The Seas with Nemo and Friends Pressed Pennies – Epcot

Weren’t we just at Epcot?  It seems like I’ve been here the last few weeks documenting penny machines.  Well that’s okay I’m not going to complain about Disney released new Pressed Penny designs.  As you may remember a week ago I had visited the park to find all the penny machines that had been converted to $1, and one of the last machines was at The Seas with Nemo and Friends gift shop.  While I was checking out that machine I saw a couple techs working on a new 8-design machine so I knew I had to come back and get more info on it.

Did I mention the front of Epcot is a huge construction site?  Yes, it’s a bit of a hot mess to try and get into the park at the time of writing.  There is quite a walk from the parking lot into the park even if you take the tram but I keep telling myself it will be great once all is done….in a few years (gulp!).  Thankfully I wasn’t going too far into the park as I just need to stay in Future World and headed towards the Seas with Nemo and Friends.

This is a bit of an older attraction but one that kids and adults all seem to like since it’s not too intense for those not interested in roller coasters or space simulators.

Due to this, you can usually get a fast pass pretty easily, or if that’s not available the standby wait time is usually fairly short.  I was able to get a Fastpass and headed right in.  The attraction has you getting into a sea shell ride vehicle and takes you through the Finding Nemo story.  There are some screens projecting Nemo and his friends that are surrounded by coral or other underwater scenery and is just a nice relaxing way to soak up some air conditioning.  At the end of the ride, you exit out into the Seabase (large aquarium) area of the building.  Eventually, you exit out through a gift shop.

If you would rather not ride on the attraction that is no problem when looking at the front entrance to the ride where you would hop into line just turn to the left and follow the pathway around back.  This will bring you directly into that gift shop.

On the far side of the gift shop, you can see the penny machines.  the one on the right side is the recently converted 4-design machine that was changed to $1 per penny and I wrote about previously.

However, the machine we were here to see this day was the one on the left.  This is the new 8-design penny machine.

Standard (now) touchscreen interface, the cost is $1 per penny or $5 for all 8 designs.  The machine accepts cash, credit card or digital payment like ApplePay.

The machine supplies shiny new pennies and they came out really nice.  The images are mostly themed around the Pixar movie Finding Dory the sequel to Finding Nemo.  But there are also a couple designs from The Little Mermaid including one of Ariel and Ursula’s Moray Eel Minions Flotsam and Jetsam.

What a nice new set of pennies and it fits in really nicely with this area of the park.  I’m a sucker for aquariums and when they have a fun ride, manatees, and pressed pennies I’m all in.

Epcot Machines Converting to $1 per Penny Design

I think we all knew this was inevitable.  First, we saw the new penny machine in Toy Story Land released at $1 per penny, then all the 4-design machines in the Magic Kingdom were converted to $1.  Now I’ve seen it with my own eyes, Epcot has been changed as well.

I’ll try not to keep harping on this but Epcot basically is a big construction site right now. So many changes are coming and I’m sure that it will be beautiful once all done.  It makes getting around this park now a bit of a pain with all the construction walls and buildings being torn down but I was on a mission to find all these converted machines.

Just beyond Spaceship Earth (the big golf ball) is Pin Central.  Basically, just a stand where you can buy a ton of different Disney Pins, or trade with cast members and other guests.  On the left and right sides of this stand were two penny machines.

   

In the pictures above the machine on the left is the “before” and the machine on the right is the “after”.  You can see the cabinet has been changed slightly.  It has some new graphics, no longer has the coin slider since the machine supplies the pennies now, and also has been given a credit card component.  The 4 penny designs have not changed: Phineas & Ferb playing guitars, Spaceship Earth with a Goofy Hat, Agent P, and Duffy the Disney Bear.

   

If you walk to the opposite side of the Pin Stand you can find the second machine available here.  Left is before and the right picture is after the conversion.  As with all these machines, the images have not changed.

   

Next, I headed over to the Land Pavilion in Future World (soon to be part of World Nature after Epcot’s renovations).  Inside the Land Pavilion is where you would find the main attraction Soarin’, as well as the Living with the Land attraction where you take a boat ride through a greenhouse.  Once inside the pavilion on the lower level is the Sunshine Season’s food court area and is where you can find the above penny machine.

I included a close up of the new usage details that are located on the front of the machine.  Due to the machine supplying the penny after payment is made there is a slightly different method of use.  Not much has changed, but you do need to “take your take” and don’t just start cranking the handle after you insert payment.  You do need to give it a few extra seconds to load the penny in place or your end result will be a mis-rolled coin.

   

We will be back to finish off Future World in a little bit, but for now, I headed into the World Showcase and my first stop was the Japan Pavilion.  The first machine here has been moved towards the back of the pavilion after it’s conversion.  This makes it easy to find and is now right next to the second machine.

   

It was nice to see that these unique cabinets have been kept the same other than the new instructions and payment methods.  I always like the way these looked and they fit into the pavilion nicely.

   

After the Japan pavilion, we had a bit of a trek through a few other Countries until we eventually found the African Outpost.  This is not a full pavilion but has a unique store and also a tent with a very talented woodcarver working on various pieces for purchase.  I’ve spent lots of time just watching him work as it’s really fascinating.  It was nice to see this cabinet get a bit of an update, there is now a marquee on the top with large images of the designs available in the machine that was not there previously.

   

We were almost done with the World Showcase but had one Pavilion left to check out. I headed into the China Pavilion and found the first machine about halfway towards the back near an outdoor stand that was selling puppets.

   

The second machine is all the way in the back of the Pavilion.  It’s near the exit to the movie theater where you can see the Reflections of China video.  The cabinets are fun designs for these machines as well and look to have received a fresh coat of paint.

Initially, these were all the machines that had been converted to $1, but strangely there was still one other 4-design machine in the park that had remained unchanged.

It was located back in Future World at the Seas with Nemo and Friends attraction in the gift shop.  Above is a picture of the machine.  After some conversations with other collectors we figured it would be changed eventually but due to it being a combination cabinet that housed not just the penny machine, but also a quarter press and a change machine all in one.  This was probably a bit of a complex machine to upgrade.  I held off on writing this post for weeks hoping that the machine would be changed and I could put the completed stamp on this park but it seemed like months were passing by and it still hadn’t changed.  So I started to detail out all the other machines, and of course just as I was about to publish the post I visited the park one random evening and witnessed them putting the machine out and getting it setup.

As you can see the machine was split out from that massive combo design.  It now has a new stand-alone design, but the images are still the same.  I chatted with the wonderful tech that was working on the machine as I’ve met her a few times in the past.  She mentioned the quarter press has been removed completely along with the change machine.  This is a bit sad since I really like the pressed quarter machines since the coins are larger they have nicer final images pressed and the details are always more pronounced.  Thankfully there are still a few quarter press machines around the property so I just hope they don’t decide to start removing them.

You may have noticed from the above picture of the new penny machine that there appears to be another machine beside it.  I was going to gloss over it and hope you didn’t notice but it was kind of hard to hide it from.  In place of the removed quarter press, they did release a new 8-design penny press machine.  It wasn’t completely working when I visited to get the above pictures so I’ll be going back in the next few days to use the machine and get more details on it.  At that time I’ll write a separate post on the pennies available in that new set.

Where will the next set of machines be converted?  My guess is Hollywood Studios but there are also a few machines at Disney Springs and a couple at the resorts.  I’ll be making some extra trips to these locations over the next few weeks to try and keep everyone up to date on the changes.  Happy collecting!!

Epcot’s International Food and Wine 2019 – Collectible Medallion

It’s that time of year again for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.  Well technically it’s been going on for almost 3 months at this point but I was finally able to get over there and visit some food booths plus I was able to find a collectible medallion that was released for the festival.

Before we get into those medallions lets take a tour around the festival.  With all the construction currently going on at Epcot, there is not much at the front of the park.  Usually, there is a topiary or signage after you scan your ticket into the park.  That area has completely been torn down, and one side is behind construction walls.  So they have moved most of that stuff out to the main entrance to the World Showcase.

I was immediately drawn towards the smell of grilling meats and found myself quickly waiting in line at the Flavors from Fire booth.

It was nice to see an actual grill out behind the booth.  Most of the booths have the components of the food items made in a kitchen somewhere else in the park and then transported by cart to the booths to be constructed.  That can make for a less than “fresh” feeling with the food items, but with the grills going strong I was hoping that wouldn’t be the case here.

There were a few items here that I wanted to try, but a few were the same from last year.  We were trying to make a push for some new items this year.  First, we tried the Steakhouse Blended Burger.  It was a blended Beef and Mushroom slider with brie cheese fondue, arugula, and a truffle and blue cheese potato chip on a brioche bun.

The second item we got here was the Charred Chimichurri skirt steak on a smoked corn cake with pickled vegetable slaw and cilantro aioli.  This was definitely our favorite item the entire day, even my 7-year-old daughter loved this one.

Not too far away we headed into a little courtyard that had a few booths all right beside each other.  The one we checked out was Active Eats.

Above is a picture of the Loaded Macaroni & Cheese with Nueske’s pepper bacon, cheddar cheese, and leeks.

Just a few steps away was the Coastal Eats booth which had a menu designed around seafood.

This was an item my daughter (who is trying to be a little more adventurous with her foods) chose to try.  This was the lump crab cake with Napa cabbage slaw and avocado-lemongrass cream.

We then started to head into the main World Showcase loop and just couldn’t pass up the Canada booth.  They have had the same items for the last couple years due to being fan favorites, I do wish they would change it up a bit but it’s hard to argue with the items they do keep bringing back.

Pictured above is their famous Canadian cheddar and bacon soup serviced with a pretzel roll.  This is the exact same soup available inside the Pavilion at Le Cellier steakhouse restaurant just smaller size.  I was able to get a copy of the recipe from the restaurant years ago and make it at home every so often and it really doesn’t disappoint.

This next item is one of the more expensive throughout the entire festival but it’s a classic that is hard to pass up.  Le Cellier wild mushroom beef filet mignon with truffle butter sauce.  You can also see a small cup in the background which is one of our favorite ice wines from the Niagara on the Lake region of Canada (near Niagara Falls). It is a Vidal Icewine from the Chateau Des Charmes Vinyard.

With so many food booths it’s easy to start getting filled up before you really get into the heart of the festival.  We decided to skip a few of the booths near the United Kingdom pavilion and France.  I thought our daughter may want to try the Escargot Croissant in France but she said she wasn’t ready to try eating snails yet.  Maybe next year!!  Just beyond France was the Morocco booth with some interesting items.

First was a NY strip steak green shermoula flatbread with fresh radish and tomato salsa.  This was really fantastic, kind of like a steak taco.  The steak was a bit spicy but was definitely on the top of my list this year.

We broke one of our rules and had a sweet treat before finishing up our savory items but when I saw Chocolate Baklava I just had to get it.  This is rolled phyllo dough with toasted almonds and dark chocolate sauce.

The next booth was over in the Japan pavilion and was something I had seen pictures of online, and video reviews where people were really enjoying it.

This was the Frothy Ramen, chilled noodles and dashi broth with a light foam topping.  It looked really good and I’m a sucker for ramen noddles but whoa this was not for me.  The flavor was extremely strong and overpowering for my palette.  I’ve been waiting for someone else to review it online and say they didn’t like it but so far I haven’t seen one so maybe this is just not my thing.

Our kids were pretty stuffed by this thing and my wife was getting close to her limit as well.  But of course, I wanted to keep going so we skipped a few more booths and stopped in Italy.  You just can’t go wrong with some pasta.

Pictured above were the Ravioli carbonara, parmesan, and pecorino ravioli, egg yolk, cream, and bacon.  The presentation we got in the little paper boat was a bit of a mess, but the flavor was really good and helped cleans the Frothy ramen taste off my tongue.

After that pretty heavy pasta dish, I was ready to call it a day and wasn’t sure how I would be able to comfortably get back to our car.  As we finished the last bit of the showcase we decided to head into the Port of Entry store to see what kind of Festival merchandise was available.

As my family looked around picking out t-shirts, Christmas tree ornaments and maybe a bottle of wine or two, I was drawn to an area on the opposite side of the store.  Earlier this year during the Flower and Garden festival they had released specially designed coins that you can read out here.  Fellow collectors had been wondering since then if Disney would continue this with other festivals and sure enough, here it was for the Food and Wine.

The cost for these coins was the same as before (thankfully!) at $5 for one coin or $10 for three.  So if you want all four that will run you $15.  Yes, it’s a bit pricey but these designs are just so fun it’s hard to say no.

There are quite a few coins on display in the center second of the machine.  Other machines around Disney have coins in here spinning on little risers but this machine didn’t have that and instead was just laying flat.

Here is a close up of the entire set.  They have designs of Chef Mickey, Chef Remy, Chef Minnie, and Chef Figment.

On the back of each coin is the same design regardless of the front image you select.  It’s the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival 2019 logo which I really like.

With my $15 souvenirs packed away, I headed over to my family that had picked out quite a bit more in other merchandise but that’s okay.  It’s a fun festival to enjoy each fall, and we always like trying new food items we wouldn’t normally try.  The Festival runs from August 29, 2019 through November 23, 2019 so you still have a few weeks left to visit.  Then we get into the Festival of the Holidays and I wonder if we can count on another new set of collectible medallions?

Pirates of the Caribbean Collectible Medallions – Magic Kingdom WDW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Dino Institute NEW Pressed Pennies – Animal Kingdom

One area of Disney’s Animal Kingdom that seems to get overlooked a lot is Dinoland USA.  Most of this area is set up like a carnival with cheap carnival games, face painting, and a Dumbo style knockoff ride with flying Dino’s.

A few years ago there were rumors that this area was going to be changed to an Indiana Jones theme but nothing seems to have come of that.

But recently we did finally get something new in the form of a pressed penny machine.

Situated in the back corner of Dinoland is the Dinosaur attraction.  This is probably the only real reason to come to this area of the park.  However, if you don’t have a Fastpass for this ride you may be waiting in line for quite a while.

This ride is based on the computer-animated Disney movie Dinosaur released in 2000. You are loaded onto a jeep-like vehicle and taken back in time to try and locate a dinosaur.  But you don’t have much time due to a meteor about to hit earth to kickstart the dino extinction.  Thankfully you do manage to make it back and as you exit the ride you are placed inside The Dino Institute gift shop.

Inside is pretty typical with all the standard gift shop items.

The shop is not very wide but pretty long.  Situated about halfway through the store along one of the walls is where I found the penny machine.

As you can see from the nearby wall this place can use a little TLC.  It looks like a new coat of paint would do wonders.

The machine is an 8-design touch screen model.  The cost (for now) is still $1 per penny or $5 for all 8 pennies.  The machine is also pre-loaded with zinc pennies and you cannot use your own coins.

Above is a close up of the internal gears and penny dies.  They also have samples of the entire set on display.

The set at this machine is really cute with some fun designs from the Pixar movie The Good Dinosaur.  I understand the underlying theme here is dinosaurs, but it does seem a little strange to mix movies in this location.  One movie for the ride and a different one in the gift shop.  But I’ll try not to overthink this one as I really do like the designs on these pennies.  I guess since they are sticking with the Dino theme this land is going to stick around for a while.  Hopefully, we can get some updated attractions sometime in the near future or at the very least a new coat of paint in the gift shop!

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!!

NEW Medallion Art of Disney Store – Disney Springs

On August 2nd the Disney Channel released the final movie in their Descendants series.  This is a series of movies my daughters have only recently found, but were immediately drawn into them and are their current obsession.  Basically the story revolves around the VKs (Villain Kids), the children of all the famous Disney movie villains like Mal the daughter of Maleficent, or Evie the daughter of the Evil Queen from Snow White, Carlos is the son of Cruella de Vil, and Jay the son of Jafar just to name a few.

To celebrate this new movie, over at Disney Springs on the Waterside Stage they started having nightly DescenDance Parties.  Basically, there is a DJ up on stage encouraging everyone to dance, and periodically there are video clips show on stage with the Villain Kids showing off new dance moves or of course promoting the new movie.  When I told my girls about it they immediately wanted to head over and check it out.  To be honest, I was kind of blown away, the movie is great and the kids absolutely loved it.  Most of the adults are sitting back on the benches watching, and down front by the stage are all the kids (or kids at heart) dancing around enjoying their favorite songs.  The show starts nightly at 7:30pm and runs through 10:30pm.  We stuck around for a couple hours at which time our girls were exhausted but we still had to drag them away.  No one was quite ready to head home yet so we wondered around Disney Springs a bit and just window shopped a few of our favorite stores.

Over near Rainforest Cafe is one of my favorite stores the Art of Disney.  I try not to buy too many items from this place but they have so much cool stuff it’s hard to just look and not buy.  It had been a while since my last visit so we headed inside to see what was new.

The artwork is constantly being rotated in the store but mostly because it’s very popular and people buy up all the artwork as quickly as they put it out.  They have paintings, prints, posters, sculptures and so much more.  There are even animators on hand that will hand draw your favorite Disney character if you want.

As we walked through the store I noticed in the far back corner where the collectible Medallion machine usually was located, it was no longer there.

I headed over to that side of the store just to make sure but did find it had just been moved to the opposite corner.  This seemed a little strange so I headed up to it just to see if anything else had changed.

The machine itself was the same with no changes.

Then when I looked at the designs that were available one immediately stuck out.  There used to be a Frozen design with Anna and Elsa as the far left option.  But now there was Mickey’s 90th Celebration design.

Here is a close up of the button on the machine.

Above is a picture of the actual medallion that I picked up for my collection.  The cost is also the same as before, $10 for 3 medallions or $5 each.  Definitely a bit pricey but these are not plastic or cheaply made coins, they have quite some weight to them and the designs have very nice detail with Mickey and his birthday hat.  Plus I love the slogan World’s Biggest Mouse Party.  This will make a nice addition to my Mickey’s 90th Celebration set of pressed pennies that the parks released earlier this year.  If you want to read about those pennies you can check it out here.

Since Mickey’s 90th is only going on until the end of the year, and this machine also has a dated 2019 medallion the odds are good they won’t be around forever.  I’ll have to remember to keep a closer eye on this machine as the designs seems to be changing more frequently than I would have guess.

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!

Celebrating The Lion King Pressed Pennies – Animal Kingdom Mombasa Marketplace

With only a couple weeks left before the new live-action version of The Lion King is released in movie theaters, it appears Disney is starting to Celebrate.  I recently took a trip over to the Animal Kingdom park to see what was going on.

Before I even got near the Tree of Life I noticed banners and signage all over the place about Celebrating the Lion King.

They even had quite a detailed photo op with Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa.  There were some special food items like cupcakes and slush drinks themed around the Lion King but I was on the hunt for pennies.

Back and to the left of the Tree of Life is the African area of the park with lots of great live music, or shows always going on throughout the day.

In that area is an interesting store called Mombasa Marketplace.  On previous trips into this store, I’ve seen African musical instruments for sale or some really fantastic artwork.  But for now, it seems to have been taken over by the Lion King.

There were plush animals, t-shirts, and artwork.

This extended pretty much through the entire store.

There were a few of the musical instruments still around but far less than they usually have in stock.  There were quite a few Hakuna Matata t-shirts available as well.

I will admit I almost had to give in and ask a Cast member where the penny machine was located as I just couldn’t find it.  But eventually, I did spot it all the way in the back corner.

The machine was an 8-design pre-loaded penny machine with a touch screen.  The now standard payment options of cash, credit card or Apple Pay are available.

There cost of these machines has not changed (yet…fingers crossed) and is still $1 each or $5 for the entire set of 8 pennies.

The set includes images from both the original Lion King animated movie and a few from the newer Lion Guard tv series.

This is another great set of pennies and I’m glad to see Disney releasing some new designs from their older movies and even a tv series which is very unusual.  I’m getting used to these new machines and even though I would prefer to have the option to use my own pennies I think we can assume by now that is not going to happen.  Disneyland out on the West Coast is in a bit of a dry spell with new penny machines, so I’m not going to complain too much as we have definitely been getting a lot of new and fun designs at the Walt Disney World parks even if they do press on zinc pennies.

Inside Out Pressed Pennies – Epcot Mouse Gear

When I had originally heard about this machine being released it seems a bit strange.  I’m all for getting new pressed penny machines but the designs on this one were from a movie released back in 2015.  Why were new designs just being released now?  Well, spoiler I don’t have any idea and no one seems to know.  I guess we should just be happy they arrived at all.

To investigate I headed over to Epcot on the weekend to find the machine and see what else was new.

One thing that I found was new was at the front of the park the Leave a Legacy monuments were removed from the right side.  For those that may not know, back in 1995-96 the park offered you the chance to Leave a Legacy which was basically a picture of yourself engraved on a metal sheet with thousands of other people.  They placed these images on large marble monuments that were located on the left and right sides as you enter the park heading towards Spaceship Earth.  I will admit I was one of the people that bought a location and my picture is currently still up there somewhere.  Their removal is the beginning of the Epcot transformation that will be taking place over the next few years that includes new attractions, restaurants, maybe a new world pavilion and plenty more things they have yet to announce.  I will admit that with these monuments gone the front of the park is much more wide open and easier to walk through.

First, we decided to meet some characters and my daughters latest favorites are Joy and Sadness from Inside Out which works perfectly for this post.

The characters are very cute and do a great job with the kids and adults too.  They always make for a fun photo op.

After that, it was time to get down to business.  We headed across future world and into the main gift shop called Mouse Gear.

I tried to find some Inside Out merchandise but there really wasn’t much available.  I asked a few cast members and was pointed towards only a small area with some Joy and Anger plush dolls.

We continued to walk around the store looking for the new penny machine I had heard about and found it located around the middle of the store near the dressing rooms.

 

The machine is an 8-design touch screen model that supplies pre-loaded zinc pennies.

I will admit this is a really cute set of pennies.  The images include Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, Fear, Bing Bong and then a few more with various characters together.  Even though this is an “older” movie it’s definitely popular.  There were quite a few people ahead of me and then waiting behind me for this machine.

Before we left I did see some “Farewell to Illuminations” merchandise around the check out areas.  Illuminations is the long-running nighttime fireworks show that happens at Epcot every night.  Disney announced they are retiring it and will be replaced with an all-new show.  Disney fans are obsessed with this type of merch and buy it up as quickly as it’s released.

I do still find it a little interesting that they decided to release some pennies for a movie that came out a few years ago, but people really like it so that’s probably a good move on their end.  Hopefully, this is the start of a new series where they release more machines with designs themed around older movies.  I’m still holding out hope that someday I can get some Robin Hood pennies, which is one of my favorite Disney animated movies.