Refillable Mugs: Changes May Be ComingPosted by Affording the Mouse
And by changes, we mean an all-out crackdown on mug cheaters…maybe. Here’s the deal: currently, when you buy a WDW Resort refillable mug for around $13.50 plus tax, you’re supposed to use said mug for the duration of your stay at your resort location only. The mugs are good for soft drinks and coffee, but not milk or juice. In years past, the mugs were themed according to each resort, making it more difficult for mug owners to hop over to another resort and use the mug. However, these mugs were sold on a “perpetual fill” basis, meaning they were good FOREVER…not just the length of your stay. Bottom line, if you have one of these old resort mugs, you should technically be able to use it at the same resort, even in 2010.
But for the last several years, the mugs have all had the same theming, with designs changing out about once a year to prohibit return visitors from re-using the past year’s mugs. Still, mug “cheaters” abound. Sure, it’s a lot easier to use them at other resorts–they look the same. And designs change minimally from year to year, so even old mugs will often squeak by Cast Members. And, really, CMs have better things to do with their time than to track down mug rule violators.
Still, it IS cheating, and it looks like Disney is about to do something about it. Disney has applied for a patent on a device that will ultimately be used to eliminate the rampant willy-nilly refillable mug use. Described as a “Self-Service Beverage and Snack Dispensing Using Identity-Based Access Control,” the device seems to be designed to limit–or at least record–the number of beverages that a guest purchases or refills. Likely, it will essentially eliminate the need for mugs, since the guest’s Key to the World (or maybe even someday his/her fingerprint!), not the mug itself, will provide proof of purchase.
My guess is that the whole system is about to be re-vamped. No longer will guests purchase mugs but rather a “length of stay” beverage option, which may even extend to the Parks. It may also somehow be linked to the Disney Dining Plan, allowing guests to use their snack credits at resort vending machines. The possibilities are endless!
Personally, I’m not terribly sad to see the mugs go. We rarely visit the food courts at our resorts, since we bring our own beverages/snacks from home. But I love the idea of extending this to the theme parks, where we’re far less likely to carry a full day’s worth of beverages!