Fuel Rod Exchanges No Longer Free – Beginning November 1

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The Walt Disney World parks have sold Fuel Rod portable device chargers for several years. The initial purchase of the Fuel Rod, which you plug your phone into for charging, is $30. Previously, when the Fuel Rod was depleted you could deposit it back into a machine and receive a fully charged replacement at no additional charge.

As of November 1, 2019, there will now be a $3.00 fee to exchange a depleted Fuel Rod for a new one.

When the replenished Fuel Rods were free, we understood why some guests might find this a convenient option for keeping their phone battery charged on the go, but now with the fee, this becomes a less attractive. Instead, you may want to consider that there are many, many external battery devices available for purchase that have a larger capacity than the Fuel Rod that you can charge on your own with no expense. Many cost in the same $30 range at the Fuel Rod base, and again, there is no charge to refill them.

My personal go-to external charger is the Jackery Giant which gives an iPhone at least four full charges and costs under $35 on Amazon. (Disclosure that the link here brings you the TouringPlans Amazon Store. We get a teeeeny fee if buy through the link.)

Do you use Fuel Rods? Will the $3.00 fee change your mind about using one?

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Erin Foster

Erin Foster is an original member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel (now PlanDisney), a regular contributor to, and co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line. She's been to WDW, DL, DL Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Aulani, DVC Vero Beach, and DVC Hilton Head. She's a Platinum DCL cruiser and veteran of 10 Adventures by Disney trips. Erin lives near New York City, where she can often be found indulging in her other obsession - Broadway theater.

11 thoughts on “Fuel Rod Exchanges No Longer Free – Beginning November 1

  • I bought mine at Disneyland in September 2019. I hadn’t had a chance to go back (for obvious reasons) and I finally go to universal studios just to be charged $3. I was shocked but I already deposited my battery. I felt obligated to pay at that point but I should have walked away. I have a $8 battery charging case that charges my iPhone 8 Plus that I frequently play PokémonGO on and it lasts me days. I paid $30 for a battery that only gives you less than half a charge but swapping was easier than waiting by a charger. I looked it up and found that you had to complete a form BEFORE a designated time in order for you to keep getting it free. IMO that’s absolute trash. You should have enrolled everyone automatically via their email since they have it already. I had bought two and I’m so mad because we have a battery pack twice the size of the battery, has multiple ports, charges 10x, and it was $30. If there’s a lawsuit that is going on, I want in.

  • I bought FuelRods for my family because we go to places that have machines. They do not last as long as other chargers. In the future, I will not be purchasing any more Fuel Rods if I have to pay to get a charged one. That defeats the purpose of owning this brand. I’ll just remember to recharge my Fuel Rod and my other chargers.

    By the way, I bought most of these several years ago at a kiosk at UTC mall and paid cash. So, I do not have a receipt. Supposedly, if you purchased before a certain date you don’t have to pay. Not sure how this works.

  • Based on other reading, a class action lawsuit resulted in the Fuel Rod recharges in Disney parks to remain free. But I bought my Fuel Rod in an airport, with the same terms of sales, unlimited free swaps for life. Yet today in Oakland, Ca airport (OAK), selecting “swap’ on the kiosk shows a cost of $1.00 for a swap.

    Had the original terms been a cost for swap, I’d not have bought it at $25 (promotion). Cheap you-charge-it battery sticks can cost as low as $5.00. Admittedly, Li-Ion has a lifespan, and can be environmentally … yucky. That’s just another part of why user are (were?) willing to pay more for the freely swappable sticks, being tested, charged, and eventually replaced by Fuel Rod, as a cost of doing business, and to be covered by the otherwise insanely high purchase price.

    My question is, fre recharges inside Disney parks, but why are they being allowed to sneak away with the $1.00 in the airports? Terms terms of sale were clear for free swaps in all kiosks, touting how widespread and available they are with exchange locations. Free is FREE. NOT $1 !!!

  • I won’t be exchanging mine anymore. I only used it for the free swap. Does this include fuel rods at airports?

    • Yes, this free swapping of Fuel Rods is a thing of the past in all locations (the Disneyland/Disney World machines are the only ones that still offer free swaps).

  • They’re not worth the $$$. They can only charge one device at a time and only have a single charge. For the $30 you spend for one of these your better off buying one that has up to 4 charges for the same or less before you go on your trip.

    Those who I know who’ve purchased these Fuel Rod chargers when they were first available have said there are times when you get a charger that doesn’t have a full charge on it or sometimes not charged at all. I’d be upset if I spent money to get an empty replacement.

  • I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of would-be-“influencers” cried out as their devices ran out of battery mid-vlog.

  • Another example of how Disney service of late is steadily declining while prices are increasing… similar to the rental of strollers no longer being able to drop off/pickup at hotel…my guess is we will see the removal of fuel rod altogether soon and the replacement with the far more expensive “Disney exclusive” version… reaching a point where they are turning off repeat visitors… time will tell if all this nickel and dime money grubbing will work for or against them. Declining park revenue? Oh, I know- let’s just charge more and give less- guaranteed to bring people in droves…. Disney is badly in need of new management across the board

    • This is a change in Fuel Rod’s business model, and is not Disney’s doing. All other Fuel Rod machines stopped offering free swaps months ago, the Disneyland/Disney World ones are the last to make the change.

  • I will keep my fuel rod and just charge it at home for free like I did my others. Sad day that they want to charge for swapping now too. I liked the convenience of swapping rather than needing to charge them myself, but not for $3 a pop!

  • I bought an Aukey battery for $20. Lasts 4 charges for my ipad. Another nickle n diming scheme.


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