It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I was only ten, what did I know?
My family and I had just ridden Splash Mountain. We looked for, and found, our on-ride photo and were about to head back out into Frontierland when I saw a curious machine standing by itself against a wall.
The instructions told me to put two quarters and a penny into the machine then choose one of three designs to be pressed onto the penny. I fished through my pockets and found the change I needed. Roughly a minute later, I held this in my hands:
It was the beginning of the end for me. It’s been 20 years since that fateful day, and this is what my collection looks like now:
(By the way, if you’re concerned about the legality of manipulating currency, you can go here for an explanation of why it’s ok.)
Some of the machines let you choose the design you want by pressing a button and some require you to turn a crank. One of the most appealing aspects of the pressed pennies/coins is the cost. It is one of the few souvenirs that I could afford as a kid and thus didn’t have to get my parents’ permission before purchasing. In fact, my main criticism of the new penny machines that they’re trying out in Disney Springs and Hollywood Studios is that you have to use a credit card or dollar bills to pay for them. You don’t have to supply your own penny. Where’s the fun in that?
You can find pressed coin machines all over Walt Disney World: the theme parks, water parks, resorts, Disney Springs, mini-golf courses. You name it, there will probably be a machine there. Most of the machines press pennies, but a number of them will press quarters as well. There’s even a pressed dime machine in the Space Mountain gift shop.
Here are some of my favorites from over the years, including my most recent trip from a couple of weeks ago. (I even broke down and used one of the new machines because I am a sucker for Marvel)
(All photos from the author’s personal collection.)
What is the coolest pressed coin in your collection? Which one was the most difficult to find? Do you have a place in Walt Disney World that you wish you had a pressed coin from? Let us know in the comments section below!
Chris grew up during the Disney renaissance of animation and took his first trip to Disney World when he was ten. Even though he has loved Disney his whole life, his obsession didn’t start until he began planning a trip for his honeymoon. Right now, his primary job (at least the one that doesn’t pay the bills) is to indoctrinate his daughter with his love of Disney while at the same time convincing his wife to move to Orlando so he can become a tour guide in the parks.