The Walt Disney World Resort in central Florida near Orlando has just announced plans it is participating in a pilot program with the US Mint. Under this program, several merchandise and dining locations will now be giving back US Native American $1 coins instead of dollar bills as change.
"Our participation in the circulation pilot is part of a continued commitment to environmentality," states Thomas Smith (Social Media Director, Disney Parks) in the official blog about the launch of the program. "The coin is an environmentally responsible choice — it’s recyclable and lasts decades longer than paper bills."
Dollar coins are not a new idea in American coinage. The US Mint has been producing one version or another off and on since 1794. Some familiar examples that you may recall are the Seated Liberty Dollars, the Morgan Dollars, the Peace Dollars and the Eisenhower Dollars.
More recently, the Mint started striking the Sacagawea Dollar in 2000. Also known as the "Golden Dollars" for their color, these coins were created as a replacement for the dollar bill. These Sacagawea Dollars were modified in 2009 as part of the Native American $1 Coin Act to include annually changing reverse designs. The Mint also introduced the Presidential Dollar coins which feature former Presidents of the United States.
The government could save billions if the dollar bill (which has an average life span of less than two years) was replaced by a coin (which can last decades). Most Americans, however, still prefer the bill over the coin, and the government has made little headway.
In an effort to persuade individuals to start using the dollar coins, the Mint has utilized marketing as well as programs such as the one starting in Disney World. By introducing more of the public to the coins, it is felt they will become more accepted and a phase-out of the dollar bill could eventually occur.
According to Disney, the pilot program will be operated at the following locations now through December 13, 2009:
Epcot Theme Park
- Liberty Inn
- Fife and Drum
- Heritage Manor
- Kodak Kiosk
- AA Carts
Magic Kingdom Park
- Columbia Harbor House
- Liberty Square Market
- Liberty Square Popcorn
- Liberty Square Hot Dog
- Liberty Square Turkey
- Sleepy Hollow
- Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe
- Haunted Mansion Cart
- Heritage House
- Yankee Trader
For more information on the Presidential $1 coins, see the Mint’s special website at http://usedollarcoins.gov/. Also check out 2009 Native American $1 Coin for this year’s version of the $1 featuring Sacagewea on the obverse, which is the coin being used in the pilot program.
Thanks to All Things Mouse for bringing this story to our attention.