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News and Review!: Rapid Fill Refillable Mugs for Walt Disney World Resorts Now in Use

Welcome back DFB author Wendy with an informative report on the new Rapid Fill Resort Mugs in Walt Disney Word.

Rapid Fill intro photoAt the time of this writing, the mugs are in use at Disney’s All-Star Music Intermission Food Court and All-Star Movies World Premiere Food Court. (Disney’s All-Star Sports End Zone Food Court is currently closed for refurbishment). They will be rolled out at the rest of the Disney World resorts shortly.

As you may recall from a previous post on Rapid Fill Refillable Mugs, Rapid Fill allows Disney Resort guests to buy (or receive as part of the Disney Dining Plan) a Resort mug which can be refilled for a certain period of time as designated at time of purchase. These mugs are enhanced by an RFID bar code which enables the mug to deactivate when the designated time is complete.

Perhaps you have some questions… I know I did! So, let’s get started!

Rapid Fill Refillable Mug Frequently Asked Questions

I’m not on a Disney Dining Plan, so I’ll be purchasing my mug separately. How much do they cost?

$8.99 for 1 Day
$11.99 for 2 Days
$14.99 for 3 Days
$17.99 for Length of Stay (If you’re staying longer, “Add-1-Day” or “Add-2-Day” options can be added.)

Rapid Fill Prices

Rapid Fill Prices

What do the new mugs look like?

For now, just like the previous mugs. You’ll still see Mickey and a few of his pals enjoying some poolside fun. You’ll notice a few differences, however…

Guests can now choose from orange, purple, and green lids for the mugs (previous choices included blue, black, and bright pink).

Green, purple, and orange mugs

Green, purple, and orange mugs

The Rapid Fill logo has been added to the mugs.

Rapid Fill Logo

Rapid Fill Logo

You may notice a tiny bit of text to the right of the handle. It reads: “Refills available at no additional charge atResort Beverage Island located in the resort that this mug was purchased through the end of your resort stay.” Plus, there is some added text beneath it: “DO NOT MICROWAVE.”

Do not microwave!

Do not microwave!

Where can I fill my Rapid Fill Mug?

The text would seem to have answered that question. However, both the price signs and one of the Cast Members I spoke with indicated that Rapid Fill mugs can be used at “any resort self-service beverage location,” as long as they are used within the designated time frame.

Rapid Fill Info

Rapid Fill Info

So how does it work?

First, you’ll purchase your mug and indicate to the Cast Member how long you wish to use it. I chose a “One Day”, green mug. I like the new bright colors!

Green Rapid Fill Mug

Green Rapid Fill Mug

Next, you’ll go to the Beverage Island where you will see the Rapid Fill machines. You’ll know they are “Rapid Fill” by the little screens above the beverages. Pay attention to these – you’ll learn why momentarily :).

Beverage Station with Rapid Fill Screens

Beverage Station with Rapid Fill Screens

Rapid Fill Screen

Rapid Fill Screen

Then, place your mug on the tray beneath your beverage of choice. It MUST be on the tray. Otherwise the machine will not recognize your mug.

Rapid Fill Mug on tray

Rapid Fill Mug on tray

This is where those little screens start their big job. If your mug isn’t properly placed on the tray, the screen will indicate this to you.

Place cup on tray message

Place cup on tray message

Once your mug is in place, press the button for your beverage of choice!

Filling the mug

Filling the mug

While your mug is being filled, the screen will display the date that your mug may be refilled through.

Refill date notice

Refill date notice

You’ll know when your mug has reached its capacity because the screen will say “Fill Complete.” (You’ll also know this because your mug will start to overflow ;) ).

Fill complete

Fill complete

Wow… I’m so thirsty that I downed an entire soda in 1 minute and 43 seconds! Can I refill again RIGHT AWAY?

Not so fast! The mugs are programmed so that you cannot refill them for two minutes after reaching the mugs “Fill Complete” capacity. (At least, this is how it timed out for me. I ran a test where I filled my mug at 12:28 pm. I was not able to refill until 12:30 pm, once the allotted seconds were up.)

How much longer until my next refill?

How much longer until my next refill?

Okay. I’ve waited my allotted time. What now?

Refill and enjoy! Cheers!

I like to mix different beverages to make one drink. Can I still switch it up?

Me, too! I like to fill my cup with three quarters Pomegranate Lemonade and one quarter Sprite. This is my own personal recipe for my Disney Mocktail (you’re welcome ;) ). Yes, you can still do that, right up until the “Fill Complete” message appears.

What if I’m just a kid and not tall enough to read all those screens?

Then you, my tiny friend, will assume your mug is broken and yell for your parent. At least, that’s what I witnessed. Several times. ;)

Choose your mug!

Choose your mug!

I don’t drink very much soda, but I enjoy one every now and then. What are my options if I choose not to purchase a Rapid Fill mug?

You can still purchase a regular paper cup. I spoke with a couple of guests who chose them, and their cups were read by the machines as well. However, the screens displayed different messages. Upon the first fill, the message read, “3 refills within 1 hour” (then “2 refills,” and so on). The cups deactivate and can’t be refilled after one hour, or after 3 refills – whichever comes first.

What about water and ice?

I brought along a water bottle that was not connected to this program. As of this writing, water and ice remains free for all cups.

Whew! So, there you have it! We’ll be keeping an eye out to see if Rapid Fill Beverage Stations become operational in more Disney World Resorts over the coming weeks.

Share your thoughts on the new Rapid Fill program — let us know what you think in the comments below!

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131 Comments

  1. Colleen says:

    I’m fine with this-I already get the mugs with the DDP anyway-but this is going to create a new nightmare at the beverage stations. Just got home from Riverside, where there were about 5-6 ppl at any given time fighting to use each beverage dispenser. I hope Disney has some sort of plan for this because I’m not sure i can deal with anything worse than what I experienced last week just trying to get drinks for my family.

  2. JoAnn says:

    I hope they have the new colors at Pop Century when I’m there in November. I already have blue and pink. I’m not real crazy about black.

    I have three mugs. The first one I paid for and the others were part of the dining plan. The one I paid for paid for itself with just my morning coffee. I still use it. In fact, I’m having coffee in it right now.

    I see a lot of people at Pop using old mugs. I don’t think all of them are being dishonest. I think they see other people doing it and think that it is ok so they bring their mugs back on the next trip.

    I’m interested in seeing how this plays out.

  3. ann says:

    HOW IS THIS “RAPID FILL”???!!! Isn’t there anyone who can answer this question? I don’t understand how this name relates to getting a drink requiring you to wait 2 minutes to get another drink, children who can’t see or read what is written on the machine, people from other countries who may not understand the machine or what is written, and just getting a drink period.

  4. Joe B says:

    Is the system also implemented into the Gold Peak Iced Tea & Hot Chocolate machines?

  5. Kathy says:

    Are they still going to allow you to use it for coffee and hot chocolate. We get the hot chocolate after the park, and coffee in the morning.

  6. Andre Willey says:

    I agree about the possible issues of crowding – before, up to 3 or 4 people could be filling cups with different beverages at one station at the same time, which I assume will no longer be possible. However, Riverside’s RFID sensor system is not actually active yet – although the platform stands should now be in place ready – and they will be turning it on overnight tonight, so the fun starts in the morning.

    Coffee, hot chocolate, cold tea and water/ice are NOT limited by RFID sensors, you can still fill up with those whenever you wish (apart from the ice machines’ flow rate having been deliberately reduced anyway).

    Like many other posters, I honestly can’t see one single element of the new system which might be even the slightest bit faster than before, and a lot of ways for it to be slower. Perhaps “Rapid Fill” refers to the cash registers, rather than the mugs? ;)

  7. Faith says:

    JoAnn, it showed the new colors of green, purple and orange so looks like we’ll all get new colors (last years were the blue/pink/black). I wish they would have come out with resort themed cups, that would have been neat. I am worried about the lines as well, but I mainly use the hot water or hot tea dispenser so maybe there won’t be a need for a Fast Pass for the drink machines LOL

  8. Xtina says:

    I dont feel 2 minutes is unreasonable at all! I am not in any way one of those people who defend Disney at all turns. But honestly 2 minutes is MORE than enough time for me.

  9. Kathy says:

    Theres a video posted on here somewhere, that shows that with the system it is possible to use more than one dispenser at a time. Now I can’t say for sure this is how it works at Disney but it showed you can. It senses how much has been filled in each cup, so you could have up to 6 different mugs being filled at one time.

  10. TL says:

    Another question I have, will there be a way to remove the chip?? I like to use my cup at work. I’m a school teacher so I don’t always have a chance to drink my am coffee when it is still warm so I reheat it in the office microwave during my break. I would hate to spend that much money on an item that essentially I couldn’t use again, including my next Disney trip.

  11. Kayla says:

    What if I am a Dvc member and I go back a lot that would mean I have to buy a new mug ever time I go

  12. Wendy says:

    Iced tea, hot cocoa and coffee dispensers are currently unaffected, so you can refill your mugs or paper cups as soon as you like without the 2-minute limitation, however that is subject to change.

    TL — I don’t think there is any way to remove the RFID chip to make your mug safe for the microwave. I’m not certain how the chip is installed initially, but it’s not visible to the eye, so there is no way to remove it. (Hope you have a great new school year!)

    There have been a lot of other good questions here, and we’ll be researching in the coming weeks to find answers!

  13. Amy W says:

    Kayla – Yes. Those of us who DVC or AP are getting the dirty end of the stick on this one. We will have to purchase new mugs every time we go.

    TL – I saw a tweet over the weekend that the RFID looks to be a sticker on the bottom of the cup. I would think that you could take off the sticker when you are back at home. (It reminds me of the SunPass stickers that we have for the Turnpike here in FL).

  14. Wendy says:

    Wow–that’s interesting! Mine didn’t have a sticker on it at all. It will be interesting to see how things develop as the roll-out continues…

  15. AJ says:

    Amy W — The sticker at the bottom of the cup is for the paper cups, not the refillable mugs.

  16. Amy says:

    I really wish that they would come out with 4 different colors most families have at least 4 people

  17. Erik says:

    “Another question I have, will there be a way to remove the chip?? I like to use my cup at work. ”

    The issue with microwaving is that the antenna wire for the RFID chip, and the chip itself, will overheat and break. When that happens, it won’t work as an Rapid Refill mug.

    However, it’ll still be a mug. If the mug is otherwise the same as the old ones, it’ll be safe to microwave. There’s so little metal in an RFID chip and antenna that even if it all vaporized at once, it wouldn’t melt the plastic. However, it won’t work as an RFID chip anymore.

    Now, if they’ve made other changes to the cup, it might not be microwave safe, period. I don’t have one, so I can’t test. So, do that before you commit valuable coffee to it, and in a place where you can clean up a mess if it does melt. It won’t explode or anything like that, it’ll just leak — it won’t be able to burn with that much water inside of it. Just keep an eye on it, and if you think anything isn’t right, turn it off.

    Microwaves are a lot tougher than they were in the early days.

  18. Wendy says:

    Michael – Hi! I learned that split stays between two Resorts are covered with Length of Stay. You don’t need to purchase a second mug upon your arrival at Beach Club (even if you have 2 separate reservations). Andre provided great info on this in a previous comment, which you may have seen, but I wanted to follow up from my most recent visit. Enjoy!

    Brandis (and others who asked regarding this question :) ) – Management verified that a new trip requires a new mug. The mugs can’t be reprogrammed for reuse.

    Marie-Eve – Your mug will be useable through your stay on the 31st. Have a great trip!

    Marla – The other day I provided pricing of soda in the Parks for you. In the Resorts, a paper cup for a soda is $2.98 (including tax. They offer one beverage size).

    Denise – Yes, this is the mug you will receive as part of the Dining Plan. They use the same mug for those on and off the Dining Plan.

  19. Nicole says:

    I used to really enjoy getting the mugs when they changed each year or when they reflected the different resorts on them, and even with the new system they still didn’t change the mug design. So that alone took away a lot of the value for me. Now it’s completely without value for me. Thanks, Disney, for getting me off soda and on water!

  20. Laura says:

    Are these only available for use in the hotels or at the parks too?

  21. AJ says:

    Laura — Just at the hotels.

  22. Ali says:

    For those of you who want to be able to microwave your cup (removing the chip) – not a good idea. The FDA closely regulates the safety of plastic food containers that are marked for use in the microwave (‘migration’ of chemicals in plastic) but they do not regulate containers marked NOT FOR USE IN MICROWAVE – meaning these containers can use different formulations of plastic. I would think you could reheat your coffee in a glass container – then transfer it. The concern is when microwaved items/drinks become very hot.

  23. Wendy says:

    Hi, Frank — I wanted to follow up to verify that the Swan and Dolphin will not have the same refillable mug program as the Disney Resorts.

  24. Beth Carbonaro says:

    The Refill Mug Plan is too simple. Surely Disney can come up with something more complicated than this.

  25. Pam says:

    Used similar mugs on our last visit many years ago and found we used it mostly for breakfast and late night returns (coffee, hot cocoa, and tea). Didn’t notice your mentioning those? Any idea?

  26. AJ says:

    Pam — Coffee, hot cocoa, and tea are not currently being restricted, so you’re good to go on those.

  27. Mary says:

    It seems like Disney has invested a lot of money, technology & time into such a trivial thing. Was the lack of regulation causing them to lose money? (I seriously doubt it.) Do you know what prompted this change?

  28. Jill D says:

    Years ago a cast member told me that coke paid for the soda that was distributed around property. That Disney paid for the cups but the soda was all on coke.

    If this information is true, could this change be coke’s doing? It might explain why the other beverages are not included in the program. Who knows.

  29. Marilyn Lyons says:

    So when we were at the studios people were using their Resort mugs to get drinks at the Back Lot Express–the whole family—-this isn’t saving Disney any money if this is going to happen….Cast member was in the area and didn’t say anything

  30. Crystal says:

    We’ve always bought the Mugs for Coffee in the mornings and evenings and if we were back in the afternoon which wasn’t very often, we’d have a soda. The kids would have hot chocolate in the mornings and evenings and with a snack after dinner, a soda.
    With the cost of the Mug and the cost of everything else in the park I feel its pretty unreasonable to change the system as it is. I can understand that they don’t want folks bringing mugs back from other years……Maybe the mugs should have a year stamped on them, instead of this complicated system some engineer with too much time on their hands has come up with!

  31. james (Disneynorth) says:

    Happy to see Cherry Coke!!!

  32. Ollie says:

    As I am still on vacation at Port Orleans, I can tell you the rapid refill is working well. Last year, almost 1 in 4 people were using old cups and some were even bragging about it. There were many signs, and yes, the employees were not saying anything. (One employee said they do not like to confront guests about theses misdeeds — creates a bad atmosphere for all the other guests.). This year, total change, a couple of people have tried to fill mugs, and often another guest are telling them why it isn’t working. Most people would say that taking something that they have not paid for is wrong. Filling any cup with a soda or drink that you have not paid is still wrong to me.

  33. Jenn Drake says:

    I was At the All Stars 2 weeks ago, using the new RFID mug at both AS Music and AS Movies. It was NOT a pleasant experience. My mug almost never worked the first time I tried, and the (only) option was to get back in line for a cashier and get a CM to help. Numerous other people were having problems as well. I hope WDW receives a lot of negative feedback.

    And when it misread my mug “most of the time”–it then activated the 2 min time to refill, so there I had to wait 2 mint to try again–only to have it not work–again.

    It created big traffic jams as well. As previously noted, others were having trouble as well; and yet another dimension–in August, people are HOT and thirsty. So they would fill the mug #1, then stand right by the dispenser for 2 minutes for fill the mug #2.

    PPer is correct–short children cannot reach the buttons. So now they AND their parents stand at the station trying to get them filled.

    It was a quagmire……

  34. Barbara says:

    When we were at the Pop Century a couple of years ago, I noticed that there was a chip or something enclosed in the bottom of my refillable mug, but you could not get to it because it was inside the plastic. I still have that mug at home and use every day. I assumed they were probably testing something like this, but my family said I was crazy! Does anyone know if we were being tested back then to see how and when we used our mugs?

  35. Ed says:

    Does length of stay max out? We usually stay 12 nights. Is there an additional charge for this length of stay?

  36. mandy says:

    Well said Olllie, totally agree. As long as I can also get hot tea and hot chocolate in mine when I go, I will be happy.

  37. Ollie says:

    Ed, we are staying 16 days! I asked the same question when we got here, the very friendly cashier said no problem. Then checked the date when I filled my mug– it has my check out date, so I am guessing no problem!

  38. Lydia Poux says:

    From the Department of What Else Can We Charge Them For. I suppose we are expected to be thankful for the free water.

  39. John says:

    Agree with Ollie. This has only come in because so many people want to beat the system. The refill has ‘always’ repeat ‘always’ been length of stay. That is very clear when buying. Would you go to an all you can eat buffet on a Sunday and expect to go again on the Monday and Tuesday without paying again? Of course not. If you have a few drinks a day you really get your value for money. Some greedy people want more though. It is not Disney you should be moaning at it is those people that have made Disney take this move. You know who you are!!

  40. Kathy says:

    It has not always been length of stay. In the early 1990′s there were Lifetime Mugs. They eventually did change to length of stay. I can’t remember the exact years but we have Lifetime Mugs and yes we have had CM’s who know they are lifetime mugs.

  41. John says:

    Apologies for getting my facts wrong but my point is still very valid I believe. I see dozens of people every year using older mugs that I’m sure are not lifetime ones.

  42. Marykate Edgette says:

    I’m sorry,with the ridiculous amount of money charged by Disney for EVERYTHING,this RFD plan is a mess.As an Annuual passholder,Ifeel insulted by the whole idea.I do not feel that anyone is “cheating” by reusing cups from previous years. I will continue to come to Disney because I love it so but I will no longer purchase a cup.Maybe smarter heads will prevail and change the system for Annual passholders and DVC members.I feel this is an insult to those of us who are able to visit frequently. I feel like Disney is my second home and this is not very hospitable!

  43. John says:

    My next DVC trip is 19 nights. So that is as many drinks as I want for under 90c per day. Personally I do not see this as remotely ridiculous. Can I really complain that I will have to buy another mug the next time I go.

  44. Crystal says:

    What Doe DDP mean?

  45. Crystal says:

    COLLEEN. . . . . .What Doe DDP mean?

  46. John says:

    DDP is Disney Dining Plan

  47. Crystal says:

    Off the Mug subject for a minute. . .
    Does the Dining Plan really save you money?

  48. LaSouris says:

    Yes. Especially when you like Table Service restaurants.

  49. Ollie says:

    The dining plan can save some people money– but there is no black and white on the subject.
    Consider what your family would eat. Are they big eaters? Do they have dessert with every meal? Will you be using table service restaurants? Consider looking up some of the menus of places you may want to go, remember to include the resort you will be staying at, because you may eat there also. Each quick service and table service meal includes a beverage, an entree and a dessert. Although the dining plan includes all three, you may not purchase all three if your paying! Take the time to do the math based on your families eating habits, then decide. And there are different plans levels to choose from.
    Good luck with your decision.

  50. Ed says:

    Can someone describe what the “lifetime mugs” look like. I have mugs purchased at OKW in the early to mid 90′s. They have the old vacation club 3-mountain logo and a Coca Cola logo on them. Any chance these are lifetime mugs?

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