Coke Freestyle machines appearing all over Orlando theme parks

Posted Friday, April 26, 2013 10:17 AM | Contributed by Jeff

It began at Universal Studios, and then spread to Downtown Disney. Unexpectedly, they appeared at SeaWorld Orlando at the end of March. Coke Freestyle machines have arrived, and they may have the potential to change Central Florida’s theme parks forever. Coca-Cola Freestyle, a drink machine rolled out by the Coca-Cola Company in 2011, is a self-service drink dispenser that offers more than 120 drink options from the Coke beverage lineup.

Read more from Orlando Attractions Magazine.

Friday, April 26, 2013 10:39 AM

I was all excited about these when I first came across one. I loved that I could do different flavor combinations even in diet, caffeine free options which is a lot harder to find.

But then I started to use them where the flavor syrup would squirt out in odd ways and splash on the cup or on your hand. It would be kind of messy and disgusting with it not mixing well.

Makes me wonder if there's a certain amount of required maintenance to these that some may not adhere to doing.

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Friday, April 26, 2013 10:45 AM

I've become a regular at GADv's Freestyle. The staffers know me better than some ride attendants. Hooked on Minute Maid Light Fruit Punch and Orange flavored Lemonade.

Carrie, speaking of maintenance, on Opening Day at SFA, their Freestyle was down....for maintenance. They even had the apparatus behind a curtain. I felt like I was visiting a patient in a hospital WHILE they operated on him/her.

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Friday, April 26, 2013 12:48 PM

Anytime I've tried one, at several different locations, any flavoring added tastes like chemicals. And I've figured out that if I want plain Coca Cola, I have to let it dispense for a few seconds to purge the flavors from the previous person, unless I want Perfume Coke . Also many places have exchanged out two soda machines for one Freestyle, so now there's always a line of people waiting for it (exacerbated by people trying to figure out how to use it, deciding what they want, and having to navigate the GUI).

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Friday, April 26, 2013 12:51 PM

They already have these at places like the Great Wolf Lodge.

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Friday, April 26, 2013 12:57 PM

Clark Griswold said: so now there's always a line of people waiting for it (exacerbated by people trying to figure out how to use it, deciding what they want, and having to navigate the GUI).

I've also had the situation where I'm trying to work out the fizz issue...letting the fizz die down so I can add more to get a full glass...and the screen resets back to the default in the meantime and I have to start all over. Ugh. And despite the buttons being huge on the touchscreen, my tiny fingertip doesn't seem to be enough to register the right selections so it can take some doing to get back to my selection.

Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I realize these machines just suck. :-)

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Friday, April 26, 2013 1:51 PM

Oh yeah, the same thing happens to me with the buttons, Carrie. Guess I don't hold my tongue right.

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Friday, April 26, 2013 1:58 PM

The restaurant where I typically encounter one is not a public facing model, so the waitress brings it. And Carrie, I do see the problem you're talking about. I get Orange Coke (don't laugh, it's delicious), and there's often a ring of orange stuff on the table napkin after they set it down.

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Friday, April 26, 2013 3:05 PM

You see, the best pop ever is Pibb Extra. It doesn't need changing.

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Friday, April 26, 2013 4:07 PM

Even with the complaints, I love these machines. My drink of choice is Caffeine-free Diet Coke when I can find it. I prefer Cherry Coke, and I prefer Coke Zero, so these machines allow my Coke dreams to come true with Caffeine-free Cherry Coke Zero.

Theme park culinary teams could easily work with Coca-Cola mixologists to develop new and unique beverage options. With this emphasis on thematic food and drink options, it’s easy to imagine a theme park world where every themed land is home to a Coke Freestyle machine that has a flavor specifically developed for that location.

Okay, that is a fantastic idea! The screen could have a button especially for the flavor of the themed beverage. I think it would be profitable to challenge visitors to try every themed flavor. People could walk from one Freestyle machine to another sampling different themed flavors. It might even catch on and be as big as Harry Potter's Butterbeer.

Speaking of which, I wonder if this was in response to Butterbeer?

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Friday, April 26, 2013 5:19 PM

These seem to be popping up everywhere. I always seem to be caught behind a large group of people that can't figure out what to do and have to talk them through it. Also seem to get caught behind people that are overwhelmed by all of the options and don't know what to do with themselves. I don't care for extra flavours in my soda so not a big fan.

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Friday, April 26, 2013 5:31 PM

There are two places in the US, where Coca Cola is different than anywhere else. Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) Ohio, and LeHigh Valley (Bethleham) Pennsylvania. Both still use real sugar (like Mexican Coke) instead of High Fructose Corn Syrup. There is a HUGE difference. I live in the burbs of Cleveland, and I can deffanatly tell a huge difference when I get Coke from the surrounding counties.

As far as the Freestyle Machines go, I have tried them at Firehouse Subs and Five Guys Burgers. Was excited to try them but disappointed. Taste like chemicals. Want to try something REALLY good? GO to Denny's and ask for a chocolate/cherry Coke. The waitress might be confused, but tell her both chocolate and cherry syrup. Hillarities Comedy Club in Cleveland had this as a regular menu item at their old location and I got addicted!!

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Saturday, April 27, 2013 10:32 PM

I've never noticed a difference in Coke when I'm in Cleveland. Although I have noticed a difference in McDonalds coke which I've heard from other people before.

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Sunday, April 28, 2013 12:36 AM

I'm not entirely sure why I'd contaminate my Diet Coke with any other flavors. It's been formulated to do pretty much everything I can ask for in a beverage.

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Sunday, April 28, 2013 10:26 AM

Little off topic but Id kill for a old fashion DRAFT coke made with sugar over crushed ice.

I see it in everything where technology and convinence destroy once great foods and beverages. Oh they are simular but still different, I even notice a huge difference in several sodas from a can to a bottle and the can by far wins.

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Monday, April 29, 2013 1:05 PM

1EyedJack said:

There are two places in the US, where Coca Cola is different than anywhere else. Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) Ohio, and LeHigh Valley (Bethleham) Pennsylvania. Both still use real sugar (like Mexican Coke) instead of High Fructose Corn Syrup. There is a HUGE difference. I live in the burbs of Cleveland, and I can deffanatly tell a huge difference when I get Coke from the surrounding counties.

Wait... What? I also live in Cuyahoga Co. How do you mean? In the cans and bottles you buy at the store? In the fountains at the restaurants? I was completely unaware of this. Of course, I only drink Diet Coke anymore.

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