This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Best Pressed Pennies at the Universal Orlando Resort. Regular readers of this fine blog know that we have extolled the virtue of pressed pennies in our article on The Best Souvenirs at Walt Disney World and anyone who follows Your Humble Author on social media knows I am pretty much obsessed with them. Today we are going to head over to the Universal Orlando Resort and check out the best pressed coin designs they have to offer. So sit back, drive yourself crazy looking through all your change to find two quarters and a penny, and let’s start off with…
# 6 – Jurassic Park
The Jurassic Park logo is just as awesome today as it was when it made its debut over twenty years ago, and in the gift shop of the Jurassic Park River Adventure (way in the back) you can find a pressed penny design with this very image.
# 5 – The Simpsons
There are a good amount of Simpsons pressed penny designs found throughout the entire Universal resort (not just in Springfield USA), and in fact our favorite design is located over at Islands of Adventure in front of the Islands Trading Post. One of the biggest strength of the Simpsons TV show is its huge cast of characters, however almost all of the pressed penny designs at Universal feature the actual Simpson family of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. One design features Homer, Moe, and Barney Gumble at Moe’s Tavern. Until we can get a pressed penny featuring Comic Book Guy (Worst. Penny. Ever.), Cletus the slack jawed yokel, Duffman, or even Poochie, the Moe’s Tavern penny is going to be #1 in our book.
# 4 – Marvel
It feels bad to say this, but most of the Marvel merchandise found at Universal and Disney (even Superhero Headquarters, the store at Disney Springs dedicated to Marvel) is just not that special. You can find much better stuff at any comic book store or even your local Target. One thing Universal does have that you can’t get anywhere else is Marvel pressed pennies. You can get unique designs featuring a ton of characters including Spider-Man, Captain America, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men. Our favorite coin design has to go to The Punisher logo, if only because it seems almost impossible to believe this character would be seen inside a theme park. The Punisher himself will surely be a red hot character again thanks to an upcoming stint in season two of the Netflix show Daredevil, which will be released on March 18th.
# 3 – Transformers: Generation One
This machine was a shocker and made its debut in 2015. Universal’s Transformers: The Ride 3-D uses the version of Transformers from the
incomprehensible recent films by Michael Bay, but Transformers: Generation One are the version of the characters many of us grew up with. These blocky characters may look ridiculous to Millenials, but – dang it – these are our Transformers and we love them! While it’s impossible to pick a favorite, for our choice we are going with Hot Rod thanks to his role in Transformers: The Movie, a film which forever changed how we saw cartoons.
# 2 – King Kong
It’s a pressed penny for King Kong. How great is that? Skull Island: Reign Of Kong can’t get here soon enough!!
# 1 – Jaws
Not only is it amazing that we have Jaws pressed pennies at Universal, the actual designs for the pennies are incredible. Our favorite has to be the one based on a Amity Island billboard seen in the film Jaws. In the film, the billboard of a woman in the ocean is defaced with a shark fin added into it, along with the words “Help!!! Shark.” This billboard is recreated in penny form. Talk about a deep pull.
The pressed penny machine featuring our #1 penny was actually seen in a movie this year. That’s right, the machine featuring the billboard design from the movie Jaws was a co-star in the one and only Sharknado 3. With cameos by Rip Ride Rockit, the Islands of Adventure Pharos Lighthouse, the Cabana Bay Beach Resort, the Universal Globe and even Twister…Ride It Out (R.I.P.), Sharknado 3 is movie every Universal fan needs to see.
HONORABLE MENTION – Universal Classic Monsters (RIP)
The world needs more of the classic Universal monsters (although even as a huge fan of Tom Cruise I am terrified of the upcoming shared universe that starts with him in a reboot of The Mummy). Universal Studios Florida had an unbelievably great pressed penny machine featuring the Creature From the Black Lagoon, the Wolfman, Frankenstein’s Monster, and the Bride of Frankenstein in the main gift shop at Universal Studios Florida, but the machine was removed and replaced with one featuring Despicable Me. Our wish list for 2016 is for Universal to bring this machine back into the park and – channeling the recent trade of prisoners between the USA and Iran – negotiate with Universal Japan to get their awesome Back to the Future pressed penny machine over here too.
So there you have it: The Six Best Pressed Pennies at the Universal Orlando Resort. See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles, or, for your listening pleasure, check out the E-Ticket Report podcast. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan)
If you enjoyed this article, you will surely like the following:
Special Thanks to crack staff photographer Brandon Glover and blogger to the stars Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. Be sure to also check out Brandon on The Park Blogger podcast with co-hosts Aengus Mackenzie and Brian Carey.