News: Disney World Refillable Mug System Experiment

The controversy rages on over whether filling up previously purchased refillable mugs (and other containers) at Disney World self-serve beverage locations is advisable, but should Disney move forward with its new experimental system, that question will be invalid.

Refillable Mugs at Disney Resorts,, and have reported that the new system, which uses an RFID chip to recognize whether guests are using an appropriate mug or cup to obtain beverages, will begin a trial period on July 18th at Disney’s All Star Sports Resort.

At this time, the RFID chip will be embedded into regular drink cups — allowing the guest to use the cup for only the length of a meal (around 1 hour) — as well as the refillable mugs that Disney has been selling at its resorts for years. These, I’m guessing, will be coded to work for the guests’ length of stay.

Cheating the system and using the mug to transfer large quantities of beverages to a bigger container won’t really work after this change. The system requires 5 minutes between refills.

You can see a video of the new system here:

This technology is being brought to Disney by ValidFill, who already maintain systems like this one at Sea World and on Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. They’ve just signed a 5-year deal with Coca-Cola, and say that the system will be available for use on Coke Freestyle machines as well.

And here’s an actual demo of the refillable mug system at work:

You can read more about the patented technology used in this system here. To read more about refillable mugs, click here.


  1. Shannon says

    I was at first very excited about the mug idea — we are DVC members and eat many of our meals either in our room or out for unique dining experiences — we spend a few nights at the main pool and then usually pool hop to different resorts following dinner reservations — the mug would have been great if we could use it at other DVC resorts as well but i am very saddened to hear we can only use it at the resort we purchase it at — Great idea — but it just won’t work for us

  2. Joann says

    You should cancel your experiment; this system is the most annoying thing I have ever experienced. I was in Walt Disney World last week staying at All Star Sports with my husband and we decided to eat dinner at the resort one evening and I went to get a Coke with the cup I had purchased that same morning, put my cup under the Coke sign, the stupid machine told me my cup was full and nothing came out. This has to be the stupidest thing I have ever seen. The only way this is going to work is if you have someone standing there with a key to turn on the machine like they had to do for me….oh yeah then the soda splashed all over me…..needless to say I was not happy You are going to need more than Magic to resolve this issue!

  3. JOYA says

    Another way Disney is trying to save a few bucks. I understand why Disney wants to stop this but given all of the cuts Disney has made with their food service and dining plans over the last decade it just seems like the paying public is getting screwed yet again. You pay $15 for a mug that you are only allowed to use every so often? Then they need to eliminate the word unlimited and be forthright about their product. It should say “You will only be allowed up to 2 refills three times per day”. “Unlimited” would be a lie. I do see people who come in with whatever containers they can find and fill them up. I have even seen someone come in with a park souvinir popcorn container and filled it up with soda. Those people are the ones who ruin it for everyone. Those who reuse the refillable mugs from previous trips, I dont have a problem with because they have shelled out thousands to Disney in the past and present and therefore a few cents worth of soda or coffee SHOULD not be a big deal to Disney, but apparantly it is.

  4. Disneynut says

    All the stealing at Disney is so dismaying; not just drinks, but also staying around at those hard ticket events without a wristband. What does this say of our society in general? Disney is not a right, but a hugely overpriced luxury. THAT BEING SAID, I agree that having a data chip in my drink cup would make me feel like a criminal. I hate having to put my thumbprint in the machine in the front gate turnstile. Disney is doing world-class data mining on its guests and it will only get worse. Soon we will have to buy a Key to the Potty card (KTTP) for unlimited trips.

  5. Jeanna says

    The Walt Disney company is worth over 50 billion dollars…you’re telling me that need to monitor the beverage use to save money? They’re probably spending more money on the technology and was it costs to have this system in place than they’re currently spending on beverages. Maybe they should take that money and hire a few more employees to monitor the containers that people are filling with drinks from the counters…I love Disney but come on…

  6. Jason says

    The mugs should be unlimited always – soda mix is cheap. Like it or not, DIS is a public company. As a shareholder, I support projects like this WITH payback. As a customer, I don’t want to be inconvenienced. Disney needs to find the appropriate mix.

  7. Evelyn Nutting says

    Monitoring your Soda intake??? Come on Disney.. …. I called about Mickey Halloween Party (2012) where people (with no wrist bands) were being allowed to reap the same benefits that I paid good money to attend a “so called Private party”. I was called a liar in so many words and I was informed that everyone was checked for a wrist band..”WRONG” I was told by one of the staff in the park (when I mentioned it) that “we can’t keep track of everyone” Because of this insulting way I was treated I am planned to take my vacations elsewhere as apparently Disney is not concerned with their guest but with the all mighty buck. This is the reason behind monitoring your beverage intake, not that you might be using a cup from another visit but because they might lose a buck on something. Disney you have become a sore issue in this household.

  8. Heather says

    I think its silly. I LOVE Disney dont get me wrong, but they only sell Coke Products and guess what they pay NOTHING for it (Cast Member told me this). Coke gets so much advertising from Disney they give them the products so no one else (Pepsi) can put their foot in the door. Thats why I dont get why they need to charge so much for drinks and now put a monitor on the machines. My conscience doesnt bother me we normally go two times a year and I bring the current mug back until they change designs and then buy the new one.

  9. Disneyshorts05 says

    People are dishonest! People steal & I really don’t blme Disney for being angry about it. I’ve never experienced this system & I’m pretty sure it isn’t currently running (as I chugged my coffee down & went directly back for another one). As for the lady who commented about feeling like a criminal for having to put her thumb print at the turnstile – Disney does that to ensure no Sex offenders or serious offenders enter the park. It’s also in case a child is abducted, they keep meticulous records for our safety.

  10. Jim says

    How about us poor annual pass members do we have to get a new cup everytime we visit Disney World. Most of us come to Disney a various times during the year and occasionally we take advanage of the discount to stay over a one of your resorts.

  11. LIL JAN says

    Sorry Disney. I had planned on buying 7 -12 day refillable mugs for our Dec trip, but will buy cans of soda at the grocery store instead. I had hoped to use them for lunch, pool side, dinner, and evening. They sound too restrictive to me. Use 3 x a day within 1 hr, why bother!
    I can’t drink 36 ounces of soda in an hour.
    I’ll use my DVC cooler and carry my pop to the pool or the water park, or the hotel fast food court!
    Anyhow, I like Pepsi products better, so there!

  12. Sharan Reif says

    i think Annual Passholders should get a free mug. We stay at Pop Century 4-5 times a year and have to buy mugs. For the price of a pass, they wouldn’t even miss a mug!!!!!!

  13. Mark says

    I don’t think they’re being fair at all with this one. I’m sure there is a way to monitor the dispensers for theft. Letting people,who pay for a length of stay mug, have unlimited refills is a small price for Disney to pay. I also heard Disney gets all it’s Coke products for free. Now as far as a previous comment about the finger printing while using your ticket. If I’m not mistaken, it can’t be a finger print. My wife and I got our wrist bands crossed and it lit up green and let us both in. The same thing happened with our granddaughters. People need to realize that this is a business. The only solution is don’t go if you don’t like their policies. If enough people do this they might take another look at it.

  14. Jan Fasone says

    So glad that they’re bringing back the handles! It was SO much easier for me to attach them together with the strap that is on my purse than to have to carry them around. As usual, if it’s not broke don’t fix it!!! Jan

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