The Pros And Cons Of Refillable Mugs

Paula K

Walt Disney World rolled out the new refillable mug program a while ago. Known as Rapid Refill, some people love the mugs, others are not fans. If you are planning a vacation to Central Florida and you will be on the Disney Dining Plan, the mugs for your entire party will be included. If you are not on the Disney Dining Plan you can purchase the mugs separately. You can buy a mug at anytime during your stay, you do not have to order it when you make your reservation. The question that many people have is, are refillable mugs worth the cost? Only you can decide if they make sense for you and your family. Taking a look at some of the pros and cons might help you to decide if you want to add them to your plan.


Drink as Much as You Want

There is no limit to how much you can drink with a refillable mug. You can fill it up once in the morning or you can chug soda all day, the choice is yours. While there is a short amount of time that you will have to wait between refills, it is only a minute or two. Fill your mug up at any of the resorts as many times as you would like. Drinks at Walt Disney World are expensive. Refillable mugs can save you money. There is a decent selection of choices as well. You can fill up once with Coke and the next time with Powerade. You can quench your thirst with more than just the basic sodas.

Use at Any of the Resorts

With the old refillable mugs you could use your mug only at your resort. That has changed. You can now refill your mugs at any of the refilling stations, no matter which resort you are staying at. If you’re staying at the Art of Animation Resort but decide you want to catch Wishes at the Polynesian, bring your mugs with you. You will be able to refill them there, it doesn’t matter that you are staying elsewhere.

Great Souvenir

Some of the best souvenirs that you will bring home with you are practical as well. You know very well that you will continue to use the mug once you return home. Souvenirs are expensive. Think of it this way; you’re paying for the mug as a souvenir and you can stay hydrated for no extra cost. The current mugs feature Mickey and friends relaxing and playing at the pool. It’s a fun design.

Flat Rate Cost

Pay one price for the length of your stay. This takes some of the guess work out of planning how many days you would like to purchase the mugs and which days to use the service. It’s one flat cost and you can continue to fill up any day of your trip!


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Available to Anyone

The old mugs were only for Disney resort guests. The new Rapid Refill mugs can be purchased by anyone. If you’re staying off property but plan to spend the day exploring the resorts, you can buy a mug and drink all that you want. Plenty of people stay off property but still want to check out the resorts. Now they can do that with mugs in their hands.

Purchase a Refillable Cup Instead of a Mug

If you only want a drink instead of a souvenir mug, the new program takes that into account as well. The food courts sell refillable cups that will also work with the Rapid Refill system. There is an RFID chip on the bottom of the cup so you will know how many refills you have left and how much time you have until your cup expires. A refillable cup is not good for a full day like the souvenir mugs are, and the number of refills is limited.


Won’t Work in the Parks

The Rapid Refill mugs are only good for water from the drinking fountains in the parks. Sure, you can fill them up at your resort before you catch your transportation to your park of choice, but they will then be worthless until you return a hotel. The mugs will not even work at the water parks, although there is a rumor that Disney might link them together in the future. (The water parks have a different refillable mug program.) The Rapid Refill program is expensive and if you spend most of the day away from the resorts you will still be spending money on drinks.

Not Many Designs or Colors

Currently there is only one design for the Rapid Refill mugs.  Considering the cost of the mugs, more colors and designs would be nice.

Awkward to Carry

Poor Mom! Every single day in the parks you will see some frazzled mother who is trying to keep track of the mugs for the whole family. There are mugs hanging off of backpacks or crammed into the pocket on the back of a stroller. No one ever seems to happy to have them. The mugs are not easy to tote around for a day. If you plan to spend the day sitting by the pool they are not going to be a bother. If you’re headed to the parks they will most likely get on your nerves after a couple of hours.

Expensive for a Short Stay

If you’re going to spend several days at Walt Disney World, the mugs can be a good deal. If you’re only going to be there for a couple of days the mugs are fairly expensive. Shorter stays usually mean hitting the parks early and staying late. The Rapid Refill program is not available in the theme parks. If you’re not going to spend a lot of time at your resort you might not get your money’s worth.

Distance to the Refill Station

Imagine that you and your family spent the entire day at the Magic Kingdom. You’re tired, but everyone is thirsty. You pick up all of the awkward mugs and walk several minutes to the nearest Refill Station. You fill up all of the mugs and discover that they are even more awkward to carry when they are full. When you finally return to your room, your five-year-old informs you that she changed her mind and wants lemonade instead of Mello Yello. Your seven-year-old never even touches his drink because he is already sound asleep. In order to refill your mug, you will need to take it to a Refill Station. If you’re going to have to walk too far to the food court to refill the mugs, you might want to skip them.

Good for Calendar Day

If you are buying the mugs for one, two, or three days you will want to pay attention to when you first fill them up. The days are calendar days, not 24 hour periods. The first day will expire at midnight and the next day will begin. If you fill up your mug for the first time at 11:59pm, that counts as your first day. If you purchase the mug for less than your entire stay, do not fill up until you know that you will get a full day’s worth of drinks.

Size of the Mugs

If you think that you can fill your mug up at your resort and then have something to sip on in a park all day, think again. The inside of the mug is not going to hold enough to keep you hydrated throughout the day. While the mug might hold enough for a meal or a relaxing time by the pool, they really don’t hold all that much. This is cost effective for Disney for two reasons. First, they would rather you spend more money in the parks for drinks. Second, they do not want you to waste a lot of soda. What works well for them may not be an advantage for you.


About PaulaK

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.