Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin – Magic Kingdom, FL

My back and neck were still a little stiff from my Speedway drive with Hanna, but that wouldn’t stop us from continuing on through Tomorrowland.  I’m not a Space Mountain fan but some of my family are so we made a stop for them to get their fix.  Once that was done we headed over to an attraction more my speed and enjoyable for the kids.

Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.  Now I was concerned when I first rode this years ago because the famous Tea Cups are my worst nightmare.  I hate being dizzy and with Spin in the title of this attraction had me worried.  But it’s nothing like the Tea Cups.  This is really more like laser tag but you are sitting in a ride vehicle taking you through the alien attack and you need to zap as many evildoers as you can.

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You accumulate points for each alien you zap and at the end it’s always fun to see your final score ranked against the rest of your family.  Once the ride is over you exit into a photo preview room where you can see your picture mid-ride along with your final scores.  Then just beside the exit doors is another new 8-design touch screen machine.

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This is the same price as the others, 1 design for $1 or all 8 for $5.  This machine also supplies the blank tokens that the designs are pressed on.

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This set included a lot of Buzz Lightyear with a few other characters.  They include images of Little Green Toy Alien, Buzz Flying to the Right, Buzz with his Arms Raised, Buzz Pointing to the Sky, Buzz Flying straight Ahead, Buzz Space Ranger Spin Logo, Buzz with his Arms crossed, and Evil Zurg.  Wow that’s a lot of Buzz!

It was getting dark and the kids (and adults) were starting to get cranky so it was our queue to head back to our resort to rest.  But I promise there were many more penny machines to find and I’ll walk you by all of them.

Tomorrowland Speedway – Magic Kingdom, FL

I remember as a kid visiting the Magic Kingdom and wanting to ride in the race cars that go around the track.  It was my first taste of freedom on the open road, except of course for the bar in the middle of my tires preventing me from crashing off the road. I eventually found it funny to purposely jerk the steering wheel to the left or right so the car jolted against the rail and watching my father try to prevent whiplash.

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The Tomorrowland Speedway is just plain fun or least I remember it being that way.  On our recent trip I decided to take my daughter Hanna on this ride and I think she tried to pull the same stunt I did with my father.  After we got out of the ride my neck was stiff and my back needed realigning.  Darn the bar in the middle of the road.

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With a chiropractic visit needed I slowly wandered away from the Speedway as if we were heading towards Space Mountain.  Just past the Speedway there are some souvenir carts around and this is where we found one of the newly placed penny machines.

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As you can see this is a 4-design hand crank model which at Disney are pretty rare, and after my drive with Hanna using this machine was going to be a bit of work.

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The pressed pennies dropped out and had some nice updated designs on them.  This set had Pluto with a Trophy, Minnie in a Speedway Car, Race Car Driver Mickey, and Mickey with a Checkered Flag.

With my new pennies stored away we headed further into Tomorrowland to see what we could do next, and I’m sure you can guess there were more pennies to be found.

Splash Mountain – Magic Kingdom, FL

My family got back from a Wedding in October that was held at the Grand Floridian hotel on Walt Disney World properly in Florida.  We took the opportunity to extend this trip into a week-long vacation.  As you can probably imagine I took every opportunity I could to visit the parks and collect some pressed coins.  Mostly I was updating my picture collection of the machines, also updating some coins that I had collected years ago and were in need of a fresh pressing.  I’ll go over all of my adventures in some upcoming posts, but for now I wanted to review some of the new machines that were recently made available.  First up let’s check out the Magic Kingdom.

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We visited the Magic Kingdom twice on this visit, and one of those times was to attend the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.  Above is the Castle all lit up for the party.

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Back on our non-party visit we started bright and early with Splash Mountain.  I’m sure most of you know about this ride whether you love it or hate it the adventures of Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Bear and Br’er Fox is definitely a classic.

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This is not usually a ride I enjoy as the stomach in my throat feeling is not my favorite sensation.  But this year my daughter Hanna was old enough and wanted to try it out so I obliged.  I’ll spare her the embarrassment of posting our ride photo here but needless to say she wasn’t a fan this time around.  Once your ride is over you walk by the Splashdown Photo Preview area where you can get a glimpse of your ride photo.  While we waited for our photo to show up I took the opportunity to use the penny machine located right next to the preview screens.

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On a side note for those of you that don’t want to ride Splash Mountain you can still access this machine.  You just have to walk back through the gift shop and will find it near the large crowd looking at their ride pictures.

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Earlier this year this machine had one of the 2016 yearly design pennies available, but recently this coin has been removed.  The above designs are what you will find there for now: Mickey/Pluto/Donald/Goofy riding Splash Mountain, Minnie splashing water on Mickey, and Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Fox, and Br’er Bear riding Splash Mountain.

Now you remember me just talking about a gift shop?  That’s right what Disney ride would be complete without forcing you to exit through a gift shop full of wonderful souvenirs you just can’t live without.  In my case this wasn’t a t-shirt or snow globe but instead a new 8-Design penny machine.

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I was amazed at how many of these new touch screen machines there were throughout all the parks.  The price has gone up a bit, and you can’t supply your own pennies but I still think the tokens these machines use are pretty nice and make for a nice finished product.

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The pressed coins here were of Big Thunder Mountain, Frontierland Mickey/Donald/Goofy, Splash Mountain Donald/Goofy/Pluto/Mickey, Br’er Bear, Br’er Rabbit, Mickey & Goofy riding Splash Mountain, Br’er Fox, and Mr. Bluebird.  When you exit the gift shop with your pocket jingling with new pressed coins there is a large set of restrooms nearby and just a short walk back towards the entrance to Splash Mountain takes you underneath the Frontierland Railroad Station.

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On this trip was the first time I was actually able to use this machine as it always seems to be broken for some reason.  I always loved this machine’s cabinet design.

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The designs are sticking with our friends in the briar patch: Br’er Vulture, Br’er Rabbit and Br’er Bear.  With our clothes soaking wet we met up with the rest of our family to see where we were off to next.  Check back often as there are many more pressed penny machines to visit.

2017 Walt Disney World Pressed Coins

We are just a couple of days away from a brand new year and just this evening I was browsing some websites and came across an early surprise.  On one of my trips to WDW last year I noticed that a lot of the pressed coin machines had a website address listed to get the most up to date locations of all the machines across property.  I took a picture so I wouldn’t forget about it when I came home.

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This website has become just another routine I go through a few times a week.  I check out the website to see if anything has changed, moved or best of all a new machine is available.  Just a short while ago I was checking out the website and almost fell off my couch when I started to see new 2017 coins all around the parks.  Unfortunately I am not currently near Orlando and won’t be for a few weeks so I cannot actually confirm that these machines are up and running.  But I’m sending out requests to friends in the area to try to get pictures but most importantly press these beautiful new coins.  As I acquire the coins I’ll update this post with the actual pictures, but for now I wanted to share the images that are available on the above CTM Group website.

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These first two coins are available in the Magic Kingdom.  The penny on the left is in the Emporium Store, and the penny on the right is at the Sir Mickey’s Gift Shop.

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The next three coins are located in Epcot.  The penny on the left is from the Disney Traders Gift Shop, the penny in the middle from the huge Mouse Gears Gift Shop, and the quarter on the right is from The Land Pavilion near the Garden Grill Restaurant.

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Over at Hollywood Studios there is just one coin listed at this time.  It’s available at what I call the Muppet’s Gift Shop but is technically referred to as the Stage One Company Store.

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Located in Animal Kingdom are the next couple coins.  The penny on the left is at Chester and Hester’s in Dinoland USA.  The quarter on the right is at the Wildlife Express Train Station.

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The last batch of coins are available at various resorts.  However the resort locations have not changed from last year.  At the Contemporary Resort are the above two coins and are right near the Monorail station.

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A quick Monorail trip over to the Grand Floridian will get you to the next machine.  It’s still located on the second floor just inside the doors that lead to the Monorail station.

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Finally the last two quarters are over at the All-Star Resorts.  If you aren’t staying at these resorts they can be a bit out of the way to get.  The quarter on the left of Goofy is over at the All-Star Music resort just outside the Note’Able Games Arcade.  The quarter on the right of Donald is at the All-Star Sports resort outside the Game Point Arcade.

UPDATE:

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Found images of the “last” two 2017 designs that will be available.  I’m just assuming they are sticking with the 15 designs but we can always hope for more.  The above penny on the left is located at Hollywood Studios in the Rock Around the Shop, and the quarter on the right is in the Magic Kingdom at the Main Street Train Station.

Happy collecting, and have a great New Years!!

Bass Pro Shop – Atlantic City, NJ

This was actually the second time I had attempted to collect these coins.  A few months back I heard about this new store opening in AC and when I tried to get there it was just not meant to be.  I didn’t have any cash on me and all the Casino parking lots would only take cash, I tried to park on the street but ran into traffic everywhere I went with no available parking spots.  The lot for the store was full and with my temper flaring at this point I just decided to head back home.  But this time around I had a pocket full of cash just in case.

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Now I will say for a non hunter/fisherman I’m just in awe of this place.  This is my second store and they are very similar but still unique in their own way.

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There are two floors of clothing, fishing gear, camping gear, boats, and on and on.  I was only planning on stopping in to use the penny machine but ended up wandering around for over an hour.

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They even have a huge fish tank which my daughter Hanna loved, and as you can see from the picture above this is not your plain old ordinary tank.

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Right next to the fish tank observation area is where I finally came across the penny machine.

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The set of pennies had images of the Atlantic City Steel Pier, A bass, a large Buck, and a Marlin.  These may not actually be what the images are of but that’s my city boy guess.

Well it was quite an adventure to finally get a set of these coins but was definitely worth it.  These coins are customized for the city the store is located in and makes for a fun collection all its own.

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.

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.