Director of Heritage Communications Ted Ryan presenting on Coca-Cola and Walt Disney.
A few weeks ago, I was invited to make a presentation to the
members of the famed Club 33 at Disneyland in California. The presentation focused on the long (72-year) partnership between the
Walt Disney Company and The Coca-Cola Company and included a preview of
the plans to celebrate the centennial of the creation of the contour Coca-Cola
bottle in 2015.
In all the years I have
been speaking publicly about our heritage, this event has to be one of my
favorites. Everything about the evening
was done to make the event special for the members, which makes it stand out.
For those who are not familiar with Club 33, in short, after Walt Disney visited some of the wonderful VIP lounges
associated with pavilions at the 1964
, he began to explore the idea of developing a VIP area at
Disneyland. French décor was chosen as the
theme, and Walt and his wife, Lillian, traveled to New Orleans with famed
decorator, Emile Kuri, to select many of the antiques that were used for
decoration. The Club is located at 33
Royal Street in Disneyland, providing the basis for its name.
The Club opened in June, 1967, a few months
after Walt’s death. The club is exclusive and access is limited to the standing
Chef Marcel St. Pierre created a stunning menu inspired by products of The Coca-Cola Company.
While the Club is currently under renovation, the Club 33
staff is holding special events to provide members with exciting and
unique opportunities to learn about different areas of the Disney experience.
Club 33 has always boasted some of the finest dining at Disneyland, and our event was no exception. Chef Marcel St. Pierre created a stunning menu
inspired by products of The Coca-Cola Company.
Cherry Coke Glazed Baby Back Ribs and Coca-Cola Marinated Rib Eye
were two of my favorites! The imaginative menu was enhanced with matching cocktails crafted and presented by
Matthew Ellingson and Brian Van Amber. The highlight of the evening had to be the Coca-Cola lollipop that
accompanied the Barq’s Root Beer-spiced popcorn!
The Heritage team curated two exhibits which were shipped to Disneyland for the event.
Justine Fletcher from our Archives team curated two exhibits,
which we shipped to Disneyland and set up at the venue, Steakhouse 55. One exhibit focused on the history of the
contour bottle and featured quite a bite of art and artifacts on the world's most
famous consumer package. The second highlighted the special Coca-Cola Disney relationship and
featured four pieces of original art created by The Walt Disney Company from
1942-1944 featuring characters from Saludos
(1942) and The Three Cabelleros
(1944.) This art had never been
displayed outside The Coca-Cola Company, so Club 33 members were offered a
Pre-contour Coca-Cola bottles were passed around to attendees.
I presented a short overview on the development of the
contour bottle as we passed around bottles so members were able to see what
the pre-contour straight side packaging looked like and how easy it was for
other brands to imitate our products. I
was then joined by Disney Archives Director Becky Cline to share incredible
stories and rarely seen assets from decades of partnership. Becky displayed a sample script for a
proposed movie joint venture from 1942!
It's always a treat to get to see material related to our brand that
teaches me something new about Coca-Cola. Becky was able to do just that.
The event was a fantastic way to celebrate the 72-year
partnership between The Coca-Cola Company and Walt Disney. We finished the event by toasting to the next
72 years!Ted Ryan is director of heritage communications at The Coca-Cola Company.