2019 Dated Walt Disney World Pressed Coins Set

Here we are in 2019 and as we all knew was going to happen, the new dated pressed coins have made their appearance all over Walt Disney World property.  But first let me go over how I first found out the new designs were being released.  My daughter and I were over at Epcot just enjoying a day at the park and we decided to head over to The Land pavilion where Soarin’ is, however my daughter prefers the Living with the Land boat ride through the greenhouse.  As we walked inside and back towards the Garden Grill restaurant I noticed the penny/quarter double machine was pulled out from the wall and being worked on.

My daughter was anxious to ride the boat attraction but I asked her to hold tight for a bit.  I knew the 2019 designs were going to be released at any moment, but was amazed that I may have walked upon this actually happening first hand.  Once the machine was put back together and moved against the wall I leaned in and sure enough saw the new quarter design.  The woman who was changing out the design was very nice and spoke with me for a bit about the machines she had already changed out.  She mentioned that more would be out over the next few days.

And so it had begun and I made it my project over the next week to visit all the machines and document the new designs.

   

That first design at The Land near the Garden Grill was in the same location as last year.  The design has Chip and Dale on it and as I mentioned above is on a pressed quarter.

   

I didn’t forget to take my daughter on the Living with the land ride so we did enjoy that, but I was antsy the entire time just thinking about all the new designs around property that I couldn’t wait to find.  With the ride over we quickly headed to the other side of Future World and into the Mouse Gear Shop where we found the first new pressed penny with Spaceship Earth on it.

Something I’m not sure I ever noticed in previous years is that near all these new pressed coin machines was a large selection of 2019 merchandise like photo albums, cups, mugs, t-shirts and more.  I usually stay away from the dated t-shirts, but the one pictures above is calling my name.  I really like the colors this year and may just have to pick one up.

   

We then headed into the World Showcase to the Disney Traders gift shop and found the next penny machine.  The image is of the year 2019 and Mickey is jumping out of the Zero.  (Note: there was a new penny machine over at the Mexico pavilion we found but I’ll review that in an upcoming post.  Stay tuned!)

Those were all the 2019 coins available at Epcot.  Using the intel I had received from the penny machine attendant earlier we headed back to our car and drove over to Hollywood Studios.

   

Once in the park we headed right now Sunset Boulevard towards the Rockin’ Roller Coaster, and went in to the Rock Around the Shop to find the above machine.  The penny design was of the Fantasmic Dragon.

   

Just across the courtyard underneath the Hollywood Tower Hotel is the Tower Hotel Gift shop.  Towards the back of the store where the Tower of Terror exits is where the next machine was found.  This was a nice design with the Hollywood Tower Hotel pressed on a quarter.  Unfortunately that was all we had time for on Saturday and had to head home which worked out well anyways as I was running low on spare coins I always bring “just in case”.  Sunday we got up early and headed to our first stop.

   

The All-Star Sports resort has a whole wall of pressed coin machines just outside the Game Point Arcade.  The first machine had the new 2019 design of Goofy pressed on a quarter.

   

Just a short drive away we headed into the All-Star Music resort for the next pressed quarter with Minnie Mouse.  This machine can be found just outside the Note’Able Arcade.

   

The third resort is the All-Star Movies and the machines are all in the World Premier Food Court.  This resort had another pressed quarter design, but this time with Donald and a box of popcorn.  I will admit that I screwed up at this resort.  I just pressed the quarter design and left for our next stop.  After I got home I found out online that there was also a new 2019 penny design here.  So I had to go back the next night after work to get it.

   

Here is that pressed penny of Plus that I completely overlooked.  This should have planted a seed in my mind that maybe this year some of the locations would change (some in fact did) but I wouldn’t realize that until a few days later.

   

Next we drive over to the Animal Kingdom park (it’s not a zoo) and found the new penny in the same spot as last year at Chester and Hester’s Dino Treasures store.  The design is of the Tree of Life.

   

We then walked almost to the far opposite side of the park into Africa near the Harambe Railroad Station.  Currently the train is not operational as they are renovating Rafiki’s Planet Watch, and the pathway back to the train station is now where you can find a handful of Wilderness Explorer tables to earn badges (a free activity you can do in the park).  The cast will question why you are heading back to the train station that isn’t working, but just let them know you are using the penny press machines and they will let you by without any issue.  Thankfully the machine is now outside the station so it can be easily used.  The design is of Pluto on a pressed quarter.

   

A few days passed before I heard about the next machine which was at a new location, the Art of Animation Resort.  This resort has a pretty good food court so I headed over after work for some dinner and to check out the machine.  It’s located right as you walk into the Landscape of Flavor food court.  This is also a bit of a unique dated design.  Not only does it have the year 2019 with Daisy Duck but it also has the Art of Animation resort logo on it.  Guess this one won’t be relocated any time this year.

   

The next pressed penny was also at a  new location this year the Polynesian Village Resort.  On the second floor of the Grand Ceremonial House just outside the Moana Mercantile store.  The penny has an image of Minnie Mouse.

   

As you can probably guess the last three designs were in the Magic Kingdom.  First was in the Main Street Emporium the same place as last year.  The image on this penny is of Chip and Dale.

   

The second machine is about halfway through the Main Street emporium which is another new location for a 2019 design.  This is a pressed  quarter machine and the image is of Mickey in the Zero of 2019 just like the penny design in Epcot at Disney Traders.

   

This last penny machine was found in Fantasyland behind Cinderella’s Castle at the Sir Mickey’s gift shop (same as last year).  However this machine proved to be quite a pain for me to acquire.  The first time I visited it was jammed, so I went back a couple of days later and it was out-of-order again.  I waited a few more days and finally on my third visit I was relieved to find it quite operational.  The pressed penny has Mickey Mouse strutting his stuff over the year 2019.

So that makes for a total of 7 pressed quarter designs.

and 9 pressed penny designs.  For you math wizards out there that is a total of 16 press coins for 2019 which is one more than last year.  I’m not going to lie, I was actually hoping they may release 19 designs for 2019 but I’m happy with what we did get.  Plus with a few of the designs at different locations this made finding them a bit more challenging that I actually enjoyed.

Here is a picture of all 16 of the pressed coins for 2019.  There are a few designs that are the same on a penny and quarter, but I think it’s still a really nice set for this year.  At the time of this posting all the 2018 designs have been removed and retired so if you were missing any you will most likely have to check out eBay.  I say this every year with these dated sets, but make sure you get them before they are gone.

We have almost a full year but you never know what could happen.  Plus 2019 is going to bring us Star Wars Land (Galaxy’s Edge) and I’m hoping maybe I can use the force or a light saber to press some new coins but we will find out later this year when that new land opens.  Last year was a record number of new pressed coins released in WDW and I’m hoping 2019 will be even bigger.  Stick around and I’ll be sure to share news of all new pressed penny machines through the year and of course we will go on some other adventures along the way.

Main Street Confectionery – Magic Kingdom

As we got closer to Christmas and the new year we had family in town which is always a great time but very busy.  Plus my job has its busy time of year leaving up to January 1st so there was a lot going on.  To top things off I was anxiously waiting for the new 2019 pressed coin designs (detailed post coming soon!), so I was surprised when a new machine made an appearance in the Magic Kingdom.

My sister and her family didn’t need much convincing to visit the Magic Kingdom that evening after I was done with work.  But we knew that being this close to the holidays the crowds of guests was going to be pretty crazy.

I always think the Magic Kingdom looks beautiful at night with all its lights on, and Main Street seemed even more magical.

If you are familiar with the current location of the penny press machines along Main Street, most of them are along the left side (when you are facing the castle).  This new machine though was in the Main Street Confectionery on the right side and maybe starting a new set of machines along that side.  There are quite a few shops along that side that have plenty of room for some machines.

Inside the Confectionery is like being in a candy factory.  All the shelves are stuffed with candy apples, popcorn, cotton candy and bags of all kinds of sweets.

In the back you can see some cast members working on a fresh batch of caramel apples.

Each of these stores connect to one another so you don’t need to go outside and back inside.  Rather there are just connecting doors in the wall, and on the far side of the Confectionery by this door was where the penny machine was located.

The cabinet of the machine is a plain white design.  I was hoping it would have candy themed designs on it, but the theming of these new machines doesn’t seem to go into that amount of detail unlike some of the older style machines.

Thankfully the store wasn’t too busy.  I think mostly because everyone was outside on Main Street were preparing for the fireworks.  I walked right up to the machine and pressed my coins.

The designs on the pennies in this set are really cute, and do fit in with the location of the machine.  The set includes images of your favorite Disney characters enjoying some sweet treats.  Mickey and Donald with Candy Apples, Goofy with some Candy Canes, and Minnie with Ice cream just to name a  few.

I have only been in this store a handful of times.  Usually with my kids on visits to the park we avoid candy stores whenever possible.  But it’s really a fun store, and if you have a sweet tooth it’s a place you can load up on some enjoyable treats.

I walked outside just in time to see some of the fireworks above Cinderella’s Castle.  We live close enough to the parks that most nights we can hear the fireworks, but there’s nothing like being there in person to see them high in the sky.

Now it was time to hit up some rides and maybe find a savory snacks, I think I had enough candy for one day.

Festival of the Holidays & France Pavilion Penny Machine Returns

Quick side note.  The below is something I wrote up earlier in December but just didn’t get a chance to post it.  I had planned on writing something else for this week, BUT Walt Disney World decided this was the week they were going to release all their new 2019 pennies and quarters.  So all week I’ve been heading in and out of the parks and resorts looking for the coins.  Full review will be coming as soon as I can.   In the meantime enjoy the below even though it’s a bit late in celebrating the holidays.
Have a wonderful 2019!!
————————————

Still being relatively new Floridians, my family is still finding it hard to get into the Holiday spirit.  Coming from New Jersey we had the transition from summer into fall with the changing of the leaves and cooler weather, then into winter with lots of snow.  But now in Florida it pretty much seems like summertime all year round.  There are some things we have found that help, but our favorite has been the Festival of the Holidays and Candlelight Procession in Epcot.

The decorations around the park are always a nice touch, and the topiary that are common for each festival in Epcot are always really amazing.

As you head through the middle of Future World you can see the top of the Christmas tree just near the entrance to World Showcase.

You always want to make sure you pick up the passport for the Festival.  This will contain information about the different Holiday storytellers, show times, and most importantly the food booths.

We checked out a few of the booths this year.  One we always visit is near the Canadian Pavilion and this year is called the Yukon.

We tried the French Canadian classic tourtiere which is like a meat pie filled with Beef and Pork with a housemate ketchup.  To offset the savory dish we tried some Ice wine from a winery called Inniskillin located in the Niagara Falls region of Canada.  The tourtiere had the familiar holiday spice and flavor I remember from my childhood in Canada and it was a nice treat.

There is also a cookie stroll you can partake in.  There are six cookies available at specific food booths around the World Showcase.  The cookies were only a few dollars each.  When you purchase your cookie, make sure they stamp your festival passport.  Once you have had all your cookies there is one last Completer cookie to get which is accompanied by a cold bottle of milk.

I mentioned previously about the Holiday Storytellers.  These are done by performers in some of the pavilions that tell stories or sing songs about the holiday celebrations from their home countries.  We headed to France and loved the stories told by Père Noël.

As a side story this our Holiday adventure through Epcot, I had heard a rumor that the pressed penny machine in the France Pavilion had returned.  So I took a quick trip into Les Halles the gift shop and patisserie to check it out.

Sure enough in the back of the shop where it used to be was the machine.  The cabinet has changed but the two designs were still the same.

The two designs are of Mickey with the Eiffel Tower, and the France Pavilion.

Now if you have been following my travels there was a post a year or so ago about a secret penny that was available here in the France Pavilion.  You can read about it here.

As I pressed a new set of pennies at this machine I watched the dies inside the machine turn and noticed the third secret die was still inside.  I was hoping this would mean that the Agent P interactive game that you used to play to get this coin would be reactivated.  However after chatting with some fellow collectors online the rumors are that the Agent P game will be going away in the near future and replaced with something else.  So unfortunately for now it appears there is no way to press this special coin.

After visiting the patisserie in Les Halles for my wife’s favorite chocolate croissants we headed to one last Festival food booth for a couple of items that we had been hearing good things about.

At the L’Chaim! booth there was quite a line which seemed to be a good sign.

First we tried the potato knish which I remember having in New York City on many visits.  This wasn’t as good as the authentic ones in NYC, but it was still really good.

The second items we tried at this booth was the Pastrami on Rye with a housemate picket.  This was really good.  I’m a sucker for Pastrami or Corned beef and really like this one.  I did with the portion was larger, but this is pretty standard size for the Epcot festivals.

We enjoyed the rest of the Festival around the World Showcase and eventually ended up in the China Pavilion at Nine Dragons restaurant for dinner.  We had booked a dining package for the Candlelight Processional that evening.  After dinner we headed towards the American Pavilion for the show and it was amazing. Our celebrity narrator was Neil Patrick Harris, but the stars of the show were the orchestra and choir.  The music and singing were really fantastic.

On our way out of the park after the candlelight procession I overhear someone say, “If that doesn’t get you in the Holiday spirit nothing will”.  I couldn’t agree more.

Riverside Depot – Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Just this past weekend we have news of a new penny machine.  I was surprised by this as I figured Disney was preparing to release the new 2019 dates sets which usually happens around this time of yer.  But instead we were given an early Christmas gift with a new machine.

The machine was released over at the Animal Kingdom park.  There are some holiday decorations up but the other parks are definitely more decked out.

The huge tree is just past the security check at the front of the park, but before the ticket windows.  There are quite a few photo pass photographers around the tree offering to take your picture.

If only they had a way to get some lights up in the Tree of Life that would be really cool.  They do have a projection show on the trunk of the tree at night, but from what I remember it’s not holiday themed this time of year.

When you enter the park and cross over the bridge to see the big Tree of Life in front of you, there is a store on your right hand side called the Riverside Depot.  This is connected to the Discovery Trading Co. store which already has three penny machines.

Discovery Trading Co is more t-shirts, sweaters and other apparel you can wear.  The Riverside Depot however is where you can get some plush characters, holiday ornaments, candy, pins for pin trading, and a wide selection of items.

Towards the back of the store is the new and only penny machine in the Riverside Depot.  As you can see from the above picture it a 8-design multi machine.

This is the first machine of this style located in the Animal Kingdom, but I’m sure it won’t be the last.

A nice feature of this machine is that a portion of the purchase amount goes towards the Disney Conservation Fund.

This set has some of your favorite Disney animal characters from  various movies.  The designs include Abu from Aladdin, Tigger from Winnie the Pooh, Squirt from Finding Nemo/Dory, Terk from Tarzan, Rhino Guard from Robin Hood, Hathi Jr from The Jungle Book, Bruce from Finding Nemo, and Heimlich from A Bug’s Life.

Another great set of designs.  I especially like the Rhino Guard from Robin Hood.  That is one of my all-time favorite Disney movies as it’s one of the few videos we had on tape that my sister and I would watch endlessly.  If only they would release some of the other characters like Robin, Little John, Maid Marian, the Sheriff.  Oh I could go on, that would be a great set but maybe someday my wish will come true.  Stay tuned for next week as I have something a little unique setup for Christmas.  For anyone traveling this coming week please stay safe.

Blizzard Beach Water Park – WDW Florida

Yes it’s December, and Yes I’m going to talk about a water park.  But this was actually a visit my family made a couple of months ago that I’m just getting around to writing about.  Hopefully if you are somewhere with snow on the ground, and cold temperatures this gives you a bit of a reprieve from the winter.

As a child I loved water parks, but unfortunately up in Canada we didn’t have too many and they were only open for short periods of the year in between all the snow and cold weather we would encounter.  Now that we are down in Florida our daughters like spending time in the pool but I didn’t know how they would do at the Water Park.  When our Disney annual passes came up for renewal I upgraded to the option that included the Water Parks as a test for future years.  Well after just one trip to Blizzard Beach it appears we will be keeping these passes.

Our girls absolutely loved it.  They were a little small for some of the bigger water slides, but the lazy river, wave pool and the family tube rides were things they continue to talk about weeks after we visited.

The story behind this park is that there was a freak snow storm in the area which led to the opening of Florida’s first ski resort.  With the usual Florida temperatures the snow didn’t last long, and the ski resort was transformed into a water park.  Due to this there is a chair lift that takes you up mount gush more to some of the water slide attractions, including the flagship slide Summit Plummet a 120 feet tall reaching speeds of 60 miles per hour.

In the middle of the park is the giant wave pool known as Melt-Away Bay.  Surrounding the wave pool is a large area filled with lounge chairs and cabanas.

Running around the perimeter of the park is Cross Country Creek the 3,000 foot long lazy river.  Be careful when you float through Mount Rushmore as the glaciers are melting which makes for some icy cold water dripping down on your head.

They also have water slide racers called Downhill Double Dipper where you can see who the fastest is in your family.  A little competition is always fun to watch as some families really get into this one.

After you have had your fill of water attractions you may be looking to do a bit of souvenir shopping.  The main gift shop here is called the Beach Haus.

Inside you can buy bathing suits in case you forgot one, or towels, flip-flops and more.

You can see the parks mascot Ice Gator had a bit of a skiing accident and crashed right into the side of the building.

The store of course sells t-shirts with the water parks logos on them, and they also have a penny press machine near one of the side entrances.

The machine is a three design electric model.  It’s a plain cabinet which I kind of wish was more themed.  It would be cool to have the insides look like a water slide for your penny to go down when being pressed, or the whole machine would look like it’s a melting block of ice.  Oh well they can’t all be overly themed.

The penny designs available at this machine include Daisy sun tanning, Goofy Mickey & Donald tubing, and Mickey just lounging on the beach.  All of the pennies include the Blizzard Beach logo that makes for a nice souvenir of your visit.

Not only was this our daughters first visit to the water park, but it was mine as well.  In all the years I’ve visited Walt Disney World I never made it over.  It was a lot of fun, and since our kids are now obsesses with water parks this will not be our last visit.  Thankfully in the Orlando area we have quite a few Water parks so we should have plenty of options, and I’ll be sure to keep an eye open for their penny machines.

Newly Renovated World of Disney Store – Disney Springs Florida

Over the last few years we have witnessed the transformation from Downtown Disney to the new and fresh Disney Springs.  The changes have been really unbelievable.  Years ago when I would visit Florida on vacation I always headed to Downtown Disney on my travels days.  The restaurants were never great and the shopping was for the most part just a bunch of Disney gift shops.

But now it’s a destination that I visit quite often, and enjoy all the new restaurants and shopping options.  With this fresh new design, and brand new theming there was still one place that seemed like it needed a refresh.  Thankfully Disney thought the same thing and put their flagship store the World of Disney through a refurbishment that took almost a year to fully complete.

Even after the update the big Stitch came back with a fresh coat of paint.  He does still “spit” on unsuspecting guests below, and is now located on top of the new World of Disney logo.

Inside the store looks much larger than it did before.  The above picture was taken before the entire store had been completed which is why you could see the black curtain at the back of the store.

Just inside the middle set of entrance doors to the store is the first of three new penny machines.  Previously there were three machines with only four designs per machine, but they have been replaced with these new 8-design touch screen machines.

This first set of 8 pressed penny designs include Mickey and all of his famous friends.

One section of the store is all about plush and it was amazing to see in person.  Look at that wall of Mickey’s against the back.  I’m sure they have no problem going through all of those on a frequent basis.  The number of people in here at any point is staggering.  I visited the store a few times after it had the grand reopening and it’s always packed no matter what time of day you go.

In the side of the store closed to the Lego store or the Town Center is set up as their seasonal area.  This time of year it’s filled with Christmas and all sorts of holiday merchandise.  Of course ornaments are a huge part of this and the selection seems to get bigger each year.

Over on this side of the store is where the second penny press machine is found.  It’s stashed in the corner near the front set of doors.

This is another great set that I was surprised they released.  This has designs from some of their famous animated movies like Aladdin, Up, Pinocchio and Alice in Wonderland plus a few others.

The back section of the store that was originally behind the black curtain was eventually opened and is my daughters favorite area.  This is where all the Princess things are.  They even project some of the Princesses up on the wall in scenes from their movies.  All of their dresses, accessories, and dolls can be found in this area.

The third and final machine was one that I uncovered on the pennycollector website before it was actually placed in the store.  I had found a concept drawing of the designs for the location and knew it would be arriving before too long.  It was eventually placed in this back section of the store near the Marvel and Star Wars sections of the store.

The designs in this set are all Winnie the Pooh and his friends.  It seems a little strange to put this machine in the Marvel and Star Wars sections but I guess we have enough of those penny designs already so nice to see Pooh bear getting some love with a set of coins.

If you visit this store be sure not to just walk around with your eyes towards the ground or on all the merchandise.  This store is beautiful and there are so many magical things going on all over the place.  I mentioned the princess projections on the back wall, but they also have animated sketches on the wall that come to live and change periodically.  Tinker Bell also shows up on the wall behind some of the check-out areas and she dances around some bottles of paint and helps animate picture frames with images of some Disney classics.  The store is almost an attraction in and of itself which is a lot of fun.  Plus you can get 24 pressed pennies all in one place.

Polynesian Village Resort – NEW Pressed Penny Machine

These 8-design penny machines are taking Walt Disney World by storm.  I received word that one of these new machines was put out over at the Polynesian Village Resort.

This is a resort that I visit whenever possible.  Not only does it have one of my favorite restaurants (Ohana) but the island vibe you get just from walking around the property is a lot of fun.

Once inside the main ceremonial house the friendly staff greet you with a flower lei, and the beautiful flowers all around just put you in the vacation mood.  Something else I usually do when visiting here is walk straight back through the rear doors to the Pineapple Lanai for a dole whip.  But on this trip I had a quick pit stop first.

Previously just to the left of these rear doors was a 3 design penny machine, but as you can see it has been removed.  Now there is a new touch screen machine.

The designs available here are all themed around the movie Moana which makes perfect sense at this resort.

The penny designs include Moana herself in a few different poses, Maui, HeiHei, Pua and even a couple of Kakamora.  I think this is a really cool little set for such a great movie.

Before heading outside for my Dole whip I went upstairs to see if those two machines were still there and they were.  Just outside the Moana mercantile are two machines (one has 3 penny designs, and the other has 3 quarter designs).  The designs on all of these coins have remained unchanged…for now.

With the new coins pressed, and the previous machines checked up on it was time for my treat.  I made my way back downstairs and out the back of the ceremonial house to the Pineapple Lanai.  Amazingly there was no one in line so I got right up to the counter and ordered my Dole whip.  I walked it over to the beach along side the seven seas lagoon and just enjoyed a little bit of island time with my feet in the sand before heading back home.

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort – Recently Renovated

Over the past few years it has seemed like the majority of the Walt Disney World Resort property has been under construction.  The roads are being rerouted, new attractions being built, and some of the resorts have been under renovation.  This is not going to change any time soon, and from the sound of it most of this won’t be done for another 3-4 years.  But one of these places that has started to see the finish line is the Caribbean Beach Resort.

I visited this resort about 8 months ago to see how things were going and it was a mess.  Guests had no actual restaurant to eat at, instead there was a tent put up with a buffet inside, or some temporary food trucks near the pool.  However just this past week that all changed when the newly renovated Old Port Royale opened.

In case you aren’t familiar with how this resort is laid out, there are groups of resort room buildings named after different Caribbean locations like Aruba, Martinique, Jamaica and a few others.  This resort is huge and was in need of some TLC.  The main reception area used to be on the outskirts of the property in the Custom House, but that has closed.  Now that has been relocated to Old Port Royale along with some new places to eat.

The new check-in area is wide open with some minimal theming but this seems to be the direction Disney is going with its resorts.

Just inside the main set of front doors is the new penny machine available at the resort.  In years past this resort had quite a few penny machines, but those have all been removed and retired.  This is now the only machine available here.

I wonder if we will ever seen any of the old three design coin press machines anymore?

All of the penny designs have our favorite Disney characters as Pirates.  For some reason all of the pennies also say “Pirates of the Caribbean” which I think is a little strange.  It’s the same logo from the attraction in the Magic Kingdom but now over at this resort.  I get that the Caribbean Beach resort does have a pirate theme at the main pool and in some of the rooms, but this seems like a bit of a stretch.

The rest of Old Port Royale is set up for the new Centertown Market the quick service options.

Walking out the back of the Old Port Royale building you are right next to the main Pirate themed pool, and the new Banana Cabana bar / lounge.  I stopped by here later on at night and they have live music, but there are not many seats available so you may need to get there early or expect to wait for a table.

Beside the lounge is the new table service restaurant called  Sebastian’s Bistro.  This place has received quite a good reception so far in its first two weeks of being open.  I will also admit I have actually eaten here twice in that time period and have been thoroughly impressed.

I’m sure you all remember Sebastian from The Little Mermaid.  First off the inside is really clean and bright, but there are some light fixtures that have not been installed yet so at night there are areas that can be a little dark.  The service I had on both my visits was superb.  They knew that menu inside and out, making some great suggestions.

We tried the Pull-apart bread as an appetizer which came with three accompaniments, Guava butter / Mango Salsa / Jerk favored Oil.  The guava butter was unbelievable.

For  my main course I tried the Jerk chicken, which  are boneless chicken thighs marinated in a Jerk season and served over Cilantro rice and black beans.  This was really flavorful and we really liked it.  We also tried a few other main dishes and they were really fantastic as well.  This is a place I would highly recommend and if you get a chance be sure to head over and try it out.  Plus you can take a nice stroll around the resort afterwards and see what they have to offer, or press a set of the pennies in the lobby.

One last thing you can see when you visit this resort is the nearby resort that should be opened in a couple of years.  It’s going to be called The Riviera and from across the lake looks like it’s going to be huge.  Not sure how it will look inside but I’m anxious to find out.  Plus you know they must have a penny machine inside.

Hall of Champions – Magic Kingdom Main Street USA *NEW*

The weekends in our house is usually what we call our park days.  Usually by Wednesday or Thursday I try to come up with a plan of what parks we will visit that coming weekend, but there are always asterisks with those selections.  The options can change depending on weather, special events, or more often than not due to a new penny machine.  That was the situation that happened this past weekend.  I had everything setup to check out Universal Studios so we could see some of the Halloween Horror Nights areas in the safety of day light.  But then I heard about a new penny machine and I dropped that plan like a bad habit and instead we headed into the Magic Kingdom.

After a quick trip on the run down Monorail (hopefully new ones are on the way according to rumors), we were found ourselves surrounded by pumpkins and other really cute Halloween decorations.

I was told this new penny machine was in a store down Main Street USA.  My fingers were crossed that this wasn’t mistaken for the machine recently released in the Disney Clothiers store.  Thankfully this was not the case.

Instead this new machine was just a few doors down at the Hall of Champions store.  This place used to house sports themed clothing and merchandise with the usual Disney spin, but now it just seems to be another extension of the Main Street Emporium with pretty standard shirts and clothing.

In this store kind of jammed into a corner between two racks of merchandise were two 3-design penny machines.  Those have been removed and replaced with a new 8-design touch screen machine (the new Standard).

This new machine is literally in the exact same location as the other 2 machines but now has a little more room to stretch out.  This is over against the wall closest to Casey’s Corner the famous hot dog quick service restaurant.

The machine cabinet is a plain wood grain, that looks nice but I do miss some of the fancy cabinet designs or theming that the old 3-design machines would sometimes have.

I pressed a few sets for some fellow collectors, but found that a few of the designs rolled a bit short.  The images in this set are of your favorite Disney character playing various sports.  Baseball Mickey, Tennis Minnie, Golfer Goofy, Golfer Daisy, Mickey & Donald playing Basketball, Baseball Tigger, Soccer Mickey and Football Donald.

This side of Main Street USA currently has a total of 5 pressed coin machines which is great, but these stores from the Emporium to the Hall of Champions gets extremely busy.  It makes trying to use these machines a little difficult from time to time.  After we finished using this new machine and headed outside I glanced across the street and realized that there are a lot of stores over there with no penny machines.  There is the Confectionary, Uptown Jewelers, the Main Street Bakery, Crystal Arts, and the Chapeau store.  These would all make for great locations and hopefully some fun themed designs for store.  I’m crossing my fingers this may be part of their plan.

It’s always fun to have an excuse to visit one of the Disney parks.  This is something I never want to take for granted and feel extremely lucky to have the opportunity to visit as often as I do.

Collectible Medallions – Art of Disney Store in Disney Springs

This is not quite pressed penny related, and I’ve mentioned in the past that I don’t usually collect the Medallions that are found at zoos and theme parks.  But just released in the last couple days was the first Disney themed Collectible Medallion machine.  I couldn’t resist so I raced over to Disney Springs to check it out and get a set for myself to investigate this new possible collectible.

In the Marketplace area of Disney Springs just beside the Rainforest Cafe and Days of Christmas gift shop is The Art of Disney store.  I visit this location almost every time I’m in this area as it’s filled with things I can only hope to own some day.

The items found inside range from paintings, to sketches, figurines, prints and a whole lot more.  The selection is always changing so you never know what you may find inside.

They also usually have quite a nice selection of Haunted Mansion items that I have been slowly acquiring whenever I can.

In the back corner past the huge wall of art work is where I found the Souvenirs Medallion machine.

Since these are not pressed the inner works are pretty simple.  All the medallions are already pre-loaded and just drop into the collection cup at the bottom.

The biggest difference you may notice is the cost, these are pretty expensive.  They are $5 for one medallion, or you can get 3 for $10.  So for those math majors out there if you wanted to get all 4 designs it will run you $15.  Similar to the 8-design press penny machines you can use cash, a credit card or ApplePay.  However, if you are using a Credit Card or ApplePay those payment types are only available for the 3 designs $10 option.  Individual medallions have to be paid for with cash and the machine does not offer change.

Above are the 4 designs that are currently available.  There is a 2018 Mickey, the Partners Statue (Walt & Mickey), the Fab Five (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Pluto), and the Frozen sisters Anne, Elsa and their snowman buddy Olaf.

You may notice the first design of 2018 Mickey is the same image that was released earlier this year as part of the 2018 Dated Set of pressed coins.  Above is a picture of the medallion next to the pressed quarter and pressed penny for comparison.

Another nice feature of these medallions is that the back of all the coins has the Disney Springs logo.

These are a fun new collectible but I’m still not really sold on the cost.  These coins are roughly the size and weight of a US Silver Dollar so they do have some heft to them, and I’m sure the manufacturing cost is higher.  But $15 for 4 medallions is still a bit steep especially if some of the designs are going to be duplicates of pressed pennies or quarters I may have already collected.  I’ll be curious to see if any more of these machines appear around the parks or any of the resorts.