Firstly, some people may ask why we are choosing to devote a whole blog post to an arguably mundane topic? Well, when travelling with the tribe over the past 10 years we have collected a fair few numbers of these little beauties on our trips to WDW, which, we might also like to add have cluttered up several cupboards in our kitchens! However, apart from their obvious use at home, (there’s always a Disney refillable mug when you need one!) we thought that those of you who are new to the Disney Dining Plan might like to know how you can get your hands on one of these mugs, and how useful (or not) they can be during your Walt Disney World holiday.
When we first travelled with our family in 2009 to Walt Disney World, the whole concept of the Disney Dining Plan was, if we’re honest, quite alien to us. But as the years have passed, we have become more and more knowledgeable about the ins and outs the entitlements and benefits.
Refillable Mugs go back to the 1990’s, when Disney began to make specific resort designed mugs. Disney fans of old will remember, for example, getting a Grand Floridian mug when staying at Grand Floridian or at All Star Resorts, which had a design specific to their hotel and its theming. Now Disney produce just one design every year for guests staying at Walt Disney World resort hotels and guests get to choose from a selection of colours. Will Disney ever bring resort specific mugs back? No plans yet! But with the Dining Plan being so popular and often part of the current UK holiday packages sold to British families, it probably means that Disney will stick with the generic designed mug – we hope that one day this might happen again.
Ok, so let’s go through the basics about what you and your tribe need to know about when using the refillable mugs for your holiday…..
What is a refillable mug?
Well, beyond the obvious that the refillable mug is a mug, (no surprises there!) this is a mug which is given to each Disney guest staying at one of their resort hotels. It is now part of the Disney Dining Plan package, which, at certain times of the year UK guests can receive as part of their booking. We’ve always visited in the summer when the free Dining Plan promotion runs – other times of the year it isn’t necessarily available.
If you’re not on a dining plan, you can still purchase a refillable mug for the duration of your stay on Disney property, but we’ll address that later. The current policy for the use of the refillable mugs is that you can refill your drinks at designated counter service locations at Walt Disney World resort hotels. Note – refillable mugs may not be used in theme park restaurants, water parks such as Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon, Disney Springs, or any other hotel not Disney-owned.
What drinks are included and what drinks can you have?
Basically, when refilling your mug, you have the choice of the following – Coca-Cola, Sprite, Fanta, Minute Maid Lemonade, Unsweetened and Sweetened Ice Tea, if you want cold drinks.Now, at this point can we firmly say that we are not advocating the consumption of fizzy drinks or suggesting that your little tribe drink cold drinks which are high in sugar content, but the choice is good for most, and we’ve also found that kids love having the mugs so much as it gives an element of freedom and responsibility. Our little lot have loved going off to the drinks refillable stations which are dotted around your Disney resort, and when returning from the parks too feeling very hot and bothered, they’ve loved all going off together and getting us all drinks – they are a very helpful lot!!! You can also of course get coffee and hot chocolate if you fancy a hot drink, and tea if you fancy a brew!Pina Coladas or Long Island Ice Tea are unfortunately not part of the Rapid Fill System (a big sigh here as we type!)
Hang on a minute– you’ve just mentioned Rapid Fill – what does this mean?
So Rapid Fill is the programme that Walt Disney World has which ensures that all guests staying on site have valid refillable mugs for their stay. There is some sort of science attached to the system (don’t ask us, we teach Music and History!) so that when you set your cup down on the stand to dispense your drink, it will allow you to get your drink. If your cup isn’t valid, i.e. you have tried to use a cup from a previous trip, your drink will not dispense. You will also have to wait a full 2 minutes to refill your cup again – this might seem nonsensical, but Disney will not allow you to fill your refillable mug up too quickly!!
How much do the refillable mugs cost and where are they available?
As of 2018, the mugs cost $18.99 for your length of stay onsite, or if you have the Disney Dining Plan as part of your holiday package they are included. One of the very first things we do when we arrive at our resort hotel (apart from the obvious jumping up and down with excitement that we have arrived at Disney again!!) is to go and get our refillable mugs, which are normally available at the hotel counter service restaurant, or shop. You will be told when you check in where you can get your mugs. Tip – if travelling with a big group as we do, get everyone to put their names on the bottom of their mugs, so that from the beginning of your trip there isn’t any confusion about who’s got what mug – particularly if like us, you tend to have 3 blue mugs, 3 pink mugs and 3 purple mugs!
Can I use the refillable mugs in the Disney parks?
This is always a FAQ as of course guests staying on site want to make the most of their mugs, and although yes you can take them with into the parks (Mickey is happy to say yes for this!) the answer to the actual question is no. We always see lots of happy people on a morning at the bus stops with their refillable mugs, or holding them as they go into the parks or through bag check, probably because they’ve filled up their drinks on the way into the park, or may fill up on the way back to their room, but in all honesty it’s not really worth lugging the mugs around the parks all day, when you can’t really use them. You’re better off, as we found this year, asking for free water in any of the counter service restaurants – it saves the hassle of carrying extra items around in the Orlando heat, and it’s just easy.
Are the mugs Dishwasher and Microwave proof?
It is worth pointing out that you must not put them in a microwave or dishwasher when on holiday as it wrecks the chip, but in terms of using them once you get home, we can categorically say a big yes to answer this question. We have used and reused many of our refillable mugs over the years at home, and they are more than happy being put through the dishwasher and microwave. So, a double whammy success on that one, woo hoo!
So, are the refillable mugs worth having?
If they are included in your Dining Plan, then we say definitely a big yes. They may take up a lot of space in your suitcase on your way home, and clutter up your cupboards at home, but they are also a constant reminder to us here at travelwiththetribe.com of all the amazing memories we have made on our Walt Disney World holidays. They aren’t a classic souvenir from your holiday, not everyone will think that they are that cool, and if you need to purchase them if you don’t have the Dining Plan you may not think they are necessarily good value for money. There is also the ongoing ethical debate about Disney and the use of plastic, which is a whole other current issue which we will also discuss in other blog posts. From our experience as a large family with different tastes and wants and needs, the mugs are a little extra bonus, and also now an expectation when planning our Walt Disney World holiday – it’s something we even talk about before we go on holiday – “Ooh, we wonder what design our refillable mugs will be this year!!” For the teens and tweens, it may seem really silly, but being able to have moments in your holiday when they can go off safely within your resort and have that little bit of independence and freedom to do something on their own is really useful (believe us, we speak from real experience here!!).
So travelwiththetribe.com gives a big thumbs up to the refillable mugs, and all we need to say to finish off this post is enjoy collecting but be aware….. you will certainly need to devote a cupboard in your kitchen just for them!!