectors that sometimes they luck out and get a machine with some older copper pennies inside, but it seems to be a mix bag at this point. So without any further delay let’s hop on the monorail and get inside the Magic Kingdom.

The parks have recently been relaxing some of their heath requirements and the crowds have definitely started to return.

Once inside the Magic Kingdom we are going to take a quick trip through the entire park showcasing all the newly replaced machines without much sightseeing in between locations. First up we head into the Main Street Fire Station. This has recently got through a bit of a change inside.

This use to be where you could sign up to play the Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom interactive game, but that has been removed and inside has now returned to looking just like a turn of the century firehouse.

The next machine was quite a ways away, we skipped down Main Street USA, cut through Adventureland and ended up in Frontierland back near Splash Mountain. There is a penny machine hidden near the exit to Splash Mountain, but you do NOT need to actually ride the attraction to access this machine. You can just walk back here and use the machine and stay completely dry.

This machine received a nice makeover during it’s removal. The old cabinet was pretty beat up and now it’s been nice and refurbished and repainted.

Next we headed past the Peco’s Bill quick service restaurant, past the Country Bears Jamboree and just off to the side of the main pathway is the Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade.

This location has two machines and both have been converted over. The first one is located on the right side of the shootin’ arcade.

On the left side of the arcade is the second machine. This one has also received a nice new pain job and looks ready to press some coins.

Leaving Frontierland we next find ourselves in Liberty Square. If you head in the direction towards Cinderella Castle there is a pathway that goes past the exit to the Hall of Presidents attraction.

In this little alcove is where our next stop was to check on this 3-design pressed penny machine. The designs haven’t changed, but I always really liked this set and they definitely seem popular among guests.

Above is a close up of the new payment system. These machines no longer accept quarters and pennies, instead due to the higher cost the machine will accept $1 bills through the scanner towards the bottom. Please note that the machine does not give change so you will need the correct denomination to use. This is also the only way to press just individual designs. If you want to use the electronic payment system with either a credit card or digital wallet like ApplePay or Google Wallet you will automatically be charged the full $3 and will get all 3 designs.

Continuing our tour around the park we skipped through New Fantastyland and Tomorrowland since there were no 3-design machines in these areas. We found ourselves heading back down Main Street USA towards the front of the park and headed inside Tony’s Town Square Restaurant.

The machine is just past the check-in desk for the restaurant but not actually inside the area with all the dining tables.

This was another machine that was overdue for a bit of a facelift and it back looking much nicer than before. I do find that this machine still presses it’s designs a little short and more often than not they get cut off on the one side.

Sorry for the whirlwind tour of the park, but we have visited each of these machines in detail previously and I didn’t want to dwell on them too much this time around. But since they have been changed over to the new payment system and higher cost I did want to document them and share these changes with everyone so you can be prepared for your upcoming trips and squishin’ missions.

What do you think of the increased cost? Will this change how you collect or make you more selective of the designs you press. Be sure to let me know down in the comments below and we can discuss. Have a fantastic week and as always be sure to Keep on Pressing!