Among the most affordable Disney souvenirs is something that costs just over 50 cents, offers a good deal of fun involved in getting it, and can provide a great commemoration of your Disney trip……yes, that would be pressed pennies. With pressed penny machines located all over the parks and resorts, there are enough design options to satisfy the “collector” in anyone. Kids especially enjoy the process of squishing pennies and parents truly appreciate the ability to encourage their children in collecting a souvenir that won’t break the bank (sorry for the pun :) )
So if this type of souvenir appeals to you, what do you need to know?
You may want to plan ahead and bring some pennies with you for this activity, as well as some quarters to pay for each pressed penny: cost is typically 51 cents (your penny, and the 50 cents to press it). You may want to consider whether you want “shiny” pressed pennies! Some people do, and choose to use only new pennies…but know that sometimes the zinc in newer pennies will show through the copper when pressed, leaving a marbled effect. Don’t like that idea? Then use older, pure copper pennies and clean them in advance using vinegar, or some silver cleaner and a soft cloth.
Or consider pressed quarters, which will of course cost you more, but can be a nice variation for your family’s collection.
Find All the Machines
One of the things that surprised me when we first started collecting pressed pennies, was the many, many options for designs that are available! Pressed penny and quarter machines are all over the place, and each one it seems, has a different design. Guest Relations can be a big help here, by providing you with a list of where all the machines are and the designs that are available. Generally, you will find machines in most if not all of the resort hotels, parks and Downtown Disney. One thing that I think is especially helpful is that there are often machines located in the shops, which is a perfect distraction for children who are begging for you to buy them something: go find the pressed penny machine instead!
What I Really Love About Pressed Pennies….
Other than the obvious thing, which is the inexpensive cost, what I truly love about this type of Disney souvenir, is the interaction that gets kids involved with the planning and collecting of their pressed pennies. I am a big fan of encouraging collections: kids love to collect things and when preserved, they can bring back special Disney memories for years to come.
So get your kids involved in planning this souvenir activity in advance of your trip. Encourage them to help collect (and possibly clean if they are old enough) the pennies. When you get to Disney, have them “hunt” for the machines, and compare available designs: many designs are commemorative, and only available for a short time. Others are of just a particular location, ride, or attraction. Involve kids of all ages in this: little ones who can’t read yet, may enjoy collecting the “penny pictures” more than collecting autographs!
And have them be involved in pressing those pennies! You may want to help a bit at the beginning until they get the hang of it, but don’t be discouraged if each penny is not “perfect”…that’s part of the fun. (Want a tip to help your penny designs to show up well? Get the design pressed on the “face” rather than the “tail” side.)
Lastly, once you get home, display those pennies; don’t put them in a box somewhere! Just like looking at pictures and pins, looking at your pressed pennies is like revisiting your Disney vacation all over again! So get an inexpensive book that is designed to hold your new pressed penny collection (available in some of the gift shops), and take a look at it every once in a while. You’ll enjoy the collection as much as, if not more than, the special memories of your Disney vacation!
So….does your family enjoy pressing pennies? What tips would you offer??
Nancy, her husband and college-age daughter live in the Baltimore MD area, but consider Walt Disney World their second “home”. She started her site, The Affordable Mouse, as a way to share ideas about how to plan affordable Disney vacations. Her favorite things at Disney World (in no particular order) are Soarin’, most of the food in World Showcase, Illuminations…and that special “Disney magic” found in the most unexpected places.