Ice Station Cool

Part blatant commercialism. Part educational trip around the world. But all totally cool.

Ice Station Cool, presented by Coca-Cola, is a small treasure among the other gems of Epcot. Well, at the very least, it is a great way to cool down on a hot day. On our Walt Disney World vacation in July, Ice Station Cool was one of the places I wanted to visit, though I knew little about it before hand. Even Birnbaum's guide dedicates less than a quarter of a page to the subject. As a Coca-Cola fan, I looked forward to some free samples of sodas around the world. All I knew was beware of Beverly.

Below are some pictures with descriptions of my "cool" visit to Ice Station Cool.

The entry to Ice Station Cool, a little nook past Innoventions West in Future World of Epcot. The facade is themed to resemble a polar expedition, complete with snowmobile.

A closer look at the Ice Station Cool snowmobile reveals a familiar -- and trademarked -- image comprising the treads.

Inside the exhibit's icy chamber reveals a special welcome to the visitors of the Refreshus Maximus expedition site.

Refreshus Maximus is the name of this poor guy stuck in the ice. Look closely and you can see the bottle of Coke that he was reaching for before getting frozen for all time. The sign reads:

This early human ancestor frozen in his hunt for refreshment was discovered in the sub-arctic. The Coca-Cola coolologists named him "Thirst Man" for obvious reasons. The object found frozen just beyond his grasp leads us to ask: What came first: Man or refreshment?

After making your way through the snowy entry of Ice Station Cool, guests come into a large room full of drink machines and Coca-Cola merchandise. On this wall is a globe of the world showcasing all of the places where Coca-Cola products can be found. The bottles around the globe a not-so-subtle suggestion of "Coca-Cola Around the World."

The ceiling of Ice Station Cool has flags from the various tasting nations hanging from it.

One of the drink machines set up to dispense Coca-Cola products from various countries. Guests can serve up the flavor of their choice in little cups provided at each station.

Coca-Cola's SARA -- Sub-Arctic Refreshment Assembly. When we visited, the flavors from Brazil and Mexico had been removed. The remaining flavors are listed below:

Smart Watermelon
The Chinese name for watermelon, hsi-kua (pronounced she-gua) means melon from the west, which introduced it to China nearly 1200 years ago. Today, the Chinese produce 40% of the world's watermelon crop and consume millions of watermelons each summer.

Kinley Lemon
Invading Mongrols were probably the first to introduce lemonade to the Middle East. Historical records from the 12th century reveal that a drink made of lemons, water and honey was popular among Genghis Khan's thirsty warriors.

The Japanese have long recognized the importance of beverages for both nutrition and health benefits. In modern Japan, this interest in healthy consumption finds its ultimate expression in "Health" vending machines that dispense vitamin drinks like Vegitabeta.

Mezzo Mix
The best known German beverage is beer. Germans often mix their beer with other beverages to weaken the alcohol content and enhance the flavor. Mixing flavors has also become popular in nonalcoholic beverages like Mezzo Mix.

Drinking an aperitif before dinner to stimulate the appetite is a traditional part of Italian refreshment culture. Beverly, with it's (sic) bitter flavor, is a popular non-alcoholic aperitif.

Krest Ginger Ale
Ginger has long been used as a medicinal herb throughout Africa, so it is not surprising that Ginger Ale is a popular drink in Mozambique. It is also popular in shebeens, informal bars, where it is used as a mixer.

Bottom's Up. I prepare to try the bitter-flavored Beverly. I'm not a big fan of watermelon but the China product was surprisingly good. I think the one from Japan was the best.

- Story by Matthew Walker; Photos by Steve Burns, Kathy Walker and Matthew Walker

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