Throughout Disneyland can be found “press a penny” machines that extrude U.S. currency into jolly Disneyland souvenirs in defiance of common sense, the laws of physics, and several Treasury Department statutes. The original Pressed Penny machines require the insertion of a penny to be mangled along with a pair of quarters to pay for the service. The penny is returned with a design of the guest’s choice imprinted on Lincoln’s monstrously elongated face.
The popularity of these novelty devices led to “press a quarter” machines (pictured here) that require the insertion of a quarter to be entertainingly devalued along with a pair of fifty-cent pieces to pay for the service. In 2001, Disneyland tested “press a Sacagawea” machines in which a dollar coin and two two-dollar bills were inserted, but these proved unpopular, as did “press a dollar” machines in which paper dollars were pressed to little visible effect.
In many places in the United States, pennies are considered good luck. Because of this, the original Disneyland devices came to be known as “press your luck” machines, giving birth to the popular phrase.
Interesting note: If you ask really nicely and/or have a hissy fit, pressed coins are acceptable as legal tender anywhere on Disneyland property.
Coming up next: Fakemeralda