Resorts all around Walt Disney World are in the process of rolling out the new Rapid Fill resort mug program which eliminates the issue of guests getting soda for free at resort quick service locations. Kathy Werling visited one of the first resorts to adopt Rapid Fill last week, All Star Movies, and wrote about her experiences there.
As Rapid Fill continues to open at resorts, there seem to be a lot of unanswered questions and unknowns with the new program. Craig Williams and I went back to All Star Movies on Friday morning to speak to a few Cast Members and to see if we could get a better understanding about how Rapid Fill worked.
1. How much are the Rapid Fill mugs and how long are they good for?
The price of each mug depends on how long you want to use it. There are four time options for purchase: 1 day ($8.99), 2 days ($11.99), 3 days ($14.99), or a Length Of Stay option which is good for any amount of time from 7 days up to 14 days, which costs $17.99. As of now, there are three colors to choose from – green, orange, and purple. I have a feeling that in the future we will see some new color options.
Because the mugs contain an RFID chip, similar to what is found in a MagicBand or the new Key To The World cards, they can be reprogrammed to add more time to them. This means that technically speaking, guests can re-use mugs for multiple stays. They would just need to bring back the mug to a Cast Member at the quick service location to add more time to it.
2. How do the Rapid Fill mugs work at the soda machines?
The mugs must be placed flat on the stand below the soda dispenser. This allows the machine to read the RFID chip inside the mug. Once connected, the soda machine will allow you to fill up one ‘full pour,’ which is about 16oz. we discovered.
There is also a time limit in between pours, which we found ranged anywhere from 2 – 3 minutes. The Cast Members told us that the time limit could be up to 15 minutes, so I expect that as testing continues, they will adjust this number.
3. Are the coffee/tea machines affected? What about water?
As of now, the coffee, tea, and hot water machines are not affected by Rapid Fill and continue to work as normal. This might change in the future, but Cast Members had no information about it when we asked.
The water dispenser on the soda machine was the only dispenser that worked whenever the button was pressed, even if nothing was placed underneath. This means that guests can fill up any cup, bottle, or container with water without having to deal with the Rapid Fill system.
4. Where do the Rapid Fill mugs work?
The Rapid Fill mugs will work at the resort of purchase, as well as any resort that has Rapid Fill enabled. This means that you can take your mug with you as you resort-hop and fill it up at other quick service locations, as long as you are still within your time limit.
I do not believe there are any plans as of yet to bring the Rapid Fill program outside of the resorts at Walt Disney World. It would be interesting to see though if they decide to bring the machines to the water parks, or other non-resort locations.
5. How do the new machines affect ‘paper cup’ soda purchases?
In my opinion, this is where the biggest impact of the Rapid Fill program is seen. Every paper cup that is purchased at a Rapid Fill-participating quick service location now contains an RFID sticker on the bottom. When purchasing, guests are informed that they have a 2 hour window (starting from first pour) to use the cup, and will receive 3 refills. The screens on the soda machines keep track of what you’ve already poured and will tell you how many you have left. Paper cups are also confined to the time limit between refills, which was about 2 – 3 minutes.
Walt Disney World increased the prices of their fountain beverages this week – $2.69 for a small and $3.19 for a large, both plus tax. I can’t help but wonder if this is due to the fact that each cup, at the resorts at least, must now have an RFID chip stuck to it.
6. Can I use an old Disney mug I have purchased?
No. In fact, the soda machine will not physically work without a cup or mug that contains an active chip. This means that any mug purchased before August 2013 when the Rapid Fill program began, will not work at any participating quick service’s soda fountain.
7. What if I bought one of the ‘forever’ mugs Disney offered years ago?
This is one of the most-asked questions regarding the new Rapid Fill system. Because I have no experience with the ‘forever’ mugs that were reportedly sold before 2000 or so, I took to Facebook and Twitter to see if I could get any insight. It turns out that none of the mugs had any language on them about being good ‘forever,’ yet several people report that both Cast Members and signs posted near the mugs stated that the mugs would be good for unlimited future visits.
“…there was a sign that said they were good for life. When I asked the CM about it, she said ‘Well, good for the life of mug.’”
- Lisa Merritt on Facebook
“…I recall quite vividly buying the mug with the WL logo on it and being told it was a lifetime mug. The CM’s said it was good for coffee, tea, fountain drinks, etc.”
- Matthew J. Stacey on Facebook
While we were at the All Star Movies on Friday morning, I asked a manager that was on duty about this. While extremely nice and helpful, she said that all Disney mugs sold in the past twenty years had a statement printed on them that the mug was only good for the length of stay. Now, this isn’t entirely correct. Several of us have mugs that are resort-specific that have no such notice on them. Because I didn’t have one with me, I didn’t press the issue during our visit, but I expect that it’s something Disney is really going to have to address in the future.
To be honest, I’m not sure there is much that Disney can do in terms of guest recovery in this situation, aside from offering a new Rapid Fill mug that is programmed for the ‘Length Of Stay’ which would cap out at 14 days.
If you have any experience with the ‘forever’ mugs and the new Rapid Fill program, or if you have any photos or written information about the ‘forever’ mugs sold in the past, please let us know in the comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear your experiences!
As Rapid Fill is brought to every Walt Disney World resort in the coming weeks, we’ll be sure to bring you all the latest so be sure to follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/TheDIS, Facebook at facebook.com/The.DIS, and YouTube at youtube.com/WDWINFO.