2016 Holiday Nickels – Disneyland and California Adventure

We are just a few days away from Christmas and as luck would have it my brand new set of pressed nickels showed up from Anaheim.  These annual tradition at the Disneyland and California Adventure have become something collectors look forward to each year.  Thankfully I had a friend in the area that was able to press me a set and ship them back so I could share them with everyone.

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First up is the set available at Disneyland.  The machine can be found at the Main Street Penny Arcade.  The images include Season’s Greetings Mickey 2016, Season’s Greetings Olaf 2016, and Happy New Year Mickey Ornament 2017. Each coin also says Disneyland Park.

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The back of these coins has a nice backstamp with Snowflakes and Disneyland Park printed in the middle.

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The second set is available over at California Adventure and can be found in the Los Feliz Five & Dime Store.  These coins include images of Happy New Year Carthay Circle 2017, Season’s Greetings Lighting McQueen 2016, and Season’s Greetings Frozen’s Anna and Elsa 2016.  Each coin also says Disney California Adventure.

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the backstamp for these coins is very similar to the other set.  Snowflakes surround the Disney California Adventure logo.

Another year has (almost) come and gone and these new Holiday coins were definitely worth the wait.  Nice detail, and being pressed on Nickels makes them just a little more unique.  These are only available for a limited time so make sure you pick up a set, and get ready for another great year of pressed coin collecting.

Have a very Merry Christmas, and Holiday season!!

Virtual Magic Kingdom – VMK

In my never-ending quest for all things pressed coins I sometimes come across something that I’ve never seen before.  On a recent hunt through eBay I was just seeing what was out there I came across just such an item, and I had to buy it and then immediately do some research.  The item in question was the below collectible card.

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On the left is the front of the card and the right image is the back.  I thought this was kind of a cool and unique collectible but was intrigue with what game this was actually from.  As you can see on the card it listed VMK along the sides, and on the back at the bottom was a link to a website VMK.com.  Unfortunately this link doesn’t work and just reroutes you to the Disney Online Games website instead.  But with some google searches I was able to find out some more information.

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VMK stands for Virtual Magic Kingdom and was a Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) was a virtual representation of the Disneyland Theme park.  It was initially launched as part of the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Disneyland but had no long-term intentions when initially released.  It first became available in 2005 with three virtual lands to explore: Main Street USA, Fantasyland, and Adventureland.  Then over the next couple years additional lands were made available like Tomorrowland, Frontierland, and New Orleans Square.

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In the game you were able to create an avatar to wonder the streets of Disneyland and interact with other players, and play mini-games based on the popular Theme Park attractions.

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Places like the Jungle Cruise (shown above) were available over in Adventureland.

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Or the Haunted Mansion in New Orleans Square.

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Get soaked on Splash Mountain going through the Briar Patch over in Frontierland.

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They even had the super exclusive Club 33 for a special event.  Now back to my original find the collector card with the penny press on it.  I scoured every corner of the internet I could access trying to find an in-game picture or screen shot showing the machine but just couldn’t find anything.

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At one point I did think I was on to something.  When I found the above map of Main Street I noticed the Penny Arcade was an area to explore.  Eventually I did find a picture of the inside of the arcade.

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For those of you that have visited Disneyland in Anaheim this is the jackpot (or at least it used to be I haven’t been in a while) for penny press machines.  But sadly as you can see in the above picture the penny machines are nowhere to be found.

Continuing on the sad note this game was actually shut down in May 2008.  This is really unfortunately as the more I researched this the more I wanted to play.  I’m also surprised I never knew about this.  Sorry to string you along and then drop the bomb that you can’t actually play this anymore, but you never know maybe Disney can bring it back.  There are quite a few fan sites out there with great information and details on the game.  I just thought it was really cool to have a digital version of a penny machine inside a video game.  My imagination is racing as to what the coin designs would have been and if they changed on a regular basis.  Hopefully someone out there knows and can share with us.  Virtual pressed coins sound like a futuristic new idea especially if pennies become extinct…gasp!

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.

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.

Pieces of Eight Gift Shop – Disneyland, CA

It was only a matter of time before the fantastic 60th Diamond Celebration at Disneyland came to and end.  I’m sad to say I was unable to actually visit during the celebration but from everything I have seen it looked really amazing.  Now that the decorations have started to come down in the parks it also means the special 60th pressed coin designs are beginning to disappear.

The first machine to have a brand new set of designs is located in the Pieces of Eight Gift Shop.  As you may guess this is where you end up after riding Pirates of the Caribbean and is a store filled with all your Pirating needs.  Towards the end of the store is where this machine is located and has some really detailed new images.

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The coins pressed a little long in this set but the images still came out really nicely.  As you can see they have a lot of detail and are a great new set.

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The first penny has an Anchor and says “Dead Men Tell No Tales” which for you Pirates of the Caribbean fans is a familiar warning you hear before boarding the ride.

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The second penny displays a pirate skull with hat and crossed swords in the background.

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The final available design is another skull with a banner saying Pirates of the Caribbean.  I was really impressed with these designs and am exited to have even more new coins to collect.  I don’t know if all the 60th coins machines will be replaced with brand new images and would assume some will be old designs brought back.  But I’ll keep my fingers crossed and will keep you posted.

Five and Dime Store – Disney California Adventure

For collectors on the west coast be on the look out for a new pressed penny design available at the Disney California Adventure park.  The machine is located in the Five and Dime store.  Note I said pressed penny (singular) meaning only one of the designs has changed.  The original design that was located here was of Luigi’s Flying Tires which was a ride located in Car’s Land.

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This ride was like a huge air hockey table, you would ride in oversized tires floating on a cushion of air bumping into each other.  The attraction originally opened back in 2012 but recently closed in 2015 to make way for a new attraction Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters.

The back story of this ride goes as follows.  Luigi has invited his cousins from Italy to Radiator Springs for a dance festival being held in the tire yard behind his Casa Della Tire Shop.  This ride has guests loaded into various vehicles (Luigi’s cousins) who all have a unique look and dance moves.  The vehicles then move and spin to Italian music but due to the magic of Disney Imagineering the cars never crash into each other.

Now back to the penny.  So when the Luigi’s Flying Tire design was removed it only made sense to replace it with a new Rollickin’ Roadster design and that’s exactly what happened.

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Above are all three of the designs available at this machine.  The two designs on the left are the same as they were previously: Radiator Springs Racers, and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree.  The new penny is located on the right.

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Here’s a close up of the new Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadster image.  I would have loved to see three brand new designs, but shouldn’t be greedy we did just get 60 new coins over the last year because of the Diamond Celebration.  But this is a nice new addition to the collection, and on a side note if you haven’t visited Car’s Land do yourself a favor and check it out.

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This is definitely a place that transforms you right into the movie.  Remember to keep your eyes open for penny machines you never know where they will pop up.  Keep on Collecting!!

Decades Set #8 of 8 – Downtown Disney, CA

It’s been quite awhile but the final 60th Anniversary penny set went on stage.  I’ve posted about each of these sets over the past year and you can check the archives to see and read about each set.  But now I can confirm that the initial rumors were true and there was a total of 60 unique press coins available for this special diamond celebration for the happiest place on earth.

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The location of this Decades machines has still remained unchanged and is located by the center set of doors at the World of Disney store in downtown Disney.

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This last set of coins represents the decade of 2005-2014.  The images representing this decade include Finding Nemo & Monsters Inc, Disney California Adventure, and Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear.

I have mentioned this in the past but these sets are only going to be available for a limited time.  However, to try to help out with your collection I have an extra set of these coins I just wrote about above (Decade 2005-2014).  I will give this extra set of coins free to one lucky reader.  All you need to do is post a quick comment below about your favorite Disney pressed coin set / image.  This can be from either Disneyland, Walt Disney World or any other Disney park.  I’ll pick the winner randomly at the end of August and will contact the winner at that time to collect your address so I can mail the coins out.  Enter as many times as you like.  Good Luck and happy collecting!!

Star Wars The Force Awakens – Disneyland, CA

Any Star Wars fans out there?

If so you are in luck.  I know at Walt Disney World in Florida they used to put a penny machine out during Star Wars weekends however the designs have never changed.  But now for all you California folks you have a brand spanking new set of Star Wars themed coins and even more cool is they have designs based on the latest blockbuster movie The Force Awakens.  Have you seen it?  What am I talking about of course you have, I think only about 3 people in the entire country haven’t seen it yet.  If any case if you haven’t seen the movie these designs may not make a whole lot of sense (ahem go see the movie) but just take a look these beauties.

I should probably mention both these machines are available in the Disneyland Park at the Star Trader over in Tomorrowland near Space Mountain.

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As you can see these designs are pressed on nice big quarters which always make for a nice finished product.  The above designs are from the first machine and include images of the Rebel Force Logo, Rey, and Chewbacca.  Before I move on let me show off the fantastic machine.

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This thing looks like it should be located at Maz Kanata’s castle on Takodana (see you really need to see the movie).  You can’t tell by the picture but the marquee that shows you the available designs at this particular machine is actually a LCD screen and had a cool little animation that plays on a loop.  I’m trying to get a video of this to post up here and as soon as I have it I’ll make sure to share it

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The second machine is located right beside the first and also has three designs.  Kylo Ren, The First Order Power Logo, and Captain Phasma.

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This machine also has a similar cabinet and also the LCD marquee.  I really hope to see more of these around as I think they really take the experience to another level.  Also be sure to check out the special backstamp image on each coin.

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These coins are so popular I have heard that these machines actually have lines of people waiting to use them.  A friend of mine at work is a huge Star Wars fans, and couldn’t care less about press coins (have mercy) but asked me to do whatever I could to get him a set of these coins.  So all I’m going to say is if you haven’t picked up a set yet do so immediately.

 

Decades Set #7 of 8 – Downtown Disney, CA

Another few weeks have past and it’s that time for the next Decades set to make an appearance onstage.  We are creeping ever closer to the final few pennies in the Disneyland 60th Anniversary set.  As a reminder Disney had planned to release 60 unique (and limited) penny and quarter designs to help Celebrate their 60th Diamond Celebration.  Which by the way is almost over.

This machine is located in the same location as the other Decades sets, by the middle set of doors in the World of Disney mega gift shop at Downtown Disney.

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It’s an election machine with three designs celebrating the next decade in this set 1995 – 2004.

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The first penny has images of the Disneyland Hotel, Winnie the Pooh, and the Hollywood Tower Hotel.

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The next penny has Grizzly Peak from California Adventure, and Aladdin on his magic carpet with the Genie.  Aladdin is one of my all-time favorite Disney movies.

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The last image celebrates Disney California Adventure park that opened in 2001.  There are designs of Mickey’s Fun Wheel, and the California Screamin’ roller coaster.

Updated set count 57 of 60.  Only one set to go and covering the most recent decade should be very cool to see what designs they come up with.  As always remember that these sets are only available for a short time so get your set before they are gone.

2016 Nickel Set – Main Street Opera House Disneyland, CA

Take a quick stroll down Main Street in Disneyland and you will come across the Opera House which is where you can see the famous Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.  After the show you are ushered out through the exit and will come across a special pressed coin machine which actually presses Nickels.  This is pretty rare within the parks, but the larger coin does allow for additional detail in the design.  Last year there were special 2015 dated designs available and the trend has continued this year.

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There are three designs available.  All of them have Disneyland 2016 listed as part of the design and include some very familiar characters: Goofy, Donald Duck and Pluto.  Now here is something else unique about this machine.  The initial set of designs was only available for about 2 maybe 3 days.  The backstamp on the original designs were missing the standard (C) Copyright Disney.

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After these few days the machine was removed, new dies put in and now the coins press with the (C) Disney listed on the back under the USA.

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For most casual collectors this probably is not a big deal, but for serious collectors these “error” designs are a pretty hot commodity.  Keep your eyes open in case you come across these special designs as there are not going to be very many out in circulation.  Happy Collecting!