The Universal Studios refillable cups (also known as freestyle cups) can save you hundreds of dollars during your trip to Universal Studios parks without the need to compromise on your experience.
There’s a lot to learn about the Universal Studios refillable cups, there are different choices and styles, different rules and different tricks you can use to save even more on this already cost-effective drinks experience.
What Are Universal Studios Refillable Cups
Universal Studios Refillable Cups are big heavy-duty plastic cups with a lid and a straw.
They have Universal Studio’s branding around the cup and an RFID chip in the bottom of the cup (hidden away)
The cups can be purchased from any of the three Universal Studios parks in Orlando, Florida as well as the Universal Studios in Hollywood.
Once you’ve purchased the cup you’re able to fill it up with a range of more than 100 different drinks from any of the coca-cola freestyle stations scattered across the parks.
How Much Do Universal Studios Refillable Cups Cost
One of the standard Universal Studios cups is $15.99 + tax in Orlando and $16.99 + tax in Hollywood (reduced to $15.99 + tax each if you purchase more than one)
This includes one day of refills.
Remember, if you’re an annual pass holder then you’ll get a discount on Universal Studios food, drink and merchandise.
The screenshot above is from Universal Studios Hollywood. Where you’ll find a discount of 15% if you’re a gold or platinum, annual pass holder.
Discounts are not specified online for annual pass holders at the Orlando Universal Studios resort.
Universal Studios Souvenir Character Cups
If you’re looking at buying a memento then you can purchase a souvenir character cup.
These Universal Studios cups do not include free refills.
In Orlando refills are $0.99 + tax.
In Hollywood, refills are $1.49 + tax
You can pick up a variety of characters and styles that you can purchase at both Universal Studios Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood. All character cups are the same price regardless of the style.
Where Can You Refill The Universal Studios Refillable Cups?
The image below shows all the coca-cola freestyle stations at Universal Studios as well as Islands of Adventure.
Orlando – Islands of Adventure
Orlando – Universal Studios
Universal Studios Hollywood
During our recent visit to Universal Studios Hollywood, we found a limited number of places we could personally refill our cups. These included;
Inside the fast-food resturant at Jurrasic World ride on the lower lot.
Around the corner from the Mexican in the centre of the upper lot. Opposite the popcorn booth and the pet stars show.
You can get refills at other locations however these are limited to a standard 6 drinks and don’t include flavours as you’d find at the Coca Cola freestyle machines.
Can You Use The Same Refillable Cup On A Different Day At A Different Universal Park?
Yes, once you have your cup you’ll simply pay a reactivation fee + tax which will cover the cup being reactivated and used for that entire day (until midnight).
As of 2019, this price is currently $8.99 + tax at Univeral Studios in Hollywood and $7.99 + tax in Universal Studios Orlando.
This is ideal for annual pass holders or those who repeatedly visit Universal Studios Theme Parks!
Read More: What To Wear To Universal Studios Hollywood
Can You Use The Refillable Cup At A Universal Resort Hotel?
At this time you are unable to use the refillable cups for unlimited drinks if you’re staying on-site at a Universal Studios hotel.
Personally, I think this would be a great benefit to those paying the extra for the exclusivity of staying on-site.
However, Universal Studios Orlando has recently launched refillable cups for resort guests that can be used for fountain drinks inside the hotel grounds only.
While this is a great addition to the benefits for on-site guests the ability to have only one cup that works both in the parks and in the hotel would be even better.
Unfortunately, however, Universal confirmed that you can only use the refillable cup at the hotel you bought it at.
Meaning if you’re planning on going to visit friends or family in another Universal hotel, or fancy dining out at one of the other hotel’s restaurants you won’t be able to take advantage of your cup.
Benefits Of The Universal Studios Refillable Cup
- An easy way to keep hydrated
- Plenty of flavours and choices to choose from
- Can be used at meal-times inside the Universal Studios restaurants
- Can be used at all the Universal Studios theme parks
Drawbacks Of The Universal Studios Refillable Cup
- Can’t be used on hot drinks such as hot tea or coffee as well as specialist drinks such as Iced Tea or Iced Cofee.
- You have to carry the cup around the park with you.
- Can only be refilled every 10 minutes so if you don’t like your choice then you’ll need to wait 10 minutes before getting something else.
Coca-Cola Freestyle Flavours At Universal Studios
Any of the Coca-Cola drinks from the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine. These include;
Each drink can then be enhanced with a flavour such as; Cherry, Fruit Punch, Lemon, Lime, Strawberry.
There are also exclusively blended drinks available at each of the parks that can’t be tried anywhere else in the world!
Sharing The Refillable Cups With Others In Your Party
If you’re happy to share your Universal Studios Refillable cup with others in your party then sure thing!
One thing worth noting, however, is that you are only able to fill your cup up once every 10 minutes.
So, be sure you’ve got a flavour that suits everyone.
Using The Universal Studios Refillable Cup With Butterbeer?
It’s no secret that Butterbeer is one of the most desirable drinks when visiting Universal Studios.
Sadly, however, your refillable cup is not permitted to be used with butterbeer.
Nor can the souvenir drinks cups be used on any of the coca-cola freestyle machines within the park.
Universal Studios Refillable Cups Value For Money
So, how does the cost of a Universal Studios refillable cup compare to simply purchasing beverages as and when you need them throughout the day.
Bringing Your Own Drinks
Well, if you’re bringing your own drinks to the park then you’ll be saving yourself the full amount of $15.99 + tax.
In our opinion missing out on the fun of weird, fun and crazy combinations of drinks and refreshing ice-cold drinks!
Getting Non-Refillable Drinks At Universal Studios
There is no shortage of places to get refreshing drinks at any of the Universal Studios parks.
With many of the parks being in the year-round sunshine, keeping hydrated is very important!
In Starbucks (available in every Universal Studios park we’ve been to except Volcano Bay in Orlando) you’ll find the best variety of waters, juices and milk-based drinks. These prices will range from $3.00 + tax upwards.
Starbucks Coffees are not refillable at Universal Studios.
So if you prefer coffee to fizzy drinks then you’ll probably be better off just visiting Starbucks as and when you need some more caffeine.
Fountain based dispensed drinks are available from most of the quick service and sit down restaurants at Universal Studios parks.
With regular drinks retailing at $3.39 + tax and large being $3.79 + tax if you’re likely to purchase more than 4 large drinks a day, you’ll find it cheaper to buy a refillable cup.
In selected areas, you’ll also find bottled fizzy drinks. On our recent visit to Universal Studios in Hollywood, 20oz Coke products were available for $3.49 + tax.
Again, if you’re expecting to purchase more than 4 of these during your one-day visit to Universal Studios then you’ll save yourself money by purchasing the Universal Studios refillable cups.
You’ll also have the choice of more than 100+ drink flavours.
Drink Water Instead
Tap water is available from most major locations within the park completely free.
We’d, therefore, recommend skipping purchasing a Universal Studios refillable cup if you only plan to drink water during your trip to the parks and instead recommend bringing a personal water bottle from home.
We actually have an entire post dedicated to finding the best water bottle for you on your trip to the Orlando parks.
Damaged Refillable Cups
If any part of your refillable cup becomes defective. Staff at any of the participating Coca-Cola freestyle machine stalls will replace your cup for free.
What Should You Do With Your Refillable Cup After Your Trip?
If like us your return to Orlando, Florida and the Universal Studios Theme Parks a lot, then consider keeping your cup.
It’ll save you money when you return to the parks as you’ll only need to pay the $8 + tax to reactivate your cup instead of the cost of the cup which currently stands at $14 + tax.
Sell it on eBay!
If you’re not planning on visiting the parks again in the future then consider selling your cup on eBay to someone else who could benefit from it.
In conclusion, with each drink in the parks usually costing around $3 + tax, then there are some big savings to be had with a Universal Studios refillable cup.
It’s also a great way in which Universal is tackling single-use plastics. We love the variety of drinks available and honestly, wouldn’t have a trip to any of the Universal Studios parks without one!
If you love theme parks as much as we do then consider checking out our article on one of the Universal Studios Resort Hotels; Loews Sapphire Falls Resort and if you’re looking to make the most out of your trip to Universal, check out our article of Universal Express Pass.