If you’ve lived in the South, you know that die-hard Dr. Pepper fans feel strongly about their soda of choice. So we think it’s important to warn you now – there’s NO Dr. Pepper in Disney World! Disney doesn’t have anything against the soda, they’re just staying true to a partnership that Walt Disney himself set up.
In this post, we’re taking a look at The Walt Disney Company’s looong history with Coca-Cola and how you’ll see this partnership in the parks now. And don’t worry — we’ll also show you some options for getting your beloved Dr. Pepper even while you’re in Disney World!
Disney’s History with Coca-Cola
We mentioned before that Disney’s partnership with Coca-Cola was established by Walt Disney himself. The two brands have been connected since at least 1955 and possibly even earlier than that. Although Disney has officially cited 1955 as the beginning of the partnership, a story released by Disney states that the company’s “relationship with Coca-Cola started in 1942 when Walt Disney first appeared on the Coca-Cola radio program ‘The Pause That Refreshes on the Air.’” A few years later, in 1950, Coca-Cola sponsored the Disney televised program “One Hour in Wonderland.”
Disneyland officially opened in 1955, and there were already several nods to the Coca-Cola partnership in the park. One of the most obvious was Coca-Cola’s sponsorship of Refreshment Corner, which is still open for guests and still has decor that nods to the soda company.
When Disney World opened in 1971, Coca-Cola again had some prominent sponsorships. You know Casey’s Corner on Main Street, U.S.A.? (Where you can get delicious corn dog nuggets with plastic cheese?) That spot used to be called Refreshment Corner (like the one in Disneyland), and it’s been sponsored by Coca-Cola since Disney World opened!
Even with the change in name and theme, Coca-Cola still sponsors this spot. You can see evidence of the sponsorship in the decor and drinks menu. In fact, you’ll be greeted by the iconic bright red Coca-Cola logo before you even walk through the front door.
So it’s safe to say that Coca-Cola has been a huge sponsor of The Walt Disney Company since before any theme parks even opened. But they’re not the only major soda brand to have their name on a sponsorship list.
When Disneyland first opened, both Coca-Cola AND PepsiCo were on the sponsor lists. You can still find some old Pepsi x Disney commercials if you do some digging on YouTube! And we’re not gonna lie — it’s a little bit weird seeing Pepsi cups inside the parks. We’re just so used to the Coca-Cola logo everywhere.
Since the 1980s, though, Coca-Cola has been the exclusive soft drink provider for many Disney parks, according to the Orlando Sentinel. The renewal agreement signed in 1990 between the two companies (which has been extended multiple times) dictates that “Coke products [are] the exclusive soft drinks at all Disney parks” and Coca-Cola can “use Disney characters in joint advertisements and promotions.”
However, in 2014, Disney signed an agreement with PepsiCo to make Pepsi the exclusive soft drink provider at Shanghai Disney Resort (which opened in 2015). According to Reuters, this change marked about 25 years since Pepsi had been sold in a Disney park. At the time of the agreement, “Disney said it currently ha[d] no plans to ink similar deals with PepsiCo to supply its other resorts.”
As of now, the only place you’ll find Pepsi in a Disney park is still Shanghai Disney Resort. So if you’re looking for Pepsi (or any other soda that’s not Coca-Cola, like Dr. Pepper) in Disney World, you’ll find it’s not quite as simple as it sounds to track down your preferred beverage.
Coca-Cola Is Everywhere in Disney World
Where Will You See Coca-Cola In the Parks?
You don’t have to look far to see evidence of Coca-Cola’s partnership with The Walt Disney Company. We’ve already mentioned that the company sponsors Casey’s Corner in Magic Kingdom and Refreshment Corner in Disneyland.
You’ll see nods to Coca-Cola at the Pym Test Kitchen in Disney California Adventure, which features some larger-than-life soda cans in the decor, a couple of which have clear Coca-Cola labels.
At both Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Disney World, you can find some very unique Coca-Cola products at Galaxy’s Edge. Instead of coming in the classic Coke bottle shape that you’d recognize anywhere, these drinks are served in containers that look like little plastic thermal detonators.
So even when Disney is committed to the immersion of a land, they find a way to integrate Coca-Cola. While you’re traveling on Batuu, you can still get your favorite Coke drinks — they’ll just look a little different.
Another obvious place to find Coca-Cola is at Club Cool in EPCOT.
This store-attraction combo has a lot of Coca-Cola merchandise, from t-shirts to bottles to purses and more.
But most people come here to try out different sodas from around the world! There are several self-serve stations along one wall with little tasting cups, so you can taste soda from China, Moldova, the Philippines, and other international locations.
And if you visit Disney Springs, you’ll run into a BIG Coca-Cola store, which is home to even more merchandise than you’ll find in EPCOT.
At the top of this store is the Coca-Cola Rooftop Beverage Bar, where you can get fountain drinks, floats, Icees, cocktails, mocktails, and more. You can also taste different international sodas at this location, although the version here is not free. For $15, you’ll get 16 tasting cups that each have a soda from around the world.
There’s a different 50th Anniversary label for each of the parks, and you can find these bottles throughout Disney World.
How Has Coca-Cola Impacted Disney World?
The most obvious way Coca-Cola has impacted the Disney parks is that basically, the only sodas you’ll find in the parks are Coca-Cola products. According to Disney, “Coca-Cola products are exclusively served at all of the Walt Disney World resorts and theme parks.” That means no Pepsi, no Mountain Dew, and — yes — no Dr. Pepper.
But there are other ways that the company has impacted Disney World, which may not be quite as obvious. Last year, we noticed that several restaurants that usually served POG (passion-orange-guava) juice were not serving the drink. And if you’ve ever tried POG juice, you know just how much of a travesty that was.
Luckily, POG made a return just a few weeks later. When it returned, though, it tasted a little bit different. We did some investigating, and it turns out Disney World switched suppliers of the drink. They changed from Minute Maid (owned by Coca-Cola) to Nestle.
Disney didn’t give a reason for this change. You might be wondering why that’s possible — Nestle isn’t owned by Coca-Cola, so doesn’t that violate their agreement? Actually, no. Technically, Coke is the “exclusive supplier of carbonated beverages,” and since POG isn’t carbonated, Disney was fine to switch to a new supplier.
Besides affecting what you drink when you’re in Disney World, this partnership will also affect what you see. Be on the lookout for Coca-Cola’s logo, and you’ll realize it’s in a lot more places than you might think.
We’ve seen rustic signs for Coca-Cola in Disney’s Animal Kingdom…
…you can find an old Coke machine in Chester and Hester’s…
…you can’t miss the HUGE Coca-Cola cups at Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort…
…and there’s even a Coca-Cola droid in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge!
So apparently some design inspiration for the parks came from Coke’s longstanding history with the company.
So…No Dr. Pepper?
Basically, we’ve given you an extensive history lesson on Disney’s relationship with Coca-Cola to tell you this — you can’t get Dr. Pepper in Disney World. Dr. Pepper is owned by the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Inc., so it cannot be sold in the Disney parks.
And you won’t find it at the McDonald’s on property either, because that’s still in Disney World (trust us — we’ve tried). To those of you who have a hard time living without this popular drink, we extend our sincerest condolences.
But wait! You’re not completely out of options if you can’t survive a vacation without Dr. Pepper. Here are a few options for how to get your favorite drink during your upcoming trip:
- Bring it from home. Just because Disney can’t SELL Dr. Pepper doesn’t mean it’s not allowed to enter the parks at all. You can pack your own drinks and bring them with you into the parks!
- Order Dr. Pepper and have it delivered to your Disney World hotel. You can order groceries from Walmart, Green Grocer, Amazon, and other locations and have them delivered straight to your hotel. There are usually mini-fridges in the hotel rooms, so you can even keep your drinks cold.
- If you have a car (or if you use rideshare services like Uber or Lyft), venture outside of Disney World to a nearby fast food stop. There are plenty of places in Orlando that will serve you, Dr. Pepper, once you leave the gates of Disney World.
And if you’re willing to accept Mr. Pibb or Pibb Xtra as a substitute for Dr. Pepper, there are some places to find that drink in Disney World. We know from our Dr. Pepper-loving friends that Mr. Pibb isn’t always an equal substitute, and we apologize if anyone is offended by the comparison. But since Coca-Cola makes Mr. Pibb, you can find it on property.
For example, you can get Mr. Pibb at the Coca-Cola Rooftop Beverage Bar, at the Speedway gas station just outside Magic Kingdom, and at Yak & Yeti in Animal Kingdom. Some hotel marketplaces or gift shops will also have Mr. Pibb in bottles that you can buy there.
We know that having the right drink can be an important part of any vacation, so we hope this helps you out as you get ready for your upcoming Disney World trip! Keep following DFB for more of the latest news and best planning tips from the Disney parks.
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What’s your favorite drink in Disney World? Let us know in the comments.