New Rapid Fill Refillable Mug System Coming for Walt Disney World

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According to a few reliable sites, including wdwmagic.com, a brand new version (called Rapid Fill) of the ever popular refillable mug system is expected to be rolled out starting this month. Over the next few weeks at all Walt Disney World Resort hotels, the changeover will take place with the introduction of new mugs that are equipped with a Radio Frequency Identification chip (otherwise known as RFID).

The new mugs will be activated for a specific number of days: either one, two, or three days OR for the length of stay (which is good for 14 days; if your trip is longer, you can purchase more days for the mug). Guests can check to see how many days remain via the beverage dispenser’s LCD screen. Once the purchase period is over, the mugs will be deactivated and cannot be used on subsequent visits. These mugs will be allowed to be used at any resort’s beverage station, regardless of where it was purchased, during the mug’s “life.”

All guests can purchase a mug, even those who are not staying on property. Once the mug is activated at a beverage station, that will start the first day. The day ends at 11:59 pm, no matter what time you first activated said mug.

The price for the mugs will vary based off the number of days that are purchased.

  • $8.99 for 1 day
  • $11.99 for 2 days
  • $14.99 for 3 days
  • $17.99 for length of stay (4 or more days)

The refillable mugs will still also be included in some Disney Dining Plans. Past mugs may not be reused.

These mugs are set to roll out starting at the All-Star Resorts, then to the rest of the resorts subsequently.

This has not officially been announced by Disney yet, so some details may change.

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Posted on July 8, 2013

28 Responses to “New Rapid Fill Refillable Mug System Coming for Walt Disney World”

  • I would guess that there will be a lot of families sharing one mug and simply refilling it over and over and over again… My wife and I always get mugs when we go, but we usually stay for a week, so it doesn’t seem too bad.

  • So, will you be able to use these in the parks or at the resort only? I thought the previous program was just in the parks, but if you can use it as part of the dining plan that would imply that it could possibly used in the parks too.

    • by David Davies on July 8, 2013, at 8:40 pm EDT

      At least for now, the refillable mugs will only work at Disney resort quick service locations. That is how the “old” system works, too; refillable mugs have been included in all Disney Dining Plans for the past few years, so that is not new.

      There is a completely independent refillable mug system at the two Disney water parks. This system functions sort of like the new Rapid Fill system (but with bar codes rather than RFID), so perhaps Disney will integrate the systems (probably at an extra cost) in the future.

      There is no refillable mug system at the four Disney World theme parks. A lot of other amusement providers (SeaWorld, Universal, zoos, etc.) offer refillable cups, so perhaps you saw such an option at a different park.

  • I hope they will have an option of bringing an old mug back and then simply paying a small fee for re-activation, since the cost of the mug will have already been covered in its initial purchase. That seems to make “green” sense. I see the tiny benefit in the new cost structure, if only for folks staying for three days or less, as they can get by with paying a little less than the mugs currently cost, but I take issue with the increase in cost for the longer period. Why not just use the RFID technology to enforce the long-standing rule that the mug is only allowed to be used during your current stay? That would make complete sense to me, but the price increase just seems like more of Disney’s nickle-and-dime-ing, which they’ve become so good at doing…

    • “nickel” – whoops.

    • I agree, Cory. As RFID started getting discussed for the refillables, I hoped they would allow guests to bring their favorite old refillable and pay some smaller amount to obtain the right to use it again for the current stay. We have too many of the old refillables as it is and honestly I’m sick of acquiring more every year.

      Also, $17.99 seems really steep to me.

    • The mug itself cost Disney less then a dollar in mass. You are not paying for the mug but for the convenience of cold beverages at the resorts and a souvenir (still use our resort mugs from 10 years ago).

      Its WDW, everything is expensive. We just go to the grocery story first day and buy a cheap cooler and all our pops and snacks then. You can also have stuff delivered now as well.

  • so disney can put in a chip in a mug but couldn’t identify the tour group providing ‘private’ tours and people hiring people with disabilites to cut lines??

  • I’ve heard that the mugs with the chip only allow refill once every 10 minutes. So you can’t drink your coffee and refill unless you wait.
    Is this true?

  • Disney Pixar presents “A Mug’s Life”

  • So if we stay for 14 nights, as visitors from the UK usually do, and use the mug the first evening on arrival, does that mean it will not be valid for use at breakfast and lunch on the day of departure, since that will be Day 15? (Flights to the UK depart in the evening)

    • by David Davies on July 10, 2013, at 8:14 pm EDT

      From what’s written above, it sounds like you would be able to add-on an extra day of life for the mug. Maybe Disney will change its plans, though. Who knows?

      It also occurred ot me that it would be very unwise to purchase a 1-day mug at 11:50 pm since you’d get only 9 minutes of use out of it! :)

      • Yeah, you’d THINK they would let it work on the same system as dining plan credits where you get until midnight the next day/day of checkout, etc. It’s crazy IMO! But then my interpretation of common sense and Disney don’t always go together in a sentence

    • I would imagine they would treat a length of stay mug as just that – for length of stay. The sources of this information do suggest that extra days can be added beyond 14 days. Whether there would be a charge for this remains to be seen, however if you have booked and paid for a Disney hotel it seems a bit off to charge guests $9 each for an extra few hours after spending 2 weeks there. The UK also does 21 day packages so that will be very interesting. Otherwise I foresee a lot of folk practising relays with a shared mug again and just sucking up the inconvenience!

  • Its a shame you can’t use the mugs in the parks like you used to when I was there in 2002. Why have Disney cut back? If other places like SeaWorld and others do it like David Davies said. WHY NOT DISNEY have it in all there parks?

    • because its disney and they know you will keep going no matter what they do

    • by David Davies on July 10, 2013, at 8:39 pm EDT

      As Panagiota suggests, I suspect that Disney calculated it’s more profitable not to offer any sort of refillable (free or pay-per-refill) cups in its parks. I was not aware that it ever offered that outside of the water parks. Of course, no one outside Disney would know the specific rationale. Maybe it would devalue the Dining Plans and make cups of soda seem too expensive (that’s my guess), confuse guests, cause uncleanliness, result in too many ugly lines, ruin theme, or something like that. I’m sure it’s been discussed, especially since Universal Orlando gets folks to pay $10.99/day for unlimited in-park soda.

      Regional parks (like Busch Gardens Williamsburg, which I visit often) probably make a lot of money from people who buy cups but never use them. Or the “discount” on refills may actually encourage more aggregate spending on drinks. At San Diego Zoo a “souvenir” refillable cup (with free refills for the day of purchase) was around $11, but a cup of soda was $5.19 (seriously!). It’s clearly driving people towards the refillable cups. The pricing games played in this arena are varied and have fascinated me in a minor way.

      I’m also impressed that so many people are willing to haul around cups to refill on soda. I have a stroller and still find it a pain. If I were smarter and not a tool of the media propaganda thrown at me, I’d just drink free water.

      • As a local and annual pass holder to both Universal and Disney, Universal sells a refilable cup and they employees actually encourage you to bring them back on future trips. Between those and the refilable popcorn bucket I can have a tasty snack for about $2.50. They also encourage you to bring back the plastic butterbear mugs.

  • I experienced the “test run” of this at All Star Sports 2 years ago in Sept 2011. It was terrible. The fountains would only let you get a certain amount of soda at a time. So if you were really thirsty – and drank your cup fast – you had to wait a few minutes before you could fill it up again. It really stunk.

  • I was told (at Disneyland at least) that they don’t do it in the parks for sanitary reasons…

  • So if I buy length of stay and I switch resorts does the mug still work at the new resort?

    • My guess would be no: you’re not supposed to “mug hop” when you move from one property to another now.

    • The article above says they are relaxing the current rule of “your home resort” only to include all resorts. It appears you will purchase a number of days, not a specific resort and it will be good at all resorts. Now, nothing is official, and Disney could change this.

      I sort of think this is yet another tracking thing Disney is doing so it can develop more appealing products. What I mean, is now they are going to know when and how many refills you get in a vacation. This will allow them to cruch numbers and come up with how to maximize profits on drinks across the resort because of all the data they will have about how much beverage the average traveler drinks.

      Also, when Magic Bands roll out, they could attach the service to that. Then maybe the release products that allow you to pre-purchase you beverages in the parks or something. And you just wave your magic band to redeem. There are alot of possibilties, this is just Disney tying in one of it highest profit centers (beverage service) with the Next Gen stuff.

      I personally think we will see pre-purchase drink bundles and unlimited soda options for the parks. And I am sure that $$ will be steep.

  • I don’t have any strong feelings for or against this system. We always get a refillable mug each with our dining plan, and bought one each when we didn’t. We do long stays, of between 16 and 21 days so it makes sense, even if paying for it.
    That said, I foresee some adjustments we are going to have to phase our kids into when it comes to their drinking/filling habits at the resorts. I’m sure I’m not the only one with a kid who likes to tap on each dispenser for a sample taster of several different types of soda, rather than fill a mug properly.

    I agree, this seems to be their solution to policing the re-using of mugs from previous stays/sharing mugs. So much for honoring the original ‘for life’ mugs from years ago! ~

    No doubt this RFID technology is also going to allow them to track the habits and preferences of resort guests for future target marketing and charges …..

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