MONEY PAGE – Tips for squishing pennies at Disney World
Disney World machines all cost the same: 50 cents plus your penny for pressed cents; 75 cents plus your dime for the dime machine (only one exists – at Space Mountain); $1 in quarters plus your quarter for pressed quarter machines.
Penny press books are available at many Disney World stores, but not all stores. New designs are introduced every two or three years. Current price (2015): $8.95.
TYPES OF MACHINES
There are several types of machines. The most common are 3-die electric button machines and 4-die hand-crank machines. Single-die machines are being phased out, but there are a few left (mainly quarter machines – but also a penny machine at House of Blues – Downtown Disney). They are usually placed into themed cabinets.
3-die electric machine (left) and 4-die crank machine (right)
There are also some unique machines at a few locations:
Pizza Planet, Shades of Green (retired), Epcot France “2-die” press
DISNEY WORLD ATMs
Disney World’s list – almost all are Chase machines: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/guest-services/atm/. Every park has at least one ATM.
In addition, Chase machines can be found at most resort hotels near the lobby area. At Fort Wilderness, the machine is near the rest rooms at Pioneer Hall.
A complete list of Chase machines can be found on Chase’s website; type “Disney World” into the search box: https://locator.chase.com/ . Unfortunately, the Chase listings provide street addresses, and one thing you learn about Disney World is that street names are not generally posted anywhere! Example: Some of the addresses are on “Avenue of the Stars,” which is the ring road around Epcot that is open only to Disney utility vehicles and cast member buses. Also, beware if you use an internet map system with those addresses, as they are notoriously filled with errors. I once had an appointment at WDW Casting, and the map showed it in the middle of the lagoon at Downtown Disney.
ACCESS TO MACHINES
Some stores and attractions close early (such as Fulton’s General Store at Port Orleans, and the water parks). Other locations are open until 11pm or midnight (such as food courts, Downtown Disney and mini-golf).
Parking: Parking costs $17 a day for the 4 main theme parks (2015 price). In-and-out privileges are offered for all parks; for example, if you pay to park at Epcot, you can also park at the Magic Kingdom later that day by presenting your parking receipt. Resort guests are entitled to free parking at the parks, but they need to get a parking pass at the hotel desk. ESPN Wide World of Sports normally offers free parking, but during some events (notably Atlanta Braves spring training) a parking fee is charged. All other areas of Disney World (hotels, campground, Downtown Disney, water parks, mini golf) offer free parking to everyone.
Magic Kingdom: You have to pay for admission to get access to all machines in the MK. Parking: $.
Animal Kingdom: You have to pay for admission to get access to all machines in the AK except the 4 machines at the Rainforest Café and 2 machines at the Outpost. Parking: $.
Epcot: You have to pay for admission to get access to all machines at Epcot. Parking: $.
Hollywood Studios: You have to pay for admission to get access to all machines in Hollywood Studios. Parking: $.
Typhoon Lagoon & Blizzard Beach: At the ticket booth, tell them you want a shopping pass. They will charge you to enter the water park, and will refund your entry fee if you come back within 30 minutes (and you are dry!). Parking: free.
Winter Summerland & Fantasia Gardens: You can enter these mini-golf attractions free of charge. Parking: free.
Hotel resorts & campground: You can enter all the hotels free of charge to go shopping, dining, or press pennies. If you drive there, you will be stopped at the front entry gate and need to present picture ID to security. Explain why you are there, and you will be permitted to come in. They are mainly concerned about people parking at the hotels to get free parking (instead of the $17 per day the 4 main parks charge for parking). At Fort Wilderness campground, you park in front and take a bus to Pioneer Hall and the trading posts. Parking: free.
ESPN Wide World of Sports: This sports complex is open seasonally. Check the Disney website for operating schedules. You do not need to pay admission to enter the store where the machine is located. Parking: ESPN Wide World of Sports normally offers free parking, but during some events (notably Atlanta Braves spring training) a parking fee is charged.
Boardwalk: The Boardwalk area does not charge an admission fee. Parking: free.
Downtown Disney: All machines can be accessed without paying for admission. At Disney Quest, three out of four machines are located in the “pay for admission” areas. Parking: free.
You can usually get change for a few dollars at any WDW store or restaurant. Sometimes you can get change at Guest Relations – and if you are early enough, you might even get a whole roll of quarters. I recommend that you bring rolls of quarters from home. If you bring coins from home, though, remember you have to pass through Disney security bag checks, but they don’t hassle you about bringing so much metal in your bag. Airline security has some trouble with metallic rolls, but I have still been able to fly with them in checked or carry-on baggage without difficulty. If you bring a lot, TSA will open your checked baggage to inspect, and will leave a card explaining that they are just doing their job.
You can always get pennies at any store or restaurant. They will search for shinier coins – it’s part of Disney’s legendary service. That legendary service has its limitations, though - Disney cashiers have generally been limiting quarters to $2 or $3 increments.
How can you get uncirculated copper pennies? Try your local coin store. If you buy them by the roll and don’t care about the dates, you can get them for about $3 a roll. Uncirculated zinc coins can be purchased at coin stores, or sometimes your bank will have them.
Here is an incomplete list of DISNEY WORLD CHANGE MACHINES – the machines give quarters, and no other types of coins. They generally take currency from $1 to $10 bills.
Under Main Street Railroad Station
Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade
Tomorrowland Power & Light arcade
Splash Mountain exit gift shop
The Living Seas gift shop
The Land - near Garden Grill restaurant
ANIMAL KINGDOM: There are no change machines inside the park.
Inside Rainforest Café gift shop (takes $5 bills and smaller)
Several change machines are located in the Pizza Planet arcade
Mickey’s of Hollywood store (takes $20 bills and smaller)
Tower of Terror
Prop Shop (takes $20 bills and smaller)
Inside Rainforest Café gift shop (takes $5 bills and smaller)
WATER PARKS, MINI GOLF, ESPN WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS, BOARDWALK:
Hotels generally have change machines near their arcades, but not all hotels have arcades or change machines.
Unlike Disneyland, there are no exclusive pressed coin machines for cast members.
If broken or jammed, most machines are repaired within 24 hours. Try again the next day. I have found that, by nighttime, between 5% and 10% of the Disney machines will be out of order.
When you put a penny in the slot, the side facing the center of the machine will generally be the side that is pressed. On motorized quarter machines, the quarter in the far left slot will generally be the coin that is pressed. On hand-crank quarter machines, the coin on the far right will be pressed.
Copper coins give a better impression than copper-coated zinc coins because there is no streaking of the two metals.
Machines often instruct you not to use foreign coins. If you use foreign coins, older Canadian coins (1960s/1970s) are the right size (modern Canadian cents are too small and roll very short). Also suitable: old German 2 pfennig & 5 pfennig; Hungarian 2 forints (rolls slightly short); 2 Euro cents. Sometimes you have to shake the coin slide to get it to take the coins. Sometimes the machine jams. That’s why they tell you not to do it.