SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment has announced that Coca-Cola is in, and Pepsi is out. The park owner and operator announced on Friday that, beginning January 1, 2012, Coca-Cola will replace Pepsi as the “Official Refreshment Beverage” at their ten theme parks and water parks across the United States.
Headquarted in Orlando (near the company’s SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica, Discovery Cove, and Busch Gardens Tampa), the company had long featured Pepsi products, likely since the parks’ previous owner Anheuser-Busch had had close ties with the company that produced Pepsi’s aluminum cans.
Now, visitors to the chain’s parks (which also include Busch Gardens Williamsburg, two SeaWorld parks in San Diego and San Antonio, Sesame Place, and two water parks) will be offered Coca-Cola products at all restaurants, vending machines, mobile carts, and eateries. The deal also provides that SeaWorld Parks will offer the canned Georgia Coffee brand, which has only been available in the United States since 2009 after debuting in Japan in 1975).
Mirroring the struggle between the two cola companies and their often devoted fan bases, reception to the announcement has been mixed.
Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort are also partnered with Coca-Cola, thereby eliminating Pepsi soft drinks from the mega-resorts of Orlando.