Are Disney World’s Refillable Resort Mugs Worth the Cost?

should you buy Disney Resort mugs

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.

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Disney Rapid Refill

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

1. The Rapid Fill mugs offer you the choice of one, two, or three days of refills or refills for your entire length of stay.
2. Unlike the old “no-technology” mug, the RFID chip tells you how many days you have remaining on your mug.

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.

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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.


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Rapid Refill mugs at Disney World

Common Questions

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.

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Disney World mug refills cost per day

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)

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Disney World refillable mugs prices

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.

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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.

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Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you at the mug refill stations…

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  1. B B says:

    I think its stupid. . Its not even worth it anymore.. and to tell someone they can only have a refill it a certain amount of time… you’r paying for it… and $15 for a cheap plastic cup. That you can only use for one stay.. what if you go multiple times in a yr.. pay alot of money for everything else now getting ripped off for soda. Soon people will have to cut disney from thier plans becauae of how pricey things are getting…

  2. D Jensen says:

    Does any one know if this new mug will still be included with the dining plan and be active for your whole stay at no extra cost?

  3. Mendy says:

    I would definitely buy the mug if I didn’t get it with the dining plan. A couple of years I bought the mugs when they were $15.99. These prices are also with what other businesses are charging. In 2007 I went on a Royal Caribbean cruise for 3 nights and bought their refillable mug for $20!! It is worth the price if you are a soda drinker. The only thing I wish is that they would change the design on the cups. Right now I have 6 of those same designed mugs in my cabinet and will be getting 3 more in a couple weeks. UGH!!

  4. Dawn M says:

    This seems like a really good idea. We typically do this when we visit the local amusement parks too. Makes more sense and ends up being cheaper in the long run!

  5. Ashley says:

    I can’t wait until I can use everything I have read on all of these sites on my honeymoon in a few short weeks!

  6. Erin says:

    I am torn on this. The purchase of a refillable mug is definitely worth the purchase for someone like my husband, who drinks a lot of sodas, tea, and coffee. And my daughter and I shared one the last time we went and it was worth it also. If you average out the cost of drinks over several days, it is worth it. However, it is so sad that WDW is becoming so restrictive on things. WDW is ridiculously expensive, and just getting more costly. The experience is worth the cost, but in today’s economy, I think they could afford to be a little more lenient.

  7. Ericka says:

    I am a FL resident who goes quite frequently. I have at times purchased the mugs as it is a great idea if staying a few days and if you will be around the resort. I do feel that Disney is pricing themselves out on this new roll out. If they are going to charge daily, then the mugs should be usable in the parks too. Carbonated soda dos not cost that much ind is a real money maker for any type of establishment. Your article states that on a 6 day mug the cost is $3 bucks, well each time you fill up it costs Disney maybe $0.25 cents. they are making money any way you put it.
    Maybe they should to an mug like (Six Flags) where you pay one price and use it all year…. this would be a better options.. but as you can tell Disney is getting greedier and greedier.

  8. Teryl says:

    We love the mugs and are alooking forward to the rapid refill! I just wish they had more healthy options

  9. Jody says:

    Thanks for the update on the new rapid refill- we get new cups everytime we go..Hoping for at least a new color this year. 🙂

  10. Jocey says:

    Here’s where I have a question and maybe it can’t be answered…
    But I wanted to give one of these cups to my brother for Christmas to use in January. I was going to have my sister pick one up last week while she was there but guest services told her that it would start counting down the available usage as soon as it was paid for. BUT I have another source that confirmed that it started at the first use. The worry was though that the cup’s code may expire before we actually start using it.

    My alternative is to wrap a generic cup for under the Christmas tree and purchase the actual rapid refill once we arrived.

    But I was wondering if you had an idea about the time between paying for the cup and using it — if it had an expiration or timed out?

    • Amanda says:

      As I understand it, it’s from the day you purchase it, not from the day you first use it. I believe it’s activated when you buy it, and it expires when the days you purchase are used up. How about to keep you from wasting $$, make him a coupon and put that in a cup. Then you just pay for it when you get there. It’s a new system, so there are bound to be so many different answers to the same questions until it has been around for a while. that’s my best educated guess!! Thanks for reading…~A.

  11. kimberly s says:

    i still think the mugs are something my family would be interested in. grabbing a soda before/after the parks each day we’re there pays for the mug alone. Soda at disney isn’t cheap but i feel like these mugs are the most bang for your buck

  12. Ashley says:

    I read this post and I am a little bit confused. My husband and I are planning to take our babies to Disney next August and are getting the Deluxe Dining Plan. I know the mugs come with our plan for myself, my husband, and our three year old but after this post I am confused about how they work. Now even though we get them with our dining plan, do we still have to pay for them to be used (I mean the prices per day or whole stay?) My original understanding was that we got them with the plan and were able to use and refill them for free at our resort. I am confused so anyone who can help please do so!!!

  13. charissa says:

    The refillable cups are worth every penny. The people who cry foul, are usually the ones who are responsible for the tighter guidelines. If you just take, take, take, eventually the well runs dry. I mean, really, you just managed to pay for a Disney vacation. A 15.99 cup won’t break the bank, and if it’s that troubling, skip the Starbucks for a week, you’ll have the money.

  14. Hannah says:

    We got the cups and loved them. The 5 of us always filled the cups up with water (or drink of choice) before getting on the bus to the park we were going to that day. We filled it up with water from the various water fountains instead of buying water bottles. Saved us a lot of money.

  15. bryan says:

    here is an issue with the “new” Disney mug, if you are a Disney vacation club member. the rule standing was that if you bought a mug from a DVC resort. then that mug was supposed to be good for any future trips, it was intended as a perk for DVC members. but once Disney has chosen to take yet another perk from DVC members. all the while taxes and dues continue to rise, and also points needed for accommodations were never supposed to increase just cost to buy into DVC. but that also was changed. just my 2 cents.

    • Amanda says:

      That must have been before our DVC time, as I am sure I would be mad about that particular un-perking as well. We talked to a couple once that said they got free tickets for several years as a DVC perk. That was also WAY before our time. We were told points would increase slightly every year, but we did not anticipate on the maintenance fees rising so much. Changing all the time – I feel your pain, just more emotionally than financially! Thanks for reading. ~A.

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