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A Friday Visit with Jim Korkis: Ice Station Cool and Club Cool at Epcot



By Dave Shute

Welcome back to Fridays with Jim Korkis! Jim, the dean of Disney historians, writes about Walt Disney World history every Friday on yourfirstvisit.net.

CLUB COOL AND ICE STATION COOL AT EPCOT

By Jim Korkis

Paperwork has been filed to remove Club Cool to make space for changes coming to Epcot. Club Cool first opened on November 14, 2005 as a location promoting Coca-Cola.

Disney has had a long relationship with Coca-Cola, since it was one of the original lessees at Disneyland in 1955 and became the sole soft drink provider for the Disney theme parks in 1982, when it started sponsoring the American Adventure pavilion at Epcot.

Club Cool sells Coca-Cola souvenirs as well as offering guests unlimited free samples of different variations of the classic beverage from around the world, very much like a much smaller version of the World of Coca-Cola location in Coke’s corporate headquarters of Atlanta, Georgia.

(c) Disney

“Learn how the world refreshes itself!”

  • Italy – Beverly — A bitter flavor but is a popular non-alcoholic aperitif.
  • Greece – Fanta Pineapple — One of ninety different Fanta flavors, this caffeine-free offering has a sweet pineapple taste.
  • Thailand – Fanta Melon Frosty
  • Japan – Vegitabeta — A non-carbonated apricot and passion fruit mix
  • South Africa – Bilbo — Fruit flavored lime juice
  • Zimbabwe – Sparletta – Raspberry flavored cream soda
  • Peru – Inca Kola — A sweet fruity flavor some say is similar to bubblegum.
  • Brazil – Gurana Kuat — Guarana berry flavoreD

Originally the location opened as Ice Station Cool in June 1998 with a themed entrance near the Innoventions Fountain. It closed on June 6, 2005.

“Welcome to Ice Station Cool, the most refreshing place on Earth. Coca-Cola ‘Coolologists’ have been searching the globe non-stop for years, hoping to discover the origin of cool. This place is a recreation of one of the Coolologist’s recent Refreshus Maximus (Maximum Refreshment) expeditions,” stated a plaque.

The name of the location had been inspired by the 1963 Alistair MacLean novel Ice Station Zebra, about a British meterological station built on an ice floe in the Arctic Sea that was made into a popular 1968 movie. The idea came from the actual Ice Station Alpha and Ice Station Bravo that were established in the Arctic during The International Geophysical Year 1957-1958.

Another inspiration for the theming was the “The Iceman”, a 5,300 year old corpse discovered September 19, 1991 on the border of Italy and Austria (in the Alps) who had been buried in ice since the Neolithic Era and was completely preserved including items like his dagger and a copper axe.

“The story (of Ice Station Cool) is a group of archeologists made this discovery high in the sub-arctic,” said principal production designer Kerry Gilman. “But El Nino caused the ice to melt, so Refreshus Maximus (the name given by the expedition to the frozen Neanderthal) found reaching for a bottle of The Real Thing was brought to be preserved and studied at Epcot, the land of discovery.”

Guests entered a snow cave opening just past a snowcat vehicle and exterior misters exuding a fine, cold spray. Going through sliding doors and hanging freezer flaps, they find themselves in an insulated concrete tunnel featuring the remains (behind glass) of a recently discovered frozen Neanderthal from “a 30,000 year old highly civilized and now highly frozen refreshment culture” in a faux ice wall.

Throughout the 85 foot long cave, a snow machine pumped four tons of shaved ice per twelve hour period. That equals 240 cubic feet, roughly the equivalent of a ten by twenty foot room covered in a foot of ice. A two inch trough was placed below special floor grates to catch any melting flakes so that the area did not become flooded.

*  *  *  *  *

Thanks, Jim! And come back next Friday for more from Jim Korkis!

In the meantime, check out his books, including his latest, The Unofficial Walt Disney World 1971 Companion: Stories of How the World Began, and Secret Stories of Walt Disney World: Things You Never You Never Knew, which reprints much material first written for this site, all published by Theme Park Press.

 

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