Disney property is busting at the seams with every imaginable type of merchandise. There truly is something for everyone. How do you decide which souvenirs to purchase? Which items will have staying power once you take them home?
When my kids would ask for things that we could purchase at retailers in our hometown, I cringed. I tried encouraging them to look for toys or other items that were unique to Disney World. For instance, Legos are a big draw for them. When we told them they could pick out a souvenir from Downtown Disney, they had their minds made up before we even stepped foot off of the bus. Needless to say, we returned back to Indiana and added another 600 tiny plastic bricks to our already insane collection.
However, halfway through the trip, we found something that caught their attention. With souvenirs covering every inch of any retail space, we had not immediately noticed the pressed penny machines. They are EVERYWHERE! Multiple machines in every park, at every resort, and all around Downtown Disney. Once we noticed a machine and the boys pressed their first pennies, they were hooked. Finding the machines became a mission and discovering which designs were available was a rush of excitement. We all became interested in finding penny machines and before we knew it, a little collection was growing.
On our last day in the parks, we discovered that a map/list of all penny machines is available at Guest Relations. We grabbed one on our way out and realized how many opportunities we missed. For under $30, these were the only souvenirs we purchased for the last 3 days of our vacation (including a display book for each child that was about $8). Since we’ve been home from vacation, their collection books are what the boys want to show everyone when asked about our trip. They carried their collections to school several days in a row for show & tell. We like to pull them out and look at them. My 5 year old even remembers where he got most of his 13 pennies (and 2 pressed quarters!) and which one his brother got from the same machine, as there are usually 3 options.
In the meantime, their new Lego sets have already been built and deconstructed…they lie in ruins on the Lego table, unrecognizable in the sea of colorful plastic bricks. Hopefully they are still as excited about pressing pennies during our next trip and we can continue filling their souvenir display booklets.
Candice was raised in east Tennessee. While in college, her best friend dragged her to a Walt Disney World College Program recruiting session at the University of Tennessee and the rest is Disney history. In the Fall of 1999, Candice became a quick service food hostess for Sunset Ranch Market and Fantasmic at Disney-MGM Studios – or what is now known as Disney’s Hollywood Studios. While soaking up her time as a cast member, she met Ryan, a neighbor and a fellow college programmer who worked as a custodial host at Epcot. Four years later, Candice moved to the Midwest and married that boy from across the hall. They now live in Greenwood, Indiana with their two little boys. The Disney-loving foursome took their first family trip to The Happiest Place on Earth in 2013 and Candice is eagerly planning their return. Candice also works full-time at a community mental health center and enjoys taking photographs and blogging at Mommy in the Midwest.