Walt Disney World’s refillable mug program has always been a strange beast to me. At the start of my vacation I always find myself standing in the resort food court in front of the refillable mugs asking, “Will I drink almost $20 worth of soda, only at my resort?” In 2013 Disney made this situation even more complicated with its new “Rapid Fill” system.
What is Disney’s Rapid Fill?
The Rapid Fill refillable mugs have replaced the old refillable mugs at all Walt Disney World resort hotels. Disney advertises the new program as more flexible, which is true, but it’s still expensive. The mugs are now equipped with an RFID chip. This chip tells the soda machine how many days you purchased, and the machine features a screen that displays information about when you are next able to refill your mug.
It still has unlimited refills, right?
Yes, but you will have to wait between refills. Thankfully that time is only a couple of minutes. A screen on the soda fountain will show you the exact amount of time until you can fill up your mug again. Some people have a problem with this, but I can’t imagine drinking 16 ounces of soda in less than 2 minutes. I do see this being a problem if you fill up and then find out the soda was flat, or if some other malfunction has occurred. Your option at that point is to wait the couple of minutes or find a Cast Member to help you out.
Which resorts sell Rapid Fill mugs?
Rapid Fill mugs are sold at all Walt Disney World resort quick service locations. The mugs are not sold at any any of the theme parks, nor can they be refilled in the parks.
How much does a Rapid Fill mug cost?
Unlike the previous refillable mugs that had a flat rate cost for no matter how long you stayed, the new Rapid Fill mugs have variable pricing depending on how many days your vacation lasts.
Current Rapid Fill prices:
- $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)
For comparison, the previous refillable mugs were priced at a flat rate of $15.49. So if your stay is only 1 or 2 days then, yes, technically you will be “saving” money compared to the old mugs. That is if you consider spending $9 on soda a savings. A regular fountain soda served in a paper cup is currently priced $2.99 at WDW resorts. A situation where I can see the Rapid Fill mug being worthwhile is if you plan to hang around your resort all day and drink multiple sodas. But then again, you’ll be wasting money if you only drink one or two cups of soda.
The length of stay where you can break even on the price of the mug is six days. I sent this complicated equation over to the TouringPlans.com Math Department, and they told me at six days the cost of the breaks down to $3 a day, which is the cost of a regular paper soda cup. But to even make that work, you have to assume you’ll be drinking soda/coffee/hot chocolate at your resort at least once a day.
What else should I know about Rapid Fill?
You should know that each Rapid Fill day ends at 11:59 PM. So if you purchase one day and you first fill up your mug at 2:30 PM, you do not have until 2:30 PM the next day to keep getting refills. You only have until 11:59 PM of the day of purchase, and then the soda fountain will block any further refills (unless you purchase more days at a food court cash register).
What do you think about Disney’s new Rapid Fill program? Will this change the way you drink soda at Walt Disney World? Do you think Disney has made the process of getting soda too complicated? Are you afraid a mug with a computer chip inside will become self-aware and try to take down its human overlords? Leave a comment in the section below with your thoughts.