Once upon a time, in a magical land far, far away, a chemist fumbled away over a bubbling cauldron, mixing potions and casting spells. He tossed in a handful of coca leaves and a pinch of cola berries and the potion was finally finished. John Pemberton, a brilliant scientist, had finally created the genius concoction that would help him take over the world. And they all lived happily ever after.
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Or, a wounded war veteran named Pemberton accidentally mixed random ingredients together to create a replacement for the addictive medicine Morphine. But that sounds like the worst fairy tale ever so they tell the other story to spice things up a bit. But it is the story of how Pemberton’s French Wine Cola (its friends call it Coca Cola) was invented. Fast forward 126 years later and you’ll find yourself dealing with the greatest franchise in the world.
The World of Coca Cola, based in downtown Atlanta, Georgia is the heart and home of the famous beverages rise from the ground up. The Coca Cola Factory is filled with a real bottling line, museums, galleries, games and unique Coca Cola bottles from hundreds of countries. Before the tour begins, you are led into the Happiness Factory Theater to enjoy a hilarious 4D animated short film that shows you a fictional scenario as to what happens when someone puts change into a soda machine (spoiler alert: magical blue creatures living inside the machines go through many obstacles to make sure the coke is delivered to you with utmost care) and shows the creativity and humor of the Coca Cola foundation.
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You are given the chance to parade through the Milestones of Refreshments and Pop Culture Gallery to learn about the remarkable history of Coca Cola through a series of pictures and ads from previous decades (my favorite type of history lesson: all pictures, no words). Towards the end, get a behind the scenes look at the bottling process of each individual bottle and even get your own glass bottle of coke in the original bottle that it was sold in during the early 1900’s.
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The Taste It section is a favorite because you get to taste flavors of Coca Cola from all over the world that make you wish they were sold in your town instead of in a remote village in Ghana. Some of the flavors are not as delicious, but I’m not going to tell you which ones and let you figure it out for yourselves, that way it is more fun for me.
Before you leave, you can even take a picture next to the Vault of the Secret Formula (which is more heavily guarded than the US Embassy) and remind yourself that the only thing between you and the most desired recipe in the world is 400 secret codes, a handful of lead doors and about 32 professionally trained body guards. So close! I get goose bumps just thinking about it.
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Your homework assignment: Next time you go to the grocery store, ask for some Pemberton’s French Wine Cola and watch them stare at you in blank confusion as you laugh.