Pros: Lots of Coca-Cola memorabilia, free samples
Cons: Not much else besides Coca-Cola memorabilia...
So my sister had mentioned this was a giant commercial, and some of my fellow Epinionators also thought of it as a giant commercial. But I am a shareholder, and an Epinionating shareholder at that, so I had to see this World of Coca-Cola myself. I can say that if you are a fan of Coca Cola memorabilia, you will think you have gone to heaven and rank this with five stars. If you are a history buff, you will find this an interesting, if one-sided museum, and rank it with 3 stars. If you are none of the above, at least you get free samples of the carbonated beverage they sell in South Africa, so you might give it two stars. The average? Four stars, and that is what I give it.
I suppose Ill start with the most important part for me the price. At nine dollars per person this is wayyyyyy cheaper then Disney (currently $63?!?). For that nine dollars, you get to go into what is essentially a huge museum. True Coca-Cola fans or history buffs may spend up to 5 hours inside. People that are easily bored by historical displays may spend about 25 minutes inside. Either way, I find it to be a pretty good value.
Once you have bought your ticket, you are directed into an elevator which takes you to the third floor. From there, you enter The World of Coca-Cola. It is a sea of red, with a very slow bottling machine in front of you (I think it fills six bottles a minute). Off to your left is an introductory film that tells you how Coca-Cola came into being, and off to your right is one of the more interesting pieces in the museum an original (and large) Norman Rockwell oil painting. I suppose these are a dime-a-dozen in New York City, but in the Southeast we dont have so many. It is nice, anyway, to see what $1 million looks like on a piece of canvas.
The remainder of the first room has exhibits of the early Coca-Cola years, from the original 1886 through about 1910. There are two films here if you want to see them about the early bottling process. Suffice it to say it was a bit slower then the machines they have today.
After this room, you go through a small hallway with four more videos (I missed them because it was really crowded when we were there). Following this you enter the next room of Coca-Cola memorabilia which takes you up to about World War II. In this room you will also find a cheesy place for photographs, and a soda-jerk exhibit, with a real person behind the counter actually mixing sodas and telling you how he does it.
Following this room, you enter a hallway where there is another film one which lasts about 10 minutes and talks about Coca-Cola world-wide. Imagine watching that feel-good Coca-Cola commercial that is on during the Superbowl for 10 minutes. Thats a pretty good summation of what the film is. This film and others like it are what make people think of this museum as a huge Coca-Cola advertisement.
Outside of this film is a hallway with many original oil paintings from Haddon Sundblom. This painter was hired to make Coca Colas Christmas advertising campaigns in the late 40, 50s, and 60s. According to the exhibit, it was this broad advertising campaign that gave Santa Claus his classic fat belly, rosy cheeks, and white beard. It doesnt hurt that his coat is red, either.
Once exiting the film, you will find more Coca-Cola memorabilia, including some sports memorabilia and a picture of two gentlemen with very large afros telling you to go half-quartin. This made such an impression on me that I plan to use the phrase in my every-day vocabulary. The exhibit here shows the history of Coke around the 1970s.
After this you go down the stairs into more Coca-Cola memorabilia (From the 1980s through present day, including the 1996 Summer Olympics which took place in Coca-Colas back yard). The room also includes at least five films of Coca-Colas best advertisements, and Coca-Cola cans from at least 50 countries. Personally I found the most interesting thing there to be a device that allows astronauts to get Coca-Cola that is currently in the Space Shuttle. It is nice to know that when me and my family emigrate to Mars in the not-so-distant future, we will still be able to enjoy the refreshing taste of Coca-Cola during the zero-G portion of our flight.
Following this room is a domestic Coca-Cola room, where you can sample about 10 different domestic Coca-Cola brands. Dont drink too much in this room, however, because the next room has the international Coca-Cola brands that you have never tasted. I think Coca-Cola has at least 300 different international brands, so you cant expect all of them to be there. Instead there are about 20 of widely varying flavors. Some would not sell well in our country. Also here is a Harley-Davidson motorcycle that has been decked out in Coca-Cola symbols.
Lastly, you go down yet another flight of stairs into a vast Coca-Cola store. There are many more Coca-Cola related items on Ebay, and theyre a lot cheaper on Ebay as well. But here, at least, they are officially licensed and you can make sure they fit before you buy them. I found the shirts to be excessively priced ($60 for a long-sleeved polo). If you cheap and really want a souvenir, however, there are plenty of cheap $1-$2 items to choose from.
For the record, a new World of Coke is scheduled to open in the summer of 2007 adjacent to the new aquarium. If I ever get around to going there, Ill let you know what I find.
Also, to find this place head towards downtown Atlanta. Find the Georgia Dome (kinda hard to miss) and head the opposite direction (southeast) on Martin Luther King Boulevard. The exhibit is next to The Underground Atlanta (a mall sort of thing) that has plenty of parking.
In all, this is definitely a place to go if you love Coca-Cola memorabilia. If you are an American History buff you will probably find it interesting as well. For those of you that dont like museums, you will find this to be a bit boring. For me the price was cheap, I am somewhat into Coca-Cola, and I found the experience to be worth about 4 stars.