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Scoping the Parks
Practical tips for Walt Disney World travel
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Mike Scopa

Policy Change "Mugs" WDW Guests

The beverage refill station at Caribbean Beach Resort.
The beverage refill station at Caribbean Beach Resort.

In an effort to rein in costs and increase income, the Walt Disney World Resort hotels are making some drastic changes to the extremely popular refillable mug program that may affect many repeat visitors to the resort.

[If you are unfamiliar with the program, you can read about it in MousePlanet's WDW Resorts from A to Z page under "Refillable Mugs."]

According to an article in the Orlando Sentinel entitled "32 ounces of soda not enough? Disney tries out self-serve refills," Walt Disney World is making large 32-ounce soft drink mugs available for free self-serve refills in Typhoon Lagoon. That's the good news. The bad news is that you can only refill your mug on the day of purchase. If you return to Typhoon Lagoon the next day, you can no longer refill your mug for free.

Disney has added a new UPC bar coding system to the self-serve refill stations that, for the first time, controls a previously unenforced policy. Although the refillable mug program has always been advertised as available during an actual length of stay that allows guests to refill their mugs during their trip, in reality, guests often brought their mugs back on subsequent trips to refill them free of charge. With the UPC code tied to a guest's hotel reservation, this new system closes this loophole altogether. That is, once your stay has ended, your mug is no longer refillable. Those mugs you bought on previous visits won't work next time you vacation at WDW.

Another loophole that may close with this new system is that you might not be able to use your mug at any other resort except at the one you are staying. For example, if you stay at one of the resorts for a few days and purchase a mug there, and then you move over to another resort for the balance of your vacation, the mug might not be refillable at the second resort.

How will this new system be enforced? Once the UPC code system is fully activated, they can devise a system by which the fountains work only if an "active" UPC code is on the mug.

WDW visitors are already complaining that the new system is yet another line to stand in and just "more time-consuming nonsense cutting into [one's] vacation time."

Did you recently visit WDW and see this change in practice? If you have any first-hand knowledge or experience, please email me or Brian Bennett at to provide us with more details.

Click on the "Scoping the Parks" logo at the top or the "Section Contents" link at the bottom of the page to read Mike's previously-published articles.

If you'd like to write Mike you can reach him at


Photos on this page by Brian Bennett unless otherwise noted


Here's a list of the trip reports that Mike has written that are part of MousePlanet's archives!

Michael Scopa -- August 1999 -- Walt Disney World (CSR)

Michael J. Scopa -- July 1997 -- Walt Disney World (WL/CBR)

Mike Scopa -- July 1994 -- Walt Disney World (WL / CBR)

Also, don't miss Lani Teshima's column, "The Trip Planner" for more travel planning information!


Brian Bennett, author of MousePlanet's WDW Trip Planning Guide (and publisher of the Disney Trip Report Archive), writes:

The first Disney trip report that I ever read was a report by Mike Scopa that I downloaded from the America Online travel library in late 1994. The report was a detailed description of the Scopa family's trip to WDW in the summer of that year.

As soon as I was done reading it, I was hooked.

I picked my own brain and documented my own trips and the things I'd learned from my own experiences. Then, in 1995 I actually wrote a report as the trip unfolded. I took a laptop with me and spent some time in the evenings documenting what had happened that day. (I've repeated that process for my own reports ever since.)

In July 1996, I started my Disney trip planning Web site. Besides including my own reports, I asked for permission from the authors of several other reports and added them to the offering. Since then, the number of reports has expanded greatly. In 1997, I added an information summary for each report to make it easier to sort through the reports that are available.

I still 'blame' Mike for hooking me on this Disney habit.

Thanks Mike!

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