Updated for 2015!
Disney Resort refillable mugs had been a hot topic on WDW Internet forums for years and years. There seemed to be two schools of thought:
A) You bought new mugs every time you stayed at a resort because that’s what you were supposed to do. The mugs were designed to be good only for your length of stay. People took advantage of this system (you know who you are!)
B.) Disney was already charging you an arm and a leg for your vacation, so using the mug more than one trip was justifiable. People thought it was really “owed” to them.
I’m not really getting into all that. What you did on your vacation is what you had to live with. But given how I could’t walk into my local McDonalds with a cup I purchased last week and get a refill, it was not that big a surprise that a new Disney mug system was eventually put into place. The surprise to me is that it took so long to finally implement the new computerized-mug, which was probably the result of time spent to develop the technology, and I suspect, the immense cost of rolling out that technology for the masses.
What is Rapid Fill?
Disney calls their refillable mug program Rapid Fill. All WDW resorts with self-service beverage stations utilize a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip installed in the mug. The chip allows your mug to be programmed for multiple days (with the option of adding additional days) all the way through your entire length of stay.
Differences from the Old Mugs
3. The Rapid Fill mugs will work at the resort of purchase, but it also works at all the resorts, which is different from the old system. Non-RFID mugs chould only be used at the resort where you purchased it, but most everyone knew this was not always the case. Now you can, with a free conscience, take your mug with you as you resort-hop and fill it up at other quick service locations, as long as you are still within your purchased time limit.
Non-RFID Mug Prices
The cost of the old generation mugs was $15.49 plus tax. These mugs were included free with the Disney Dining Plan. However you got your mug, that cup bought you unlimited refills at the Disney hotels for the duration of your stay.
New RFID Cups
I am from the south; we truly do want to call nearly every drink “Coke.” A simple regular sized cup of “Coke,” or soda, is about $3. You are allowed to re-fill the paper cup during that meal. If you are going to eat more than five meals where you would purchase a paper cup, then it might be more cost effective to purchase the RFID mug.
What will that cost?
RFID Rapid Fill Mug Prices
$8.99 for 1 day $11.99 for 2 days $14.99 for 3 days $17.99 for length of stay (4+ days) You can make it available for even more than 14 days, but they have to be consecutive days of your stay.
Those were the prices for 2015. Refillable mugs are available for one flat price for the length of your resort stay, no matter how many days you stay.
Do you have to be staying on Disney property to buy one?
No. Anyone can purchase and use the Rapid Fill mugs at any resort self-service beverage station.
Can I bring the same Rapid Fill mug each time I visit the Walt Disney World Resort?
Yes, RFID mugs can be re-activated for future visits, but you will not receive a discount for using your old mug.
If you activate the mug for first use at 7 p.m., will the one day count until 7 p.m. the following day?
No, the day will end at 11:59 p.m. that night. Each day is a calendar day (12:01 a.m. – 11:59 p.m.), not a 24-hour period. Whenever the mug is used for the first time, regardless of time of day, the mug will expire for that day at midnight.
Can you microwave it?
The “new” mug cannot be microwaved because of the RFID chip.
Can you use the resort mugs in the Disney Water Parks?
No. The water park mugs are only valid in the water parks, and there has been no resort add-on option announcement.
Is It Worth It?
$8.99 for 1 day
If you are hanging out at the resorts for one full day, eating three meals here or just resting on your way to somewhere else, then $9 for a mug might be better than $3 for three separate drink cups. You get to keep the mug and take it home. I don’t have a mug from McDonalds. I’m also not eating three meals there a day, but if I was, and I’m talking about three meals, then I would buy the mug if they offered one.
If you traveled along the monorail route and filled up your mug at each resort, $9 for one day doesn’t seem too bad. Spending one “off day” at the pools? Having a mug to refill might be cheaper than buying $3 cups, although it’s not cheaper than bring your own mini-cooler to the pool.
$11.99 for 2 days
Now you are down to six dollars a day for the mug, which is like two meals purchasing the $3 refillable paper cups. Will you buy two $3 cups at the resort for two days? If so, you get to keep the mug, so it would be worth it.
$14.99 for 3 days
Now you are down to about $5 a day for the drinks, which isn’t much lower than purchasing a two day mug. It is some savings however, especially if you have to purchase multiple mugs for your large family.
$17.99 for length of stay (4+ days)
Obviously the length of stay purchase is your best deal if you are staying past four days. Yes, it is more than the old mug price of $15.99, but not much, and we all know Disney prices go up every year. People complain, but most keep right on coming back.
At six days, you are down to about $3 a day for the mug, which is the cost of one paper drink cup.
At nine days, you are down to $2 a day for the mug, which is less than the cost of one paper cup.
At 14 days, you are just above $1 a day for the mug. Take it from this cheapskate, $1 a day at Disney is practically free. If you are spending 14 days at Disney, you are most like not worried about mug prices anyway.
So for the mug to be economical, it will depend greatly on how many days you are vacationing on Disney property, since you can not use the mug at any of the theme or water parks. It will also depend on how many refills you think you will get each day with your mug.
It looks like the longer you stay on vacation, the better deal this is. If you haven’t purchased a mug since 1998, this change was probably a big shock to your wallet.
It seems to me the cost of the mug has not gone up all that much, but the percentage of people using the mug system honestly will now rise considerably.
Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you at the mug refill stations…
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