Monday, September 7, 2009

Walt Disney World Vacation - Day 1: Coke Museum

Disney World VacationHaving just returned from a week at Walt Disney World with the family -- our first real vacation -- I have lots of thoughts, pictures, and video to share over the next several days. You can keep up with the content here.

Thanks to somewhere between twelve and eighteen months of planning and preparation -- for which I am extremely grateful to my wife, who did all of the planning -- we took off on our first family vacation with what will likely be one of our biggest, a week at Walt Disney World and their Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa. We loaded up the car and headed out on Friday night at 10:30 PM, ninety minutes ahead of our planned departure. The goal? For the kids to sleep for most of the drive. We kept them both awake until time to leave, then loaded them into the car and rolled out. They fell asleep shortly after.

World of CokeOur agenda called for us to drive roughly half of the thousand mile trip before making our first stop at the World of Coke Museum in Atlanta, Georgia. Along the way, our three-year-old daughter had her first bout with car-sickness, throwing up three times in rapid succession, all over herself, the floor, her car seat, and a blanket and pillow she was using. It was, as I'm sure you can imagine, quite disgusting! After a quick stop to clean the car, and my daughter, up and to give both the kids some Dramamine (should have thought of that sooner), we were back on our way with ninety minutes left before arriving at the Coke Museum.

Coke BearIf you've never been to the Coke Museum, it's something I highly recommend if you find yourself in the area of Olympic Centennial Park in Atlanta.Coke Bear The World of Coke Museum is like Willie Wonka's Chocolate Factory for soft drinks. Literally anything and everything Coca-Cola that you could possibly imagine await you at the World of Coke Museum. My sister described it as Coca-Cola Brainwashing, but I would say that you probably aren't even at the Coke Museum unless you've already been brainwashed by the best-selling soft drink in the world. However, if you do venture into these hallowed halls without already having been brainwashed by Coke, then you are sure to come out with a freshly washed brain.

Soda FountainThe museum features every type of Coca-Cola memorabilia one could possibly imagine. Signs, shirts, games, ad posters -- you name it, they have it. The World of Coke is rich with history and the heritage of that fizzy refreshment we have all come to know and love.

4D CokeWhat turned out to be a week full of a new dimension of entertainment for us began with a 4-D audio-visual presentation that set out to reveal the secret formula of Coca-Cola. That's four dimensional, which added not only the dynamic third dimension made popular by movies like Monsters vs Aliens 4D Cokeand Up, but also the fourth dimension of feel. That's right, you can literally feel the action, as water sprays and seats rumble and wind blows through your hair. Quite simply put -- an awesome experience.

Coke TastingBut the most anticipated -- and most enjoyable -- part of the visit for myself and at least my son, was the opportunity to taste up to sixty-four different varieties of Coca-Cola products from around the world, including my all-time favorite (available only in Germany and Austria), Mezzo Mix. Unfortunately, I felt the fountain version of Mezzo Mix at the Coke Museum was over-carbonated, a problem which was not the case at the Coke Cool Club at Epcot Center.

After our visit at the World of Coke Museum, we had planned to have lunch in Atlanta, but quickly escaped the city instead. I have long had a hatred of the airport in Atlanta, and the highways of Atlanta turned out to be just as bad. I must admit, I literally hated driving through the streets and highways of Atlanta.

After stopping for dinner at Fuddruckers (a first for my wife and kids), we made our way to Lake City, Florida, where we stayed the night just a few short hours from Walt Disney World in Orlando, getting a good night of rest before meeting the mouse on Saturday.

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