If there’s 0ne bit of important advice we can pass on to you it’s that hydration is KEY when you’re visiting Disney World. Getting your daily dose of H2O is important no matter where you are, but when you are getting tens of thousands of steps in each day, often in sweltering heat, drinking enough water is crucial.
There are multiple ways to acquire water in the Disney theme parks, and the water bottle refill stations are an eco-friendly and less expensive way of doing so. But with the current sanitation practices, many guests are wondering if they’re still available and operational. And the answer is…sometimes.
What’s the history of the refill stations in Disney World?
Disney has added several water bottle refill stations over the past few years at both the parks and resorts. In Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you can find one in the queue area for both Flight of Passage and Navi River Journey, both in the newer Pandora section of the park. In Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you can find one in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge by the restrooms.
It seems that as Disney builds new lands and expands their theme parks, the water refill stations are built into the infrastructure of those areas. But some of the pre-existing areas are starting to get these stations, too. We’ve spotted new stations installed recently at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe in Magic Kingdom, as well as the new restrooms near Traveler’s Cafe (AKA Starbucks) in EPCOT.
The theme parks aren’t the only areas that have these refill stations. We’ve seen stations located at the Hollywood Studios Skyliner station as well as the park’s new bus station. The bus stop at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village also has one of these stations. Disney has yet to provide a map of all the station locations, so it’s almost like a scavenger hunt to find them all!
What’s the value in using these refill stations?
These refill stations have been widely accepted as a GOOD change since they have arrived to Disney World, and we totally understand why! The benefit of using these refill stations is two-fold: you’re being nicer to the planet, and you’re saving money along the way!
One of the reasons more and more companies are adopting these refillable water bottle stations is that it offers a more ‘green’ way of drinking water. If you pack a refillable water bottle in your park bag, you don’t have to keep finding disposable water bottles and cups throughout the day. And it’s MUCH easier to fill your bottle at these stations than at a probably-not-as-hygienic water fountain.
This way, you are also saving money. Purchasing bottled water in a Disney park or resort is one of the easiest ways to throw away your hard-earned cash! You can make your snack and souvenir dollars stretch much further if you pack a refillable bottle with you, as opposed to purchasing multiple bottles throughout the day.
In the past, we have also experienced the temperature of our bottle station water to vary between cool and warm. This isn’t ideal if you’re trying to get ice cold water on a blistering hot Florida day, but if you are simply looking for hydration, the temperature of the water should be comfortable enough. If you’re on the fence, you can always ask a Cast Member at a local quick service location for a free small cup of ice water to add to your bottle.
A cause for concern in a reopened Disney World
But as convenient as these stations are, do we have reason to be concerned with the cleanliness of them? We saw them working when we visited Disney’s Hollywood Studios on its opening day, along with the water fountains located right next to them. Depending on how often Cast Members come by and sanitize the stations, these may not be AS clean as you may think.
While these are contactless, and objectively SHOULD be the safer way of getting water (especially compared to water fountains!), we have always wondered how frequently folks touch the opening of their water bottle (where their mouth has been) with where the water comes out of the refill station.
There is no need to physically touch your bottle to the station, as the sensors in the station will detect when a water bottle is underneath the fountain and will turn on automatically. Think of it like an automatic sink in a restroom. All you need to do is hover your hands underneath the sink, and water will appear!
These refill stations have not all been operating since the parks have reopened. While the ones in Pandora and Galaxy’s Edge were fully functional, the location at Cosmic Ray’s was not.
So, it seems like Disney is trying to figure out what the best practice is with these contactless refill stations. While they certainly SEEM more sanitary than a traditional water fountain, Disney may be figuring out an even better solution. Only time will tell if the rest of these refill stations open back up!
So, what is the future of these refill stations?
The contactless water bottle refill stations are a great way to reduce waste and save money on bottled water, but Disney needs to make sure these are as clean and safe as they are convenient and complimentary.
In a world where we are trying to reduce contact with others as much as possible, these are a GREAT option…as long as they remain clean and safe for guests to use.
We’ll be sharing as we find refill stations operational and non-operational.
Do you use the refillable water bottle stations? Let us know in the comments!