Universal Orlando Refillable Cups – The Ultimate Guide!

Universal Studios in Orlando sells refillable cups at all three parks (Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Volcano Bay) that can be used at Coca-Cola Freestyle machines throughout the day.

A refillable cup costs $17.99 plus tax and includes unlimited drinks every ten minutes until the park closes. Universal Studio’s refillable cups can then be reused and reactivated for $10.99 plus tax and once again used for unlimited drinks every ten minutes until the park closes.

Discounts for multiple refillable cups are available if you’re travelling as a family or a group which can help you save money during your trip.

What Are Universal Studios Refillable Cups

Universal Studios Refillable Cups are big heavy-duty plastic cups with a lid. Previously these cups had a straw and a handle, however, the latest design (2022) has removed these features.

The standard refillable cup has Universal Studio’s branding around the outside. However, special events often have their own designs.

Universal Studio’s refillable cups have an RFID chip embedded inside the bottom (which can not be accessed without cutting the cup open).

When you purchase your cup for the first time, the staff member will place the cup on a special machine at check-out and activate the RFID chip.

Then when you go ahead and use the cup at one of the Coca-Cola Freestyle machines around the park you’ll be required to place the cup and subsequently the embedded RFID chip on a scanner which will then allow you to select the drink you’d like from the machine.

How Much Do Universal Studios Refillable Cups Cost

The cost of a Universal Studios refillable cup in Orlando varies depending on the number of cups you’re looking to purchase.

For one Universal Studios refillable cup you’ll pay $17.99 plus tax.

However, if you’re looking for two Universal Studios refillable cups you’ll pay $15.99 plus tax (per cup) while for three or more you’ll pay $13.99 plus tax (per cup).

The price you pay when purchasing the cup provides you with the cup itself and drinks at the Coca-Cola Freestyle locations every ten minutes until the park closes.

Eligible Universal Studios Annual Pass holders are also able to use their discount when purchasing and reactivating a refillable cup.

Reusing Universal Studios Refillable Cups

If you would like to use your refillable cup on another day then you’ll need to reactive your cup for an additional $10.99 plus tax.

Reactivation can be done at any of the Coca-Cola Freestyle locations within the park and can be done on any eligible Universal Studios refillable cup.

As such if you have a Universal Studios refillable cup from a previous vacation you will be able to reuse it and reactivate it to save money.

If you forget your refillable cup then you will have to buy a new one at the cost of $17.99 plus tax.

How Long Do Universal Refillable Cups Last?

Once you’ve purchased or reactivated your cup then the RFID chip will be active for the entire day at all participating Coca-Cola Freestyle locations until the park closes.

From there you’ll continue being able to reactive and use your Universal Studios refillable cup inside the parks for as long as the RFID chip works.

I’ve actually taken a cup home with me and brought it back to the parks four years later and reactivated it to use on my vacation without any issues.

What Drinks Can You Get With A Universal Studios Refillable Cup?

Once you’ve purchased your Universal Studios refillable cup you’re able to fill it up with a range of drinks from the Coca-Cola Freestyle machines or ICEE drinks from all eligible locations within the parks.

Coca-Cola Freestyle machines provide you with more than 100 different drink combinations from classic Coca-Cola through to cherry Coke Zero.

Universal Studios Souvenir Character Cups

If you’re looking to enhance your style and have a cool souvenir to take home from your trip then you may look at purchasing a Universal Studios souvenir character cup.

These cups are not refillable and do not have the RFID chip inside them that you would find inside the Coca-Cola Freestyle cups.

Instead, these cups currently cost $18 plus tax and include a complimentary refill at any eligible location within the park.

However, after this, any refill of this cup comes at the regular menu price of $4.19 plus tax for Coca-Cola branded fountain sodas or $6.00 plus tax for ICEE drinks.

As such I do not recommend purchasing this cup with the idea of saving money and instead just see it as a super cool and very practical souvenir to take home.

Using Universal Studios Hotel Refillable Cups At The Universal Studios Parks

Sadly you are not able to use the Universal Studios refillable cups purchased inside a Universal Studios hotel inside any of the Universal Studios parks.

This means guests looking to enjoy unlimited refillable drinks at a Universal Studios hotel such as Cabana Bay, Aventura, Endless Summer etc. will have to purchase a refillable cup at the hotel and then separate refillable cup at the parks.

Sadly you’re also unable to use the hotel refillable cups at different hotels.

This means if you purchase your hotel refillable cup at Cabana Bay, then all refills of that cup are only possible at Cabana Bay and not at any of the other on-site Universal Studios hotels.

Can Universal Studios Refillable Cups Be Used For Butterbeer?

Sadly you are unable to use a Universal Studios refillable cup with Butterbeer. Instead, Butterbeer will come in its own specially designed plastic cup.

It’s also worth noting that there are no Coca-Cola Freestyle locations inside either of the Wizarding Worlds (Diagon Alley or Hogsmede). As such I recommend topping up your refillable cup before entering this area of the park.

Are Universal Studios Refillable Cups Worth It?

Over the past decade, we’ve been to Universal Studios as broke students and as more middle-class adults and throughout all those trips we’ve always purchased a Universal Studios refillable cup.

Our decision to purchase a Universal Studios refillable cup even when travelling to Universal Studios on a strict budget is a testament to what fantastic value for money we think the programme is.

At the time of writing a fountain beverage at Universal Studios is $4.19 plus tax while one refillable cup is $17.99 plus tax.

As such if you’re visiting the parks for just one day then you’d need to purchase five or more fountain beverages in order for the refillable cup to be worthwhile.

However, given that the cost of reactivating a cup is cheaper if you’re visiting Universal Studios for three days then the number of drinks you need to break even each day is reduced.

For example, if choose to purchase the cup on day one ($17.99 plus tax) and then reactivate the cup twice, once on day two and again on day three ($10.99 plus tax each time) you’ll have spent a total of $39.97 plus tax.

In which case you’d need to purchase ten or more fountain beverages over the three days in order for the refillable cup to be worthwhile.

As such if you’re only refilling the cup once or twice each day, or alternatively happy to bring in a water bottle and drink water during your trip then this may not be the right option for you.

What Happens If Your Universal Studios Refillable Cup Breaks?

During our most recent trip to Universal Studios Orlando, I noticed that our refillable cup was leaking and some of the beverage was spilling out as I went to drink.

In this case, I took the cup to one of the nearby Coca-Cola refill stations and spoke to a member of staff who was able to replace the cup with a new one without any issues.

81 thoughts on “Universal Orlando Refillable Cups – The Ultimate 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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