Universal Studios Orlando Refillable Cups – The Complete Guide!

Visitors to Universal Orlando have a choice of several refillable cups. These include Universal Orlando Resort refillable cups, souvenir cups and Universal Freestyle cups.

The similarity between Universal refillable cups can confuse first-time Universal Orlando visitors. So, it’s a good idea to look into the differences and benefits of each cup before your trip to avoid wasting money.

What Are The Different Universal Orlando Refillable Cups?

There are three refillable cups you can buy from the Universal Orlando Resort.

  1. Universal Orlando Resort refillable cups
  2. Universal Studios souvenir tumbler
  3. Universal Orlando Freestyle cups

All three of these refillable cups are similar in their concept. Yet, they have terms restricting where or when you can use them.

Universal Orlando Resort Refillable Cups

You can buy a Universal Resort refillable cup at any Universal Orlando hotel. As of 2023, the Universal Orlando Resort refillable cups currently cost;

  • $9.99 for one day
  • $15.99 for three days
  • $18.49 for the length of your stay.

However, you can only fill a Universal Resort refillable cup at the drinks fountains at the hotel. As such, you can not buy or refill a Universal Resort refillable cup at any of the Universal Orlando theme parks.

If you are staying at a Universal Resort and want refills at both the hotel and theme parks, then you will need two cups;

  1. The Universal Orlando Resort refillable cup for refillable drinks at the hotel.
  2. The Universal Freestyle cup for refillable drinks at the Universal Orlando theme parks.

If you stay at a Universal Orlando Resort hotel, a resort refillable cup can be good value for money. However, the Universal Resort refillable cup fountains are only in the hotel lobby. Worse still, the Universal Orlando Resort refillable cups only hold 24oz.

Therefore, if you drink a lot, you may find yourself going down to the lobby several times a day. This long walk, time and time again, can be very frustrating. For this reason, I have never bought a Universal Orlando Resort refillable cup.

Universal Studios Souvenir Cups

As of 2023, there are two different types of Universal Orlando souvenir cups available to buy;

  • A tumbler souvenir cup
  • A character souvenir cup

The structure of a tumbler souvenir cup is similar to a resort and Freestyle refillable cup. However, tumbler souvenir cups are made from thicker plastic, designed to last longer. They also feature (in my opinion) better designs.

A Universal Orlando tumbler souvenir cup costs $28.99 plus tax. This includes the tumbler cup, and unlimited Coca-Cola Freestyle drinks throughout the day. However, this is still $11 more than the Coca-Cola Freestyle refillable cups.

As such, if you want unlimited drinks on a budget, the Freestyle refillable cup is better value for money. However, if you want both unlimited drinks and a practical souvenir, the extra cost may be worth it.

Meanwhile, character souvenir cups are designed to look like a popular Universal character. These include;

  • Minions
  • Bart Simpson
  • Jurassic Park Dinosaurs

The character souvenir cups are currently $18.00 plus tax. However, character souvenir cups only include one free drink. After the free drink, you will have to pay to refill your character souvenir cup at the full menu price.

The price of a drink at Universal Orlando is currently $4.19 for a fountain soda or $6.00 for an ICEE.

Given this, I do not recommend a character souvenir cup for saving money. Instead, character souvenir cups are an excellent Universal souvenir to take home.

Universal Orlando Freestyle Cups

The most popular refillable cup at the Universal Orlando Resort is the Freestyle cup. You can buy and use these cups at all three Universal Orlando Resort theme parks;

  • Universal Studios Florida
  • Universal’s Islands of Adventure
  • Volcano Bay (The Universal water park)

However, you can not buy or refill a Universal Freestyle cup at a Universal Orlando Resort hotel. Thus, if you are staying at a Universal hotel and want refills at both the hotel and theme parks, you’ll need two cups.

  1. The Universal Orlando Resort refillable cup for refillable drinks at the hotel.
  2. The Universal Freestyle cup for refillable drinks at the Universal Orlando theme parks.

Universal Orlando Freestyle cups currently cost $17.99 plus tax. However, discounts are available if you buy several cups at the same time. In 2023, two Universal Studios refillable cups cost $15.99 plus tax (per cup). While three or more Universal Studios refillable cups cost $13.99 plus tax (per cup).

I’ve broken down the mathematics behind the value of a Freestyle cup further down in this post. However, in short, the Universal Freestyle cup is almost always good value for money.

Using Annual Pass Discounts on Universal Orlando Refillable Cups

If you have an annual pass for Universal Orlando, you can get a discount on a Universal refillable cup. This includes any Universal Orlando refillable cup and daily refills.

The exact discount you get on a Universal Orlando refillable cup will depend on the annual pass you have. Learn more about the Universal Orlando annual passes on the Universal Orlando website.

How Do Universal Orlando Refillable Cups Work?

Any Universal Orlando cup that is refillable features an RFID chip inside the bottom of the cup. This RFID chip is embedded within the cup and can not be accessed without cutting the cup open.

When you buy or reactivate a Universal Orlando refillable cup, the RFID chip will be turned on for the day. This is done by the register staff placing the cup on a special machine.

Once your refillable cup has been activated, you are ready to get a drink. You can get a drink with a Universal Orlando refillable cup from a machine or at a counter.

At the drinks machine, you will be asked to place your cup below the drink dispenser. On this surface, there is an RFID chip reader. This RFID chip reader interacts with the RFID chip inside your refillable cup.

Once the RFID chip reader validates the RFID chip inside your cup, you will be able to select your drink of choice.

Alternatively, you can get your Universal refillable cup refilled at a quick-service counter. Here you’ll need to remove the lid from your cup, before passing your cup to the server.

At this time, the server will validate the RFID chip inside your refillable cup. Once the RFID chip is validated, the server will dispense the drink of your choice into the cup.

The drinks at a quick-service counter are limited when compared to Freestyle machines. However, quick-service counters are the only place you can get your cup refilled with an ICEE.

In some cases, the RFID chip inside your cup can become damaged. For this reason, it’s essential to keep the receipt for the purchase of your cup or purchase of your daily refill. You will need this receipt to get the RFID chip inside your refillable cup fixed or get a replacement cup.

Are Universal Orlando Refillable Cups Really Unlimited?

Universal Orlando refillable cups offer unlimited drinks – to a certain extent. 

In the case of all Universal Orlando refillable cups, you can only refill the cup every ten minutes. If you attempt to get a drink before the ten minutes is up, then you’ll be denied and told how long until your next refill.

However, unlimited drinks with a Freestyle cup or a tumbler souvenir cup are limited to the day you buy the cup or refill. For this reason, if you are going to invest in a refillable cup, it’s best to do it at the start of the day.

Universal Freestyle cups and tumbler souvenir cups can also be reactivated. Reactivating a refillable cup gives you unlimited drinks once again, albeit on another day.

To reactivate a refillable cup, take the cup to a drinks counter on the day you wish to reactivate it. The cost of reactivating a Universal Orlando refillable cup in 2023 is currently $10.99 plus tax.

Cold drinks stand at the Universal Orlando Resort

Once the refillable cup has been reactivated, you’ll have unlimited drinks once again. As before, refillable cups are limited to a refill every ten minutes until the park closes. Again, to maximise the value of your refills, it’s best to reactivate your refillable cup at the start of the day.

Meanwhile, Universal Resort refillable cups are unlimited for the number of days you buy. If you buy a one-day package for $9.99, then the cup will serve drinks every ten minutes until midnight on the day you buy it.

However, if you buy the three-day package, you can get drinks every ten minutes until midnight on day three. Meanwhile, the ‘length of your stay’ package offers drinks every ten minutes until midnight on the day of checkout.

Using Universal Orlando Refillable Cups on Future Trips

Since Universal Freestyle cups and tumbler souvenir cups can be reactivated, you can use them on future trips. Bringing an existing Freestyle or a tumbler souvenir cup is a great way to save money at Universal Orlando.

Right now, there is no limit on the age of a Universal Orlando refillable cup. Nor is there a limit on how many times you can reactivate a cup. For example, on a recent trip, I reactivated a Universal refillable cup I bought five years ago.

Sadly, I don’t know if you can reactivate a Universal Orlando Resort refillable cup. If you know any information about this, please let me know in the comments.

Of course, to reactivate a Universal Orlando refillable cup, you need to bring the cup with you. So be sure to add your refillable cup to your Universal Orlando packing list.

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Universal Studios Freestyle Cup Drink Combinations

There are more than 100 different Universal Studios Freestyle drink combinations available. The drink combinations are created from a mixture of ‘base drinks’ and flavours.

‘Base drinks’ are drinks such as Coca-Cola, Sprite and Fanta. While flavours include; vanilla, cherry, raspberry, etc.

Every drink combination is available at every Freestyle machine at the Universal theme parks. However, you can only get ICEE drinks from eligible Universal theme park counters.

Using Universal Orlando Refillable Cups For Butterbeer

Butterbeer is one of the most iconic drinks at Universal Orlando. However, you can only buy Butterbeer within the Wizarding World of Harry Potter area. This is Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida & Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure.

However, you can not use a Universal Orlando refillable cup for Butterbeer. Instead, if you would like a Butterbeer drink, then you need to buy it separately. The cost of a Butterbeer at Universal Orlando currently costs $8.49 as of Fall 2023.

There are no Coca-Cola Freestyle machines inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. As such, I recommend filling your Universal refillable cup before going to this area of the park.

Using Universal Orlando Refillable Cups For Alcohol

Sadly, Universal Orlando refillable cups can not be used for alcohol. However, you can buy alcohol separately at the Universal Orlando theme parks.

Unsurprisingly, the cost of food and drink at Universal Orlando is high. Especially when compared to elsewhere in Orlando – and the cost of alcohol is no exception. As of Fall 2023, a bottle of beer at Universal Orlando currently costs $10.50 plus tax.

While you can not get alcohol in a refillable cup, you can buy alcohol in a range of souvenir cups. These exclusive beer souvenir cups are available at different locations within the park. These include;

  • Duff Beer Cup – Duff Brewery in Springfield
  • Moes Tavern Cup – Moes Tavern in Springfield
  • Hogshead Cup – Hog’s Head Pub in Hogsmeade

Are Universal Orlando Refillable Cups Good Value For Money?

I have visited Universal Orlando several times over the past decade. This includes trips as a broke student to trips as a more middle-class adult with a child. However, regardless of the budget, I always buy a Universal Freestyle cup.

My decision to buy a Universal Studios Freestyle cup, even when on a strict budget, is a testament to this cup’s fantastic value.

In 2023, the cost of a fountain beverage at Universal Orlando is $4.19 plus tax. While one Universal Orlando Freestyle refillable cup is $17.99 plus tax.

As such, on a one-day visit to Universal Orlando, you need to buy at least five fountain drinks for the Freestyle refillable cup to be good value for money.

However, in 2023, the cost of reactivating a Universal Studios Freestyle drink is $10.99. This reduces the number of fountain drinks required to “break even”.

Take a three-day trip to the Universal Orlando Resort, for example. You buy the Universal Orlando Freestyle cup on day one for $17.99 plus tax. You can then reactivate the cup twice, once on day two and again on day three.

Each reactivation of the Universal Orlando Freestyle cup costs $10.99 plus tax. This brings the three-day cost of a Universal Orlando Freestyle cup to $39.97 plus tax.

Meanwhile, the cost of a fountain beverage at Universal Orlando is $4.19 plus tax. As such, a Universal Freestyle cup needs to be used at least ten times in three days for it to be good value for money.

If you think you will drink less than three fountain drinks a day at Universal Orlando, then a Universal Freestyle cup is not worth it.

You can get free cups of water at both Universal Orlando theme parks, Volcano Bay and CityWalk. You can also fill up a water bottle with free water at any Coca-Cola Freestyle Machine.

Sharing Universal Orlando Refillable Cups Between Friends & Family

There are signs at Universal Orlando that say you can not share a Universal refillable cup. However, pretty much everyone does – including myself.

Personally, I have never been stopped or questioned when sharing a refillable cup at Universal Orlando. However, please do so at your own risk and know that it is against the terms of service.

Of course, when sharing drinks, you must agree on the flavour and be happy sharing a cup with that person(s). You’ll also still have to keep to the ‘every 10 minutes’ refill rule.

Do Universal Refillable Cups Fit In Universal Orlando Ride Lockers?

On selected rides, you are required to put all your belongings in a free Universal Orlando locker. This includes refillable cups.

Rides that require you to put your belongings into a locker are free. However, they also have small dimensions of 14 in x 5.5 in x 16.9 in, with 5.5 inches being the height of the locker. This height is significantly shorter than a refillable cup, which is 7.65 inches tall.

As such, only when placed on their side will a Universal refillable cup fit into one of the free ride lockers. This means that you will need to empty your Universal Orlando refillable cup before going on a ride.

Does Universal Replace Broken or Faulty Freestyle Refillable Cups?

On my most recent trip to Universal Orlando, my Universal Freestyle cup started to leak. The seal between the cup and the lid had broken, causing the liquid to leak as you tried to drink from it.

I’d only had the Freestyle cup for a couple of days, so I took it to one of the service counters at the theme park. Here a staff member replaced my faulty Freestyle cup with a new one, no questions asked. However, I did have to provide the receipt for the daily refill to get this transferred onto my new cup.

While cup and refill faults are rare, I recommend keeping your receipt from the cup or refill.

🎟️ Where To Buy Tickets for Universal Orlando?

If you’re based in the US or Canada, I recommend Klook for your Universal Orlando tickets. Klook consistently has the most competitive prices. There’s also a range of different ticket options to suit all budgets and requirements.

Meanwhile, if you’re based in the United Kingdom. Then I recommend buying your Universal Orlando theme park tickets from AttractionTix. I personally use AttractionTix when purchasing Orlando theme park tickets. That’s because AttractionTix consistently has the most competitive prices and incredible customer service.

🏥 Should I Buy Travel Insurance for a Visit to Universal Orlando?

If you’re travelling to Universal Orlando for vacation, then travel insurance is recommended. Basic travel insurance coverage with Safety Wing averages between $5 – $10 per day and offers peace of mind.

However, if a trip to Universal Orlando isn’t part of a vacation. For example, you live locally. Then travel insurance isn’t likely to be necessary.

🚘 Do I Need to Rent a Car for a Visit to Universal Orlando?

You don’t need to rent a car to visit Universal Orlando, as the resort has Uber / Lyft pick-up and drop-off points. However, if Universal Orlando makes up the majority of your vacation, then you may want to stay on-site.

Staying onsite at the Universal Orlando Resort comes with several perks. Including complimentary transport from the hotel to the Universal Orlando theme parks. In some cases, you can even walk from your hotel straight to the theme park gates.

However, if a trip to Universal Orlando only makes up a portion of your vacation, then you may want to rent a car. I personally use Discover Cars to find the best car rental for all of my trips to Orlando.

🏨 Where to Stay When Visiting Universal Orlando?

If you’re spending the majority of your vacation at Universal Orlando, it’s a good idea to stay at a Universal Orlando hotel. Staying onsite at Universal Orlando comes with several perks, including;

While staying onsite at Universal Orlando is great value for money, it can still be out of budget for many. Thankfully, there are several budget-friendly hotels close to Universal Orlando to choose from.

Meanwhile, if Universal Orlando only makes up part of your Orlando vacation, then you may want to stay elsewhere. Kissimmee, International Drive and Lake Buena Vista are all within a 40-minute drive of Universal Orlando.

When it comes to booking hotels in Orlando, I use either Booking.com or Hotels.com. However, for large families and groups, VRBO is my number one choice.

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85 Comments

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

    1. I’m not sure how much it holds. I couldn’t find out as I think they vary too.

  2. Can I use a cup purchased at volcano Bay at universal

  3. Melissa Mcfarland says:

    Can I use a cup from last year, this year?? Thanks

    1. You certainly can. Even if it doesn’t work, Universal will replace it free of charge 😀

  4. Nigel Murgatroyd says:

    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! 😀

  5. Thanks for the tips. Traveling with 3 kids. This will definitely save me $$

    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. 😀

  6. 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.

  7. 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 James,

      Thanks so much for the update. We really appreciate it. Is this in Orlando?

      Thanks again.

      1. Yeah. Sorry. Realized after I commented that didn’t say I was at the Orlando parks.

        1. Thanks, I’ve updated the post and credited you. 😀

          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.

          2. Hi, I believe they are subject to FL sales tax at 6.5% 🙂

  8. 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.

  9. do they still have the one time refill for $1.99 plus tax?

    1. Sorry, not seen that in around 3-years. 🙁

      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. Thanks for the heads up Joy! We had no idea 🙂

    2. 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 ?

  10. Are still (non fizzy) drinks available? Thanks

  11. Can you use the character cups as refillable cups?

    1. Yes but the refill isn’t free like the others.

  12. Chrissy Miles says:

    Can the souvenir cup that I purchased in 2016 be reactivated

      1. if I purchase a cup 5 years ago can I reactivate it

        1. I would like to know this question too, as we last went in 2015 and still have a cup from then.

  13. 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. You’d just go to a member of the team at one of the refill stations and ask for it to be reactivated 😀

      1. Great, Thanks so much for the info.

  14. Do you knownif they sell replacement lids and straws? We have the cup but no lid. Thanks!

    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?

  15. Hi Cora. I am so confused. Can you tell me the differences between the Coca-Cola Freestyle cup and the Souvenir cup?

    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 😀

        1. Kevin Hawley says:

          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! 😀

  16. 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 🙂

      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 🙂

        2. AMY J CORY says:

          just went 2 days ago and you are able to get water as a choice for your drink from machine

          1. Amy, thanks so much for updating us! We’ll be sure to add this to the post.

          2. 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.”

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

          4. 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.

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

  17. 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 🙂

  18. 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

  19. 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! 😀

  20. So which parks can it be used in is it universal, islands of adventures, and Volcano bay

    1. Yes Claire, all three of the Universal Parks.

  21. Is water a refillable option in the cup?

  22. 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?

    1. You will be unable to change it unless it’s defective. Sorry! 🙁

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

    1. Yep shouldn’t be a problem 🙂

  24. 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.

  25. 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?

  26. 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?

  27. 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.

  28. scott robert mann says:

    are cups allowed on the rides or do i have to rent a locker to keep them in

    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 🙂

  29. As of 2023, do u think i could bring my 2019 cup in for a reactivation?

  30. Manuel Pizarro says:

    Thanks for the very clear information. but I have a doubt from reading some Blogs. They say that the size of the cup is very big and it does not fit in the lockers that are at the entrance of the rides, so you must pay for the largest locker. So, you spend in the locker what you saved with the cup. Is this true? If so, what do you recommend?

    1. Helen Harrison says:

      If you empty it out and put it in the locker on it’s side rather than stood up you shouldn’t have an issue 🙂