Fuel Rod Disney - Gimmick or Useful?

July 23, 2022

Is your phone battery disappearing quicker than your Dole Whip?

Follow along for a boost as we take you through the ins and outs of the Disney FuelRod. 

The Walt Disney Company’s primary goal is to create magic through even the most mundane theme park undertakings. That line for Space Mountain? Consider it free time to master Rocket Race or Jungle Cruise Trivia! Disney has come out with apps to help keep boredom at bay. Download the Play Disney Parks app and the My Disney Experience app.

However, your fully charged phone battery will quickly deplete between the games, keeping up with your Genie, Genie+ reservations, and all the photos you are taking for social media. Trust us. It drains fast. This can cause a panic if you're staying on Disney property and need to use your My Disney Experience app as a room key.

Enter the FuelRod! It's a reasonably affordable option to keep the good times rolling and your phone battery fully charged! Keep reading to uncover all there is to know about Walt Disney's FuelRod.

space shuttle with Alien character from Toy Story attached to seat of the Alien Swirling Saucers ride in Disneyworld, Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Disney

What is a FuelRod?

A FuelRod is a battery pack that you connect to your USB devices, one at a time, to charge them until the FuelRod runs out of power. You can then swap the drained FuelRod at any FuelRod kiosk across the Walt Disney World parks for a fully charged FuelRod. 

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To make a purchase, find a FuelRod kiosk, and swipe your credit card (all major credit cards accepted). You will be given a little plastic tube that contains the FuelRod, a 6” USB charging cable that works for Android devices or most other items that take micro-USB, and two adapters that will connect to the USB cord so you can charge any Apple products (one is a lightning port and the other is the 30 pin port for older Apple items).

The cost in the Disney World parks to purchase a FuelRod is $30 + tax.

photo credit: DisneyFamilyMadness via Facebook

Once the FuelRod is empty, you can recharge it yourself by connecting it to a USB wall charger or find a FuelRod kiosk and exchange it for a fully charged FuelRod. Shortly after reopening post-COVID, the kiosks for the Fuel Rods at Disney World started charging everyone $3 per swap, which triggered a less than magical response from guests. Soon following, a “Founders Status” was created. It's a status that applies to anyone who had purchased the FuelRods before October 26, 2019, allowing them to swap their FuelRods for free.

If you do not have Founders Status, you will pay the U$ 3 per swap; however, some non-Disney FuelRod kiosks charge less to exchange.

An important thing to note is that FuelRod is a third-party company, so if you have an issue with a machine, Disney cannot help you, nor is there a Disney email address to reach out to. If you have a problem at a FuelRod kiosk, do not leave the kiosk; there is a phone number for customer service on the kiosk.

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Call this number, explain your issue, and then they will ask you for information on the kiosk so they can override the system remotely and have it do what needs to be done. If you are not from the US or do not want to roam, you can download a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) app that will use Disney’s free Wi-Fi to make a call; like the TextNow app. To prevent roaming, set it up as soon as you get to Disney, as it provides you a free local number based on your location. 

Fuel Rod Locations at Disney World

In the last year, the number of Fuel Rod locations has doubled. As of the Summer of 2022, you can find them at:

  • Magic Kingdom: Curtain Call Collectibles, Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe, Big Top Souvenirs, Adventureland / Frontierland Breezeway, Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe 
  • Epcot: Living Seas, The Land, Imagination, Mission Space, Test Track, Disney Traders, International Gateway
  • Animal Kingdom: Conservation Station, Dino Institute Shop, Island Mercantile, Discovery Trading Post 
  • Hollywood Studios: Tower of Terror, Rock Around the Shop, Celebrity 5 & 10, Toy Story, Vacation Fun, PizzeRizzo
  • Disney Springs: Welcome Center, Disney PhotoPass Studio, Sundries

There are a few resorts, the waterparks, and ESPN that have kiosks. For a complete list of locations, visit Disney’s FuelRods FAQ page

Wide shot of people in a cart going down Splash Mountain on a sunny day in Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: WDW News Today via Facebook

Is the FuelRod a Gimmick or Useful?

When I travel, I always have a portable phone charger with me as it has been getting harder and harder to find a place to charge my phone or camera. While there are USB ports throughout the parks (like outside of the Tangled-themed bathroom in the Magic Kingdom), it can be hard to snag an open port. 

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Due to this, bringing your power bank is not only handy but very important to keep your apps working smoothly. I also prefer them while I am in the theme parks because I can charge my phone while standing in a line or on a ride instead of waiting outside a bathroom to get enough of a charge to head to the next outlet. 

There are many cheap alternatives on Amazon if you are looking for a power bank. After digging through reviews, I ended up with the INIU Portable Charger, which allows me to charge two items simultaneously and has a built-in flashlight.

I’ve been using it for over three years, and it has been great, but if you go the Amazon route, then make sure you read the reviews before making your purchase. Then when it arrives, test it out before your trip!

With the FuelRods, they are a great convenience, especially if you have forgotten your power bank at home or maybe you did not even think about packing one. Since you can charge them when you get home, they are worth grabbing as you never know when you will need it again.

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Would I go out of my way to get a FuelRod? No, not when portable phone chargers are so easy to get these days; you can get them at the dollar store for a few bucks if you want to. However, if I was stuck in the Magic Kingdom with a screaming toddler and no phone or my phone dies as my daughter meets her idol, it might be the purchase that saves the trip!

Close up of two children running to Aladin and Jasmine at a Meet and Greet at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Walt Disney World via Facebook

Tips to Keep Your Battery From Draining Quickly

Before buying a Fuel Rod in Disney Springs or any of the theme parks, why not try the following tips:

  • Turn on Airplane Mode
  • Turn off automatic cloud uploading
  • Turn off automated email downloading
  • Disable Wifi, hotspot, and data
  • Turn on Battery Saver
  • Turn down Screen Brightness
  • Shorten your automatic screen lock setting 
  • Only use your phone when you need to

Family in front of Cinderella's castle at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom - Orlando, Florida, USASaving Money on a FuelRod

If you have decided that you do want a FuelRod but are hoping to save some money, there are a couple of ways that you could save. 

The first one is purchasing the FuelRod directly from their website. At the time of writing, the same FuelRod, you get in the park is U$ 22.99 + tax + shipping on their site, and you can still exchange it in the park if you need to (you will still have to pay the U$ 3 to swap).

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If you find that you will use the FuelRod even when you are home, it might be worth signing up for the FuelRod club (U$ 20 + tax per year), and then you will get the FuelRod for U$ 17.24 + tax with free shipping. 

If you are like me and have been searching for a FuelRod promo code for Disney, you have probably seen that there are none available, and I researched a lot! The last time the company released a promo code was in 2014. However, do we ever have an electrifying tip for you! If you cannot order the FuelRod online, then look at saving money elsewhere on the trip!

Make up the difference by using Tripster to purchase discount Disney World tickets for your trip. Sure, you may not be saving the money on the FuelRod itself, but if you can save money somewhere else, it will all even out in the end.

Have You Purchased a FuelRod?

Would you recommend it? Leave us a comment below!

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Written By Emily


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