Universal Orlando offers a couple of different discount opportunities for you to enjoy beverages in the parks. Here is all you need to know before your Universal vacation.
Universal Studios Orlando is known for their amazing thrill rides, consisting of roller coasters and motion simulators. Here you can discover rides, attractions and a whole lot more that makes this the best park for people looking for BIG thrills.
Universal boasts that they aren’t about make-believe. They bring some of our favorite movies to life – including Minions and Harry Potter. These thrills are can’t miss fun.
Only have one day and wondering which part to visit? Check out this post about which Universal park is better HERE.
Ways to Save Money
Everyone is looking for the best deal or bargain out there. None of us want to waste money on vacation, that is for sure.
Have you ever paid attention to the cost of drinks inside of theme parks? They are quite pricey! One soda or water alone could set you back at least $5. This can quickly add up.
Universal Orlando has two ways that offer their Guests to get drinks at a great discount. The options are a discounted refillable cup or a Coke Freestyle cup.
How do you choose which is right for you? First, you need to understand the differences between the two options. Let’s take a dive into these cups being offered, so you can determine if either of these are right for you.
The first option is the refillable cup. This cup you purchase and then can get discounted refills for the LIFE of the cup or as long as Universal offers this deal. The refillable cup is any souvenir mug or sipper. This would include the Butterbeer mug. However, Butterbeer and other “branded” like Buzz Cola are not available as discounted refills.
With the discounted refill program, Guests can bring their cups back trip after trip and get discounted refills! What a great deal if you are a frequent Universal visitor. These Universal refillable cups can be refilled for $1.49 plus tax for fountain drinks at participating locations.
With this cup, you can also get discounts on iced lemonade, tea, and slushies. The discount on these items may vary, as the $1.49 price is for fountain drinks only.
Where you CAN and CAN’T Fill up
You have your cup. Now, where can you fill it? The souvenir cups (refillable cups) can be filled at any permanent drink stand. They can also be filled at any table service or quick service restaurant. Basically, any place that offers fountain soda usually allows for a discounted refill.
You cannot refill at a beverage cart because they do not sell any fountain drinks there. If you are ever unsure, don’t hesitate to ask!
The refillable cup can be used at Universal Orlando, Islands of Adventure, or Volcano Bay. The cup can be used across all THREE parks. But, you CANNOT use this mug at the resorts. The resorts have their own refillable mug program (we will cover that in another post).
Coke Freestyle Cups
The next option to save money on soda in the parks is the Coca-Cola Freestyle cups. These cups allow for UNLIMITED refills throughout the day for one price.
The cups have a RFID chip in the bottom of them that allow you to go up to the freestyle machines and fill your cup. With the freestyle machines you have over 100 options to choose from. You can add flavorings to your favorite soda or just stick with the classics.
These can feel pricier than the souvenir cups that are part of the discounted refillable cup program. You do pay more upfront, but after several refills it feels like a steal!
The more cups you buy the cheaper it is. One cup cost you $18.99 plus tax. Two cups will cost you $16.99. Three to six cups is your best deal and will cost you $14.99 plus tax. You can bring these cups back at each visit and reactivate for $10.99. The best part is that it’s not just soda or fountain beverages you can refill with Icee, too!
They do state that you are not to share this mug. Universal helps to cut the chance of sharing by making you wait TEN minutes between refills.
Freestyle machines are located throughout Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, Volcano Bay and there is even one in City Walk! Freestyle machines can be found at these Quick Service locations:
- Whakawaiwai Eats
- Kohola Reef Restaurant
Islands of Adventure
- Circus McGurkus
- Comis Strip Cafe
- The Watering Hole
- Captain America Diner
- The Burger Digs
- Pizza Predatoria
- Mel’s Drive-In
- Monsters Cafe Beverage and Food Stand
- Classic Monsters Cafe
- Kid Zone Pizza Co.
- Louie’s Italian Restaurant
- Central Park Crepes
- Richter’s Burger Co.
Freestyle machines can also be found at food and beverage carts located throughout the parks and there are also stand alone machines.
What is the best option?
Now, to figure out what option will be best for you. Anybody who has ever purchased fountain drinks at a theme parks knows that it is no small expense. You will have to weigh how much you plan to drink to determine which option is the best money saver for you.
If you are someone who likes to drink fountain drinks, your best option will be the Freestyle cup. However, if you are someone who frequents the parks often but only want one fountain drink a day, the refillable cup program is the better option. Quick math shows us that you need about 6 refills with the refillable cup to reach the price of the Freestyle mug.
Either way, both options offer you a great discount on beverages throughout your park day or days when visiting Universal. I love that they have both of these programs, as I will use one of these to purchase drinks.
I find fountain drinks to be too pricey for a single serve option, but with these options you will quickly feel like you got your money’s worth. So, my go-to option would be the Freestyle cup.
I hope that this guide to Universal Orlando’s park mugs has helped you decide which option is best for you and your family. Do you like to purchase a refillable mug when you go to Universal? Which program do you like better? Which one do you feel is the better value? Let us know in the comments below. Be sure to share this post with a friend who will be traveling to Universal soon!