Guide to Refillable Mugs at Disney World
Walt Disney World uses refillable mugs at resort hotel food courts that offer unlimited refills. This guide offers pricing info, photos of designs, and answers frequently asked questions: whether RapidFill is worth the money, where to use these cups, and more. We also address some controversy surrounding them. (Updated May 2, 2023.)
The refillable mug system is pretty simple: you buy the mug or have it provided to you via the Disney Dining Plan (temporarily unavailable) and then are entitled to unlimited refills at the Walt Disney World hotels for the duration of your stay. Self-serve beverage stations are available at select quick-service restaurants located in Walt Disney World theme parks and resort hotels.
Despite it being a seemingly straightforward topic, there are few topics that elicit as much discussion and impassioned debate as the refillable mugs. This article will take a examine the ethical and economical quandaries, offer refillable mug info & designs, and answer some frequently asked questions about the mugs.
May 2, 2023 Update: Walt Disney World is slowly shifting gears and moving on from the World’s Most Magical Celebration to the 100 Years of Wonder Celebration for the entire company’s 100th Anniversary. With that comes a change in refillable mugs from the 50th Anniversary styles (pictured below) to new Disney100 refillable mugs.
These are now available at every resort food court and other counter service restaurants around Walt Disney World, and come in one cup design with two different color schemes (platinum or purple). They’re identical to similar mugs released earlier this year at Disneyland, with a couple of notable differences. First, this version says “Walt Disney World” above the Disney100 logo instead of “Disneyland” below the logo.
Second, these do not feature the unique Mickey head lids (the difference is pictured below on the now-extinct 50th mugs). This is an interesting omission, as these lids were introduced halfway through the 50th Anniversary at Walt Disney World, and are also currently available on the Disneyland version of the Disney100 mugs. Perhaps they’re coming soon for the Disney100 mugs at Walt Disney World? We hope so–it’s a fun feature!
Late last year, refillable mugs at Walt Disney World increased in price from $19.99 to $21.99 for the length of stay. This was across the board, and the new pricing is now in place on every counter service and food court menu as of 2023.
Normally, the price wouldn’t matter to many Walt Disney World guests, as refillable mugs are included with the Disney Dining Plan. However, that remains temporarily suspended as of Summer 2023. See When Will the Disney Dining Plan Return at Walt Disney World? for more on when we’re expecting it to return.
With the latest news out of the way, let’s get down to brass tacks and talk all things refillable mugs!
Basically, this will be “More Than You Ever Wanted To Know About Refillable Mugs.” (Our next article will be an in-depth piece titled, “Using the Handwashing Apparatuses in Restrooms: An Essay.”) To compensate for the lengthy article about a relatively mundane topic, we’re striking a goofy-while-informative tone with this post.
We’re actually huge fans and collectors of older refillable mugs, and this post also gave us an excuse to bust out some of our favorite mugs for a photoshoot. (Thanks to Henry from Country Bear Jamboree and Duffy for their excellent work as models!)
As for the substance of this post, we’ll start with the FAQ, followed by refillable mug photos, and finish with separate lessons in economics and ethics…
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a refillable mug?
Beyond the obvious, this is a mug (see photos throughout this article) that can be purchased for a flat fee and refilled at designated counter service locations at Walt Disney World resort hotels. Current policy states that the mug is valid for unlimited refills for the duration of the trip during which the mug was purchased.
Note that refillable mugs may not be used in theme park restaurants, water parks, Disney Springs, or any other location that is not a Disney-owned hotel.
What can you put in the mug?
Bottomless margaritas! Just kidding…a cup like that would probably cost $2,754.99 at Walt Disney World. Coke products are available, as are hot chocolate, coffee, and tea. Milk is not available, nor are real juices.
How much do they hold?
Our mugs have “16” stamped on the bottom, which I believe indicates how many ounces the cups can hold. In actuality, they can hold about one can of soda. Pretty low capacity.
Can I take them with me to the parks and refill them there?
The answer to the first part of the question is yes, you can take them to the parks. The second part of the question has already been answered above–no, you can’t refill them there. Despite this, we see people on a daily basis leaving the hotel with their refillable mugs. This is probably partly because they don’t know the rules and partly because the refill stations at many hotels are “on the way” to the bus stop, making it easy to grab a drink for the ride.
To each their own, but this doesn’t make much sense to me. Personally, the short term joy of having a Coke to start out my day doesn’t outweigh the long term pain of having to lug the mug around all day. It would be one thing if Disney allowed them to be used in the parks, but for whatever reason, they do not. From our perspective, you’re better off bringing a water bottle (with filter, since Florida water is funky) or asking for free cups of water from counter service restaurants if you are looking for a convenient and cost-effective way to stay hydrated in the parks.
When I bought my mug, I was told it was good forever…is that not true?
Depends upon who told you. If it was a Cast Member (or it was printed on a sign near the mugs) and you relied on this information when making your purchase, forever is forever. If it was some random creeper standing next to the pile of mugs at Dixie Landings, your argument holds less water than one of these mugs.
The current policy on the mugs being valid only for the length of stay is irrelevant, as one party to a contract cannot unilaterally alter its terms after the fact without new consideration. As Walt Disney World now uses the Rapid Fill system, these older “forever” mugs are something Walt Disney World management will have to address. Chances are, they won’t, though.
If no such policy was in place when you purchased your mug and you just feel like using the mug forever because no one can stop you and you think Disney is overpriced as it is…see the “Ethics” section below.
What if I’m staying at multiple resort hotels during my trip?
We’ve never had an issue using our mug at multiple resorts during a split stay when purchasing for our length of stay, but you might want to tell the Cast Member your final checkout date when purchasing the mug. If you run into issues at your second (or third) resort, someone can always fix it for you.
Can old mugs be brought back and reused?
That answer doesn’t change even if you’re willing to pay again and just want to conserve plastic or you prefer one of your old mug designs. The explanation we’ve been given for this policy is that the Rapid Fill RFID chip (see below) either won’t last long enough or there’s no way to activate it again. Could be both.
Where are the mugs available?
They’re available at the food court and/or gift shop at every Disney-owned hotel at Walt Disney World. They aren’t available at Shades of Green, the Swan, the Dolphin, third-party Disney Springs area hotels, or that random shady motel you found for $35/night up I-Drive.
Are the mugs microwavable?
I have no idea why this is such a common question (Americans love to microwave stuff?), but it is. According to Google, they are BOTH microwave and dishwasher safe. So party down! Woo hoo!!!
However, please keep in mind that Rapid Fill mugs have RFID chips in them (more on this below) and microwaving them might have negative consequences, so don’t go wild microwaving your cup during your trip. Wait until you get home. Then you can microwave that sucker for hours on end.
What is Rapid Fill?
Rapid Fill is the RFID-based refillable mug program at Walt Disney World that ensures that guests have “valid” refillable mugs before allowing the refill. If you’ve been to Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach in the last few years, you’ve probably seen something similar to this system in action.
Basically, it’s technology to ensure that your cup is valid before beverage is dispensed. How much technology is too much technology for a soda machine? Well, “Rapid Fill” might be the answer to that question…
How does Rapid Fill work?
Magic. If that’s not a good enough answer, when you set your cup down on the stand below the soda dispenser, some sort of RFID-science senses that it’s there, and is valid. At that time, you can begin dispensing your soda. If you do something wrong, it won’t dispense, and maybe (or maybe not) the Rapid Fill LCD screen will tell you what’s wrong.
As we said in the last answer, a bit too much tech for a soda fountain…
How much filling is too rapid under Rapid Fill?
That might seem like nonsense, but if you’re trying to fill your cup too rapidly, Rapid Fill won’t allow you to fill your cup. You have to wait 2 minutes between each full refill. This is to prevent groups from sharing a single Rapid Fill mug: getting one drink for one person, pouring it into another cup, then quickly getting another, and so on.
Is Walt Disney World still using Rapid Fill?
Rumors have started to surface of hotel managers turning off the Rapid Fill system at various hotels. At present this is neither widespread at all hotels or even a majority of them. If Rapid Fill is turned off when you visit, the mugs still work–the RFID chip just isn’t being read.
Apparently, Rapid Fill was viewed as too much of a hassle (having used this system ourselves on a few occasions, we wholeheartedly agree) and theft was still occurring, it was just more expensive drinks like hot chocolate being stolen instead of soda, as the Rapid Fill system didn’t monitor those dispensers. (Gotta love the resourcefulness of soda thieves!) Time will tell if this is/was a temporary thing or not. It seems unlikely that individual hotel managers could opt out of the program, and equally unlikely that Disney would revert to the old system less than a year after rolling out the new one, but who knows.
Is the RFID chip in the Rapid Fill mug microwavable?
That’s a good question. We haven’t gotten around to doing comprehensive testing on the consequences of microwaving RFID chips, but we’re betting they don’t work after being microwaved. So that’s a bummer for all you microwave aficionados out there.
Honestly, though, who wants to live in a world where you can’t microwave your Disney cup? It’ll only fry the RFID chip, and you won’t need that chip once you get home from your vacation (when I assume you’ll be doing the bulk of your microwaving activities…unless you really need to get your microwaving fix on vacation) so I say MICROWAVE AWAY!
Refillable Mug Designs
About two decades ago, each Walt Disney World hotel had a different design on its refillable mug. This era of ‘resort-specific mugs’ is something we look back upon fondly as something of a golden age. That was followed by the dark ages, during which the same generic designs were used resort-wide, sometimes for multiple years without anything new.
Now, we are at a crossroads. Resort-specific mugs have not made their overdue and triumphant return, but we seem to be inching in that direction. In the last year, nearly a dozen different refillable mug styles have been released, including designs for Mickey Mouse’s birthday, Star Wars, Pixar, and other characters.
New designs have also been released for the Halloween and holiday seasons the last few years. The artwork on some of these, especially the Christmas ones, has been quite nice.
All of these designs have been available throughout Walt Disney World, at every single counter service restaurant and food court in the hotels.
Another cool option more recently has been the stainless steel mugs. These mugs are vacuum insulated and can keep your drinks hot for up to 4 hours or cold for up to 12 hours, as the case may be. (To our knowledge, these are not currently available as of 2023.)
Much like the MagicBand Upgrade Options for Walt Disney World hotel guests, these are available for an extra $10. This mug is far nicer than the normal refillable mug, and well worth the $10 to us. However, these stainless steel mugs aren’t dishwasher or microwave safe. So unlike the regular refillable mugs at Walt Disney World, these are not suitable for a microwave (or dishwashing) party.
Prior to this, two new mugs were released for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary. That ended in Spring 2023, and the designs were replaced by the Disney100 mugs at most resorts. We really love these designs, which included fun visuals and nods to WDW icons arranged in a clever way. As of May 2023, you might be able to find a few 50th stragglers at various resort hotel food courts, but don’t count on it.
Walt Disney World has been doing more and more mug designs in the last several years, which is really great to see. Our hope is that these new mugs prove to be a huge hit, and Walt Disney World follows these mugs up with a new line of resort-specific mugs or even greater variety. After years of the same recycled design, it sure seems like we’re (finally) heading back in that direction!
I think one of the big reasons why these mugs have so many “ethical dilemmas” associated with them is because people realize they are not a good value, and because of that, people want to “force” more bang for their buck.
Keeping in mind that these mugs cost $23 after tax (for an average vacation) and a regular sized soda at Walt Disney World is about $4, you’d have to purchase over 6 drinks on separate occasions (since you can refill the paper cup on the same visit) at your hotel to “break even.” To reiterate, this is just drinks at your hotel.
Since we don’t recommend taking the refillable mug to the park with you (something you can do with a paper cup since you can throw it away when you’re done with it), this means getting up early 6 days of your trip and filling your mug up and taking it back to your room, or using the mug at the pool, etc. Five or six days of use may not seem like much, but in practice, for a lot of people it is.
There’s also the argument that the refillable mugs have value as a souvenir, but I can’t imagine that this is the souvenir many people would buy if given the choice. Walt Disney World has some seriously great merchandise, and these mugs simply aren’t that cool.
If you’re really into saving, the most economical thing to do is buy a few two liters of soda and call it a day. Even at a high price of $3 per bottle, a two liter is a much better value than the refillable mug. There are approximately 4.2 “mugs’ worth” of soda in each two liter. Of course, packing two liters of soda in your checked back isn’t exactly convenient, but thankfully, that’s not your only option.
We will once again reiterate our recommendation of having groceries delivered to Walt Disney World resorts at a reasonable cost (we’ve recently updated this with different endorsements of the various services). Doing breakfast in your room, bringing your own snacks to the parks, or buying drinks (whether they be soda or alcohol) is a great way to save money.
You could buy ~40 “mugs’ worth” of soda via two liters for the same price as one single refillable mug. Unless you like to seriously tweak on caffeine, chances are that you won’t be drinking 40 refillable mugs of soda on your vacation.
Ethics is the area of philosophy concerning the moral concepts of right and wrong. I took a number of classes on ethics in college, and I can’t really say I view refillable mugs as an interesting area of ethics. The “ethical” debate surrounding refillable mugs is essentially whether it’s morally okay to bring back your refillable mugs from past trips to reuse on subsequent trips despite Disney’s stated policy that the mugs are valid for the length of your stay.
Someone with a serious interest in ethics might look at the refillable mugs debate as an interesting case study in the field, but I am not that person. True ethical concepts are nuanced, subjective, and not nearly as cut and dry as either side of this little online spat would like to think them. Sorry to disappoint, but I don’t really care what people do with their refillable mugs.
There are a lot of problems in the world, and I don’t see Walt Disney World’s insignificant lost revenue on soda via this loophole as something that is in any way worth my attention as a third party who has no vested interest in the situation. Disney could have easily closed years ago if it so chose–and did briefly with the fully-enabled Rapid Fill system, but they’ve since rolled that back.
It’s not even a blip on my radar. It’s more interesting to me that people get so worked up over something in which they have no vested interest. Even the Disney stockholders out there are at most losing $.000001 per year as a result of the aggregate of the lost soda revenue.
Feel free to argue amongst yourselves about this incredibly significant moral issue in the comments if you feel so inclined. Remember to stand firm in your convictions: either re-using refillable mugs makes someone on par with a bank robber or it makes them the Robin Hood of soda. There is no place for cool heads in this discussion. Use outlandish analogies! Personally attack your opponents! Make ridiculous assumptions! Disregard logic! Condescend as much as possible! 😉
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
What do you think about Disney’s current refillable mug system? What about Rapid Fill? Do you think these refillable mugs are “worth it” to purchase out of pocket? Hoping resort-specific mugs make a comeback? Any remaining questions about how refillable mugs work at Walt Disney World? Share your thoughts in the comments…but if you do go down the ethical road, please keep it civil.
@Rich M: yes this! I mind paying $10-$15 per stay but want to re-use the same mug. I don’t want to have to buy another mug.
I really hope there is a 50th Anniversary version of the stainless steel refillable mug. We love our Skyliner ones and have been looking for more since our last visit in 2019. Would you be able to update the post if you happen to see these become available?
I’d be curious to know how hard (or easy) it is to find the mug designs. The last time we were at Disney, and they had new designs, we couldn’t find the newly designed mugs. We talked to one woman that had gone to a few different resorts looking for them. I’m wondering what others experiences are finding these mugs. Especially right now with the seemingly increased number of people? Thanks!
I think I let out a little scream when I saw the new 50th design. Such great artwork after so many boring generic designs. We always buy the mug. I clip them to our backpack with a caribiner. I usually fill up on our way to the parks and then on the way back later in the day. We are also big pool people and there is usually a refill poolside so we definitely get our money’s worth. We also resort hop a lot and will refill there.
For the first time we didn’t get them on our most recent trip. In the past we always go them with the Dining Plan; no Dining Plan, no mugs for us. However, if the Coke Freestyle machines are back up and running at the Caribbean Beach, I do recommend them for that resort. Only the CBR had the Freestyle Machines scattered all over the resort. So, when the marketplaces closed at, say, the Yacht & Beach Club, you were out of luck, because those were the only places you could get a refill (and not freestyle back in normal land. But at the CBR, you wanted Powerade or smart water or any number of different Coke products, you could get it when you got back from the MK after 3:00 a.m., back when Extra Magic Hours weren’t just for the elite and your monorail was behind one that was constantly breaking down. If the Freestyle dispensers at the CBR become another COVID casualty, it won’t be nearly as good a deal.
We buy a new refillable mug every year we visit Disney. I loved having the choice to buy the insulated ones this year. I don’t mind paying the extra $10 because it’s worth it (to me) to have a cup that’s going to keep my ice frozen and not diluting my drink. We get our money’s worth out of the mugs because we stay for eight days. Even if we bought a 2-liter bottle, I’d still have an insulated mug & I’d prefer not to bring one from home that may get smashed in the suitcase. What can I say? I like my drinks cold and I want them to stay cold! I won’t drink it once it gets watered down because the ice melted. I just hope Disney comes up with more choices in the insulated cups. We aren’t Star Wars fans (I gave mine away when we got home this year) and we don’t ride the sky liner (kiddo has a fear of heights & she didn’t do well the one time we rode it).
Tom, you may want to update your “breakeven” analysis of refillable mug purchases, as a regular soda is now $4 (3.99) rather than $3 at the resorts. Also, I don’t think the Skyliner mug is available anymore, is it? I went looking for it in late February 2019 and couldn’t find it at any of the Skyliner resorts, and if they had it at Pop in 2/2 or at CB in 9/21, it must have been well hidden.
Do you trevis.com? That’s who make metal cups for Disney.
We have used refillable mugs for many years and enjoy them much. Economically, it seems to depend on how you use them as to whether they are worth it. We typically go down and fill them twice before we start our day, and perhaps two or three times in the evening between supper and bed. And maybe once or twice when we are back at our room midday for a break. So for us, the savings on a trip are a whole bunch. Six times a day for 6 to 10 days adds up.
Thank you for your comments on those making big arguments and getting all heated up on the questions of cups and other insignificant or significant topics. It really takes away from my love of all the incredible experiences we receive at Disney when other voices can complain about absolutely anything and everything. If things are so terrible, they should go where they can enjoy things; although I think those kind of people have no intention of enjoying anything. I don’t think they should have the power to tell me what I should enjoy. In fact, they don’t, I should ignore their whining. But in reality it is really difficult to avoid all the negative noise.
We can look at things and make thoughts of how certain things might be improved for us, but thanks to how you write for letting me love our trips to Disney without having to listen to certain voices who have no purpose but to get other people to agree with their own whining.
“Robin Hood of soda” is just the thing! I have hauled my refillable mug to the parks because any opportunity to refill makes me feel like I got something FREE. I haul my refillable mug from MK to Grand F, so I can get a free coke. It’s so empowering. I SAVED MONEY. Yes, I also spent $$$$ at Narcoosee’s and another $$ having a before dinner drink and $ at the gift shop. But I got a FREE coke, do ya hear?
Just returned from WDW on 10/2/21. Price update for you. A 2 liter Coke product in the gift shops are $5.19 with tax. Talk about highway robbery. Yes, I did buy the refillable mugs. For us they are definitely worth it. Drink soda/coffee any time of the day. Had to buy the 2 liters because soda was not available 24/7. Will be back down in May and get the 50th cup version. Like yourself we have a collection of cups including the plan blue/pink ones with no design on them that were purchased with the lifetime fill up. Love the blog
I wish they was a way to place an “up charge” on a second vacation with my previously purchased stainless steel mug and use it for unlimited refills for the length-of-stay on a this second visit. In other words, if I bought a stainless steel mug on my first visit for $29.99 and I bring it to my next visit in 2 months, can I make it refillable again for a fee? ( say $15.00)
I do NOT like the refill cup. I buy them every trip but I don’t like them ….. because, I think they should be refilled at any theme park. WDW is not gonna go broke doing that, they just won’t see as much profit.
My husband drinks fountain sodas but I drink water. Would be much easier if we could just both refill them at a drink station like at Blizzard Beach.
On 10/1 at MagicKingdom it would have been great to have a walk up drink station because people lined up all over the park, hundreds deep for shopping at all the snack stations and NO water was available to us unless we stood in those lines.
I did nab the anniversary gold lid cup and would have bought a stainless Skyliner cup too had I known about it.
We take ours with us to the parks. We usually have coffee in them while waiting for the bus, and will head outside the park for a resort break and refill them wherever we end up, like Helen mentioned earlier. We like the metal ones best, and if we buy a drink or get ice water in the park, we’ll dump it into the mug to keep it cool. Are the Skyliner ones still available? I’m hoping for a 50th metal one too! The plastic ones look great with those designs!
I need to purchase a new lid for my skyliner insulated mug. The lid did not survive the airline 🙁 It is a bit of a different size and I have not been able to locate a replacement. Anyone know where I could order one?
On our December 2019 trip, we resort hopped for meals. At Resort QS, CMs told us we could substitute a snack item for a drink with our meal and they would give us a disposable drink cup if we didn’t have our mug on us – it was easily checkable at the register. We never needed to bring our mugs with us.
It seems like it should be an easy thing to verify mug purchase even without DDP via MDE, MB or room card, but we haven’t been able to return yet.
Whoa whoa whoa…I’m disappointed to find out there might have been a Skyliner mug on my last trip (6/21) and I missed it (instead got the meh SW ones). It debuted a week after our 2019 trip and I was so sad to have missed it then. I am not a fan of the plastic ones at all, and a fan of red, AND the Skyliner, so it was perfect. I am also hoping (still hoping) a nicer 50th anniversary metal version comes out. *fingers crossed*
We love the mugs, as a soive…souvineer…memento of our trip, but also as a bit of a cost saver. If we will be at Disney for at least 3 days it usually works out as a money saver. We generally drive to the food court eat breakfast, leave the mug in the car. Come back for lunch and use the mug (after washing it out), and then filling it up at the end of the night, when we get back to the resort after a long day (bonus Caribbean Beach had Coke machines in the room buildings). Also of interest is the fact that Disney’s Hilton Head and I assume Vero Beach are “part” of Disney World and you can use the mugs there. If you do what we have done and stopped at Hilton Head for a couple of nights to unwind after a week at The World, so long as your in the 14? day window it’s just a big resort hop. We are looking forward to getting the 50th mug.
We too want to get resort specific mugs again, all my original ones were dishwashered into oblivion. I also believe they held more soda, but I could be wrong. They were definitely bigger. Now if they could do some refillable plates I’d have a table service for like 100!
We take our to the parks. We pop out to Boardwalk bakery when at Epcot or to one of the hotels monorail hotels when at magic Kingdom just to take a break or have something to eat there so refill our mugs there.
The RapidFill mug system is pretty simple: you buy the mug or have it provided to you via the Disney Dining Plan and then are entitled to unlimited refills at the Walt Disney World hotels for the duration of your stay. Self-serve beverage stations are once again available at select quick-service restaurants located in Walt Disney World theme parks and resort hotels.
Can I take them with me to the parks and refill them there?
The answer to the first part of the question is yes, you can take them to the parks. The second part of the question has already been answered above—no, you can’t refill them there. Despite this, we see people on a daily basis leaving the hotel with their refillable mugs. This is probably partly because they don’t know the rules and partly because the refill stations at many hotels are “on the way” to the bus stop, making it easy to grab a drink for the ride.