Chocolate World – Hershey, PA

This past weekend we decided to take a trip over to a magical town in Pennsylvania that’s name explains it all.  Hershey.  Driving along roads named Chocolate Avenue and Cocoa Avenue you can’t help feeling like you are entering into Willy Wonka’s Factory.


Unfortunately we didn’t have a special golden ticket, but thankfully Hershey takes credit cards instead and lets you wonder through a building known as Chocolate World.


This is located just outside Hersheypark, and can be accessed without a Theme Park ticket, and is quite the attraction all its own.  Inside there is a theater showing the 4D chocolate mystery movie, the Hershey Chocolate tour ride, you can create your own candy bar, and of course one of the largest Hershey stores I have ever seen.


This is a really deadly place to visit for me as Hershey chocolate is a childhood favorite of mine, and I usually need a large truck to get all the candy and souvenirs out of this place.  But they also have a couple of penny machines which is just the cherry on top.


The first machine is located near the main entrance doors towards the bathroom area.  The machine does have a change machine attached incase you didn’t come prepared (Shame!).


This set of pennies includes images of a Cow “Made on the Farm”, Hershey’s Chocolate Soldier, A Kiss for You, and Airplane.  As luck would have it you need to make your way through racks and racks of chocolate bars, peanut butter cups, and licorice until you find the food court.  In among the tables you will find the second penny machine.


As you can see above this machine also has an available change machine.  When this area of the food court is busy I would anticipate this machine is a little hard to use because there were some tables located right beside it.  But thankfully the area was pretty calm so I was able to press the coins without any issue.


This set includes some familiar faces, Mr. Reese’s, Miss Kiss, Chocolate Bar Man, and one with all three together.  With my new pennies collected I finished shopping for more candy than anyone really should try to consume.


Case in point check out the 5 pound Hershey bar my daughter Hanna found.  As much as it would have been entertaining to watch her try to eat this we convinced her to put it back and get something a little more portable.  Chocolate World is really a chocolate lovers wonderland.  If you’re in the Hershey area be sure to check it out and let your inner child just have a blast.

Once Upon A Toy Store – Disney Springs

It’s been very hard to keep up with all the changes and new openings going on at Disney Springs.  I’m attending a Disney Wedding in October and can’t wait to spend some time here checking out all the new stuff.  But with all the changes be sure to check out the old standbys as they still have some great things to offer.


Down in the area towards the Rainforest Cafe is a pretty cool store called Once Upon a Toy.  As the name implies this is just one huge toy store.  When I visited in May this was one of the stops I needed to make as they had one of the new super multi-mega penny machines themed for Frozen with 8 unique designs and you can read out it here.

Que the Star Wars music.  I told you in my previous post that pressed coins seem to have ” gone to the dark side” (sorry couldn’t resist) with the Star Wars bug which is fantastic for us fans.  Shortly after the most recent machine at the Star Wars Galactic Outpost there is now a second 8-design penny machine.


This machine is located in the far back area of the store where majority of the Star Wars merchandise is located.

Once Upon a Toy Store 2

This set has each design numbers from 1 to 8, and includes the classic characters R2-D2, Chewbacca, Yoda, C-3PO, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, a Stormtrooper, and Darth Vader.

As with the other Star Wars machine I haven’t personally been able to visit this machine yet, but did acquire a set to post about thanks to a co-worker that just happened to be visiting Disney this pas week.  I actually sent her with a package to get some other coins from her resort which I’ll review shortly, but thankfully when she saw this machine and found out it was brand new she didn’t hesitate picking me up a set.  I really do have my friends and family well-trained to always be on the lookout.

Will Disney release any more Star Wars coins?  Only time will tell but with their upcoming release schedule of about one new Star Wars moving a year for the next who knows how many years this is probably a huge new set that will be forever growing.

Albany, New York

In just a few days we had been able to visit quite a few placed in our Upstate New York visit and on one of our last days it was late afternoon and we decided to pick a spot to get a hotel and rest for the evening.  We were coming up to Albany, NY and figured that would be a pretty easy place to find a hotel.

Albany Sign

We headed downtown and found a reasonable hotel that had a vacancy.  My family wanted to stay and rest in the room so I took the car out and decided to see if I could find any nearby penny machines.  As luck would have it there was one not too far away, I just had to hope the place was still open.

NY State Museum

The New York State Museum as you can see from the above picture is a very unique building.  They have some great exhibits and admission is free but donations are always welcome.  By the time I got inside they were actually starting the process of closing everything up.  I asked the security guard as nicely as I could if it would be okay for me to just stop over by the gift shop and use the penny machine.  He waved me through and I felt like I was getting away with something.

NY - New York State Museum

I fumbled some change out of my pocket and pressed a set of coins.  They all came out nicely even though the machine was a little rough rolling.

NY State Museum Pennies

In this set you will get a I Love (Heart) Albany, a Carousel Horse, a Wooly Mammoth, and a Trilobite.  I stored my new pennies away and thanked the guard again as I left and heard the doors being locked behind me.  After the short drive back to our hotel I was greeted by my family that seemed ready to go and find something to eat.  Having a secret up my sleeve I mentioned that we should go to the Crossgates Shopping Mall as they would have a varied selection of places to eat.  Everyone was on board and a sneaky grin crossed my lips.

Crossgates Mall Albany NY

The mall was a bit of drive away but we drove around the parking lot checking out the available restaurants.  We ended up choosing The Melting Pot which is a fondue restaurant.  All I’ll say is their desert Chocolate fondue is to die for.  Yes you do technically cook your own food, but the experience is still pretty cool and fun for the entire family.  Once our meal was over and we were completely stuffed with melted cheese and chocolate we figured it was a good idea to walk around the mall for a bit.  Eventually on the second floor we came across the food court and my plan fell into place.

NY - Crossgates Mall

A penny machine was are the changes?!?!  My family just laughed and realized how I had orchestrated this entire side trip.  You’d think they would know better by now.

Crossgates Mall Albany Pennies

I pressed my coins and we finished our after dinner stroll.  With the bloating feeling in our bellies starting to subside we eventually made it back to our car and then back to the hotel to get some sleep.  It was finally time to admit that our trip was over and time to head back home to Jersey.  Spending this time with my family was really a treat and we came back with some great memories and a pocket full of new pennies.  Overall it was another great family trip.

Lake George, New York

Continuing our family tour of Upstate New York we came across another hidden gem Lake George.  Now I will admit that years ago before our first daughter Hanna was born my wife and I took our Babymoon here.  Babymoon you say?  Yes we never heard of it either but were told by the doctor that once my wife made it to her second trimester it was the perfect time to take a Babymoon which is like a honeymoon only you take it before your first child is born.  I guess it’s kind of like a “kiss your sanity goodbye” final vacation.  We initially stayed for a long weekend which was the perfect amount of time to hang out on the lake and just enjoy the quaint little town.  This time unfortunately we were just visiting for one night before heading finally making our way back to Jersey the next day.  But we didn’t let that scare us away from taking in the beauty of the lake.

Lake George 01

By the time we wandered around a bit, everyone was pretty exhausted so we checked into our hotel.  After a short rest everyone was getting hungry but no one really wanted to go back out so I offered (wink wink) to head out and pick up some food.  Using my trusty Yelp! app on my phone I found a pizza place at the top of Canada Street that runs along the west side of Lake George.  Why did I do this?  Because there were a bunch of penny machines located nearby.  What a crazy questions I’m surprised you didn’t think it of.  Anyways, after placing our food order I had about 30 minutes to wander around and collect everything I could.  My first stop was the Village Emporium.

Lake George Village Emporium

As with most of the stores on this street they were jammed packed with T-shirts, sweaters, shot glasses and all sorts of other things you would usually find in this type of souvenir store.

Village Emporium Machine 01

Just inside the main front entrance was the penny machine.  Just like I wrote about previously when visiting a store in Saratoga Springs this machine is a little unique.  I won’t go into details again, but please heed my warning “READ THE INSTRUCTIONS”.  Don’t just jam your coins in, the machine works just a little differently than you may be used to.

Village Emporium Lake George NY Blog

The machine offered 3 designs.  The Minnie Ha Ha Ship, I Love Lake George NY with a Teddy Bear, and My Lucky Lake George Penny with Shamrocks.  I felt like I was playing beat the clock as my dinner was going to be ready before I knew it and I still had quite a few places to check out.  Thankfully just a few stores away was my next stop the Waterfront Living store.

Lake George Waterfront Living

When I was doing some research before our trip I saw that this machine was a recent addition to Lake George.

Waterfront Living Machine 01

The machine isn’t right inside the main store, but out under the covered area near the street.  I don’t know if this is left open while the store is closed so make sure to go during business hours to make sure you can access it.

Waterfront Living Blog

These had some cool images on them.  The four designs available included I Love (heart) Lake George, a couple of Black Bears, Laid Back at Lake George, NY and Enjoying the View with some Hot Air Balloons.  Tick tock, tick tock time to get moving.  Just another short walk away was Riley’s at the Lake.

Lake George Rileys

My wife and I used to have a cat named Riley and we always think of her when we visit this store.  Before you get any ideas it’s not a pet store just another Lake George Souvenir shop with a penny machine inside, oh and some t-shirts and a giant stuffed black bear out front.

Rileys at the Lake Machine 01

This machine had quite a few quarters and pennies laying in the bottom of the machine.  I was a little nervous it wouldn’t work right but that was all for nothing as the machine worked perfectly and out popped my four new coins.


The coins rolled a little long but the images were all intact.  The designs were I Love NY, Adarondak Mtns (Yes this is how it’s spelled on the coins take a look yourself), a Moose Lake George NY, and My Lucky Penny Lake George NY.  I left the store and continued heading down to the next traffic light and made a left onto Beach Road.  This is where you can sign up to enjoy a dinner cruise, or other boat excursions out onto the lake.  They also have a really nice walkway that follows the southern end of the lake with a beautiful view of the entire lake and surrounding mountains.  As with the main street there are also many different shops and restaurants along this road.  One of those was the Olde Curiosity Shop.

Lake George Ye Olde Curiosity Shop

There wasn’t much in here I hadn’t already seen in other nearby souvenir shops, but as I made my way to the back of the store I found the penny machine hidden inside.

Ye Olde Curiosity Shop Machine 01

This machine worked fine except it wasn’t level so it kept tilting to one side each time I turned the handle which took a little doing to not crack my skull on the corner.  But with some coordination I pressed the coins without permanently hurting myself.

Ye Old Curiosity Shop Pennies

The coins at this l location had designs of a War Drum, a Cannon, one of the River Boats, and a Colonist with a Native American.  This last coin is a perfect segue into the final stop on my quick penny squishing mission.  At the top of the fairly large hill located behind the store was Fort William Henry which is now a museum.

Lake George Fort Henry 01

As I quickly made my way up the hill there are a few various pathways that all lead towards the museum.  As you get closer you can hear the sound of marching and gun fire all from the battle reenactments that take place at various times during the day.

Lake George Fort Henry 02

Fort Henry was constructed in 1755 to command the southern end of Lake George.  It was a British outpost to protect colonies further to the south.  Since I was rushing against the clock and my food was getting very close to be done I didn’t have time to really check out the museum in all its glory.  Instead I ran in to explore the gift shop.

Lake George Fort Henry 03

As you can see from the above picture just outside the gift shop was a penny machine.  I headed over but quickly noticed the large sign tape to the top.

Fort Henry Machine 01

“Out of Order” how could they do this to me.  Oh well no biggie sometimes this happens and you just have to roll with it.  After we got back home from our trip I waited about a week and sent a letter to Fort Henry Museum with some quarters and pennies asking if someone could press me a set when the machine was back up and running.  A very short time later I received my self addresses stamped envelope back with a nice set of coins.

Crossgates Mall Albany Pennies

The pennies had some similar images to ones I had already collected but were still a great addition to my collection.  The coins showed a Colonies and Native America, I Love Lake George, a Cannon, and a Steam Powered Paddle Boat.

Now back at  Fort Henry I took a quick look around the gift shop and then headed outside.  Our takeout order was just about ready so I made a mad dash back to the restaurant, paid for our food and jumped in my car.  Somehow I had made it and our food was still hot which my family would appreciate.  Once I got back to our hotel we quickly dug into all our food and had a great time just lounging in our room, laughing and reminiscing about the trip so far.  Sometimes those are the best moments of family vacation, not waiting in lines or fighting crowds but just enjoying each others company.

Star Wars Galactic Outpost – Disney Springs

When I had visited Disney Springs back in April I couldn’t help but check out a fairly new store at the time called Star Wars Galactic Outpost.  For any huge (or casual) Star Wars fan this place is a must stop, and has everything you could possibly imagine.

Star Wars Outpost 01

Inside has clothing, memorabilia, figurines, magnets, key chains, and much, more.

Star Wars Outpost 02

However when I visited I was sad to see that there was no pressed coin machine here.  This boggled my mind as this seemed like the perfect place to have one.  Apparently Disney decided they had enough of my persistent emails (not really) and put a new machine here just a few weeks ago.  Not only is it a machine but one of the new super mega-multi design touch screen units.

Star Wars Outpost Blog

Unfortunately I was not able to actually visit this machine in person yet, but did have a friend check it out for me and send along a set of the new coins so we could review them.  The cost is 1 design for $1 or all 8 for $5 and it works just like all the others.  This set includes coins of Han Solo, Kylo Ren, the Millennium Falcon, an X-Wing Fighter, a Store Trooper, Power First Order, Fan Favorite Droids C-3PO BB-8 & R2-D2, and the Justice Rebel Forces Shield.

I’m heading back to Orlando in October for a Disney Wedding and will be making a special trip to check out all the new things in Disney Springs since our last visit and this machine will be on the top of that list.  If you are a Star Wars fan be sure to pick this setup up as it’s a great addition and seems to be a new hot pressed coin trend as you will see in the very near future.

Riley’s North – Lake Placid, NY

Being originally from Canada the winter Olympics were always more my cup of tea, but I have definitely been enjoying the 2016 Rio games.  With the Rio Olympics recently completed and my family driving through Upstate New York we jumped at the change to check out Lake Placid.  Home of the 1932 and more recently the 1980 Winter Olympics.

Lake Placid 01

After arriving in Lake Placid we found a nice parking spot right near the lake and decided to walk around Main Street and take in the Olympic Spirit still alive and well.

Lake Placid 05

Of course the most memorable event during the 1980 Olympics was the Miracle on Ice USA Men’s Team miraculous win over Russia.  I was only a few years old when it actually happened but in the years since have always been completely overwhelmed with the story behind that USA team and what they accomplished.

Lake Placid 04

After visiting some of the Olympic facilities and souvenir shops we were getting hungry and had lunch at a quaint little place called the Black Bear Restaurant.  It overlooked the Lake which a breathtaking view and the food was really good.  The interior of this place was cute with lots of reference to black bears which Hanna really got a kick out of.

Lake Placid 03

On our way back to our car we checked out on last gift shop called Riley’s.  We had visited another of their locations in Lake George years ago and found some great gifts to bring back.

Lake Placid Rileys Store

As soon as I walked inside the front door I was greeted by the familiar sound of a penny machine being cranked.  Just inside was a nice four design hand crank machine with some great designs.

Lake Placid Machine 01

There were a few people using it ahead of me but once my turn came I rolled my designs and checked out the finished products.

Rileys of Lake Placid Blog

The designs had images of the 1980 Men’s Hockey Miracle on Ice (Really cool), Skiing Whiteface Mountain, a Moose, and a Figure Skater.  With these pennies collected I tried to remember if I had any other Olympic coins and couldn’t remember any.  My fingers are crossed that somewhere someone is working on a special set to commemorate the 2016 games.

Once we were back in our card with Lake Placid faded behind us we were off to our next stop in the Adirondack’s.  Stay tuned to see where we end up next.

Samoa Snacks – Polynesian Village Resort WDW

On our various trips to Walt Disney World we always make sure we book a reservation to eat at O’Hana in the Polynesian Village Resort.  It is just one of our all time favorite places to eat, with fantastic entertainment, wonderful food and we have (knock on wood) always had excellent service.  On a sad side note we have yet to actually stay at the Polynesian and end up having to settle for staying at another resort and making the trek over just for dinner.  But it’s absolutely worth it to us.

Poly Village Resort

Being the obsessed pressed coin collector that I am I have acquired the 3 machines located at this resort many years ago.  Sadly these designs have rarely changed.  However I’m sure yo can guess that since I’m writing and entry about this place that must not be the case any longer and you would be absolutely correct.

Poly Samoa Snacks

On the second floor (same floor you are already on if you take the monorail over) which also is where O’Hana is located there is a nice little place called Samoa Snacks.  As the name implies this is a convenience store of sorts that has drinks, candy, snacks, and since it’s Disney some themed merchandise.  Just outside this little store is one of the machines that presses quarters.  For years this machine has only had 1 design to be pressed on a quarter but no longer.

Polynesian Quarters 2016

This machine has been upgraded to now have 3 separate designs still all pressed on quarters.  The machine does require $1.25 in quarters for each design.  These images are very similar to existing ones, but have been enhanced in detail and two of them now have a dotted border.  All of these are Lilo & Stitch themed and also have the Polynesian Village Resort Logo included.

Of course knowing there were new coins available I had to pick these up as soon as possible, but if the previous machines are any indication here these are probably going to stick around for a while.  But I never say never so make sure to pick these up just on your next trip over to the Poly, and since you’re there check out O’Hana you won’t be disappointed.

Natural Stone Bridge and Caves Park – Pottersville, NY

Our next stop on our Upstate New York tour was thanks to  We were actually in the area to see a miniature train museum (I have loves these since I was a kid) but when we got there the train museum didn’t open for a few hours.  So I used my trusty penny finder app on my phone and as luck would have it only a few miles away was the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves Park in Pottersville, NY.

Natural Stone Bridge 01

I’m not a geologist at all but this place was still pretty cool to check out.  We didn’t venture too far into the caves but they had a lot of interesting information available.

Natural Stone Bridge 03

Before we left we checked out the Rock Shop because I was hoping the pressed coin machines were there and not deep in one of the caves.  Thankfully my claustrophobia wouldn’t need to be tested this day.

NY - Natural Stone Bridge & Caves Park 02

This shop actually had two coin machines.  The first was a four design hand crank penny machine.

Natural Stone Bridge Pennies

The images included Brave Cave Explorers, two of the images were of cavemen but slightly different versions, and the four image had Adventure Tour Explore your World.  As you can see from the image above the machine rolled the pennies long and each came out with a bit of a tail, but the images weren’t distorted as all.

NY - Natural Stone Bridge & Caves Park 01

The second machine only had one design but was a rare find in our hobby.  This machine pressed dimes.  The cost was $0.75 plus your dime for a total of $0.85.  The machine is set up with a fancy cabinet that advertised Dime “n” Mine which I thought was pretty cool.

Natural Stone Bridge Dime

The image on the dime was another caveman which as you can probably tell was a theme here.  I stored the new coins away and hear the call of the model railroad.  I was glad to have found this place and had a great time here.  Be sure to get the Penny Finder App for your iPhone’s, I think it’s about $2 but comes in handy when you need to know if there are penny machines lurking nearby.  Happy collecting!!

Impressions of Saratoga – Saratoga Springs, NY

For the last few years my family has been going back to our Native homeland Canada the first weekend in August for a family reunion.  After the family festivities we have been taking little side trips on our way back down to Jersey and this year we decided to check out upstate New York.  One of our stops was in Historic Saratoga Springs.

Saratoga Springs NY 02

Obviously this quaint town is known for horse racing which is event everywhere you go. The main street downtown is really great to just park nearby and take a nice leisurely walk checking out the little shops along the way.

Saratoga Springs NY 01

One of those great little shops was called Impressions of Saratoga.  This had tons of great souvenirs and the people working there were very friendly.  Just inside the front door near the checkout area was the only pressed penny machine in town (what are the odds we would stop into this place?!?!).

NY - Impressions of Saratoga

I have used this type of machine a few times in the past and it can be a little confusing if you are used to the other more standard style machines.  Most of the ones like this always have a hand written sign from the merchant trying to clearly explain how it works as I’m sure they get a lot of refund requests because the customer didn’t read what to do.  Unlike most other machines there is only 1 (ONE) button and you press it first to highlight the little light beside whichever design you are interested in pressing.  Once the selection is made you pop in your change and the machine does the rest.  My assumption is people just put in their money and try pressing the light beside their design which does absolutely nothing and they end up with whatever design the previous user had requested.  In any case it’s not difficult just different so please take this “life tip” and read the darn instructions before using it.

Impressions of Saratoga

The first image says Lucky Penny and has a Jockey and Horse in mid-race, next is the Columbian Spring, and lastly the Battlefield Monument.  With my new pennies safely stored away we picked up a plush horse for Hanna and headed outside.  It was a beautiful day and I wish we had more time schedule in Saratoga Springs it really was great to check out.  But we had other places to visit and not a lot of time.  Check back soon to see where we headed next.

Union Station – Washington, DC

Recently my father has been commuting from New Jersey to Washington, DC for work.  Instead of driving the whole time he’s been taking the train at the beginning of the week and coming home at the end for the weekends.  After his first week when he came home he was telling us all about it and mentioned how amazed he was by Union Station in DC.

Union Station DC 01

A couple of years ago I had visited DC with my family for a long weekend vacation and we walked by Union Station but didn’t have time to go instead and look around.  My dad took some pictures and it really is a cool looking building.

Union Station DC 02

Then suddenly one day something struck me.  I remembered that the reason I had initially wanted to go inside Union Station was because they had some penny machines.  I quickly logged on to and double checked to see if the machines were still available, and wouldn’t you know it they were still there.  I sent my dad off with some quarters and pennies and asked if he could stop by the Lower Level near the food court and press me a set.  Thankfully my dad doesn’t mind indulging me in my obsession and went out of his way to get them for me.

Union Station DC Machine 01

Both machines are located near each other but are in the food court area.  My dad said both machines were working fine, but that they were among some of the tables with people eating close by which made them a little awkward to use.

Union Station DC 01 Pennies

The four pennies at this first machine had images of the Union Station Building, The Washington Nationals MLB Baseball team Logo, The Capitol Building, and George Washington.  The second machine was located in a very similar location among the food court tables.  This one wasn’t as busy but I would assume it gets crazy at certain times of the day.

Union Station DC Machine 02

All the pennies rolled out nicely and the images were all Washington DC themed which was cool and were going to fill in the missing spots of my collection from a few years back.

Union Station DC 02 Pennies

The coins at this location had images of some famous landmarks nearby.  The White House, Martin Luther King Jr National Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial.  I thanked my dad for taking the time to get these for me.  It’s always fun to try to convince your family and friends to press some coins.  I’ve had some tell me it’s only for kids and they won’t do it (but I secretly think they enjoy it).  But most of the time they don’t mind and I always try to send them with everything they need to make it as easy as possible.