BREAKING: Disney Removing Large Cups from Counter Service Locations, But Why?

In a strange turn of events, several counter service locations at Walt Disney World recently removed large drink cups from their menus.

A large drink cup I acquired at Pecos Bill's just a month ago, now gone from the menu.

A large drink cup I acquired at Pecos Bill’s just a month ago, now gone from the menu.

The confirmed locations so far include Sleepy Hollow Refreshments, Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe, Casey’s Corner, Westward Ho, and Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Inn and Cafe, all located at the Magic Kingdom.

Now, many counter service locations at other parks do not have large cups because the establishments feature self-serve soda fountains where guests are able to get refills on their own. The Electric Umbrella, Sunshine Seasons, Restaurantosaurus, and Backlot Express are examples of these types of counter service locations. Almost all counter service locations at resorts have these self-serve fountains as well, most sporting the Rapid Fill technology which limited the time and amount of refills the cups can be used for.

We have been unable to confirm why this is happening and if the trend will continue, but there are several possibilities here. The first is that Disney is trying to up-sell guests on souvenir cups. Westward Ho and Pecos Bill’s offer a fairly large souvenir cup shared like a jug, but even the souvenir mugs at Casey’s Corner and Cosmic Ray’s are much smaller than a large fountain beverage. That being said, Sleepy Hollow does not currently sell a souvenir cup.

From my personal collection: as you can see, the Country Bears jug is quite large, but the other souvenir cups are considerably smaller.

The second is that it is a cost cutting measure since most locations don’t even need to stock the large cups since they use a self-serve drink fountain. In addition, guests could be ordering just one large fountain drink for $3.69 and sharing it rather than buying one drink for each guest in their party. Disney could make a lot more money at $3.29 a drink if everyone in the group buys one.

With the busy holiday crowds, it could also be a way of streamlining service at some of the resort’s busiest eateries.

For those hoping self serve fountains or Coke Freestyle machines will be added, I wouldn’t hold your breath. Most of the locations mentioned above are far to small for either of these things to be installed.

Whatever the reason, we will have to keep our eyes peeled to see if the large cups return to these locations or begin to vanish from more around Walt Disney World.

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29 comments

  1. Michael McKelvin (@DisneyDaddy1984)

    Seems reasonable if there is free refills. Once most fast foods adding refill stations, I started getting smaller to save some change. But I’m sure you guys will be getting the psychotic comments soon. “Without a large cup it will take more refills to fill my 180 gallon bucket I brought for the family so we save money by buying one drink”

    • Anonomouse

      Well he said these locations that got rid of them probably won’t get soda stations and the ones with soda stations got rid of the larges way back when they did start them. So I don’t think people will be complaining about being able to fill their buckets. Just people complaining that they’re forced to buy 2 drinks for 6.58 rather than 3.69 for one that’s big enough to share. We usually just share a regular anyway and each get water, you know, to save money. Sorry for being so psychotic because we like to save!

  2. DJ

    The most likely reason is that people aren’t buying them unless it is included in the dinning plan. Why pay extra for a large if there are unlimited refills? BTW…what ever happened to the RFID chip cups that they were using that limited refills? Did those go away? I rarely buy soft drinks in the parks, and wasn’t sure if that was still going on.

  3. Terence

    We get the large drinks because it comes with the dinning plan, but they are too big. It is hard to carry 3 or 4 of them on a tray back to a table and we end up only drinking about half of it.

  4. jose

    Another cost cutting measure from your friends at Disney. Strike that. They’re not friends. They park is there to just make a quick buck off of us. We’re friends of Disney characters and heritage though.

        • Matt

          It is a cost cutting measure pure and simple. I remember when I was working at Typhoon Lagoon they brought in a food consultant. They made the recommendation not to cut pizza at the fast food joint… because overtime it would save significant amounts of money by not having to pay somebody to cut each and every pizza when it came out of the oven.

        • The rant man

          Andre, merry Christmas. Hope your new year is filled with happy thoughts and things that don’t upset you, like the size of a cup.

      • Phil Upmacup

        Because they removed the large cups from locations that don’t offer free refills and probably won’t be adding refill stations to them?

      • Aggl

        Free refills are disappearing Jeff. Get used to paying a lot more, for a lot less. it this doesn’t bother you, you won’t be a lone. The “shut up and take my money” generation is a large one.

      • Bernie

        Very few restaurants at Disney are self-serve. I believe the reason is to cut costs!! The price of the meal goes up and you get less!!

  5. Joe P.

    The cups are what cost the most on soda fountains. The soda itself is cheap. Dropping the large size can also speed up the order process with one size.

  6. ScroogeMcDuck

    But I need mah large sodas. How else will I be able to fuel my diabetes? It’s why I got my extra cup holder for my scooter.

  7. Stefan

    I think this is an unobjectionable move. They save money for the cup costs and make more buy selling more sods per family. People always rag on Disney for doing these types of things but they are a company, a very large one at that, who needs to do what it can to make the most profit. And its not like Disney does’t care, none of us would have those special moments in the parks

    • Phil Upmacup

      Those special moments in the park are because of outstanding cast members that DO care and want you to have those special moments. It’s the people that make it special, don’t minimize their role and give all the credit to the company.

      • Aggl

        hahaha, cast members whipped now AGAINST those special moments, and are pushed to make guests move faster, tighter tougether in shows to accommodate more efficiency, with just a smile on their face.

    • Liza

      I know! All this over a soda cup? All this over the double prices and half portions? All this over 3 of 5 rides being closed and one only open part of the day? All this over parking lanes being closed so you wait 20 minute to get the privilege to pat $35 to park? All this over your restaurant table being an inch now from every other table around you cuz they crammed more in? all this over their food quality being cut to sub grade A yet triple prices? The point….it all adds up. And equals a diminishing experience to FANS of Disney. If you fail to recognize it, then there’s bliss in your ignorance. The rest of us aren’t losing sleep over it, but it is WDW is declining faster than the Tower of Terror drops. That said, happiness is in eye of beholder, and younger folks won’t mind. Us older generations will begrudge the cheapening out.

        • GA Disney Fan

          Jonathan Gomez> This same argument has been brought up on this site countless times. What it doesn’t take into consideration is 1) the number of folks such as yourself who pay for products they’re too dumb to see they’re not getting what they pay for, and 2) Disney greatly discounts (free tickets, half price stays) large groups from Brazil, and 3) Disney cuts back capacity on rides, services when it’s not packed, so it’s still going to feel as crowded.

  8. Mike M.

    I am so sick of Disney’s less for more attitude! I just let my season pass lapse & doubt I’ll ever get 1 again or even visit! Disney no longer really cares about their guests like they once did. It’s now all about enticing people in & then fleecing them for as much as possible. So sad, really. R.I.P. Disney Customer Service

  9. Bob Penton

    Visiting Disney ” Mouse Traps” come on get real, the place is not there to entertain! It’s the so Walt could make money. And let’s be honest many of the people, self included! could do with down sizing on food and drinks anyway. Go to Florida to enjoy beachs and sunshine not rip offs and making Disney Ever Richer. Note over the years, 1/ time allowed in parks on rides reduced unless extra paid, 2/ Opening and closing times reduced, 3/ The famous midnight light parade around the park, changed from very late to late then this year stopped all together, So again less for for the ever increasing gate charges. It’s not just your free huge mug of drink (50% ice) you should be complaining about. Try other theme parks you will get better value for money lm sad to say. Happy Christmas and new year to all.

    • Johnny M

      Some people are just dumb enough to be HAPPY to pay more for less. You’re not alone. Disney gives the least value for money I’m sad to say. We’re here this weekend. The don’t give a flying fuck about anything but money. Honesty.

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