The Fuel Rod is one of my ‘must have’ items when I visit Walt Disney World, so I was very concerned when news broke that they were going to start charging $3 for every swap! I know that I could use the one I bought on Amazon instead and charge it myself, but it is convenient! I have to charge my phone probably 3 times per day while I’m in the parks. Taking videos and pictures, doing live streams – it drains the battery. Having the ability to swap the Fuel Rod is better than carrying one of the bigger batteries that would hold 3 or 4 charges worth, the Fuel Rod is much lighter in my bag.
In late 2019 Disney had started putting signs on the Fuel Rod kiosks announcing the $3 fee for a swap after they had previously had unlimited ones. They updated the website to say the same:
My friend was there on October 27th and snagged a pic for me of the stickers on the Fuel Rod stations
There was quite a backlash from the Internet about the charges and a lawsuit was even filed? Really? A lawsuit over the fact that you were promised unlimited swaps and now it’s $3? I think the world has gone mad… and I refuse to link to the ‘lawsuit’ articles because I personally think it’s ridiculous. Anyway…
As of November 1st – Disney has reconsidered and has taken the stickers OFF of the Fuel Rod locations and has released the following statement:
“A decision has been made to not implement the $3 portable charger swap fee until further notice. Guests can continue to swap their FuelRod portable chargers using FuelRod’s owned and operated kiosks at Walt Disney World Resort for no additional cost at this time.”
The Walt Disney World website now shows this again:
I am happy about the reversal in the decision – but can’t for the life of me figure out why they would change it? Did they not KNOW there would be people complaining? Did they get more complaints than they realized? We may never know… For now – I’ll put the Fuel Rods back in my travel bag and enjoy the unlimited swaps!
UPDATED JULY 2020 – The company has created a “Founder” Status to grandfather people who bought the original ones under the impression it was unlimited free swaps. They released this statement:
“SAN DIEGO – July 10, 2020 – Tricopian, Inc. (DBA: FuelRod) announces the availability of the “Founders” status in recognition of the continued support and loyalty of the most valued customers and “early adopters” (*) of FuelRod’s world-first, power-on-the-go program. The creation of the “Founders” status also resolves pending litigation against it pertaining to changes in its policies regarding charges for swapping its devices.(**) As a Founder, the customer can continue to enjoy free, unlimited swaps at any FuelRod kiosks (***). There is no cost to eligible customers to become a Founder.
Once verified, Founders will use the FuelRod app in conjunction with the kiosks to obtain free swaps under the program. The app will generate a scannable QR code that will be input at the kiosk at the time of the swap. The kiosk will then allow Founders to swap their existing FuelRods for free, even at kiosks that charge to swap.”