Universal Refillable Cups Orlando & Hollywood Guide

Bart and Homer Universal Studios Refillable Cups

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.

Discounts on Universal Studios Refillable Cups are available for Universal Studios annual pass holders.

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

Different character refillable cups at Universal Studios Refillable Cups
At the Universal Studios in Orlando, the character refillable cups are $15.99 + tax.
At the Universal Studios in Hollywood Character, Sipper cups are $16.99 + tax
At the Universal Studios in Hollywood Character, Sipper cups are $16.99 + 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.

Here are some of the refillable cup designs you can get at Universal Studios

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

Map showing sites for Universal Studios Refillable Cups

Orlando – Universal Studios

mao showing sights for Universal Studios Refillable Cups

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!

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
  • Affordable
  • 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;

Diet Coke
Minute Maid
And more…

Coca Cola Refillable cup machines at Universal Studios Refillable Cups

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 also offers drinks within the Universal Studios parks. However, these are not refillable and can quickly become very expensive.

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.

Starbucks provides drinks that you can't get refillable within the Universal Studios parks. These include hot drinks such as tea and coffee as well as speciality drinks including; iced coffee, smoothies...

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.

Lard Lad Donuts inside Simpsons World at Univeral Studios allows you to purchase souvenir sipper cups as well as fountain drinks.

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. 

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?

Save It

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.

re-sale value of Universal Studios Refillable Cups on eBay.

81 thoughts on “Universal Refillable Cups Orlando & Hollywood Guide”

  1. Great to know! How many oz does the souvenir cup hold….like the one from Volcano Bay that you picture above hold?

  2. Nigel Murgatroyd

    Hi, we are very lucky this year and going to Universal Hollywood Studios next week and then Orlando in October. Will the Hollywood cup work in Orlando if i pay the reactivation fee?

    1. I have absolutely no idea, sorry. My best suggestion would be to take it anyway and give it a go and see what happens. Hopefully, yes! ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Our pleasure. We’re visiting with three kids next year for our Wedding so we definitely understand your pain when it comes to costs. ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. Is there anywhere on Universal’s website to find their policy on this? I tried searching and can’t find anything directly from Universal. We have annual passes, and I didn’t know you could bring the cups back day after day, even for a refill cost. That really would be great. And since you can get the cute collector ones (hello, pink donut) that makes it a fun thing that will actually get used!

    1. Hi Jackie, fellow Universal annual pass holders here!

      We’ve never seen it in writing on the website or on anything inside the park, instead only experienced it first-hand when returning for our visit.

  4. Just got back from Universal and thought I should offer an update. Cups are now 15.99 + tax. There are now discounts for multiple cups: 2 cups are 14.99 + tax each and 3-6 are 12.99 + tax each. No idea, if there more discounts for 7 or more.
    Reactivation of the cup is 7.99 + tax per day.
    Also, the on-site hotels have their own refillable cups, but they don’t work at the park, and the park cups don’t work at the hotels.

          1. Hi, I’m just curious to know how much is the tax on these cups?? Family of 7 going over in June and anywhere I’ve looked at prices of stuff it just says 15 dollars plus tax…We are from Ireland and everything here is taxed at source so the price displayed is the price you pay..so if it’s 15 here, that’s all you pay.

  5. Can you use a resort cup from lets say aventura at another resort lets say cabana bay? Dince they are nearby i might be eating back and forth

    1. Thanks for a great question. I checked with Universal and sadly you’re only able to use the refillable cup for refills at the hotel you bought it at.

      1. We did this last year. They don?t advertise it but still do the refills without reactivating the cups chip. The choice of drinks is less than with the freestyle cup but you still get Coke etc

    1. Yes they still offer this when you buy the merchandise cups, like captain America shield cup.
      You buy it and get first cup free then ?1.99 for additional refills ?

  6. Hi,
    Can you tell me how the cups are reactivated. I saw a couple on E-Bay I am interested in buying,
    Just not sure how the reactivation process works.

    1. We never saw any for sale. I’m not sure if they will replace as it could leave other cups short but you can try for nothing right?

    1. The refillable cup is the best value for money. It’s not a character designed and can be used throughout your visit to Universal Studios to save money on drinks.

      The souvenir cup can’t be used as a coca-cola freestyle cup and instead just comes with one drink – I think you could possibly get it refilled at an additional cost. These are in character 3d designs. Hope this helps ๐Ÿ˜€

        1. Universal Orlando has two different refill programs – the character & souvenir “discounted refill” cup program and the “Coke Freestyle” program.

          The character cups (Minions, Simpsons, etc., usually $15-$16 each) and the more plain souvenir cups that you can buy for $9 are part of the old, regular “discounted refill” plan. They aren’t free to refill, but are $1-$1.50 to refill (see the shelf label in the photo of the transformers mug above).

          The Coke Freestyle program uses special RFID cups that cost $12.99 each for the first day. and $5.99 for the second day. Some discounts are available for multiple cups or longer stays.

          The character/souvenir program can be cheaper, too. Let’s say you’re going to visit for two days. With the Coke Freestyle program, that would cost you about $19 for 2 days ($12.99 for the first day + $5.99 for the second day).

          For the same price, you could buy one of the regular refill mugs ($9) and keep refilling it as often as you want for 99 cents (or more – the Transformer photo says $1.49, but most places charge 99 cents). So, you’d have to drink more than 10 sodas in 2 days to make the Freestyle program pay for itself.

          Of course, the Freestyle program has a lot more drink choices, and you could refill it for other people in your group (as long as you’re willing to wait 5-10 minutes between refills).

          Now, Cabana Bay & Aventura have their own refill cups – the THIRD and FOURTH refill programs! Those are more like the “Coke Freestyle” programs in the parks, where you get a cup with an RFID tag in it that’s good for unlimited refills over a certain number of days. Cabana Bay’s program is called “Sonic Fill”; I’m not sure about Aventura’s. Either way, those cups are ONLY refillable at their respective hotels.

          I hope that clears up some confusion. Universal does NOT make it easy to sort these out!

          1. Thanks for sharing this Kevin, I had no idea about the fourth refill programs. Hoping to check out the new Aventura in the New Year! ๐Ÿ˜€

  7. I got one in September and it’s great! Thinking of going back next September and of course bringing it. Does anyone know if I don’t reactivate it one day, can I ask for just ice water? I mean 9 bucks a day for unlimited drinks is fine. I’d budget for that (likely more cause it could go up) but I’m just curious if I was only feeling like water on a hot day.

    1. Hi Jen,

      I don’t know the answer to this one sadly… We’re going back in March so I’ll give it a go for you and see what happens. If I remember correctly from memory, you don’t need the RFID chip to be ‘active’ to be able to press water… but I’d like to be sure on our next visit for you ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. I know you used to be able to get ice & water from the Coke Freestyle machines for free, but I’ve read several reports that say you can only get ice from the machines now. You’d need to ask for water from one of the food stands.

        1. Thanks for the update Kevin. We’re visiting Hollywood again in February and Orlando in March / April so should be able to confirm in both parks soon. Hope this isn’t the case, the ease of access for water is a huge bonus in our eyes ๐Ÿ™‚

          1. I know you can get water aat the Freestyle machines when you have the park’s Freestyle cup, but I was not able to get anything except ice in my non-Freestyle mug.

            The screen simply doesn’t respond if you don’t have a Freestyle mug on the base. If you try touching the screen for anything – even water – you get a message saying “please set your Freestyle cup on the base to get started” or something like that.

            Also, I understood that quick service places were supposed to refill any Universal mug for only $1.29. We were just there for a week, and only got a refill once. Every other time it was refused; they said “Oh if you want refills you have to get the Coke Freestyle.”

          2. I bought refill cups years ago and still have them and the straw can I reactive them. if so what would the price be

          3. I can’t see why not. I don’t believe the technology in the cups has changed. The prices would be the same as the daily refills as you already have the cup.

          4. Yes, you can reactivate an old Freestyle cup. You’ll pay whatever the current price is; I think it’s $5.99 per day.

  8. Do you think it would be worth getting one cup and reactivating it everyday rather than buying multiple cups? Which would be better value? I have tried working it out but I only confused myself.

    1. Really depends on your circumstances. That’s what we do, we just bought the cup for three days so we got three consecutive days of ‘free’ drinks ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Sorry if I sound thick and the answer is probably above but it?s confusing. If I am at Universal for 3 full days and want to visit all three parks which refillable drinks option is best for me as one person? Just the cup for the 3 different parks not the hotel stay.

    1. Hi Keelley, not at all. It’s best that you get one refillable cup for three days. (the three days are consecutive though, so be sure you visit them in a row otherwise just reactive upon arrival at that park on that day)

      1. Thank you. We?ve stayed at Disney for the last few years so know how that works but we have never been to Universal so we are grateful for any money saving tips. We are staying at Cabana Bay for 3 nights. at the end of our holiday

  10. Keelley,
    Since you’re staying at Cabana Bay, you might want to consider the Cabana Bay Sonic Refill program. We’re staying there in a few weeks & mostly want to refill drinks in the parks, but after doing the math we think the Cabana Bay program might be better than the Coke Freestyle (I’m going to call it the “Parks” version).

    First of all, the Cabana Bay version is cheaper. The Parks version is $14.99 for the first day, and $5.99 for each additional day. So, if you’re going for 3 days, the Parks version will cost about $27.

    The Cabana Bay SonicFill version is a lot cheaper, at $14.99 for 3 days, so you’re $12 ahead in buying that cup. You’ll only get free refills at Cabana Bay, but you can refill your SonicFill mug at any counter service place in the parks for about $1.25.

    So, doing the math, the two programs are about the same if you drink about 10 sodas over 3 days. If you think you’ll drink more than that in the parks, get the Parks version. If you think you’ll drink less than that, get the Cabana Bay Sonicfill version.

    Of course, if you get the Cabana Bay version you don’t get to use the Freestyle machines in the parks, so you won’t get some flavor options.

    On the other hand, with the Cabana Bay version you’ll get free refills whenever you want at your hotel.

    We’re planning on spending a fair amount of time at the hotel by the pool, so getting refills at the Cabana Bay version is more appealing to us in that regard. We’ll probably also eat several meals at Cabana Bay, and will probably want some drinks in the evening after returning to the hotel. The Parks version works at CityWalk & the Cabana Bay version does not, but If we’re planning on having lunch at CityWalk, we’ll get our mugs filled at Cabana Bay before we get on the bus.

    We’re also staying a few more days, so the price works out better in the long run too. When I first heard about the Cabana Bay SonicFill I dismissed it, thinking we would want the Parks version, but I think it can be a good idea for some people.

    1. Thank you so much. That information is so clear and just what I needed as it?s all so confusing . I will definitely go for that option. Enjoy your holiday and thanks again

    2. Hi Kevin,

      Quick follow up Q on this – Is it an offering all Universal Studios hotels have do you know?

      When we stayed at Sapphire Falls they could have offered it and I might have missed it, alternatively, it could be something new or not offered there.

      Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge.

      1. As far as I know, they’re only at Cabana Bay and Aventura right now, and you can only use them at the hotel where you bought them (i.e. you can’t refill a Cabana Bay mug at Aventura, and vice versa).

        1. I just found out that I was wrong – Sapphire Falls does have its own refillable mug program. I’m not sure if the image will post here, but I think their mug looks neat.

          1. Ooo thanks for the follow up Kevin. We’ll be sure to take a trip over when we visit in March to get lots of photos and details for the post. Really appreciate the heads up! ๐Ÿ˜€

  11. I went in 2015 and im going agian next year and i asked a member of staff at the drinks shop if i could change my cup i bought on ebay and they said no do they still do that?

  12. Hi, I have a refillable cup from 2012. Can I still reactivate it if Im going this year (2019)? Thank you!

  13. If I take my own water bottle, can I get ice and water from the Coke machines for free? I’ve heard conflicting answers, some say the screen won’t activate without the RFID chip, I’ve seen other comments that say you only get ice free if you didn’t purchase the cups.

  14. When we were there in February, the Freestyle machines would not give out water or ice. The touchscreen wouldn’t even start unless you had an RFID mug on the sensor.
    Maybe that changes depending on the time of year?

  15. I?ve read where you can get refills of slushees (icees) in refillable souvenir cups. I understand that butterbeer is not included, just checking on slushees. Is this true? If so, which cup works for this?

  16. I should mention that the Character Sippers from the gift shops had changed their refill rules (At least in Orlando). While you get the first drink free with your purchase, additional refills will be at “regular drink prices”. Meaning the only way to get a discount on your refill is through your annual pass, and even then it does seem more pricier than the freestyle cups and other souviner cups found at merchandise. I suppose water drinkers won’t mind this change, but I do find it weird that character style cups don’t follow the same refill rules as the other ones.

    1. It depends on the ride. Some rides allow cups on, along with bags etc. Others you’ll have to put all your belongings in a locker ๐Ÿ™‚

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