Got a Quarter or Two?

by Lisa Stiglic, contributing writer

Always pack well for your Disneyland trip. Sunscreen? Check! Credit Card? Check! Cell phone? Check! Cash? Whaaat? No one ever brings cash to a theme park anymore! So it would seem, in the current world of credit card swiping and Venmo accounts. Ah, but Disneyland Resort still has some old-fashioned fun to be had arcade-style which means those tech and electronic devices won't be of any help. Time to search the couch for loose change and dig through pockets for some singles and get ready for some seriously vintage game playing. Insert quarter please.

Pressed Coin Machines

OK, this one is a no-brainer. Everywhere you look on Resort property, there is a coin machine. Insert two quarters (mostly) along with a penny for a squished souvenir featuring your favorite Disney character. There are more than 70 machines within the Resort, each with three different character plates that change out periodically with holiday or special event themes. Most of the machines are the typical penny presses, but there are a handful of quarter machines, nickel machines and even one or two dime presses. There is no specific list distributed by Disney, but you can easily find updated files online. is a non-Disney related site that lists current machines.

Go to 'Infinity and Beyond" with the Toy Story themed penny press machines in Little Green Men Store Command in Tomorrowland. Photo by Lisa Stiglic.

One of the harder-to-find quarter machines is located in front of Rushin' River Outfitters in Disney California Adventure. Photo by Lisa Stiglic.

Don't forget to look for machines in the hotels and in the Downtown Disney District to add to your collection.

Penny Arcade

The Penny Arcade sits along Main Street USA as it has since opening day in 1955. Once filled with arcade games of yesteryear, now the location is actually Candy Kitchen and Candy Palace with the arcade machines scattered throughout. Change machines are available for the needed coins; you'll want pennies for the Cail-o-Scopes and Muto-Scopes.

Plug in a penny to watch some of the earliest forms of motion pictures on these old-fashioned machines. Photo by Lisa Stiglic.

Several carnival type arcade games want to test your will and strength.

For a quarter, test your vitality on the True Grip Challenge. Photo by Lisa Stiglic.

And, with the Candy Kitchen and Candy Palace adjacent, you can snack on your favorite sweet (ahem- Mickey rice marshmallow treats) while you plug your pennies into the machines for an entertaining hour (or less).

Shooting Gallery

For a rootin', tootin', shootin' good time, a few rounds at Frontierland's Shooting Exposition will cost you a couple of bills. No need to have exact change, as there is a coin machine present next to Westward Ho Trading Company. Would-be Wild Bills can purchase 25-shots per credit and fire away at almost 100 targets set in the rustic scene of Tombstone, Arizona.

Frontierland's Shooting Exposition welcomes kids of all ages. Photo by Lisa Stiglic.

From the owl hooting from inside the rotting tree, to the old train bouncing along the tracks behind the western town, the moving targets can be a challenge for the replica .54 Hawkins rifle you shoulder up to take aim. One of the trickiest shots is hitting the shovel in the graveyard, which pops out periodically. Aim and blast it for a glimpse of who's buried underneath.

The spooky graveyard scene is just one of many filled with hidden targets in the Shooting Exposition. Photo by Lisa Stiglic.

Spend some entertaining downtime with the family for an almost-next-to-nothing cost, or challenge yourself to hit all the targets!

Dancing Puppets

Tucked away in a few corners in Disneyland are three machines with iconic characters who dance for a fee. Based on the coin-operated vintage dancing puppet/clown machines of the past, these games are more than just Disneyland props.

In the Penny Arcade, head to the back wall and you'll see everyone's favorite puppet—Pinocchio. Stick a quarter in the machine and you control the buttons to make him dance while "I've Got No Strings" plays along. Sometimes the machines are taken off stage for maintenance, so if you don't see him, just ask a cast member.

After a round at Frontierland's Shooting Exposition, mosey on over to Pioneer Mercantile to find the dancingest sheriff in the west—Woody! Similar to Pinocchio, his movements are controlled with the push buttons on the front panel.

Woody two-steps to the sound of "Woody's Round-Up" after a quarter has been fed into the machine. Photo by Lisa Stiglic.

Finally, free to all guests is Clopin's Music Box featuring the Gypsy leader in Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame. What's fun about this game, besides the no-cost factor, is the hand-crank mechanism that not only makes Clopin dance, but different characters circulate throughout, including the gargoyles. Sharp-eyed viewers might spot Peter Pan's Mr. Smee in the background crowd.

Clopin's Music Box is located in Fantasy Faire near where the princesses meet-n-greet. Photo by Lisa Stiglic.

Fortune/Wish Machines

When entering Candy Kitchen and Candy Palace, or even just walking by on Main Street USA, you've probably seen the enticing Esmerelda, the fortune-telling wonder who beckons guests to learn their future for a small fee. Esmerelda is one of the handful of fortune/wish machines scattered throughout Disneyland. Since she's on Main Street, she's the most visible and popular.

"I want to be big!" Although Esmerelda is not Zoltar, she can still predict your future and disperses a card souvenir with a saying. Photo by Todd Pickering.

Fortune Red is Esmerelda's counterpart, a pirate hidden in New Orleans Square. Hand over your gold and the buccaneer will sing a song and then distribute a fortune card for any scurvy mate who dares.

You'll find Fortune Red adjacent to Pieces of Eight near the exit of Pirates of the Caribbean. Photo by Todd Pickering.

Not quite as psychic as Esmerelda or Fortune Red, Shrunken Ned will give you his own version of your fortune if you visit his chambers. Located in Adventureland Bazaar, Shrunken Ned—"Head Shrink of the Jungle"—will disperse a personal diagnosis and souvenir prescription card for a slight fee.

Place your hand on the designated spot and Shrunken Ned will determine your well-being. Photo by Todd Pickering.

Also in Adventureland Bazaar, is Aladdin's "Other" Lamp. "Whosever rubs the lamp (and places coins in the slot below) shall receive the wisdom of the GENIE and have their future revealed," states the emerald green banner hanging above the lamp.

Although no blue genie appears, you will receive a souvenir card with your disclosed fortune. Photo by Todd Pickering.

There are also several wishing wells and waters around the resort—one of the most popular being Snow White's Wishing Well at Snow White's Grotto. Toss in a coin and listen for "I'm Wishing."

Enjoying the Game

Since most guests enter the Resort with the hopes of hitting all the E-ticket attractions and catching the latest parade/character/food, these throw-back machines are a welcome reprieve. Take a minute or afternoon to enjoy the whimsy of them either by yourself or with your family—especially if you have kids. Here are a few tips to keep in mind for a more enjoyable experience.

* Bring your change with you. (This is a huge advantage if you plan on pressing a lot of coins.)

* Give each child a bag of coins to use at their disposal.

* Small bags are also great to collect the pressed coins/fortune cards. (Pressed coin books are also available for sale in the parks.)

Press play to start. Enjoy!