I've published hundreds of articles and reviews over the last 4 1/2 years, but little has drawn the abundance of comments that my recent refillable mug test article did. I believe it's only second to my Cinderella Castle Suite stay photo report from 2007!
In addition to this article, we also have a video that we narrated that explains how the machine works with the cups and mugs.
I am not surprised by the interest in the subject, refillable mugs have been debated online over the past 10 years. There are a lot of still unanswered questions, but remember it's so far just a test. There are always other soda options, from stopping at the store (if you have a car) to ordering from a company such as the popular Garden Grocer (if you don't).
Some of the questions I've been asked have to do with "forever" mugs. While I was told back in the 90's that the mugs I purchased were good "for the life of the mug" at the specific resort, I'm not sure if Disney will include those if the program expands. Just a month or so ago, a friend of mine who works at a resort was told by a counter service CM that they accepted two types of mugs: the very old mugs from the 90's, and the newest mugs. On the other hand, the old mugs are 15 or so years old now, and have had a great shelf life. This isn't as much a personal issue for me as it used to be, I don't drink much soda – but I'm glad it took this long for technology to take shape.
Other questions I've been asked have to do with split stays at the resorts. I am hoping if the program expands, the mugs will be portable to other resorts and possibly the parks. But as of now, if you stayed at any other resort on property and brought your refillable mug to Disney's All Star Sports Resort, you will not be able to fill it with soda (coffee, hot cocoa and tea machines have not yet been changed). I was also surprised to see the same refillable mugs at Disney's Vero Beach Resort, with guests using new and old refillable mugs.
One last question that I've been asked more than once – why is Disney doing this? It seems to me that the major issue isn't old mugs, but containers that have nothing to do with Disney being filled. Popcorn buckets, ice buckets, Universal cups, etc. And as to why it's happening now, that is because the technology is available in a way it wasn't just a few years ago.
Standard cups currently are allowed 4 fills for an hour's time. I'd rather see the time extended to 2 hours, even if the refill amount stays the same. And as I mentioned in my last article, I'd also love to see resort specific mugs back. I enjoy remembering my resort stays when I look at mine!
Validfill is the company that markets the technology, and Disney helped design the levers. The levers create a healthier environment than having the soda cup sit on the bottom of the machine.
End Zone Food Court:
Here is the RFID chip in the bottom of the standard cup:
Refillable mug sign:
The machine is self-explanatory, and the new levers are easy to use:
Without ice, I was able to fill the cup up to the top:
A guest uses his refillable mug, the mug is good until August 6th. I had been originally told that the mugs would be given two weeks each to start with. I'm not sure what would happen if a guest was staying 3 weeks, which is more common with guests from overseas than it is domestic visitors:
Cast members put the new refillable mugs out yesterday, with colors different than at the other resorts (purple, green, orange):
Our cup expired an hour after we purchased it:
Take a look at our video for more information!
We've already had 16 comments on our YouTube channel about the mugs, including one visitor who said that Disney should give the soda away free since Disney gets it for free in exchange for promoting Coke products. Even if that was true (I've heard it often, but have no idea if it is true or not), there are still other costs such as overhead and paying cast members to clean and stock the fountain area.
What are your thoughts?