the disney food blog Rotating Header Image

Tip from the DFB Guide: Are Disney Refillable Mugs Worth the Cost?

We’ve packed tons of great Disney Dining info into our The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2013! Today, let’s check out another great tip from the Guide!

Refillable Mugs

Disney Refillable Mugs: Worth the Cost?

With another price hike last year, Disney refillable resort mugs at Disney World resorts now cost $15.49 plus tax.

Those with the Disney Dining Plan get theirs for free, but the rest of us would need to pay out of pocket for the mugs, which are infinitely refillable at certain locations within your resort during your length of stay.

Worth it? Well… yes and no. We’ve got both arguments represented below, so take a look to see which camp you fit into!

Refillable Mugs And Park Commandos

If you spend the majority of your time at the parks, the refillable mug may not be worth the out-of-pocket cost for your family. Consider these circumstances before you buy:

Use Times

If your family is full of park commandos, you’re probably racing out to each theme park opening in the early morning and returning to your resort shortly before the food court closes. Your refillable mug will spend more time sitting in your resort room than actually in use, since you can’t refill in the theme parks.

Distance to refill station can be far

After traipsing with the kids in the parks all day, it may be a lot of extra steps from your room to the mug refill station.

And remember, many resorts don’t have an option for refills after the counter-service spots close around 11pm or midnight. That means no refills after evening Extra Magic Hours in most parks.

Current Refillable Mug Information (BoardWalk)

Could save cash by buying offsite

If you’ve driven to the Mouse’s House from your hometown, or rented a vehicle once you landed in Orlando, you may want to stop at a nearby offsite store to pick up bottled beverages to yield the greatest savings. Remember, you can’t get milk or regular juice in your refillable mugs, so with small kids that could be an issue.

And isn’t it nice to return to a room where a cold beverage is right there waiting for you? Remember that all resort rooms now offer small refrigerators.

Using this method of savings, you can even start your day with free coffee with your in-room coffeemaker, then head to the parks with your own budget-friendly beverage! Grab an extra bottled water from your stash if it’s a hot Florida day.

Refillable Mugs For Resort Days and Souvenirs

However, if your Walt Disney World vacation is geared to relaxing by the pool and enjoying your resort’s amenities, then the refillable mug may be worthy of your out-of-pocket dollars.

Beach Club Marketplace Refillable Mug Station

Do the math

You’ll need to do the math for your own family. Calculate how many refills you’re likely to get with your 12 oz. mug, then multiply that number by the cost of purchasing a small drink in the food court or counter-service location — or purchasing drinks and water at a nearby grocery store off-site.

A little souvenir

Many folks consider the refillable mugs to be great Disney souvenirs that they can get some use out of during their stay. If this is the case for you, then a mug might be a great choice for a useful take-home reminder of your vacation!

Find this information and lots more info about refillable mugs at the Walt Disney World resorts in the The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2013! Use code 2013 for a $4 discount for a limited time!

Does your family purchase refillable mugs? What other cost-saving tips can you share with us! Let us know in the comments below!

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

36 Comments

  1. Cynthia says:

    We usually drive in when we have a big group and bring our drinks with us. If it is a solo trip and I am not on the dining plan, I will pack water one bottle of water for each day of my trip and refill by getting a cup of water from the counter service establishments. Coffee in the room depending on where I am staying and I can get real coffee, if not I bring my own from home for brewing. A cocktail at a table service meal and water, and I am good to go. When the kids were little we also brought our drinks from home.

  2. Mike Venere says:

    Like so many things at the world I think alot of questions like this have turned into a 2 part question….Are you staying on a dining plan or not?
    Because I beleive with all plans this comes free now and it’s a no brainer….those drinks you would get at the food court of your resort when getting breakfast turn into drinks you bring to the parks and not have to buy. Just fill up your mug and stash the bottled beverage.
    If not on a dining plan, I still say yes! How many quick service meals do you expect to buy at your resort? If it’s more than 5 or 6, like I mention above, use the mug and stash the beverage…..now instead of buying in the parks, you have it!
    As someone who at least has 5-6 breakfasts at the resort during a regular 8 day trip, it’s a no brainer.

  3. Holly says:

    Another consideration is whether you’d rather not generate all that excess trash. Even if I didn’t save much money, I’d rather use a refillable mug than throw away a disposable bottle or cup every day of my trip.

  4. Paula says:

    I’ve actually been debating this issue. We will not be on the dining plan and I don’t know that we would get enough use out of them. I really wish they were a little bigger. 12oz is gone by the time I reach the room!

  5. Mielita says:

    We believe the refillable mugs are worth it if you must purchase one while not on the dining plan. You can bring the mugs back trip after trip and fill up your mug. It’s worth it to me because I like so many different types of beverages such as tea, coffee, hot chocolate, and sofas. With the mug, you just rinse them out and switch to different types of drinks. Without one, you would have to buy a hot beverage cup and a cold beverage cup. We’ve been on the dining plan so often that we have about 30 mugs…It can save you money on drinks every time you eat. We still keep drinks in the room in addition to using the mugs.

  6. Scott Sanders says:

    We haven’t stayed on property in a couple of years as we usually just go on day trips, but we did find them useful in 2005 at the Caribbean Beach where we stayed almost 2 weeks. The walk was not bad, but considering it covers our coffee/tea at Breakfast and a lunch or dinner here and there it was well worth the upfront cost. We still use the mugs and in fact my daughter is drinking out of one right now.

    We do currently utilize the mugs at the water parks where you can get a barcode to use each each day you return for $5.

    I would like to see some sort refillable mug program in the parks maybe in conjunction with the resort mug where you could pay for an upgrade to get refills in the parks as well as the resort.

  7. Linda Montoya says:

    So off topic but LOVE your photo up on top of the Cava Del Tequila bar. Our FAVORITE place to stop when it looks like rain at EPCOT. Makes us like the rain now……..HA HA!

  8. JoAnn says:

    I paid for a mug during my trip in 2010. It paid for itself with the coffee I had every morning. I was on the standard dining plan so I got a bottle of water with breakfast and took that to the parks with me. I also used my mug while lounging my the pool each afternoon. I brought nips of rum with me so I had a cheap adult beverage in the afternoon. I saved money by not having to buy drinks at the pool bar. I still use the mug today.

    In 2011, I had the deluxe plan which included the mug. If I didn’t, I still would have bought a new one knowing I would have gotten my moneys worth. I use it every day at work.

  9. resident_hippie says:

    I think they’d be a better deal if the coffee they had at resorts was palatable. (Yay for hot chocolate to mix in and kill that taste) Now, we do get and use them for adult drinks at night :-). Once at home they get used over and over at home for daily travel mugs for decent coffee.

  10. Kate says:

    We purchased one and brought it back last year. While it was useful there, keeping it for a year has caused some horrible plastic smell and flavor to occur when you use it. Needless to say, we have thrown it out.

  11. Mary Pottery says:

    I used to buy all these colorful mugs for my kids, but it was a waste of money and my kitchen space – How many mugs do you think they need?

  12. Jenny says:

    I have only bought them once before and it was in the winter, and I made an effort to get my hot coco every night. All my other times we were not at the resort enough to have it worth the $.

  13. Dana says:

    We bought these once, and have gotten them free with the dining plan ever since. I will get hot cocoa at night, when I remember to do it, but my husband only ever fills his with water. We don’t really ever use these for soda, because after getting soda/juice with our meals at the parks, we don’t feel we need the extra sugar. These are great if you don’t want to make the trash, or if you drink a lot of soda or coffee. Otherwise, they’re pretty much just a nice souvenier to use at home.

    Oh, and another note – we’ve been able to use the same mugs for several trips to Disney in a year. We usually go down in February and get our free mugs with that trip, and when we go down again in the fall, we just bring them with us in our suitcases to use again. They’ve been using the same design all year long (and actually, the design this year is the same as last year’s design) and we can use them again.

  14. Rochelle Myers says:

    We often bring our mug to the parks and then take a beverage break at a nearby resort. Take the monorail from the Magic Kingdom to the Contemporary and fill up at Contempo Cafe. You can then walk back to the park hydrated and ready for more. We also exit Epcot at the International Gateway and refill at the Beach Club. This is especially nice on hot days when we can’t seem to get enough liquids in our systems.

    We visit frequently enough that we don’t have to spend the entire day every day in the parks to feel like we had our Disney fix. We regard visiting the resorts to be just as enjoyable as riding a ride in the park. We don’t do the dining plan and have found the mugs more than pay for themselves despite having to pony up out of pocket.

  15. Eamon says:

    Both times my wife and I went, we bought the mugs. We’re glad to hear that it’s now part of the dining plan, but it was still a deal at $14.99. We both drink coffee and a lot of soda when we’re on vacation.

    We get up at 6am so we can get to park opening. We don’t have kids, so this is pretty easy for us. One of us goes to get the coffee as soon as we get up in the morning. Another coffee on the way to the park. Return from the park mid afternoon, grab a soda on the way back to the room. Maybe grab another soda on our way to dinner in a park or at another resort. If we get back early enough, maybe another soda. So that’s a potential for up to 6 drinks….a day, for 7 or 8 days. Even if they’re only a dollar a drink, we’re still making out like bandits. I use mine as a travel mug for work too.

  16. Gabby says:

    We got our mugs as part of the DDP. We rarely used it. Since we were on the DDP we had a drink with every meal anyways. We also had coffee in our rooms so we didn’t even need it for that. We used it on a couples occasions when we were down at the pool but that was about it. But that being said … It’s a great souvenir that I use at home!

  17. Carolyn says:

    I always get one. I usually go for about two weeks, so I’m paying about $1 a day, and I usually fill it at least two or three times a day, so it’s a great deal for me.

  18. Neil says:

    Our last holiday (2010) we bought one for our then 7-year old. But, it turned into a ‘team’ mug, with him having soda and water in it and then us swishing it out to have a joint cup of coffee.

    I think the big determinant is length of stay; we were at OKW for 16 nights so it paid for itself pretty quickly. Particularly as it was used for three people!

    However, I do think it encourages kids to drink unlimited coke and other rubbish so we try and make sure he doesn’t have too much.

    We’re going back in October, again for a 16 night stay. We brought the old mug home with us last year and keep saying that we’ll bring it back with us again this year and see if we can use it again. We’re only half-joking! I wonder if they’re still a red design at OKW???

  19. Silvercat says:

    We always buy one of these each, as we fill it up in the morning on our way out, drink our coffee on the way to a park, leave the mug in the car all day and then fill it up again on our return. It is therefore well worth the cost, to us.

    However, this year, for the first time, we are getting one free with the DP! So even better value then, especially considering we are on free dining as well!

    So happy ……….

  20. Patty says:

    We get the mugs with just two fill ups a day it is worth the price.

    Forgive me if I’m wrong, but to those who bring back previous years mugs, isn’t that wrong? The mug is supposed to be for your length of stay only I believe.

  21. Mike Venere says:

    Hey Patty…..

    SHHHHHHHHHHHHH

    For years Disney changed the mugs every year, they have had this style for about 2 plus years now…..nothing wrong with bringing some helpful items from home!!!

  22. Janet says:

    Since no one mentioned this – I thought I would. I know Disney was looking to start using the coded mugs, that only work at the resort they’re bought at & only for the current visit. I believe I heard that they would be good for 7 days and that you might need to have it recoded (or replaced) if you’re going to be longer then that.

    If they’ve already started that practice, lots of people are going to be surprised when their mugs no longer activate the refill stations. The fun part will be the explanations that the guests use when they start wondering what is wrong. What will they say?

    As someone who in the past, has brought a mug back to the resort several times, even I don’t have the nerve to lie to someone’s face. If I’d ever been asked about my mug, I would have admitted I brought it back. I knew I was tempting fate & could be asked to purchase a new mug.

    But what would these guests tell the cast member? “Can you help me, I just bought this mug, but it doesn’t work. I didn’t think to keep the receipt, because I’ve never had problems in the past…..!” Hmmmmm…

  23. Lesley says:

    @Neil…
    I’m just back from OKW yesterday (sigh) and the mugs are the same as the ones pictured at the start of this post.

    HTH,

    Enjoy your stay in October!

  24. Jeff says:

    For those that continue to bring back their old mugs, year after year, they will be very disappointed this fall. When new components of NGE roll out across property, the new mugs, much like your KTTW cards will be RFID enabled. The machines will recognize your mug and your length of stay. After that, you’ll have a perfectly functioning mug to take home with you. As far as waterparks, and parks for that matter; further down the road there is a plan to have a consistent process across property. This way with your wristband (no longer a KTTW) and mug, you’ll be able to refill throughout property. There has been a significant cost to the company though from guests refilling for years, and the honor system just has to go. For those who think it’s just pennies per serving, you’re right, but look at the number of guests across property each day who could be doing this.

  25. Sarah says:

    We have several cups a day (before parks, when returning and before bed as a minimum) for a 2 week stay so for us they are bargainous. I have always been surprised that there wasn’t some sort of pay per length of stay cost but I am not surprised that they are planning to introduce a barcode system. Reusing the mugs on subsequent stays is no different to choosing drinks out of the fridges and walking out without paying for them.

  26. Kate says:

    Most visitors from the UK will find these to be totally worth the money. Simply because we tend to visit for 14 nights rather then <7 like most American visitors.
    Its really easy to find value in these across 14 nights. Soda in the morning (7am Powerade from Pop. Hell Yeah!), and a hot chocolate before bed. Piece of cake. On our recent visit, we shared one mug between the two of us. My boyfriend would run to the fountain while I was in the shower, drink his fill while he's there and bring a full one back for me.

  27. Stephen says:

    I find it totally worth the money. As a family of four we just buy two mugs, refill them a few times each day, and since we live in Australia and are travelling so far to get to WDW we usually stay for at least ten days, so it is totally worthwhile for us. And of course, it makes a great souvenir once we get home. We think of the mug as spending a few dollars on a souvenir and a few dollars of the price for the refills.

    Of course, if we were staying just three or four days it wouldn’t be as good value, but I still think it’s worthwhile

  28. Elaine says:

    I don’t get to go to WDW often — it’s been 6 years this time! but am going this December. Even if I only use it once a day for the 10 days we will be there I think it is still a good deal plus it is a souvenier. I also use it in the room just for water instead of using disposable ones and throwing them out. And I can use it after I get home so for me it is win-win. My mom has arthritis in her hands so we gave her one to use because with its bigger handle it was much easier for her to grip and hold on to and with the lid (even though it can come off) she had less spills/accidents.

  29. Lauri says:

    I buy them as a souvenir. I may not use it much on the trip, but I use it daily at home. I bring coffee from home on my commute to work and its always in my Disney mug. Its a reminder of a trip, and it gets way more use than a tee shirt!

  30. Kelly says:

    Does anyone know if there are any non-fizzy soft drinks available at the refill stations?

    My 4 year old doesn’t like bubbly drinks (as she says!) or water. We’re visiting from the uk for 2 weeks (staying at Saratoga Springs and Boardwalk Villas) and hope to make the most of the cups included in our dining plans. I know they don’t have milk or fruit juice but thought they might have something along the lines of squash (concentrated juice made up with water) which she drinks lots of at home.

  31. AJ says:

    Kelly — they usually have powerade, hi c, or lemonade!

  32. Karen says:

    I think the mug is a good purchase if you don’t have access to the Supermarket, OR if like me I don’t travel with kids but with other adults who like to have a drink when we get back to the room. Since we usually buy a bottle of liquor we use the soda as mixers (not a big deal to go down an refill). If not on the dining plan then one reason I can think of to purchase the mug is as a souvenir. If you compare the price to the mugs in the Disney Store they run anywhere from 10 – 15.95, but they don’t come with a top and cannot be used as a travel mug. I have one for the car, one for the office and a couple at home that I use if I know someone is “accident prone.” One thing to note,they were testing mugs with microchips that limit the mug use to a certain amount of refills per day (with a 5 minute gap in between refills) and can be used only during your length of stay (being tested at All Star Sports) – so that means they are trying to figure out additional ways to better monetize cup use. I would not rely on being able to use the mug on return trips for that much longer. So that may also have a bearing on whether you should buy it or not.

  33. Tristen says:

    I got my free mug with our Dining Plan in 2010, when we went for our honeymoon (my husband opted not to take one, and I’m sorry he didn’t!). I didn’t use it at all while we were at the parks because it was August, incredibly hot, and we’d grab bottled water with our dining plan options at breakfast and drink those all day. However, the mug has been very useful to me since then. I use it at least a couple of times a week to bring coffee to work, alternating between another to-go coffee travel mug, and I love it. So, even though it didn’t get any use at the Parks, I certainly have made use of it since then, and it’s a great souvenir from our honeymoon!

  34. Peachkins says:

    I was on the dining plan last time I went to Disney World, but unfortunately at that point they weren’t including the mugs with it. I still bought the mug, and I feel like I got my money’s worth. I had planned to carry a small bag into the parks anyway, so I took my mug with me whenever we went to the parks. I would fill my mug up for breakfast, and then fill it up again right before leaving for the parks. While in the parks I would refill it at water fountains if I wanted a drink and didn’t want to stop and buy something. I would also fill it up on the way back to our hotel room at night. Plus I got a nice souvenir. I definitely feel like I got my money’s worth.

  35. Ed says:

    Have your big meal at lunchtime. Here’s an example from the Big River Grille and Brewing Works at Boardwalk

    Lunch
    New York Strip – 8 oz New York strip, served with garlic mashed potatoes and vegetables. $18.99

    Dinner
    New York Strip – 8 oz USDA choice New York strip steak, served with garlic mashed potatoes and vegetables $25.99

    I don’t recommend either the restaurant or their steak.

  36. Anna says:

    I personally think the refillable cups are hideous. I would get a different mug to take home in the gift shops. Also, we’re always at the parks when we go. So, it would be pointless.

Leave a Reply

Current month ye@r day *