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.
Our oldest son is an L1 law student at Ohio State and I’m going to pass along this topic as a potential discussion topic in class. It is my favorite topic on this blog.
Can you purchase the new 50 th anniversary mugs anywhere else than at the food court or Disney hotels? We were there a year ago, in August, hoping for 50th anniversary merchandise, no luck. We also celebrated our 50th at Disney, but we did not see any 50th merch. I would like to purchase the mugs. Will they be available in January, 2023? We will be there for our granddaughters cheer competition. We will be at Pop Century hotel.
We were told we could reactivate the chips in our $40 Star Wars metal cups (since we really prefer those and never reuse the plastic ones)…BUT…they would charge you the whole $40 again, without getting a new cup, so that’s not a great deal. They really need to make them reactivatable in a decent way. I hate the waste they cause since we never use them at home. We stopped buying them now unless we are at CBR and close to a machine, but we have so many from when they used to be free with the meal plan. So much landfill waste.
When we were there in May we stayed at the CBR, by the end of our trip (the last three days) most of the options in the stations were empty and weren’t being refilled. When I spoke with a couple of cast members they told me they didn’t have supply on hand to refill. They also couldn’t say when they would. I would be curious to know if this is an ongoing issue.
Good evening, I am looking for forums or people to exchange my badges, cards, pins, bag of our Disneyland Paris park with the goodies of the Disney World park? Where can I make my request and exchange addresses? Thank you for reading and see you soon
Enjoyed your article Tom, especially the ethical questions. Can’t wait for your thoughts on the refillable popcorn buckets and whether or not you should bring those back on subsequent trips. So far they haven’t installed RFID chips in those!
We get Mugs EVERY TRIP with dining plan.
Hopefully it comes back soon!! I want a 50th anniversary mug. My mom loves Halloween, so may b they will have something Hocus pocus related
I’ve brought my same mug back on several trips and just asked the cashier to reactivate. I’ve never been charged nor told it was a problem. I wonder if that’s changed?
We stayed 5 days and feel we got our moneys worth in soda/coffee/tea. It’s also a very practical and economical souvenir . I’m not paying $60 for a T-shirt. I’m happy each time I take my “to go” coffee from home in my mug.
I would like to see the “environmentally minded” entity that is Disney, quit with All the disposable cups, lids, straws ect and get on board with refillable cups in parks.
We’re on property now. We have mugs from every trip since they were introduced. Some designs we like, some not so much. We just purchased the newest version of the 50th mugs with the Mickey lid. While they are cute, they are also more prone to dripping. Both my husband and I are sporting coffee stains on our shirts for the 2nd day in a row. Lol!
I will add the lid on the one I bought is incredibly hard to get off. It could easily spill all over whatever melted ice and remains from trying to get the lid off! It is not convenient to drink out of like the old lid design.
We just returned and bought the mugs, which I love however unlimited refills is a bit misleading. If you fill up a mug you can’t refill until 10-15 minute later. The drink machine gives you a message that it can’t be refilled. We asked the one of the workers what it meant and they said you can’t refill immediately. It’s so people don’t fill up the mug and transfer it to another cup (non refillable mug) and refill again .
You’re required to wait 2 minutes before you can refill again.
Are the Skyliner mugs back? They weren’t available at the Skyliner resorts when I was there in 2/20, 2/21, or 9/21 but didn’t check in 2022.
To my knowledge, they are not “out of production” but they’re also seldom available…like a lot of merchandise at Walt Disney World these days.
Using the refillable mug is quicker by not having to stand in a check-out line to purchase a drink each time. At WDW, time is money!
you can’t use the refillable mugs at WDW…9nly at resorts.
We purchase mugs to use at our hotel and at home. I use mine every day. We don’t use the refill stations though unless we’re near them. We buy soda and juice at Publix. This may not sound cost effective, except for the fact that we consider the mugs our souvenirs, and $20 for a Disney souvenir is not that bad. (Have you ever priced a spirit jersey? I rest my case). Our souvenir gets used every day, it doesn’t just sit on a shelf. We also have holiday mugs, which we use every year.
Our last Disney trip was two weeks ago. We had a two bedroom villa that came with a regular size refrigerator. A big plus for us. Each day, we would hang out at the pool for half a day and then visit theme parks for the other half. Our mugs really came in handy. This may not fit in with the usual family trip but it works when you’re older and visit Disney with no children. Years ago we purchased no expiration park hopper tickets as an investment and they surely paid off this past trip.
All that being said, that was our last trip to Disney. Our next will be at Universal. That’s one reason we got the two bedroom villa. We wanted a good sendoff. We’re angry with Disney higher ups and refuse to give them any more of our hard earned money. They have lost respect for their loyal guests, and we’ve lost respect for them. Maybe some day if things change, we’ll return. We’ll see.
We get 1 and split it along with water. Between 2 adults and 2 smaller kiddos, $20 equivalent gets consumed easily as we usually stay 8-10 days. We mainly use it for Powerade.
Yesss to the Powerade! I think we are friends LOL. I don’t drink soda so we have several 50th ones we just get the unsweetened tea that is free or water and reuse ours. All the resorts vary and the Caribbean is the only food court worth buying mug as it’s 24 hr access, freestyle machine
My husband and I get them and they are our souvenirs from each trip. We get a little bit of Disney every day when we use them for our coffee at home! And the kids love to use them for hot chocolate when they’re finished playing in the snow. We use our popcorn buckets too for movie nights or when we go to look at Christmas lights.
As far as taking the mugs into the parks, there are still a few self serve stations in some of the parks, like Backlot Express at Hollywood Studios, where you can fill them up, although I guess this falls under the ethics section of the article!
We always buy the cup. For us, they’re an excellent value. We usually stay at Disney for about 10 days, which is basically $2 a day. Sodas at the resort are $3.99, tea is $3.29, and coffee is $3.49. Even getting a drink just once a day makes it a good deal. But we get several a day with breakfast & lunch (we go back to the resort midday) and in the evening. We’ve now saved a lot over not buying the cup. And we’re the ones who take the cups with us to the parks. Yes, we know you can’t refill them at the parks, but we take them full. They’re filled on the way to the bus. I’m disabled, so I’m on an ECV with a basket that holds them. It’s cheaper than buying the bottles of sodas ($4.29). And it’s more practicable than the 2-liter bottles (for us) because one of us drinks Coke and the other drinks Diet Coke. A 2-liter would be flat long before either of us finished ours, especially in those tiny resort room refrigerators.
I can see, though, how the cups wouldn’t be a good value if you don’t stay more than a few days or don’t drink soda or coffee more than maybe once a day. But for some of us, it’s a great investment. And, no, it’s not a souvenir I’d buy on my own, but it’s a nice “free” souvenir when you look at it as paying for the drinks. Then the souvenir is an added benefit. Kids love them.
Do you know if while staying at The Dolphin, can I buy a refill mug at a nearby resort?
We bought 2 cups for the 3 of us. We got our money’s worth being there for several days, but the refill was very annoying. If you started filling and it stopped for some reason, it would not finish filling your drink for 2 minutes. The lines got long and many get irritated because there were more issues with them filling at all due to “reading” the chip properly. Our hotel was quite a distance from the fountains, and I didn’t want to carry it to the parks (they leak and don’t hold much for the hassle), so we didn’t get any refill drinks in the mornings. We did however fill a large sports bottle full of ice with some water and carry to the parks (leak proof). There were a few places to refill water bottles and I asked for a cup of ice a few times. The ice and filtered water on the soda machine work on other bottles. We would refill our cups at night and a few water bottles for our rooms as we like to always have drinks at night and first thing in the morning. (I didn’t try the tea, I see now from other comments it would work also, but the ice water was usually very refreshing)
A regular fountain beverage at the resorts is now over $4 with tax, so the breakeven on the mug is now 5 sodas. Not a problem with my family.