News broke via WDWNT that Disney World will be adding FuelRod kiosks throughout their property starting this Friday, July 1. For $30, guests can go to a kiosk and purchase an external charger for their phone that includes the following:
- A portable charging battery
- 6″ USB Type A to micro-USB cable (for most Android devices)
- One Apple 30-pin to USB cable
- One Apple Lightning to USB cable
The FuelRod kiosks will be at the following locations:
- Magic Kingdom
- Tomorrowland Light and Power Co.
- Big Top Souvenirs
- Pecos Bill’s
- Curtain Call Collectibles
- Disney Traders
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Celebrity 5 & 10
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- Island Mercantile
- Disney Springs
- Marketplace Disney Photo Imaging
- ESPN Wide World of Sports
- ESPN Clubhouse Shop
One unique aspect of these kiosks is that you will be able to exchange a depleted FuelRod at a kiosk for a fully-charged one free of any additional fees. The FuelRod is yours to keep, and you can recharge it on your own with the included cable.
Those are the facts. But is the FuelRod service a good deal? First of all, the idea of readily available external batteries for phones at Disney World is one I actually like. A battery like this is one of the must-pack items for your Disney World vacation, so the idea that guests can easily get these at kiosks throughout Disney property is
However, once you dig down into the specifics, it’s harder to justify actually buying a FuelRod.
The biggest thing I look at whenever I buy a battery like is how much power it can hold. So, how much capacity does a FuelRod have? The FuelRod website is actually pretty dodgy about this by not providing a mAh rating for their batteries, only saying that they will extend the life of your phone by 8 hours talk-time. That’s barely over half of the 14-hour talk time that Apple says the iPhone 6s battery gives. So I believe The Dis report that the FuelRod will give you about 66% battery charge. Frankly, this is a shockingly tiny battery. My current external battery charger holds about 2-3 full charges for my iPhone, and costs almost a 3rd of the FuelRod.
Also, the FuelRod website also says that a FuelRod is $20, but the WDWNT report lists the Disney World price as $30. That’s a pretty big hike.
However, to be fair, there are a couple of advantages to the FuelRod service. First of all, it comes with the necessary cables for charging. Granted, you probably already own a cable to charge your phone, but it is nice to get an extra cable. Also, there is the unique aspect of being able to swap out a dead battery with a fully charged one for free at a kiosk. But, if you get an external battery with just 6000 mAh, that’s anywhere from 4-6 times the estimated capacity of the FuelRod, so there would really be no need to exchange them.
Should you get a Fuel Rod? No, probably not. It’s expensive for what it is, and the advantages are vastly outweighed by the tiny capacity of the battery. If your phone battery is depleted at Disney World, then this may be a good last-ditch option. The price isn’t insanely bad… it just isn’t a good deal.
What should I get instead? Plan ahead and get an external battery charger from Amazon. Here are a couple of options, one for personal use and one for a big group.
Recommended Item: The Jackery Bar Premium 6000 mAh External Battery Charger – Amazon. This is the charger that I currently use, and I think it has the perfect combination of size and power. It’s small and light enough that I can fit it in my pocket or backpack without thinking about it, and it has enough power to pull three full charges back into my iPhone. Plus, it only costs $13 currently, which is much less than the FuelRod sold by Disney. Jackery Bar has a 4.5 rating on Amazon.
Recommended Item: Anker 20000 mAh Portable Charger – Amazon. Need more power than the Jackery Bar? This 20,000 mAh Anker charger carries over 3 times the charge capacity of that smaller charger, but at a higher price. This is great for people who need a battery charger to share among the whole party, or people bringing their iPads into the park with them. It has a 4.5 rating on Amazon.