Main Street Penny Arcade – Disneyland, CA

On a recent trip to the Magic Kingdom in Orlando my family was walking down Main Street heading for one of our first fast passes of the day.  Even though the street was crowded with families heading in all various directions and take thousands of pictures I was suddenly overwhelmed with emotion.  This magical place was the host to many of my most treasured memories, both when I was a child and also now that I’m older and taking my own children.  This was all thanks to one truly imaginative individual Mr. Walter Elias Disney.

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As I’ve gotten older my interest in the behind the scenes story of the theme parks has become an obsession all its own.  But the biographies of Walt Disney are something I just can’t get enough of.  From his childhood all the way up to his all too early death it’s a true Disney fairytale with lots of ups and downs.  What is truly remarkable is how many times Walt was confronted with failure but instead of giving up it only made him stronger, and learn from his mistakes.  Each time I read about these failures it seems that most people would have given up.  This seemed to be the emotion that took over as I strolled down main street trying to image what life would have been like without Disney.  Too be honest that’s almost too painful to even try to contemplate, but thankfully Walt would not be dissuaded from seeing his dreams come true.  He was a man full of imagination and was always capable of sharing some amazing words of wisdom some of which we will review shortly.

I could go on and on about my admiration for Walt Disney but this is all leading towards a brand new set of pressed quarters that was made available at the Disneyland theme park.  Located in the Main Street Penny Arcade which used to be home to a large assortment of penny press machines.

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Over the last few years all the machines were removed due to some renovations and unfortunately were never replaced.  With this first new machine hopefully many more will be on the way.

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This pressed quarter set is being unofficially called the Walt’s Quotes set.  Each coin has one of Walt’s famous which I think is really a special addition to any collection.

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“Here you leave today and visit the worlds of yesterday, tomorrow & fantasy.”

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“If you can dream it, you can do it.”

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Finally my personal favorite “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”

The next time you visit one of the Disney theme parks beside to take a moment to remember this real world wonderland that millions of people enjoy each year was all thanks to one remarkable person and his team of visionaries and imagineers.  Summer vacations, family movies and yes pressed coin collection would all be very different without him.

The Franklin Institute 2016 – Philadelphia, PA

On a recent weekend trip into Philadelphia with my daughter we decided to go check out The Franklin Institute.  We had visited this museum a year or so ago and my daughter really enjoyed all the interactive exhibits and of course all the other kids running around.  I have always likes science museums and this is really one of the best ones I’ve ever been to.  Plus they are notorious for having quite a few penny press machines, and was one of the first 8-design touch screen machine I had used (click here to read all about it).

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Hanna and I did explore the entire museum, but just so you know most of the machines can actually be accessed right in the main Atrium shown above with no admission required (but if you park in their garage there is a fee).  Now I know I have a habit of calling these penny press machines which in most situations is correct, but more and more machines have been made available where the supply a coin like token instead.  So technically these machines were token presses but they work exactly the same.

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The first machine was located right by the elevators that take you down to the parking garage below the museum.  This machine had four designs and each were $1.

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The designs on this first set included the Liberty Bell, City of Brotherly Love Philadelphia, I Heart The Franklin Institute, and Fels Planetarium.

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Just a few feet away was the second machine sitting right beside the Information Desk.  These designs were also $1 each.

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The images available in this set: The Train Factory, The Franklin Institute Science Museum, Our Carbon Footprint, and the Philadelphia Phillies logo.

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The next machine is situated in great location just outside the Restrooms.  I’m not sure why places put the machines here (seems very common) but I guess it’s to guarantee foot traffic.  These were also $1 each.

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The designs on this set included the Joel M Bloom Observatory, Benjamin Franklin, Sir Isaac’s Loft and the Air Show.

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I know I gave a link about this 8-Design machine above but couldn’t help including it in this post as well.  Please note that this machine is no longer near the Pendulum Staircase (which required admission), it is now located near the Restrooms (yay!) as well (no admission required).

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I really do like these new machines and I couldn’t resist pressing another set.  It does take cash, credit or Apple Pay which is what I used and it worked perfectly.

As a recap this museum really is a great place to visit and an easy way to spend an afternoon with your kids (or just by yourself).  The exhibits are fantastic, the special exhibits are even better, plus you can press 20 new tokens all within a 100 foot radius.

Kingswell Camera / Humphrey’s Service / Sideshow Shirts NEW Pressed Pennies – California Adventure, CA

Disney has been quickly replacing all the 60th Anniversary Pressed Coins it has made available during their celebration last year.  Which is good for us collectors as it keeps us busy trying to keep up with all the changes and new coins.  This week there was quite a few new coins placed on stage over at California Adventure.

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This is a park I have only visited a couple of times but really enjoy it, and the new Pixar Cars Land is truly amazing.  But on this trip we were all about getting the new pennies.  First up was a quick stop in the Kingswell Camera Shop.

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The machine located here has three new designs which to me were a very cool find.

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My wife actually took our daughter to see Finding Dory in the theaters but I stayed home with our youngest so I didn’t get to see the movie until just recently.  These coins are really nicely detailed and I love the movie characters they picked: Dory, Hank the Octopus (Septopus technically), and Destiny the Whale Shark.

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The back of each of these coins has the movie logo which is also a nice touch to these coins.

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The next stop on our trip is over to Humphrey’s Service near the Soarin’ attraction which is another family favorite of ours.

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Being that this store is so close to Soarin’ it should come as no surprise that these are all themed around that ride.  The designs show the Soarin’ Logo over Mickey, Pilot Mickey Waving, and Pilot Mickey in a Porthole.

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Another great back design has the Soarin’ logo on each of the pennies.

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The final stop on this quick tour takes us over to the Pier and the Sideshow Shirts store.

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This last set (for now) of coins has images of Stitch, Angel, and Stitch / Angel inside a Heart.

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The back design on these pennies says “We Love Stitch” and has the California Adventure logo.  Not a bad haul for a short trip to the park.  I always wish I have more time to enjoy the parks but it was nice to be able to collect some new coins before having to head back to the resort.  I’m crossing my fingers for more new coins, but they have certainly outdid themselves lately with all these new designs and I wouldn’t blame them for taking a short break.  If that changes I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

Happy Thanksgiving 2016!

The Holiday season is officially upon us.  As I sit here in my dining room I can smell our turkey cooking, and my children are running around exited to see all their cousins.  I can’t help but just sit back and just be thankful for my family and friends.

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To all of you out there I would like to say thank you again for coming back week after week to continue our adventures in pressed penny collecting.  It means a lot to know that so many of you share this hobby and are just as obsessed as I am.

Have a fantastic Thanksgiving, and please be safe if you are traveling.

Adventureland / Frontierland / Tomorrowland / Downtown Disney NEW Pressed Pennies – Disneyland, CA

It’s been hard to keep up with all the new pressed coins being made available throughout the Disneyland park.  These past few days have seen five new machines (15 coins) put on stage and I figured it would be easiest to go over them all in one post.

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First over in Adventureland is the Bazaar souvenir shop.  Inside this location is 3 machines in total but on this visit we are just focusing on two of them.

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As you can see in the above picture this first new set is all inspired by one of my personal favorite movie franchises (and a great ride in Disneyland by the way) Indiana Jones.  The designs on these coins are the Indiana Jones Logo, Indy’s Hat and Whip, and Indy’s Hat and Whip with Crossed Swords.

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Here’s a shot of the backstamp which is also pretty cool.  The Disneyland parks always have really nice designs on the back of most of their pressed coins.

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The second machine at the Bazaar was kind of surprising since they are available before the movie has been released.  These designs are all about the new Disney animated movie Moana and include images of the star Moana, Maui, and Pau.

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Another really great backstamp.  Wish they would do this more over in the Florida parks.

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With Adventureland behind us we head over toward Frontierland where we find the Bonanza Outfitters store.  This is where the next new set of pennies can be found.

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Unfortunately the pennies I received were a little worse for wear and are kind of hard to see.  These designs include images of Cowboy Donald, Cowboy Mickey and Cowboy Goofy.

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Before leaving this park we had one last stop over in Tomorrowland at the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blaster attraction.

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The machine is actually located at the exit to the ride so you don’t necessarily have to go on the ride to use this machine.

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These designs are updated images of similar coins that used to be available here.  These definitely have more detail and press really nicely.  You can also see the attraction logo below which is on the back of each coin.

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The last two machine (for now) takes us out of the Disneyland Park and over to Downtown Disney and more specifically the World of Disney Store.  This is the same location that has seen a lot of new pennies come and go over the last year.

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The first set here has images of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy in some nice new designs.

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The second new machine here has designs of Winnie the Pooh, Dumbo, and Pinocchio.  Both of these sets have the same backstamp shown below.

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Whew, always fun but a little hectic when this many new coins show up.  But I’m not complaining and am always up for the challenge.  Stay tuned as I already heard of a few more machines that will be out very soon.

United Artists IMAX Theatre – King of Prussia, PA

This past weekend I make the hour l long trip from our house over to the giant King of Prussia shopping mall in Pennsylvania to get fitted for suit.  A great friend of mine will be getting married next year and I was honored to be asked to join his wedding party.  After the fitting I found myself sitting in my car looking at the pennycollector.com website from my cell phone to see if there were any machines located nearby and wouldn’t you know it there was.

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Just across the parking lot was a huge United Artists IMAX movie theatre.  I believe this place has something like 12 movie screens but I was sold at IMAX.  Unfortunately I had other things to do that day so I couldn’t stay for a movie but did dash inside to try to find the penny machine.

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As you walk inside the ticket booth is to your right which is also nearby where the restrooms are.  Just beside those is a little arcade setup and this is where I found the penny machine.  Oh by the way no ticket was required to access this area of the theatre.

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This was a 4-design hand crank machine.  These models tend to roll the final pennies a little long and this was no exception.  But the find results still came out pretty nice.

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The pennies dropped out with the following: Best Friends, My Lucky Penny (Shamrocks), I Love you, and Guardian Angel.  Now I have seen these designs at some other locations a long the PA turnpike as they are fairly common.  But still a nice find and is the only movie theatre I can think of that I have seen a penny machine at.  I’m crossing my fingers this becomes a new trend but hope they update the designs a little.  Movie themes would be cool!

Coin Collecting Packages for my Friends – Follow Up #3

Earlier this year I was aware of some friends and family making some trips to the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and I wrote about some packages I put together and you can read out it here.  My pressed coin collecting hobby is so well-known among friends that anytime someone goes on vacation they always ask if there are any coins they can get for me.  I’m a truly lucky guy to have some amazing friends.  In the past I have also mentioned that I do really appreciate them going out of their way to get these coins for me but I never want to take away from their own holiday enjoyment.  So I try to make collecting these coins as easy as possible with these little packages.

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Just recently a co-worker of mine let me know they were taking a very last-minute trip to Disney and were going to be staying at the Coronado Springs Resort.  This is a location I have visited in the past to acquire the coins there, but it has been a few years and I always jump at the opportunity to get a fresh set.

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Years ago when I had graduated high school my parents sent me to Disney and I stayed at this resort.  I remember it being a nice place to stay with a really cool pool, but it was huge and there was lots of walking.

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There were numerous bus stops inside the resort and it always seemed we were either the first picked up (last to the parks) or last to be dropped off at the end of the night.  Then there was more walking to the room.  But I was young and walking is always good for you so I shouldn’t complain.  My co-worker did mention the walking so that hasn’t changed, but I still think this is a nice Moderate resort to check out.

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Located in the main building of this resort where the check-in area is, and the main food court and restaurants is a place called Panchito’s Gift’s and Sundries.  This is the main gift shop for this resort and from what I remember this is pretty big.  Just outside the main entrance is where the two coin press machines were situation.

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The first machine is a 3 die electric model that presses the designs on pennies.

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The set includes Cinderella, The Fairy Godmother, and Dopey Dwarf.

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The second machine located right beside the first and has one image that presses on a Quarter so the over cost is $1.25 for this one.

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The image is of Jose Carioca who you may recognize from the Three Caballeros movie.  Even though these weren’t new designs it was nice to get a fresh set for my collection.  The resort is really beautiful and if you are in the area it does make for a nice place to wonder around.  Just make sure you bring some comfortable walking shoes.

Cubs Win, Cubs Win!! 2016 World Series Champions

In some of my previous posts I’ve mentioned that my family are pretty big baseball fans.  Now I will admit we are not actually Chicago Cubs fans, but when they made it into the World Services we couldn’t help but jump on the band wagon.

For those of you that may not know the Cubs had last been to the World Series in 1945, and the last time they won was in 1908.  That’s a 108 year drought and they finally broke it, but it was a long season and there were some bumps along the way.

To commemorate their journey the folks over at pennycollector.com put out a special limited number set of pressed pennies for each of the playoff series.  When I got the email about this set being made available I quickly headed over to order my set.

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This set includes 3 pennies and I think just make a really cool collectible set for any Cubs fan, baseball fan or just pressed penny fan.

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The first playoff series for the Cubs was the NLDS – National League Division Series where they played the San Francisco Giants in a best of 5 series.  They bested the Giants in 4 games (3-1).

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The next series was the NLCS – National League Championship Series again the Los Angles Dodgers.  The Cubs won this series in 6 games (4-2).

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Finally they had made it to the 2016 World Series against the Cleveland Indians.  This was a really fantastic series.  The Indians went up 3 games to 1 and it looks like the Cubs drought would continue.  But they wouldn’t go away quietly and eventually came back and forced a game 7 which is the holy grail of sports events, and to top it all off the game went into extra innings.  The Cubs eventually won in the 10th inning with a final score of 8 to 7.  What a season they had and were able to win the ultimate goal.

Congratulations Cubs fans you’ve waited long enough, enjoy it.

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Pooh Corner – Disneyland, CA

I told you I’d be back with another Disneyland pressed coin set.  This new machine became available pretty much as I was writing about the other Beauty and the Beast set.  This new machine is located in the Pooh Corner Store located in Critter Country behind Splash Mountain and obviously near the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh ride.

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This new set of images are being pressed on pennies and as you should probably assume are themed around Winnie the Pooh.

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The images include Winnie the Pooh, Tigger on his head, and Rabbit.

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These coins also have a nice design on the back which says Disney Winnie the Pooh surrounded by some leaves.  Very nice and festive for the fall that is now upon us.

It seems that more and more new pressed coins designs are becoming available throughout the parks and I’ll be sure to keep you up to date as I come across them.  Keep your eyes open you never know when or where you will find a pressed coin machine.

Hershey Park – Hershey, PA

After checking out Chocolate World just a short walk away was our true destination for this trip Hershey Park.

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Now I will admit that my wife and I are not big thrill ride fans so most of the crazy roller coasters they have here are lost on us.  But our daughter loves the little kiddie rides and I’m having panic attacks about potentially having to go with her on bigger rides when she’s older.  For now we get to do the nice easy things like meet Mr. Hershey Bar.

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Not to mention Hanna’s absolute favorite thing to do a classic carousel.

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We do make it on some of the more “boring” rides like cable cars, the monorail, and the odd log flume ride.  The day we were here actually was a really hot day for this late in the summer, and Hanna really wanted to just play at the Boardwalk.

My wife volunteered to take her through water park area and I was able to sneak off with our younger daughter Melody (8 months old) to wonder around the park.  This was to accomplish two things.  1) Melody was pretty cranky due to the heat and trying to get her to take a nap was top on my priority list.  2) There were penny machines to be found.  Now I didn’t collect these machines in this order, but I’m going to review them as you would after first entering the park.

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As you go through security and have your admissions ticket scanned you will immediately find the first two machines.  The first one is on the right of the main path just outside one of the many souvenir shops.

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I will apologize now for not having actual pictures of the final pressed pennies.  All of these coins were collected on a previous visit a couple of years ago and the designs have not changed.  Due to this I didn’t press any new sets since I already have a few of each in my collection which unfortunately is all packed away as my family is getting ready to move.  So instead I took close-ups of the machine marquees that show the coin designs. Back to the machine, the set available here includes Springtime in the Park, Ms. Hershey Kiss, Great Bear Roller Coaster, and the Storm Runner ride.

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The second machine is on the left side of the main path.  This may actually be easier to collect on the way out depending on the crowd level when you first enter.

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The designs available at this second machine are the Kissing Tower, the Reese’s Peanut Butter Character, The Wildcat Roller Coaster, and a Hershey Kiss Street Light.  By the way in case you are wondering about the Street Lights these actually exist and are located all around town see picture below.

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After walking up the first big hill in the park you come out in the main kiddie ride area.  Near Starship America and the Carousel is the third machine.

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Just due to where this machine is located there are always a lot of kids around it.  To be honest not many are ever actually using the machine but they always get a kick out of watching when it’s used.  I always make sure to show them how it works and the finished products then they quickly run off to ask their parents for spare change.

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This set includes the Hershey Bears Logo (Minor League Hockey Team), Mr. Hershey Chocolate Bar, Hershey Park Logo, and a Carousel Horse.  To find the next machine you have quite a walk ahead of you.  It’s located way over toward the Boardwalk and is just outside the bathrooms/changing rooms for the water flume on steroids ride called Tidal Force.

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A word of warning about this area.  The ride Tidal Force has a splash area that includes part of the pathway that surrounds it.  When the ride vehicle comes crashing down there is a huge wave of water that splashes down over some suspecting (and non-suspecting) visitors.  This machine is thankfully out of the splash zone, but just beware in case you don’t want to get wet.

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The pennies at this machine have images of Hershey Park in the Dark, Lightning Racer, Wild Mouse, and Tidal Force ride logos.  The last machine is back on the other size of the park past Zoo America near the Skyrush Roller Coaster.

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As you may be able to tell from the above picture this machine is located right outside a set of restrooms.  This always tends to be a busy area with not a lot of extra standing room for people waiting for their family members.  Plus you get some strange looks when trying to take pictures of the penny machine as people are exiting the restroom doors.

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This final set has designs of a The Claw, Fahrenheit, Skyrush, and a Train Engine.  The first three designs are all thrill rides located in the park.  That concludes all the penny machines in the park, however as I was wondering around I came across 4 new Medallion machines.  These are not really my thing (I spend enough on pressed coins) but thought I would mention these just in case anyone does collect them.  The cost for these were $3 each or 2 for $5.

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The first one was located near the restrooms by the carousel.  The designs were a Carousel Horse, Milton S. Hershey, a Hershey Kiss Lightpole, and Hershey Chocolate Bar.

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The second machine was over near the Wildcat Roller Coaster.  This set of Medallions were of Hershey The Sweetest Place on Earth, Ms. Hershey Kiss, Cocoa Bushes, and Reese’s Peanut Butter cups.

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This third machine was available in the area near the Zoo America entrance, by the restrooms at the Loft Catering.  This set has pictures of Fahrenheit, Mr. Hershey Chocolate Bar, a Hershey Kiss, and the Hershey Smoke Stacks.

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Finally the fourth Medallion machine was located by the restrooms near the Chevrolet Music Box Theatre.  This set included the Hershey Park Boardwalk, the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup character, the Kissing Tower, and Laff Trakk.

With all the penny (and Medallion) machines photographed and documented for my collection it was time to head back and see how everyone was doing in the water park.  As usually Hanna didn’t want to leave but with the promise of chocolate on the way out she reluctantly agreed to dry off and start our trip back home.  This is a really great place to enjoy a day of rides, food, chocolate and pennies.  How does that not sound like fun!