Busch Gardens Tampa – Part 2

Just as a quick recap we were visiting Busch Gardens in Tampa Florida and had made our way about halfway through the park before we needed to stop for some lunch in a nice shaded area.

That Florida sun can really get to you if you aren’t careful.  But after our nice little break and we were ready to explore the rest of the park.

We found ourselves in the Pantopia section of the park which was very colorful and had some interesting looking buildings.  This is actually where we had stopped for some lunch at a food court style restaurant with different stations depending on what you were in the mood for.  They had Italian, American, Asian and Tex-Med which was a nice wide array of options.  But it was extremely busy inside and was hard to find a place to sit once we have our food.  After lunch, we explored this area a bit more, and there are quite a few rides for kids including a Carousel.

After we had walked through Pantopia we headed up some ramps to a higher ground level which was the Congo section.  There was a Train Station here but it was not open for some reason.

Nearby the Train Station was a set of Restrooms with a penny machine nearby.  The most common location for penny machines.

 

This machine has penny designs of a couple Giraffes, a Zebra, SheiKra and Kumba Roller Coasters.

Nearby this area were some interesting attractions like Ubanga-Banga bumper cars, the Congo River Rapids which from what I saw you get completely soaked on, and Kumba a pretty intense looking roller coaster.

The next area of the park is known as Jungala where they have a great area for kids called the Treetop Trails, then you can visit the Tiger exhibit and an area with Orangutans.

When you are visiting the Orangutans there is a building with large glass windows that will give you an up-close view of them.  My personal favorite was the larger platform surrounded by netting where you get a more wide angle of their exhibit.

Under here is also where the two penny press machines are found and are located diagonally from each other under this covered area.

 

The first machine I came across had Pantopia listed on its marquee so I’m guessing these machines tend to move around periodically.  The penny designs for this machine were fun with images of two Gorillas, a Giraffe, the Falcon’s Fury ride, and a couple Elephants.

 

Just on the other side of this platform is the second penny machine.  The designs here are of a Tiger and cub, the Jungle Flyer, an Orangutan, and a Tiger face.  After we said goodbye to the Orangutans there was a nice little pathway with not a lot going on but led us to the Stanleyville section.

This area had quite a bit going on as well, with a Skyride station, the Stanley Falls Flume ride (another one you get quite soaked on), and the SkeiKra coaster.  Be careful around this part of the coaster pictured above as they have some nice benches and shaded areas but you will notice the ground is pretty slick.  This part of the coaster goes through a pond of water and sprays it up into the air behind it as it zooms by.  Of course, your kids will love it, and I did find it a bit humorous to see the adults quickly running for cover when they realized what was about to happen.

Not too far away from the entrance to SheiKra is a gift shop called the Kariba Marketplace.  Part of this store is inside, and part is outside under a covered canopy and that is where you will find another penny machine.

 

This machine seems to be in its proper location as the cabinet is designed for the SheiKra coaster.  The images available at this machine include a family of Tigers, an Iguana, Ring-tailed Lemur and the SheiKra Coaster.

By this time of day, we were definitely starting to drag a little bit.  The hot Florida sun had taken its toll and we were ready to find the exit, but there was one last area to visit before we were back at the entrance/exit.  I’m sure you can guess by the picture above that it’s all about Sesame Street and is called the Safari of Fun.  This is really a great place for young children.  The buildings and rides are all themed around Sesame Street, there are meet and greet areas to visit with your favorite pals like Elmo, Cookie Monster or Grover.

As you enter and leave this area you will see a gift shop completely filled with Sesame Street merchandise.  The store is called Abby Cadabby’s Treasure Hunt and was so much fun to explore with my 3-year-old daughter.  Of course, the plush toys are what she headed for with their bright colors and cute designs, but they also had t-shirts, coffee mugs and so much more.

 

This store is also the location for the last available penny machine and had designs of some popular Sesame Street characters like Zoe, Cookie Monster, Abby and Elmo.

We waved goodbye to Elmo and my daughter decided it was time to crash.  She fell asleep shortly after in the stroller as I headed down the last section of the pathway heading towards the entrance.  I passed by a very beautiful area filled with bright Pink Flamingos but didn’t have the heart to wake up my daughter to see them.  We had such a great time that I know we will be back as soon as we can.

I get the impression it’s similar to SeaWorld (same company) in that the penny designs probably don’t get changed out too often.  But they do have some new coasters and attractions opening up soon, so hopefully, some new pennies may appear.  This was a really great park and far exceeded my expectations.

Busch Gardens Tampa – Part 1

I never get tired of visiting the parks we have near out neighborhood like Disney, Universal, and SeaWorld, but every so often it’s fun to explore a new park we haven’t visited before.  Thankfully about an hour away in Tampa is Busch Gardens and gave me the opportunity to try something new.

Before I left on this visit I honestly thought that this would be similar to a Six Flags Theme Park which we had in New Jersey and various other locations around the country.  But after visiting I can say it’s so much more than that.  Sure it has some pretty advanced Roller Coasters and attractions, but they have shows, great food, and animals.  It’s almost like you combined a zoo and theme park together which is right up my alley.

Part of my SeaWorld annual pass granted me access to Busch Gardens as well so that was a nice perk I don’t think I realized when I had initially bought my pass.  You do have to park on one side of the street and then can either walk or take a tram over to the park.  Out front is the guest services buildings to help with your ticket purchases.  But to the left and right of this center walkway I encountered the first set of 4 (yes four) pressed penny machines.

The first two machines on the left side when facing the security area.

  

One thing I immediately noticed about these machines is the designs that were really unique.  The penny designs at this machine include an Alligator, Prairie Dog, Parrot, and Cheetah.

  

Just a couple steps to the right is the second machine.  The penny designs here were of the Sand Serpent logo, a Snake, a couple Apes, and a Toirtous.

If you spin around 180 degrees you find the second set of machines across the walkway.

  

The third machine has penny designs of a couple Elephants, Montu, Busch Gardens Logo, and Falcon’s Fury.

  

Finally the last machine out in this area has designs including Kangaroos, a Hippo, Peacock, and an African Dog.  Since these machines are located outside of the actual park you could access them without an admission ticket.  Although you would need to pay for parking or have someone drop you off while you used them.  Unfortunately, the rest of the machines are inside the park and would require paid admission.

After passing through security and scanning your park ticket you are transported into a Moroccan market.  The theming here was really great, and they also had performers walking around interacting with guests as they passed by.

As I mentioned at the beginning this is kind of like a zoo with a theme park mixed inside.  As we wandered through the Morocco area we came across a big area filled with some huge American Alligators.

We continued our tour through the park and came to the Cheetah area.  This was really interesting as they were doing a demonstration with the big cats and how they do specific exercises with them to encourage their natural hunting instincts.  It was amazing to see the Cheetahs get up to some pretty high running speeds.

Nearby is the Cheetah Hunt roller coaster which is pretty impressive.  A little too advanced for me, but I did sit on a bench and watch it for quite a while.

Inside the gift shop for the coaster was where I found the next penny machine.

  

The penny designs here are all themed around the Cheetah Hunt coaster.  I thought this was a really great set.

As we continued following the pathway we found ourselves in the Egypt section of the park.  This area was filled with a couple different coasters, Cobra’s Curse and Montu.

Across from the entrance to the Cobra’s Curse coaster was a quick service area called Serpent’s Snacks and was where the next penny machine was found.

  

The designs available at this machine were themed around the Cobra’s Curse coaster but did have one design for V.IS.E. (Viper Int’l Survey & Excavation) which is a fictional archeological group as part of the attractions back story.

Above is a picture of some of the track from Cobra’s Curse.  It’s another pretty amazing coaster with an elevator that brings the coaster cars up into the air and then attaches back to the track.  At one point the cars start to spin on the track and there are plenty of screams coming from the riders.

The next area we headed through was where more of the animal attractions started to appear.  Above is a picture of the Serengeti Plains that has quite a few different types of animals.

There is also a train that you can ride through that area for a closer look at the animals.

We were able to see quite a few different animals like Giraffes and Zebras.  They don’t get too close to the train, but it does give you a pretty close up view of them.

The train has a couple different stations around the park so it makes for an easy way to get around the large park.

We had decided to take the full tour around the park on the train so we had started and ended at the same point which was the Nairobi Station.  Just outside the station near the railroad crossing was a Mold-O-Rama machine that my kids love and we have quite a collection of them.  Right beside that was the next penny machine.

  

This machine had designs of the park Train, a Rhino, an Elephant, and a baby Gorilla for the Animal Care Center.

Not too far away was the Elephant section with quite a few of them.  By this time of day, it was well beyond lunchtime and we needed to find some food and rest for a bit.  We were about halfway through the park, but there was still plenty more to check out.  Stay tuned for Part 2 and the remaining penny machines.  Keep on Pressing!

Disneyland Adventures XBOX Video Game – Pressed Pennies

It’s been about a month since I was in a theme park and, to be honest, I’m starting to get the twitch that I need to get back for some magic.  I’m not sure how I used to deal in the past with long periods of time between visits to Disney.  But ever since we moved down to Orlando it just became part of our weekly routine and without it, I’m definitely missing it more than other things.  I’m also not the only one in my family missing the parks, and thankfully my oldest daughter has a much better memory than I do and asked if we could play the Disney video game.  It took me a bit to remember exactly what she was referencing and once I figured it out I couldn’t have fired up our the Xbox quick enough.

The game is called Disneyland Adventures.  It was originally released back in 2011 for the Xbox Kinect but I didn’t know about it at that time.  Then in 2017, they released the game with remastered 4K HDR graphics, updated Kinect support but also the option to not use Kinect and instead just use the standard Xbox controllers.  They also released this in 2018 for Windows PC users.

We did have a Kinect but who knows where it went, probably in some random box located in our garage.  Thankfully we have a newer Xbox One console and I had received this as a Christmas gift a year or so ago but never really got to play it, but now was our chance.

What is really cool about this game is the software designers recreated the entire Disneyland theme park in California.  Obviously, I’m more familiar with the Florida WDW park, so some things in this game seem a little out of place for me but the details they put into this make for a fun alternative during our current self-quarantine status.

I had watched a video from a Media Preview on this game when it was being released in 2017.  Something I thought was really interesting was that one of the creators said to get all the details as accurate as possible he spent around 5 months in the park and took over 50,000 pictures of buildings, sidewalks, textures, even trash cans, and park bench locations.

They even recreated Walt Disney’s quote on the arch as you walk underneath the Main Street Train Station.  You start by picking your character either a young boy or girl and can design their hair color, and initial outfit.  Then you can just start walking through the park.

This is what’s known as an “Open World” game where you are not forced to follow any specific story or path.  You can just wander aimlessly as I usually do and check out all the different lands of the park.

Walking down Main Street USA you can see Sleeping Beauty Castle in the distance.  Along the way are all the storefronts you have come to know.  Some you can visit to buy things like Autograph books, or Photo Albums which you will use later on in the game.  Some stores also sell new clothing to wear or even costumes if you prefer.  My favorite Princess is Jasmine so my daughter insisted we buy a Jasmine T-shirt for our character.

I was very impressed to see they even included the Partners statue with Walt and Mickey.  Plus check out that crows, wow I wish this was how things were in the actual parks.

Some of your favorite characters can be found throughout the park, like Mickey in front of the Castle.

Or Minnie Mouse near the entrance to Adventureland.  You can interact with these characters by having them sign your autograph book (if you purchased one).  Just like the real Disney, they want you to spend as much money as possible, so there are different autograph books for certain groups of characters like Princesses, Villains, Alice and Wonderland plus a few others.

You can also dance with the characters, give them a hug, or a high five.  It’s fun to try these with each one as the dances are different and how they sign your book changes.

The cast of characters is quite diverse.  There is, of course, the main cast of Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, and Plus.  Then you can also find Chip and Dale, Stitch and even Br’er Bear or Br’er Fox.

Then you can also find many Princesses like Belle.  Be on the lookout as the Beast is also somewhere nearby.

We have also found Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, and Tiana.  I’m sure there are more we just haven’t gotten to them yet.  Another interaction you can have with the characters is they will sometimes ask you for help.  Tiana wanted to make some of her famous Gumbo and asked us to find the ingredients.  The game then will help you search the park for the required ingredients and once you have them all collected to make sure to bring them back to Tiana.

Did I mention Villians?  Yes, they are here too.  My daughter loves trying to hug the villains as they seem to horrified or cower away when you try.

When some people visit the parks they don’t go for the characters but instead for the rides and attractions.  Well, this game has most of them recreate like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride shown above.

Pirates of the Caribbean are also here and it’s fun to walk near the attraction to see other guests lined up in the queue plus the familiar attraction soundtrack can be heard.

My personal favorite is the Haunted Mansion.  I do kind of wish that you could virtually ride the actual rides with maybe some interactivity happening for coins or points.  But instead, when you head towards the entrance there are portals that will take you to a mini-game themed around that attraction.  They are fun but some seem to go on way too long and I just get anxious to exit back to the park.

I liked standing near Splash Mountain to hear the people screaming as they crest over the top of the drop.

Some of the rides unfortunately you can only watch and do not include any type of mini-game.  Like the famous Tea Cups.

The Matterhorn is also here and a nice plus is being able to watch the Monorail zoom around its beam.

Some attractions are not included in the game like Star Tours or the Indiana Jones adventure.  From what I read Disney did not own Lucasfilms at the time this game was being developed and licensing those properties would have been too difficult.  One thing I did find that I thought was funny was Captain EO.  That is definitely a throwback.

Of course, I couldn’t overlook It’s a Small World, just such a classic ride and I love the exterior of the attraction in Disneyland so much better than the Florida version.

We’ve visited most of the themed lands like Tomorrowland, Adventureland, and Fantasyland and eventually I did find Mickey’s Toontown.

This is another fun area of the game with lots to see and do, plus Mickey and his pals are also here for more autographs and pictures.

One of the areas of the park is Critter Country that has Winnie the Pooh and his friends.  While we were interacting with Eeyore I noticed something in the background.

Are those Pressed penny machines!?!?  Holy cow that is pretty cool.

I then had an idea that I wanted to see how many other machines were located throughout the park.  My next stop was the Penny Arcade on Main Street.

The last time I was physically in Disneyland was back in 2008 and I remember the Penny Arcade as being the Holy Grail of Pressed Penny machines.  Now years later I know that is no longer the case, but remember this game was released originally in 2012 so the creators were probably there a couple years before that taking all their pictures and is the time period the game is situated.

Ah, the good old days with so many penny machines all in one place.

Now if you are like me you are probably wondering if you can use the machines in the game.  So far I don’t think so.  In the hours we have played so far, there doesn’t appear to be a way to use them.  I’ve also read some online guides and forums but nothing seems to mention using these machines.  It’s too bad because that would have been awesome!  In the gift shops along with the autograph books, they could sell the penny booklets and let you use the coins you pick up around the park in the machines to collect a themed set.  My daughter is currently in love with this game so we will be continuing to play it for quite a while I’m sure and if I do find you can somehow use the machines I’ll post an update here.  However, one thing I did do some research on was I wanted to try and figure out which designs they were using on the machines.  They all look to have the same marquee with the same three designs.  Remembering when the designers were at the park I eventually found the set in my personal collection.

I did get a lot of help from my favorite Disneyland pressed penny resource www.ParkPennies.com. The information they had on these coins was a big help to ensure this was the correct set.  All three of these designs were initially released on October 18, 2006, and were removed on January 4, 2012, when the Penny Arcade was closed down for a refurbishment.  When it eventually opened up again the machines inside did not return and these pennies were considered retired.

The middle design was really what stuck out for me in the pictures from the game and helped me find the set.  Snow White I was also pretty certain of but the third design was tough to make out initially but once I saw the information on ParkPennies website the full set revealed itself.

I’m crossing my fingers that we can hopefully move passed the current self-quartine situation we have found ourselves in.  I am anxious to get back to the parks and to a bit more of a normal routine.  Plus I really need to press some pennies it’s an addiction you know.  But in the meantime, my daughter and I will be enjoying our Virtual adventures with this Disneyland game.

Florida Theme Park Maps – Now Available

Over the years since I started posting about my pressed penny collection, and trying to keep everyone up to date on new Disney coins I receive quite a few comments and emails from all our wonderful readers.  The questions range from tips about starting or storing a collection to my guess on new coin designs.  But one question I do get quite often is if I have any maps of the Theme Parks that show the locations of all the coin press machines.

Years ago if you visited Walt Disney World you could head over to guess services and they would have printed maps showing where the machines were, but those quickly became outdated and are no longer available.  Then a few years ago I remember seeing a sign on one of the WDW machines listing a web address to maps that were being maintained by CTM Group, Inc (The Pennymen), they worked pretty well but that also quickly became outdated a year or so later.  Currently Disney has added the Coin Press machines to their myDisneyExperience mobile app which is a nice feature, but I find it lacks in information about what type of machine is there (Penny, Quarter, Dime), how much are the coins to press, and even if there is more than one machine in this location.

So in an effort to try and help fellow collectors, I have taken it upon myself to try and help with a series of updated maps.  These will be updated each time I visit the parks (which is on a pretty frequent basis right now).  I have been working on these for a few weeks now tweaking the layout and the information available that I feel would be most beneficial to anyone looking to press some coins.

First I want to review what maps are available.  Of course, there will be all of the Walt Disney World Theme Parks and Disney Springs:

We will also have maps of all the Disney Resorts:

 

Disney Water Parks, Mini-Golf Courses and even the ESPN Wide World of Sports.

There are also maps of the Universal Orlando Resort (Parks and Citywalk areas):

SeaWorld, Legoland, and even Busch Gardens.

 

Basically, we are going to try and keep updated maps for all the big Central Florida theme parks.  As you can see from the sample pictures above we are using updated maps directly from the parks, and we created a special legend to help review the cost per coin at each machine, whether a credit card can be used to pay, and whether you need to supply your own coin to be pressed, or if the machine supplied a preloaded zinc penny.

These maps have been added to its own area of the blog.  Located right underneath the main banner at the top of the page there is a menu option for “Penny Maps”.  Click here for a quick review of how the legend on each maps works, definitions used on the maps, and of course links to each available map.  The maps are all in standard PDF format and are completely FREE.  Please feel free to download, print, share and use these on your penny pressing trips and visits to the park.  If you have any comments about any changes you feel may be helpful in future revisions of the maps please let me know.  Happy Collecting!

Lego Movie World – Legoland, FL

Any time I hear about a new “land” opening up at a theme park somewhere nearby I always get excited that there may be new penny machines.  To be honest unfortunately most of the time this is not the case, like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal … no penny machines.  Pandora in Disney’s Animal Kingdom … not at first but there is one there now.  Toy Story land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios … Nope!  But I heard about the new Lego Movie World opening at Legoland in Winter Haven Florida about 45 minutes from Orlando so I figured why not go see if we get lucky.

After we got inside the park and figured out where the new land was we headed over and I was really surprised with what we found.  First off the crowds were not too bad considering this land just opened about a month ago.  But in fact we were really surprised by how themed this area was.  Going to Disney and Universal theming is a big key word for fanatics about how immersive an area of the park is.  To be honest with Legoland since they acquired the park from another company, most of the attractions were just retrofitted with faux Lego pieces and called a Lego ride.  Not too many brand new attractions built from the ground up.

This really did make you feel like you were in a Lego city.  The buildings were all designs like they were made out of Lego.  There were some great easter eggs from the Lego Movie every where you looked.  I actually came home from the park and watched the movie immediately to see if I recognized anything as I felt like I must have missed some things the first time I watched it.

Some of the theming may have gone a bit too far like the above, but my two girls thought this was hilarious.

I did like the crazy cat lady and her cat.  If you click on the picture above to get the larger version you can even see cat hair on her sweater.  Thankfully this is the kind of pet hair that won’t bother your allergies.

There was also plenty of places for photos with the different characters and objects from the movies.

One of the new attractions was this Masters of Flight ride.  I will admit we did not get to experience this as there was a 90 minute wait pretty much the entire day we were visiting but I’m going to make sure I get back there to try it out.  For anyone familiar with Soarin’ at Epcot it’s a similar idea but I’m sure Legoland doesn’t want me to referencing it like that.  Basically you get into a row of seats that spin around to face a giant movie screen and your seat moves around slightly as you watch the movie giving the feeling of movement when you really aren’t going anywhere.

Above is the outside of the main part of the Flight attraction.  Pretty cute!

My daughters favorite by far was Unikitty’s Disco Drop.  This was your standard drop ride.  You sit in a seat, it goes up to the top and then drops you down, takes you back up and drops you again all to some “disco” music.  The kids loved it, and I will admit it was pretty fun.  Not too intense, but if you don’t like that stomach drop feeling I would skip this one.

Inside the Everything is Awesome store was as you would guess plenty of Lego sets, and other toys.  But they definitely were focused on the Lego Movie for most of the items.

They even had some plush dolls of Emmet…

and Wyldstyle which actually looks pretty good.  They were a little stiff but I think that was by design to try and help keep their Lego-like shape.  We spent a good portion of our day in this one area of the park and pretty explored every little corner but unfortunately I had to admit defeat that there was no new penny machine here.

However there was a bit of good news.  My daughter actually found the above new Collectible Coin (penny) album.  At first I almost dismissed it but noticed this was a 3rd edition and did look like a new design.  I checked my online collection and saw that I only had the 2nd edition from a couple of years ago.  Bingo!! A new pressed penny booklet with a pressed penny on the front.  I’ll take it.

Overall this was a fun trip back to Legoland.  My two girls are getting to the age where this is almost too young for this type of park, but we all really enjoyed the new Lego Movie world.  I wish they would have had a new pressed penny machine but I’m okay to come away with the new booklet for now.  We did check out the rest of the park and I noticed that most of the other penny machines were not available.  This seems to be something Legoland does often at this time of year, and I believe is only temporary while they do some maintenance on the machines.  They used a unique machine type that I don’t see too often and seems like may be prone to some mechanical issues.  You can check out my other post about all those machines here.

We have Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge opening up soon in Disneyland (West coast) and Hollywood Studios (East coast) so I’m crossing my fingers that those will have plenty of new penny machines on the way.  Happy collecting!

Legoland Florida – Winter Haven, FL

A few years ago I took it upon myself to digital a whole bunch of old home videos my parents had made of my sister and I growing up.  There were a few family vacations which were fun to go back and experience, especially the ones where we visited Florida in the early 80’s.  During one of these videos we had visited a place called Cypress Gardens that I had no recollection of but figured it had to be pretty close to the Orlando area as we never wondered too far from there when on vacation.  To my surprise it was still around but had changed quite a bit in the 30 plus years since my last visit.

What did it turn into?  Legoland of all things.  I decided to take my youngest daughter with me to check it out as I’ve never been to one of these parks.

This place was amazing.  I have always loved Lego but my building skills are pretty rudimentary.  Simple square buildings with walls not structurally sound and fall over whenever I tried to move my creation from one place to another.  But the sculptures they have here are really unbelievable.

Two familiar friends we found were Emmet and Wyldstyle from the Lego Movie.  Nearby was a store called the minifigure market and is where I found the first penny press machine.

The penny machines found through this park were pretty unique.  The machines were almost silent when used, but did take a little more effort than usually to press the coins.

   

The pennies did roll a little short, but most of the design was visible.  This first set of pennies included images of Cypress Gardens, a Carousel Horse, Lego Duplo and some Lego people faces.

This park is huge and there is quite a bit of walking to do but the theming changes with each area.  There are sections like Duplo Valley pictures above.

The World of Chima is where an interesting water attraction can be found.  You ride in a boat with a water cannon in front of each seat that allows you to shoot streams of water at targets throughout the ride.

It was a little chilly when we visited and this ride looked like you got pretty soaked so we decided to skip this visit.  But will be checking this out again the next time.

The next area we headed into was the Lego Kingdoms which is themed around Kings and Queens, Castles, Knights and of course Dragons.

There is a ride called the Dragon, and the exit to the attraction takes you right by the King’s Market.  This is where I found the second penny machine.

   

These pennies pressed much better than the first.  The designs included images of a Knight’s Horse, a Lego Jester, the lost Kingdom Adventure, and The Dragon.

A short walk away was the next area called the Land of Adventure.  This area was kind of all over the place.  It started out like we were in Egypt with a Pharaoh and hieroglyphics, then to a jungle safari with Lego animals all over the place.

The area then ends with a dinosaur themed coaster called Coastersarus and is where the third penny press was found.

This was an interesting location for a penny press.  I’ve used machines inside restaurants, near bathrooms, and up at the top of the Empire State Building but this was a first.  The coaster actually had part of the track running right overtop of this machine.  So as I used it I could near people screaming as they coasted just a few feet over my head.

   

The pennies from this machine had images of the Legoland water park, the Statue of Liberty, an Elephant and the Coastersaurus.

Did I mention this place was big?  Next we found ourselves in the Lego City section.

The fun thing about this area is that it’s just like a mini town.  There is a Lego firehouse, police station and ice cream parlor.

There is even a Lego version of the DMV.  Well technically not, but it’s actually the Ford driving school.

Just outside the driving school shop is a Lego Ford Mustang that is pretty awesome with some realizing engine noises.  Right behind the mustang was the last penny machine we found.

   

The designs available at this last machine included Jet Ski, a Lego person driving a Lego car, Skipper School, and a Ride Vehicle.  Nearby was the water park but due to the cold weather it wasn’t open this day.  I’m not sure if there are any additional penny machines there but I’ll definitely be back to confirm.

Instead we headed over to the area that started this whole thing Cypress Gardens.

I was hoping to see some of the same locations I saw in the old home videos but nothing really looked the same.  It was still nice to walk along the trails through the gardens and hoped that maybe I had walked this same trail as a child.

We did spend a good amount of time walking around the gardens, but eventually made out way to the center piece of Legoland call miniland USA.  This was really cool to walk through.  They recreated US cities all made entirely out of Lego.

There was the Las Vegas strip with all the different casinos.

Even part of International Drive in Orlando with the Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds and the Sea Life Aquarium.

I even came across the Daytona 500 with racing cars flying around the track.

We had spent a long day at the park and done a lot of walking so we decided it was about time to head out.  On our way back to the front of the park we checked out The Big Shop.  Basically this was one big Lego store with Lego sets, t-shirts, candy, and even some Disney stuff.

Near one of the check out registers I found a pressed penny booklet for Legoland which I had to pickup for my collection.

This theme park was a lot more fun than I had anticipated.  I’m not really sure what I thought it would be like but my daughter loved it.  There were a lot of rides for her age which was nice and made the experience a lot more fun for her.  So many times at the other parks she ends up not being tall enough and has to watch from the sidelines.  The Lego creations and details they have all around the park are really incredible and you could spend and entire day just looking at those.  They even have Lego birds in some of the trees.  If you haven’t tried Legoland and are looking for something different be sure to check this place out, and remember to bring some pennies!

Hershey Park – Hershey, PA

After checking out Chocolate World just a short walk away was our true destination for this trip Hershey Park.

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Now I will admit that my wife and I are not big thrill ride fans so most of the crazy roller coasters they have here are lost on us.  But our daughter loves the little kiddie rides and I’m having panic attacks about potentially having to go with her on bigger rides when she’s older.  For now we get to do the nice easy things like meet Mr. Hershey Bar.

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Not to mention Hanna’s absolute favorite thing to do a classic carousel.

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We do make it on some of the more “boring” rides like cable cars, the monorail, and the odd log flume ride.  The day we were here actually was a really hot day for this late in the summer, and Hanna really wanted to just play at the Boardwalk.

My wife volunteered to take her through water park area and I was able to sneak off with our younger daughter Melody (8 months old) to wonder around the park.  This was to accomplish two things.  1) Melody was pretty cranky due to the heat and trying to get her to take a nap was top on my priority list.  2) There were penny machines to be found.  Now I didn’t collect these machines in this order, but I’m going to review them as you would after first entering the park.

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As you go through security and have your admissions ticket scanned you will immediately find the first two machines.  The first one is on the right of the main path just outside one of the many souvenir shops.

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I will apologize now for not having actual pictures of the final pressed pennies.  All of these coins were collected on a previous visit a couple of years ago and the designs have not changed.  Due to this I didn’t press any new sets since I already have a few of each in my collection which unfortunately is all packed away as my family is getting ready to move.  So instead I took close-ups of the machine marquees that show the coin designs. Back to the machine, the set available here includes Springtime in the Park, Ms. Hershey Kiss, Great Bear Roller Coaster, and the Storm Runner ride.

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The second machine is on the left side of the main path.  This may actually be easier to collect on the way out depending on the crowd level when you first enter.

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The designs available at this second machine are the Kissing Tower, the Reese’s Peanut Butter Character, The Wildcat Roller Coaster, and a Hershey Kiss Street Light.  By the way in case you are wondering about the Street Lights these actually exist and are located all around town see picture below.

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After walking up the first big hill in the park you come out in the main kiddie ride area.  Near Starship America and the Carousel is the third machine.

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Just due to where this machine is located there are always a lot of kids around it.  To be honest not many are ever actually using the machine but they always get a kick out of watching when it’s used.  I always make sure to show them how it works and the finished products then they quickly run off to ask their parents for spare change.

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This set includes the Hershey Bears Logo (Minor League Hockey Team), Mr. Hershey Chocolate Bar, Hershey Park Logo, and a Carousel Horse.  To find the next machine you have quite a walk ahead of you.  It’s located way over toward the Boardwalk and is just outside the bathrooms/changing rooms for the water flume on steroids ride called Tidal Force.

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A word of warning about this area.  The ride Tidal Force has a splash area that includes part of the pathway that surrounds it.  When the ride vehicle comes crashing down there is a huge wave of water that splashes down over some suspecting (and non-suspecting) visitors.  This machine is thankfully out of the splash zone, but just beware in case you don’t want to get wet.

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The pennies at this machine have images of Hershey Park in the Dark, Lightning Racer, Wild Mouse, and Tidal Force ride logos.  The last machine is back on the other size of the park past Zoo America near the Skyrush Roller Coaster.

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As you may be able to tell from the above picture this machine is located right outside a set of restrooms.  This always tends to be a busy area with not a lot of extra standing room for people waiting for their family members.  Plus you get some strange looks when trying to take pictures of the penny machine as people are exiting the restroom doors.

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This final set has designs of a The Claw, Fahrenheit, Skyrush, and a Train Engine.  The first three designs are all thrill rides located in the park.  That concludes all the penny machines in the park, however as I was wondering around I came across 4 new Medallion machines.  These are not really my thing (I spend enough on pressed coins) but thought I would mention these just in case anyone does collect them.  The cost for these were $3 each or 2 for $5.

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The first one was located near the restrooms by the carousel.  The designs were a Carousel Horse, Milton S. Hershey, a Hershey Kiss Lightpole, and Hershey Chocolate Bar.

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The second machine was over near the Wildcat Roller Coaster.  This set of Medallions were of Hershey The Sweetest Place on Earth, Ms. Hershey Kiss, Cocoa Bushes, and Reese’s Peanut Butter cups.

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This third machine was available in the area near the Zoo America entrance, by the restrooms at the Loft Catering.  This set has pictures of Fahrenheit, Mr. Hershey Chocolate Bar, a Hershey Kiss, and the Hershey Smoke Stacks.

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Finally the fourth Medallion machine was located by the restrooms near the Chevrolet Music Box Theatre.  This set included the Hershey Park Boardwalk, the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup character, the Kissing Tower, and Laff Trakk.

With all the penny (and Medallion) machines photographed and documented for my collection it was time to head back and see how everyone was doing in the water park.  As usually Hanna didn’t want to leave but with the promise of chocolate on the way out she reluctantly agreed to dry off and start our trip back home.  This is a really great place to enjoy a day of rides, food, chocolate and pennies.  How does that not sound like fun!