Halloween Horror Nights 2019 Token – Universal Studios Florida

Are two years in a row considered a trend?  Well if not I sure hope this continues.  Back in 2018 I visited Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios for the first time as a Florida resident and had an amazing time.  One of the fun finds during the event was a souvenir token I found and you can read about it here.

 

Well here we are one year later and Universal has done it again.  The theme this year is a retro 80’s style.  You can see from the pictures above the one on the left is during the daytime and on the right is after the sun goes down.  They project a Tetris like pattern on the entrance arches.

With our annual passes, we were allowed into the park a little early to wait in designated areas called “Stay and Scream”.  It helps you avoid the massive crowd that will gather in front of the park before the event starts.  It is nice to get a bit of a jump start on the houses/mazes but as you can see from the above they aren’t quite as scary when the sun is still up.  That picture was taken out front of the house themed around the cult classic “House of 1000 Corpses”.

Crowds can get pretty crazy and the wait times for the different houses can fluctuate throughout the night.  They do offer a smartphone app that you can use to monitor the wait times and is a priceless tool when trying to experience as many houses as possible.  They also have screens with the current wait times out in front of each house.  Above was for an original concept house called “Nightingales Blood Pit”.

Some of the scenes inside the houses can get pretty gruesome, but it’s not recommended for younger visitors.  I took the above picture which is about the only picture I had that wasn’t too gory.  This is the exterior of the Nightingales house.  Unfortunately, no photography or videography is allowed inside the houses.

Back in the New York area of the park is an Arcade that is available here year-round.  However this year during Halloween Horror Nights they have converted it into the Palace Arcade which you may recognize if you are a Stranger Things fan (a show on Netflix).

This arcade was also given the 80s makeover and I almost felt like a kid again back in my youth spending countless quarters on video games.

They even swapped out some of the modern video games with retro ones like Rampage, Asteroid and Mrs. Pac-Man.

The only way to play any of these games is to get some of their special tokens.  The machines will not accept quarters for some reason.  But for us coin collectors this is a fun alternative.

There are quite a few of these token machines throughout the arcade and the exchange isn’t quite what it was back in the 80s.  You can 2 tokens for $1 or a bit of a discount if you get a larger quantity.

One side of the token has Halloween Horror Nights 2019, and the reverse has a Palace Arcade logo.  I did get a few of these tokens, this way I could keep a few for my collection and still play some retro games before heading back out for more scares.

Halloween Horror Nights is really an amazing event and I just can’t get enough of it.  The scares are all in fun, but as I mentioned above really not for small children.  I will be going back as many times as I can because the houses and scare zones are just so much fun and the scare actors do a great job.

I’m crossing my fingers that next year will continue this trend of fun souvenir tokens.

Newly Renovated Park Stores at Orlando International Airport

Just a few days ago I had to make a trip over to the Orlando International Airport so I could pick up some family.  Their flight was due in around 7pm and never really knowing how traffic will be on I-4 I left a bit early to make sure I had plenty of time to get there.  But as luck would have it traffic wasn’t too bad so I had quite a bit of time to wander around the airport.  Thankfully I remembered that some of the Theme Park stores in the airport had recently gone through some refurbishments.  Years ago they all used to have penny machines but most have disappeared, and the only one that was available was in the Disney Earport store but that is now closed for renovations. Go figure!

First I stopped by the Seaworld store.  I always liked that Seaworld blue color and it was all over the store.  The stuff here is the same as you will find in the theme park but I’m sure probably has an airport premium on the price.

I did notice that there was an abundance of Sesame Street merch in the store which would be thanks to the new Sesame Street land that opened earlier this year in Seaworld.  As I wandered through the store I kept an eye open for a penny machine but there wasn’t one to be found.

Next up I headed to the recently opened Magic of Disney store.  This was one of two Disney stores in the airport which are at opposite ends of the main terminal building from each other.  I always felt a bit claustrophobic in this store as it was just small, and not very open but that has completely changed now.  It looks like most of the walls were removed and it’s very nice and open.

I really liked this illuminated Mickey head behind the check out area with the castle silhouette.

Lots of pictures from the theme parks inside and the store was split into areas for all the different Disney properties like Star Wars, Pixar, and classic Disney items.

There was a bit of Halloween merch already in here but that’s not too surprised.  They are already hosting Halloween parties in the Magic Kingdom and it’s only September.  Unfortunately, this store didn’t have a penny machine either which I thought at the very least the Earport machine would have been relocated here temporarily.  But that was not the case.

The last store that was open for me to check out was the Universal Orlando store.

Of course, there was a big section of the store dedicated to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  All the different school houses, more wands that you can imagine and plenty of other fun souvenirs to take home.

The rest of the store was a big mashup of their other theme park icons like The Simpsons, Fast and Furious, and Jurassic Park.

Just like the other stores, there was no pressed penny machine.  But something that did catch my eye is this 2019 Universal Coin.  It was encased in this thin acrylic case with a large cardboard mat around it.  The coin itself just had the Universal Studios globe logo surrounded by reels of film.

The back of the coin has more of the film reels and says “The EPIC Adventures at Universal Studios 2019”.  It’s nice that it was dated so I’m assuming it will only be available through the end of the year.  Although to be honest there were a LOT of these in the store.  Did you see the price tag?  $24.99 for this one coin.  I was really interested in picking one of these up but wow that price was a bit steep and even I couldn’t justify spending that amount.  Maybe if I hold out until the end of the year they will be discounted, fingers crossed.

Located near that big coin I did find a basket with some new Universal Pressed Penny booklets.

The price wasn’t too bad at only $8.00.  Plus you do get one pressed penny embedded on the front cover.

It’s just the classic Universal Studios globe logo but still a fun penny to have in your collection.  I didn’t pick this booklet up at the airport as I’m sure they have them back in the parks so I’ll double-check the next time I’m there.

That was about the closest I got to a new pressed penny at the Orlando International Airport.  As I mentioned at the beginning there is one other Disney store called the Earport that is being renovated right now.  It is due to open again in a few months I believe so I’ll be sure to go back and see if the old machine is back or if maybe we can expect some new designs.  Safe travels!!

Jurassic Park Discovery Center – Islands of Adventure

I have spent a good amount of time this summer visiting Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure keeping an eye out for those new pressed penny designs.  If you read my post about the retired design stickers we found a few months ago, we have been anxiously waiting for those new pennies to show up.  Some have made an appearance and I’ll be posting about all the new replacements once they have all been released.  However, on my most recent visit, I actually came across a brand new machine.

This one caught me by surprise and to be honest I was lucky to even find it.  I had my two daughters with me as we visited Universal Studios first but had no changes, so we then went into Islands of Adventure.  The last few pennies we are waiting on still hadn’t shown up but we made our way around the lagoon just to enjoy the park for a bit.

There has been quite a bit of construction going on near the Jurassic Park area with rumors about a new Roller Coaster.  Nothing official has been released by Universal at this time.

We eventually made our way around to the Jurassic Park area and decided to head inside the Discovery Center for some air conditioning.

While we were inside I tried to think if I had ever noticed there were two floors.  On the main upper level, there is a quick service place for burgers and milkshakes, and a gift shop on the opposite side that has a 4 design hand crank penny machine.  So obviously I’ve been in that store a few times.  My girls ran over to the railing where the big T-Rex was located and noticed all sorts of things going on downstairs so we headed down to check it out.

There were quite a few dinosaur statues around and some interactive exhibits giving interesting facts about the dinos.  There was even a dino nursery with dino eggs just waiting to hatch.  They also had a few “scientists” walking around that were more than happy to answer questions you may have about the dinosaurs.

After we visited the nursery is when I noticed a penny machine stashed beside a planted tree which seemed like a strange place for it.

I started to wonder how long this machine may have been here.  The machine was in a pretty standard cabinet that looked like a wooden crate.

But it does have the NEW! sticker on the glass of the machine which seemed to be a new thing they are utilizing so I’m taking a guess that this machine was put here sometime this summer.

The designs on the pennies were of a Carnotaurus, a Triceratops, and a Raptor possibly Blue from the new movies.  Each design does also have Jurassic World along the bottom.

The latest Jurassic World movie Fallen Kingdom was released in June 2018 but maybe this is all due to that mysterious construction going on behind the Discovery Center building.  Guess we will just have to wait and see.

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!

Retired Pennies at Universal Studios Florida – Coming Soon

Just last week was Easter weekend and I knew from previous years that the Walt Disney World parks are usually really busy.  So this year I decided to visit Universal Studios in hopes the crowd levels may be a little less over the Holiday weekend.  Well unfortunately that was not the case.

Those parks were just as busy, but my plan on this trip was just to enjoy a nice day wandering around the park, and not worrying too much about trying to get on any of the rides.  I was also going to use this as an opportunity to see if any of the penny machines had moved, or if there were any new designs.  Universal doesn’t change their pressed penny machines as often as Disney so there usually isn’t much to update.  After we walked into Universal Studios we headed towards Hollywood Boulevard and checked out the first penny couple machines in the Silver Screen Collectibles and Hello Kitty stores but they were the same, no changes.  This was the same for the next few machines as well over near the E.T. ride, Barney, Springfield and the Men In Black (M.I.B.) store.  Then I came to the San Francisco Candy Company and found that the machine had been moved to a different area of the store.

I was taking some new pictures of the machine when I noticed something.  There was a sticker in the corner of the glass window where you can watch the penny being pressed.

The sticker was announcing that the engravings (designs) would be retired in the Summer 2019.  It also showed pictures of the designs that were going to be retired and in this machine it would be all 3.  Now I had a new objective for this trip, are there more of these notices in the parks?  Then I started to second guess myself about the other machines I quickly had looked at already so I backtracked to make sure.  None of those machines had any stickers about retired designs.  Then I headed back to where I had initially left off and check the machines in the Transformers Ride, the Mummy, Shrek and Minions attractions but those were all staying the same.  The last machines to review in this park were at big Studio Store near the entrance / exit to the park.

This store has 4 machines inside and most of them are staying the same but one did have one of those stickers on it.

This machine will only have 2 of the 3 designs retired.

This one seems a little strange as the Thing 1 & 2 and Gru designs are retiring but the Kong design is staying.  Kong doesn’t have an attraction in Universal Studios anymore and instead has a new ride over in Islands of Adventure so I’m not sure why it would be staying in this location.  Next I headed over to Islands of Adventure to continue the search.

We didn’t go too far inside the park when we visited the Island Market Export store and found the first machine with some soon to be retired designs.

This machine was towards the back of the store pass the big candy counter.

There are two machines located back to back of each other.  The front facing machine has the retired sticker and apparently will have all 3 designs removed.

Next we headed into the Cats, Hats and Things store which is where you exit from the Cat in the Hat ride.

This machine will only have 1 design retired.

I would assume a new Cat in the Hat design will be coming to this machine, but it would seem strange to have something else here.

A little further down the path was the Gertrude McFuzz store.

The Grinch has a meet and greet in this store, and is right near where the penny machine is located so it can be a little tight when the line is long.

Two of the three designs here will be retired.

We then left Seuss Landing and headed into the Lost Continent.  There was only one penny machine in this area of the park at the Treasures of Poseidon store.

This machine has been in this store for a long time and the designs have been unchanged, but that apparently is changing.

According to the sticker all 3 of the designs will be retired.  Not sure if this means the entire machine is going away, or if just new designs will be replaced.  After that we cut through The Wizarding World of Harry Potty which still has no pressed pennies, and then we found ourselves in Jurassic Park.

Near the River Adventure ride (the big water drop ride) is the Jurassic Outfitters store.  All the way in the back where you get your pictures from the water ride was the next machine.

These are some nice classic designs with he Jurassic Park logo, and the Islands of Adventure logo.

But according to the sticker on this machine all three designs are going away. There is some construction nearby this area with a rumored new Jurassic Park themed roller coaster so maybe these designs are being replaced with images for that new attraction.    The next area was Toon Lagoon which is themed around many old school comic characters like Betty Boop, Popeye, and Wimpy among many others.

There is one large gift shop that runs along one side of this area called Toon Extra.  Plenty of character merchandise and of course a penny machine.

I always liked the “A Penny for your thoughts” quote on the bottom of this machine.

This is another machine with all three of the designs being retired.  The set included Betty Boop, Popeye and Spongebob Squarepants.

Directly across from Toon Extra is a small store that is all about Betty Boop.

This machine and I are not on good terms.  Years ago I was on a quick trip to Florida and visited Universal trying to press all the pennies they had, but this machine was broken.  Then I spent the next year or so trying to find someone to get the pennies but that didn’t pan out.  Eventually I came back for another work trip and when I went to use this machine it was broken again.  I just couldn’t win.  But since then I was able to eventually press the set, but I will admit I’m a little happy to see it go.  Hopefully the entire machine gets an overhaul.

the posted sticker on the machine shows only two images going away, and one Betty Boop design staying in the machine.  That was it for Toon Lagoon, and no other changes in Super Hero Island so I headed out of Islands of Adventure.  The only other machines still to be checked on where in the parking structures so that’s where I headed next.  There are currently 7 penny machine around the parking hub and 6 of them appear to be staying the same even tough most of those designs are very dated.

The very last machine I checked out was in the North Parking structure just before you get to where all the cars are parked.  This is another machine that’s been around for quite a while, I think I initially presses these designs about 5 or 6 years ago at least.

I guess the latest Fantastic Four reboot movie didn’t do enough to keep fan interested in these coins.

The entire set of 4 designs are marked to be retired.

That was all I found but was excited to know that so many coins are being retired, and hopefully being replaced with new designs.  The possibilities are intriguing with what may show up.  Some of the machines where all the designs are going away, may be replaced with those new 8-design machines.  Obviously the other machines with just one or two images retiring may get pennies for all the new attractions that have been showing up at the parks recently.

In total I found notices that 26 total pennies are to be retired.  As I mentioned above that’s no guarantee that 26 new designs will be back and some may just be gone for good.  Also there is no set date for when these are being changes out, it just says Summer 2019.  I’ll be visiting the parks on a regular basis to try and report back as soon as these start changing out.

Any ideas what you think may be on the way?  Any designs you would like to see show up.  Let me know in the comments below.  Happy Collecting!

Halloween Horror Nights 2018 Token – Universal Studios Florida

Halloween has always been a favorite holiday of mine.  Something about the fall season, the cooler weather, leaves changing colors and jack-o-lanterns lighting up the neighborhood houses has just the right amount of spooky.  As I got older the horror movie genre became a guilty pleasure and then visiting local haunted house attractions and hay rides was a must each year.  Then about 15 years ago I visited Florida during October and saw commercials in my hotel room about Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights.  It looked amazing and I knew I had to squeeze it into my vacation plans.  To this day that was one of the greatest Halloween events I have ever been to.

Since relocating to Florida this was something I wanted to revisit as soon as possible.  Our daughters are a little too young for this as it can be pretty scary even for adults.  But my wife was interested in going so we got some tickets and a babysitter so we could head over and check it out.  Above is a picture I took of the Universal arches about a week before we actually went to HHN (Halloween Horror Nights).

Above is a picture I took of the line we were in the middle of just to try and get into the event.  It usually starts sometime between 6-6:30pm.  This was taken around 6pm and it took almost an hour to actually get inside the park.

Once inside, since it hadn’t gotten dark yet I wanted to check out the souvenirs first and see what they had to offer.

The logo for this years HHN included the above creepy disfigured pumpkin and it could be found all throughout the park.  As you can also see one of the HHN houses this year was themed around the popular Netflix show Stranger Things and there was a ton of merchandise with that on it.

In the middle of the Universal Studios Store was a collection of vintage arcade games.  Including Pac-man, Asteroids, Donkey Kong and some other popular games.  Now these machines do not take quarters, but instead can only accept special tokens.  The above machine is where you can purchase those tokens.  They were $1 for 2 tokens or discounts if you bought in larger quantities.

Being a pressed penny collector I obviously wished these designs were in a pressed penny format, but I was still happy to see these special tokens.  This is something I always wished Disney would do for their events and parties.  I didn’t want to spend time playing the arcade games (although it was tempting) but I did pick up a few of these tokens for my collection.  They had the creepy pumpkin on one side, and the HHN 2018 logo on the other.

It was now starting to get a little dark out and we met up with some family friends to head over to our first haunted house.  Our strategy because of the huge crowd for this event was to visit the houses at the back of the park first and then move towards the front.  This seemed legitimate in theory but seems lots of other guests has the same idea.  First up we visited the Trick ‘r Treat house which is themed around the cult classic movie of the same name.  Unfortunately for the safety of the guests and scare actors there is no video or photography allowed inside the houses.  If you are interested there are plenty of “media preview” videos inside the houses on YouTube.

The detail inside these houses is really amazing, and with Universal behind the make up and costumes you really get sucked into the houses.  The pathway weaves around sharp corners and through narrow hallways with the scare actors jumping out at you every few feet.  They are not allowed to intentionally touch or grab you, and it all makes for an amazing adventure.

The second house we visited was called Seeds of Extinction.  This is an original house theme based in a post-apocalyptic wasteland overgrown with invasive vegetation.  Basically scary plant creatures jump out at you as you walk through the house.

In between the houses along the main walkways are areas called Scare Zones.  Some of these are IP (intellectual Properties) or original theme zones just like the houses.  One of the more popular scare zones was the Killer Knows from Outer Space zone.  The uber creepy clowns just slowly stalk around you as you try to get through to the next house.

The fog, and lighting in these areas really add to the ambiance and creepiness factor.

Another scare zone was called Vamp 1985.  In this area about every 20-30 minutes the ball drops to celebrate New Years eve.  The only problem is that when the ball drops the vampires storm into the crowd looking for victims.

Up next we visited another original house called Scary Tales.  This was my favorite house we visit this night.  By this time it was around 10pm and the lines for the houses were getting pretty crazy.  The line for this house was posted as being 35 minutes but I’m pretty sure we waited at least 50 minutes, but it was worth it.

The story behind this house is that the Wicked Witch of the West has cursed the land of the fairies, twisting beloved stories beyond recognition.  This just means that all your favorite fairy tales have been turned into horror themed nightmares.  One of the rooms was the witches house from Hansel and Gretel and there was an amazing smell of gingerbread as you walked through.  The scares in here were not too over the top, but the theming was really detailed and amazing.

The Stranger Things house was definitely the longest one all night and it didn’t get much better.  We checked the wait times for this house numerous times during the night and it was always around 60-90 minute wait which was just too long for us.

One of the last scare zones we headed through was called Twisted Traditions.  The description was that an ancient evil had reawakened and transformed Halloween into an abomination.  There were a lot of scary pumpkins, and things handling from trees along this path.  Plus lots of creatures jumping out to see why we were walking through.  One of the coolest features of this zone were all the lit pumpkins decorating the tree tops.

The HHN night we visited was on a Wednesday.  We chose that day as it was supposed to be a lower attendance day, but as you can see from the wait times above it was still pretty busy.  We ended up getting into four houses out of ten that are available, and all the scare zones.  If we can figure out how to visit again before these events are done for the season we will definitely be back.  The houses were amazing, the scare actors were fantastic and it was just a lot of fun.  The night would go on until 2am but we headed out around midnight since we had work the next day.  The souvenir tokens were a very nice surprise and will make a nice addition to my collection.  Hopefully this is something they will continue doing annually.  We are definitely going to visit again next year and this would be a fun little souvenir to get year after year.

Happy Halloween!!!

Amazing Spider-Man Ride Queue – Islands of Adventure, FL

Over the past few months I’ve visited the Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure theme parks on a regular basis to keep up to date on any changes with the penny press machines.  They don’t release very many new machines or designs especially when compared to Disney but it does happen from time to time.

However on each trip I remembered a machine that was still listed online as being active and available, but I hadn’t been able to find it.  I’m usually pretty good at sniffing out machines wherever they are.

The machine in question was a 3 design electronic model located somewhere near The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride.  There is a decent sized gift shop at the end of the ride which is the standard location for attraction press machines.  Currently this tore has an 8-design touch screen machine, and a 4 design hand crank model however the third machine was just not there.

That all changed about a week ago when I got some intel from some friends that are new annual pass holders.  They have been visiting the parks quite often and experiencing all the rides since these are new parks to them.  They for years have primarily been Disney guests.  After they had spent an entire day at the park recently they mentioned in passing if I knew about the penny machine in the standby queue for the spider-man ride.  Blam, mind-blown.  I had to find out for myself if this was true.

The first opportunity I had to get over to the park I took it and decided to wait in whatever line length there was to try and find this machine.  As luck would have it there was a 15 minute wait time posted which was going to make things a little easier.  Once inside the building the design of the queue is pretty cool.  It’s setup like you are walking into the Daily Planet newspaper.  As you can see from the above picture I walked past some of the reports desks, and the detail all around were really cool.

Then as I turned the corner into the next room I was the familiar glow of a penny press machine marquee sign.  I’m sure you can tell by my picture that there wasn’t anyone in here which made using this machine pretty simple.  However, this seems to be a very poor location if the wait line was long because the queue turns back and forth right near where the machine is.

While I stood here pressing my pennies, and taking pictures and video of the machine there were a few people who walked past.  It was a little awkward to let them by while I used the machine so if you plan on using this during a busy time of day just be aware of that fact.

The designs on each penny included the Spider-Man symbol, Doctor Doom, and Spider-Man.  After I finished documenting this machine I headed through the rest of the queue.

Above is a picture I took of the ride vehicle.  It’s not a roller coaster, instead you get into the above vehicle and put on your 3-D glasses.  Then are driven through various scenes that change from practical design to large screens that project the 3-D movies of the attractions.  The vehicle moves around and gives the sensation of swinging from building to building just like Spider-Man as he tries to save the day.  The ride is really great and I’m glad I finally got to ride it.

Usually on my trips into the parks my youngest daughter Melody is my partner in crime.  She’s only 2 years old so she’s not tall enough to ride these larger more intense rides.  Hopefully when she’s a little older she will enjoy those rides so we can go on them together.  There are no other mysterious machines I haven’t been able to find so far so I don’t think any other machines may be located in the other ride queues but you never.  I still think this is a very strange place for a machine, and if you aren’t into this type of attraction it would make accessing the machine a little difficult.  I’m sure you could always wait in line, use the machine and then back track without riding.  There’s no shame in that as some of these rides really do seem pretty intense, but that shouldn’t prevent you from getting the pressed coins you want or need for your collection.

Margaritaville – Universal CityWalk Orlando

This week I made a trip back over to Universal Studios to see if anything had changed.  They don’t seem to switch out machines or designs as often as Disney does, but It was a nice excuse to visit the park.  After checking out both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure everything was still the same.  On my way out of the park I was walking through CityWalk and decided to stop in at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville for lunch.

I’ve been in here a few times over the years and always enjoy the food, and the margaritas are also pretty good.

Once out inside it’s designed to make you feel like you are on the beach.

There is even an airplane hanging from the ceiling and other items that are referenced from all your favorite Jimmy Buffett songs.  Cheeseburgers in Paradise anyone?  After grabbing some lunch I took a quick exit through the gift shop called the Smuggler’s Hold to see what they had.

There is an entrance to the store from the outside in case you weren’t eating at the restaurant.  Inside there is a lot of fun Buffett style  merchandise.

As you can guess there were a lot of shot glasses, t-shirts and beach signs reminding you it was 5 o’clock somewhere.

This place was pretty big inside.  As I wandered around I found something new, an 8-Design touch screen penny press.

After I got home I did some searching online and found that this machine had just recently been released.  If I didn’t know any better I would think my subconscious somehow knew.

The set of penny sized tokens pressed pretty well.  I did make a couple sets but some designs did roll a little short.  The images are also themed around Jimmy Buffett and Margaritaville.  There is a Parrot Head, Beach Patrol, Having Fun at Margaritaville, Margaritaville Orlando, No Shirt No Shoes No Problem, Livin for the Weekend, It’s 5 O’Clock somewhere, and Cheeseburger in Paradise.

After finishing up with the machine and taking my pictures and videos it was time to head home.  CityWalk wasn’t too busy at this time of day but always gets a little more popular as the sun goes down.  This was a fun set of pennies to find, and I’m thankful for stumbling across it on this trip.  I’ll be keeping my eye out over here in the future, and may have to spend some more time going through all the shops and restaurants to see if any more surprises show up.

Incredible Hulk Coaster – Islands of Adventure Orlando

Click here to see my YouTube channel video on this destination
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2018 is off to a great start so far.  Only one day in and a lot of new pressed pennies have started to appear.  First up I took a trip over to the Islands of Adventure (Universal) park.

The crowd wasn’t too bad, but I also visited first thing in the morning when I’m sure most were still in bed recovering from their New Years festivities.  I had news that a new penny machine was released near the Incredible Hulk Coaster.

As I walked closer to the area I actually found myself sitting there just watching people ride this coaster.  There are a lot of twists, turns and loops but people seemed to really enjoy it.

   

As I’ve mentioned before these are not really my type of ride so I was hoping the penny machine wouldn’t be in the actual queue.  I walk around a bit trying to find the machine but couldn’t find it.  Eventually I found a team member and asked about it, but the only confirmation I received was that it wasn’t in the queue (Phew!).  This ride didn’t have a gift shop which is surprising and usually a guaranteed place for a penny machine.  Instead I did find that if you walked towards the exit of the ride there is a photo preview area where you can see yourself on the ride (if you dared go on).

Bingo, the new penny machine was located right near the photo counter.  This can be a bit of a busy area with groups of people exiting the ride and trying to see their picture.

As you can see from the picture above this is another of the 8-Design touch screen machines.  Same price as the others where you can get one design for $1 or all eight for $5.

This is a numbered set and all say Islands of Adventure.  The designs include four different images of The Incredible Hulk, plus designs of Thor, Captain America, Iron Man and Nick Fury.

There is definitely no shortage of Super Hero pressed pennies at this park, but they do seem to use the same characters a lot which I’m sure if due to the licensing with Marvel.  In any event I’m happy to have new coins on the first day of 2018 and hope this will be another great year of collecting.

Happy New Year!

Universal Studios / Islands of Adventure Updated 2017

Earlier this year during a quick trip down to Florida before our move I had a whirlwind tour of Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.  I was short on time so I tried to visit both parks in one day (really just part of the day) and document all the pressed penny machines.  It had been awhile since my previous visit so there were a lot of machines to find, and it gave me a chance to replace some old pennies with some new ones.  You can read all about that visit here.

But during that trip there were a couple of machines that were either not working or not available during that trip.  This past weekend I decided to revisit those parks and see if those missing machines were now available.  First up I headed to Universal Studios and just inside the main gate was the flagship gift shop.

The Studio store has a total of five penny machines inside.  I was able to get four of them on my last trip but missed a four design manual machine.  I’m not sure if it was actually off stage or if I just somehow walked past it.  There is an area of this store that is like a candy shop and this machine is found just beside it.

I found the machine almost immediately after walking inside the store.  It was working perfectly and pressed the designs nicely.

Minions definitely seem to be the favored characters as they are everywhere including quite a few of their penny machines.  This is a another cute set of these mumbling yellow sidekicks.

This was the only machine I had missed at Universal Studios, but as I checked around to make sure none of the other machines had changed I found a Hello Kitty 8-Design machine in the Betty Boob Silver Screen Collectibles store.  I wrote about this new machine previously and you can check it out here.  After I checked out the rest of the park all the other machines were still in the same place with the same designs.  So if was only a quick Hogwarts Express Train Ride over to Islands of Adventure.

As with the Studios I had done a pretty good job on my first go around and didn’t miss many machines.  There was really only one I knew about and it was by the Amazing Spider-Man attraction.

The reason I missed this the last time was I was told the machine was located in the queue for the attraction.  The wait time for this ride was pretty crazy and with my tight schedule I just couldn’t spend the time inline.  However, on this most recent trip the machine was now located inside the Spider-Man gift shop.

This was an 8-Design penny machine with a really colorful cabinet with Spider-Man all over it.  It’s right near the exit to the gift shop so you can’t miss it.

This set includes four different designs of Spider-Man in various poses.  The other four designs include Doc Ock, Green Goblin, Venom and Power Man.  With this new set packed away and I headed across the walkway to the Marvel Alterniverse store.  Previously this store had two penny machines one was themed around the Hulk, and the other around the X-Men.  The Hulk machine was moved out to the North Parking Garage, but the X-Men machine was gone at this time.  In their place at the Alterniverse store was another 8-Design penny machine.

This machine had a pretty plain cabinet with the marquee just having a standard Universal Orlando logo on it.

Of course since this was located in a Marvel gift shop it was a pretty safe bet that these coins would have superheroes all over them.  This was a numbered set that included each of the Avengers: Spider-Man, Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Black Panther, Vision, and Black Widow.

I took my time finishing my review of the machines in Islands of Adventure and confirmed that the rest of the machines were all in the same locations with the same designs.  It seems that the machines here don’t change as frequently as in the Disney parks, but they do seem to change more often than I had assumed.  I upgraded my ticket to an annual pass for this year so I can try to visit more often as these are great parks that I just don’t usually get around to visiting as often.  I’m going to keep checking back on them to see if anything changes and will be sure to share the news.