$13.99 plus tax can give you the option to wet your whistle for the entirety of your Disney vacation. But is it really worth your time and money to purchase one? In principle, it sounds good, but it may not break down as a value depending on the way you use it.
To start, I am not a believer that they are the ultimate value because you can keep bringing them back and reusing them until your dishwasher makes it look like a blank do-it-yourself design mug. Regardless, let us make the assumption that you are buying one per trip and throw the philosophical debate aside.
When my family travel to the World, we use our mugs in several ways. First off, we are coffee addicts. This means I frequently drink my bad diner coffee completely black and enjoy it that way (if you are unfamiliar with cheap diner coffee, or diners in general, schedule a visit to the northeast!) That coffee is coming on the bus to park opening, and I might be lost without it. Would it be cheaper to make coffee in the room every morning? Possibly, but the convenience factor as you are trying to get your kids out the door counts for something.
The trick to traveling with refillable mugs is simple. Most of us tour with a backpack or bag of some sort. A gallon size ziplock bag and some napkins now become the tools of the trade. When you finish that beverage, grab stuff a few napkins to the bottom of the cups and seal them in the bag (usually I can get 2 to fit). Congrats, you now have a leak-proof transport system!
Splitting two mugs between my family of three (soon to be four!) also off-sets the cost. The variety of beverages at the stations, including the Gold Peak iced tea, regular tea, cocoa, and soft drinks help to have something with the wife and son want more than me trying to stock the hotel room with drinks. I also almost never get a room with a refrigerator to keep drinks cold on those hot Orlando days.
At the value resorts (especially Pop Century) I often have to walk straight through the food court to get to my morning bus, adding to the convenience factor. Breakfast is generally an in-room experience, also freeing up quite a bit of daily funds to put toward a few refillable mugs at the beginning of the trip.
The value of the mugs to me has always been in the convenience, variety, and the souvenir! I use them more than once a week at home, just for some extra-geeky Disney fun! Any other mug tips or tricks? Think they are a good value? Let us know!