Discovery Cove – Orlando, FL

My wife was having a special milestone birthday this year and I wanted to try and find something special to do for her.  She likes the theme parks but doesn’t want to be the center of attention so doing something big at one of the parks just wasn’t going to work.  Instead, I focused on something maybe a little more laid back, relaxing but hopefully still special all at the same time.  Then something came to me that I thought might be the perfect solution.

I remember hearing about Discovery Cove years ago when I was visiting with friends and one of them was a big dolphin fan.  She was going to University to be a Marine Biologist and dolphins were going to be her specialty.  Discovery Cove is operated by SeaWorld and is basically known for allowing you the opportunity to swim with dolphins.  Way back when with my friends this place was next to impossible to get a reservation for as they needed to be booked years in advance.  Now however the property has expanded and there are more guest spots available each day.  It can book up quickly but with a little pre-planning, I was able to book our day.

Since our two daughters are still on the younger side I decided to have their grandparents keep them entertained that day.  This way we could really take our time to explore this new place and make a judgment call for future visits with the girls.  Check-in available pretty early in the morning, so we headed over around 8am.

Inside the check-in area, there was lots of dolphin art all over the place.  They had plenty of staff helping you to check in.  Part of the process was getting your day scheduled for you.  Your standard admission cost will give you access to the lazy river, bird aviary, pools, snorkeling pool, and the food and drinks.  Then they do have some additional experiences you can pay for to enhance your day.  We decided to splurge a bit and absolutely wanted to swim with the dolphins, and I wanted to get my wife a relaxing massage.

There was plenty of seating all around, but another upcharge we opted for was to have our own covered seating area.  It was located just near the snorkeling lagoon in a bit of a secluded area so we weren’t near the main pathway with a lot of foot traffic.

This is considered an all-inclusive experience so with your day admission price you do receive all your food and drinks at no additional cost.  You can go as many times as you like.  There was breakfast available when we first arrived and they have various stands around the property with snacks and drinks whenever you want them.

Above is a picture of the entire property.  It was much bigger than I had thought, but there was really just one main walkway that would take you to all the different areas.  Plus to be honest you really want to spend most of your time in the water.

The main swimming areas were beautifully designed and landscaped.  With the waterfalls in the background, you would almost think you were on a tropical island instead of the middle of Orlando’s tourist district.

Our dolphin swim was scheduled for about an hour after we arrived.  When you first check in you get a lanyard with your activity schedule on the back.  This way you know exactly when and where to go throughout the day.  We headed to the specific meeting location and went through an introduction and safety class before they lead us into the dolphin area.

This part of the day was really fun.  We were led by a team of dolphin trainers into one area of the pool.  The water was about waist high so not too deep at this point.  They would then go over how they train the dolphins and periodically the dolphins would swim by allowing us to touch “pet” them along their back.  We would give specific hand signals prompting the dolphin to do various things like wave their fins at us, splash us or swim off and jump high into the area.  The entire dolphin experience is about 45 minutes long and ends with each guest having the opportunity to swim out to the deeper part of the pool, hold on to the dolphin’s fins and swim you back inland.  You are not allowed to bring your own camera but as with any good theme park, they have photographers on hand to take pictures and video which they will sell you at the end.

After our dolphin swim, we continued our exploration of the park.  There really is a great tropical feel to it.

Eventually, we came across the lazy river which has a few different entry points.  We have used the ones at Disney which are not very deep and I don’t overly enjoy.  But these had a much higher water level and made floating around in them much more enjoyable.  Instead of big inner tubes, they had pool noodles which made the lazy river much less congested with all the other guests.

There are a few waterfalls that you go through on your trip down the lazy river, plus at one point you actually float through the aviary which was interesting.

Nothing better than just floating along down a calm river, and getting some sun at the same time.  Thankfully we had a great day, with plenty of sunshine and the temperature wasn’t too bad but that can change easily.  Best to just stay in the water.

After enjoying the lazy river for a while we headed over for some lunch.  Did I mention it was all you can eat and no additional cost.  This is a great place.  Okay enough eating, after we had our lunch my wife headed off for her massage, I headed back to our reserved seating to lay out in the sun for a bit.

When she was finished with her massage we got some drinks and just hung out at our lounge area a bit longer.  Then she was ready to try out the Grand Reef.

This is a large artificial reef that has tropical fish, and stingrays swimming around.  But the best part is you can swim with them.  Technically you are snorkeling along the top and they almost don’t even notice you are there.

I have never been very good a snorkeling but this was the time I was going to figure it out.  The water is pretty cold for this type of fish, but it’s also very salty which helps you float along the top.  There is almost no effort needed to keep yourself afloat.  Once you have the snorkeling technique figured out this was amazing.  It was very calm and relaxing to just float and watch the fish swimming around.  Some areas can get a bit busy with other guests, but with your face in the water and your ears filled with water, you almost don’t hear anything which helps with the relaxation.  This is where we ended up spending the majority of our afternoon.  When we were done snorkeling I think we both were just at a loss for words.  Out of all the activities we had scheduled that day I didn’t think this would be our favorite but it just turned out that way.

Unfortunately, the park is only open until about 5pm, but that worked out okay since a storm was about to start rolling into the area.  We had packed up all our stuff, grabbed a few snacks for the road and headed towards the exit.  But first, we stopped into the Tropical Gifts store for some souvenirs.

I always like to get a t-shirt so I found one I liked, and we also found a few stuff animal toys for our girls.  As we headed towards the check out area I noticed a penny machine in the back corner.

It was one of the newer multi-design machines that we have seen popping up more and more at Disney and other theme parks.  This one, however, had 12 designs available.  You know me, I’m a sucker for pressed pennies and had to get the entire set which cost $10.  For anyone else visiting if you only want one or a few of the pennies, they are $1 each if you don’t want the entire set.  The machine is also preloaded with shiny zinc pennies so you do not need to supply your own.

The designs on the pennies were really nice and had all the different animals and sea creatures you can encounter during your visit.  All of the pennies also have “Discovery Cover Orlando”.  I always like this type of location-specific design.

It was sad to see our day end as we headed back to the car.  But during the entire drive, we just couldn’t stop talking about this place.  I’m upset it took me this long to try it, and I know for a fact we will definitely be back.  I have a milestone birthday coming up so maybe we can go for that.  Or we may just wait a few more years and take our girls as I’m sure they will love it just as much.

 

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.

WDW Machines Converting to $1 per Penny Design

If you have been following along recently you will most likely have noticed my last few posts about the new 4-design penny press machines and the increase in cost.

This change has a lot of collectors not too happy, but not necessarily just because of the higher price.  This is something that I feel was inevitable and am kind of surprised it didn’t happen earlier.  From what I have been hearing from collectors they are more upset about the machine supplying the penny.  We have talked in the past about the preference for a lot of pressed penny collectors to use pre-1982 pennies due to their higher copper content.  This usually results in much better final pressings.  But as we have found with the new larger format machines (8 or 12 design machines) that already supply new shiny zinc (copper coated) penny.  The jury is still out on how well these pressed pennies will hold up over time.

The first few machines to be released on Walt Disney World property were two machines at the Main Street Train Station in the Magic Kingdom, and the new machine in Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios.  However these were brand new machines just released, and this immediately sparked another concern about whether any existing machines would get the price increase as well.

I have checked out all the parks and so far only one other machine over in Tomorrowland has been changed.

   

Over near the Tomorrowland Speedway was a 4-design hand crank machine that has been here for a while.

As you can see from the above picture, the machine has been upgraded (?!?! updated) to the new price point.

 

Fortunately (or maybe not if you don’t already have these coins) the designs have not changed.  They are still the same as they were before the price increase.  Thankfully for my collection I already had a set pressed on some older (pre-1982) pennies, but went ahead and pressed a new set just to see how they came out.

There were a few other 4-design machines that were temporarily missing from the Magic Kingdom.  As we assumed they have returned with the updated cabinet and the new price and payment system.

First was over in Tomorrowland near where the TTA People Mover line forms.  The designs have not changed.

Next over in the Tomorrowland Light & Power store (Space Mountain Gift shop) has two machines.

The first penny machine also has the same designs as before.

However, this location also used to have a pressed dime machine that was very unique.  That machine has been converted to a penny machine but still has the same original designs.

I spoke with some other collectors about these pennies, and it appears the dies inside the machine are the same dime sized as before, but the tension/pressure of the machine has been adjusted to press pennies.  Due to this, the pennies come out much shorter than usual.  As you can see from the comparison picture above the pennies come out almost the same size as the dimes.

The next machine was in Storybook Circus (where the classic Dumbo ride is located) in the Big Top Souvenir gift shop.  Located all the way in the back this machine can be easily missed.  The four penny designs are the same as before it’s updated, the only change is to the price and payment options.

Heading over to Liberty Square we checked on the machine near the Haunted Mansion.  These designs have also returned unchanged but the instructions on how to use the machine have been updated and are more detailed.

Just a short stroll into Frontierland the machine located across from the Frontier Trading Post has also got a new cabinet with updated pricing.  Designs are unchanged.

Finally, the last machine is over by the world-famous Jungle Cruise attraction.  The cabinet has been updated but as with most of these machines, the designs are the same as before.

I also visited Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and Disney Springs but didn’t find any other 4-design machines missing.  I would think this is probably a bit of a time-consuming process to update the machine cabinets so they are probably systematically doing each park one at a time to limit the number of machines that will be unavailable.

Being a collector that prefers to use my own pennies this is a bit of a bummer to see the machines converted over to pre-loaded.  I had used some pre-loaded machines in the past at other places around Niagara Falls and received some pretty shabby pennies.  On the plus side, it does appear Disney is trying to use some brand new shiny pennies, but they are zinc.  We will just have to wait and see how they hold up over time like the preferred copper pennies.

2019 TEC Member Coin

My apologies for the short post this week.  We were out of town on vacation last week and I’m playing a bit of catch up this week.  Stay tuned for future posts on our vacation and all the pressed penny machines we encountered along the way.  Have a great week!

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I always enjoy getting my latest edition of The Elongated Collectors (TEC) newsletter when it arrives in my email inbox.  The only downside to the digital version is that I get to see the coins that will eventually be mailed to my home.  Those coins do arrive pretty quickly but the anticipation is always a pain.  This latest issue included the always anticipated Member coin

The artwork was done by Paul Conner, and the original design and concept were by Tyler Tyson both TEC members.  Tyler also rolled the design on nickels.  This year’s design is a new twist on a classic 1904 elongated known as “On the Pike”.  The TEC mascot is the always knowledgeable Owl, so Tyler decided to have the Own on the Pike.

I’ve mentioned this in the past but if you are even a casual collector of elongated (pressed) coins this is a club you need to join.  The membership fee is very reasonable.  You can opt for a digital version of the quarterly newsletter that arrives in your email which saves you a few dollars on your membership but you still get the coins in the mail.  The members are fantastic and always there to assist with any questions or inquiries you may have.  There is a lot of coin trading and special member meet-ups throughout the year that I would encourage you to take advantage of.

If your interested in learning more about TEC please check out the website www.tecnews.org.  You can even fill out a membership form directly on the website.  Feel free to list that you were referred by TEC Member #4237.  This won’t get you any special treatment (sorry) but TEC always likes to keep track of how all the members find out about the club.  Happy Collecting!

Walt Disney World Theme Parks “Coin Set”

One evening I was over at Disney’s Magic Kingdom with nothing in particular on the agenda.  I always feel very fortunate to be able to visit the parks as often as I do, and sometimes go just to walk through the parks and take in the magic.  Whenever possible I offer to help families take pictures, or help guide someone that looks a bit lost.

Of course, as I wander around the parks I’m also keeping an eye our on the pressed penny machines.  Trying to keep up to date on if new machines have shown up, or existing machines have been changed or removed.  I walked over to Storybook Circus to check on the penny machine in the Big Top Souvenir shop (which FYI was removed and we think being changed into a $1 per penny machine click here to read more).

While I was inside I took a look at some of the new items and on this spinning rack fixture something caught my eye.

This was a package of what they titled a “Coin Set”.

It also had the official “Authentic Original Disney Parks” seal of approval.

The cost for the coins was $12.99, so that’s $3.25 per coin not including tax.  I also received a passholder discount which helped reduce the cost a bit.

Once I got home I took them out of the package to get a better look.  Each coin is a different color.  I don’t think they are actually made out of different metals, but rather just a different coating.  Each coin represents the different theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and the Animal Kingdom.  The coins also include the year that each of the parks was originally opened.

On the back of each coin is the corresponding park name and logo.

These coins are pretty hefty and do have some weight to them.  I tried to take a bit of a profile picture above so you could see how thick they are.  They are pretty cool and I just couldn’t resist picking up a set for my collection.  I doubt this would be an ongoing series with new coins being released periodically but with Disney, you just never know.  So far the Big Top Souvenir store is the only place I’ve seen this coin set available, but I’m sure they can be found in other stores on property you just have to keep your eyes open for them.

NEW Toy Story Land Pressed Pennies (Finally) – Hollywood Studios, FL

Over in Hollywood Studios back on June 30th, 2018 Toy Story Land officially opened.  There were two new attractions (Slinky Dog Dash, and Alien Swirling Saucers) and one that just had the entrance moved into his new land (Toy Story Mania).  I remember heading over just a couple days after the new land opened on a mission to not only explore the new area but to see if there were any new penny machines.  You can read about that here…spoiler no new machines.  But that all just changed and it only took about 10 months.

On a quick side note, this is also the 30th anniversary of Hollywood Studios so there is a lot of special signage throughout the park.

I sped walked to the back of the park and directly into Toy Story Land.  Woody is right there at the entrance welcoming all the new toys into Andy’s backyard.

Some areas of this land can be a bit deceiving.  When I saw the above “crowd” I thought it wasn’t going to be too busy, but the wait times for the attractions were pretty high as usual.

As an example, the Slinky Dog Dash coaster wait time was at 120 minutes.  Way too hot to be standing in the blistering sun.  The ride is a lot of fun but yikes that’s a long wait.

It may be a bit hard to see in the above picture, but the Toy Story Mania had a 70-minute wait.

The last attraction Alien Swirling Saucers had an 80-minute stand-by wait.  So it was definitely a busy day in the park, but may be due to the sun people were hiding in the shade or other buildings as the pathways were not too congested.

The new penny machine is located in a bit of a side area in between Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers.  There is a large Green Alien statue nearby which can act as a nice marker if you are looking for the machine.

The cabinet of this machine is big and red.  The blue machine beside it on the right created engraved dog tags.

I really like this set of pennies.  The images are of the three attractions, and fourth is of Woody and Buzz with the Toy Story Land logo.  This is exactly what I was hoping would have been in the land last year when it first opened.  Not sure if there was a delay or some other issue getting this machine made, but in any case, I’m glad it did finally make it.  This does seem to be a very popular machine.

Did you notice it’s another $1 per penny style machine?  That’s right, these seem to be the new version that will be coming to the parks soon.  Just like the other new machines at the Magic Kingdom Train Station, the machine supplies the penny.  It does take $1 bills for individual pennies, or you can use a credit card to pay the $4 for all four designs.

I’m keeping a close eye out on the other 4 design machines around Disney Property and will post an update if any other machines start getting this conversion to $1.

(Closed) Contest – Win a Set of 2019 Walt Disney World Pressed Coins

** Thank you to everyone that entered.  The contest has closed and the winner has been contacted by email.   Check back for future contests.

Congratulations Jordynn for being the lucky winner!


This is a chance for you to get a complete set of the 2019 Pressed Coins that I had written about in a previous post.   Click here to read all about them and get more details on each coin.  This will include all 17 coins (9 Pennies and 8 Quarters) which also includes the Minnie Mouse quarter that was only available for a short time before being removed.

As stated above this is a FREE contest.  To enter just post a comment below with what your very first pressed coin was and where you got it.  Can’t remember, no problem just post what your favorite pressed coin is and how you acquired it.  Simple right!

Post as many times as you like, and be sure to spread the word.  This is always a lot of fun when there is a lot of participation. The contest will end on June 30th, 2019.  At that time I’ll randomly select a winner and will contact you for your mailing information.

If you haven’t already, be sure to stop by our Youtube channel: davidscointravels and subscribe for videos all about pressed coins including updates on new Walt Disney World pennies.  Your support there helps us offer these types of contests.

Good luck!!

**Please note this is just for entertainment purposes.  This contest is not sponsored or endorsed by The Walt Disney Company.

Main Street Train Station NEW $1 Penny Machines – Magic Kingdom, FL

To try and keep up with all the new pressed penny machines I spend a lot of my “spare” time looking at online blogs, websites and reading emails, tweets and blog/vlog comments.  I always make sure to have little baggies of quarters and pennies on the ready should a new machine be posted so I can try to go visit it as soon as possible.  However when I read about these new penny machines that were released at the Magic Kingdom they threw me for a bit of a loop.  A cost increase!

To see what exactly was going on I headed into the park and made my way towards the Main Street Train Station.

First I wanted to go upstairs and check out the Train that is currently just being kept there since the actual track around the park is being relocated.  This is all due to the new Tron roller coaster currently being built over by Space Mountain.

This does make for a fun little attraction where you can get up and personal with the steam engine.

I don’t think many people realize that you can still come up here to check out the train.  You can’t get into the engine, but there are engineers around that will answer your questions.

You can look inside the engine, and they also have the pull cord for the steam whistle dangling out the window for kids (of all ages) to pull periodically.

After we finished visiting with the train, we headed inside and down the stairs to the first level.

Located just behind the staircases on the first floor is where the two new penny machines were found.  Previously in this spot were two 3-design machines, one was a penny press and the other was a quarter press.  Now both machines are 4-design penny press manual machines.

The first machine we checked out was on the left side.  As you can see in the above picture shows the new price at $1 per penny.  I will review at the bottom how to use the machine and the different payment options.

 

This first set of pennies had some cute designs with Mickey and Minnie Mouse.  One did say “Main Street” on it, and another design had Mickey in a Stream Engine.

The second machine on the right side also $1 per design and supplied the pennies.

 

This set has four more 2019 designs with images of Captain Hooks Pirate Ship, Cinderella’s Castle, Space Mountain, and Dumbo.  I always like these dated designs as they make for a fun souvenir each year.  But this is going to make for quite the project in 2020 to replace all these designs plus the other 2019 coins all over the property.

After pressing all these new coins I decided to walk around the park and see if any more of these new $1 penny machines had shown up and I’ll post separately around that so stay tuned.

Now before we finish up let me review how payment on these new machines works.  I did talk with someone that works on these machines and there have been a lot of issues with them already.  Apparently, people are not reading the instructions correction since the process it a bit different so just make sure to follow those on machine instructions.

The machine supplies the penny so you can no longer use your own preferred pennies.  If you are using cash, you turn the handle until the arrow lines up with the design you want to press.  Then insert your $1 bill, wait a few seconds until you hear the penny drop in place and then start turning the handle as per usual process.  The machine will not accept larger than a $1 bill as it doesn’t give change.  If you want to get the entire set you would need to repeat the above 4 times.  The machine does also accept credit cards or mobile payment like ApplePay.  If you use this method to pay it only allows you to pay for the entire set and charges your card $4.  Just make sure you line up the arrow to one of the designs, then swipe your card and wait for it to be approved.  Then you will hear the first penny drop in place and you just keep turning the handle and all 4 designs will press one after the other.

I witnessed someone swipe their debit card and then only roll one penny and walk away.  As I mentioned above the machine still charges you the full $4 so make sure you press all 4 of your designs.  I called the family back over and explained it to them so they could press the other 3 pennies.  I believe that some new instructions will be placed on these machines in the future to try and help make sure they are working properly and being used correctly.

Epcot Flower and Garden 2019 – New Booklet and Medallions

Well better late than never I guess.  The Epcot Flower and Garden festival for 2019 started back on March 6th and ends June 3rd.  I’ve mentioned this in the past, but this is my favorite festival.  The flowers are beautiful and smell fantastic, the food booths are pretty good (not as good as food and wine) but the biggest perk I find is that the crowds aren’t as crazy.

I do like Food and Wine in the fall but holy cow those crowds are out of control.  So I always prefer the Flower and Garden.  Since the festival started in March we have been over to enjoy it a few times.  I was hoping for either a new pressed penny booklet like last year or even some new pennies but nothing had been released.  With nothing new to write about I was a bit sad that I wouldn’t be able to post about the festival this year.  But then on my last visit, I found not one but two new things and couldn’t wait to share them.

Before I get into the new things I found let’s take a bit of a stroll through the festival.  Don’t worry our first stop is pretty close by.  Behind Spaceship earth was a new topiary this year of Daisy Duck.

Okay, that was long enough let’s go into Mouse Gear and check out the first new item.

I’m not sure if this is just a coincidence or not, but I found a new pressed penny booklet in this gift shop.  In the above picture, it is the one on the right.  The entire booklet is pink and covered with all your favorite Disney Princesses.  Yes, that is the correct price $12.99 but it holds about 48 pennies so that’s not too bad.

Back to the festival and some more topiaries and flowers.  Here was Goofy as we leave Spaceship Earth behind and head towards the World Showcase.

The beautiful flowers all laid out around the lagoon and surrounding areas are really amazing.  The bright colors are just screaming to have their picture taken.

Right at the entrance to World Showcase, we find our favorite mice Mickey and Minnie surrounded by plenty of heart topiaries.

 

Near the Canadian pavilion was the next set of new topiaries this year depicting Bambi, Flower, and Thumper.  Flower was always my favorite little skunk.

 

In the United Kingdom area, we found Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet, and Rabbit.

 

Continuing around the showcase we headed into France and found the above fantastic topiaries of Kermit and Miss Piggy.  These were definitely fan favorites this year and there was quite a line of people trying to take their perfect pictures of the muppets.

Some of the other pavilions had similar topiaries from last year but just located in different locations.  Above were Snow White and Dopey dwarf just outside the Germany pavilion.

Of course, we couldn’t pass by Norway without seeing Anna and Elsa from Frozen.

Finishing up our tour around the World Showcase we saw the Three Caballeros near the Mexico Pavilion.

Here is my attempt at a postcard shot.  A nice reflection of Spaceship Earth and the flower beds along the water.  All I’m missing was the Monorail driving through.

Do you remember seeing this building on your trips to Epcot?  It’s called the Odyssey building and in years past used to have more going on inside.  Usually, in my past visits, this was where we would make a quick bathroom break as we cut over to Test Track or back into the World Showcase.  However, this has now become the new festival center.

During the Flower and Garden Festival, it’s being called the Gardeners Terrace.  Inside is one of the food booth locations but I heard rumor it will soon be a Starbucks when Epcot’s future world starts going through some changes and that Starbucks is relocated.

Also in this area is some Festival merchandise including shirts, Minnie ears, pictures, and paintings and a whole lot more.

While we were in here looking at some of the items for sale I turned around and caught a glimpse of this new machine.

Obviously, this is not a pressed penny (or quarter machine) like we probably would have preferred.  But instead, it had those souvenir medallions that are slowing popping up like the ones I found in Disney Springs last year.  Plus they were themed specifically for the Flower and Garden Festival.

There were four different medallions in total.  They have a section in the middle of the machine where you can see what they will actually look like.  This is a bit of a strange setup as these coins are not what is dispensed to you when you buy them.  They are just there for display.

So you may be asking how about the cost.  It’s the same as the one at Disney Springs, $5 for one, or 3 for $10.  The machine does not give out change so you either need to have exactly $15 if you want all 4 medallions.  However, something that has been changed a bit from the first machine like this I used.  If you are using a credit card when you swipe your card there is a count down on the display that gives you 10 or 15 seconds to make your selections.  This is how the machine calculates how much to charge your card.  So during the time if you only select 1 design, when the countdown is done it will confirm you are being billed $5.  But you cannot select all 4 in one transaction.  I used my credit card and when I selected the first 3 designs it immediately completed the transaction and told me my card was billed $10.  So I had to swipe a second time and select just the 1 remaining medallions to complete the set.  Then I had to stand there and wait until the timer completed making sure someone else didn’t come up and charge more coins to my card.  Just be mindful of this if you are using the machine so you are only billed for what you want.

Two of the coins are a nice shiny gold color and the other two have more of a darker tarnished look.  Two of them have Figment the dragon on them, one has Minnie Mouse with a flower and the last has the 2019 Flower and Garden logo on it.

The back of all the coins has the same design pictured above with Spaceship Earth, World Showcase, the Monorail, and the Epcot logo.

This is really a great set of coins.  Yes, I absolutely wish these were pressed pennies instead, but as soon as I saw them I couldn’t get my money out fast enough.  I love having souvenirs with the different events on them and especially the year which helps document when we were there.  These were very popular when I visited and can’t imagine them not continuing this moving forward.  Starting August 29th is the Food and Wine festival so crossing our fingers we get some new coins for that, and maybe then the Festival of the Holidays.

I mentioned at the very top that the Flower and Garden Festival ends June 3rd, 2019 so if you get a chance make sure you pick up these medallions as I’m sure they won’t be around very much longer.