External Batteries

MelissaS8

Earning My Ears
Joined
Mar 31, 2010
I was following the news about the changes on the external batteries. Can someone please explain the current situation? Can I still buy something at the airport and swap them for full ones in the parks? Or should I just buy one on Amazon and charge it at the resort?
 

BritneyBelle

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jun 22, 2017
Fuel rods can still be purchased at airports or ordered online for about $25 (not sure if available at MCO or not). They are good for unlimited free swaps (Fuel Rods backed down from the $3 swap fee they were going to implement and Disney released a statement saying they wouldn’t be doing that without notice). That being said, it’s probably a better bang for your buck to buy a charger on amazon and just plug it in every night. Fuel rods are very cheap lipstick style chargers good for about a charge (they say two charges but in my experience I was never able to get more than one out of them). You can buy one on Amazon for the same price which will charge faster and give you three full charges for about the same price.
 

trubgerg

Mouseketeer
Joined
Dec 14, 2017
I have a Fuel Rod that I bought from their website for $20. It's fun to be able to swap out a depleted battery for a charged one at a kiosk.
 
  • Tomh

    1100 miles too far North.
    Joined
    Feb 2, 2008
    I have a Fuel Rod that I purchased a few years ago, when they were first in the parks, and it has worked well for us. Once you learn where the kiosks are for exchanging them, it is quick and easy to swap them, and as long as that swap remains free, the Fuel Rod is a fine choice.

    Now that they have tried charging a $3 fee to swap them, I would assume that it is only a matter of time before that fee becomes a reality. I honestly don't think that the company's business model can sustain the free swaps for ever, and they will need the revenue from those swap fees in order to replace older worn out Fuel Rods themselves.

    If I didn't already own a Fuel Rod, I would not purchase one at this point, I would go with a good pack. I have a 10,000 Mah Samsung pack which I use at home. It works quite nicely, and is built very ruggedly with an all aluminum body. Not a bad choice for banging around all day in your park bag.
     

    The Foolish Mortal

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 28, 2017
    If I didn't already own a Fuel Rod, I would not purchase one at this point, I would go with a good pack. I have a 10,000 Mah Samsung pack which I use at home. It works quite nicely, and is built very ruggedly with an all aluminum body. Not a bad choice for banging around all day in your park bag.
    I agree with this comment, FWIW, I carry a mophie with me and it works great. Fits inside my pocket and keeps my phone charged all day at the parks
     

    Best Aunt

    "That's the best-est present ever!"
    Joined
    May 1, 2009
    If you are thinking about getting a Fuel Rod, you should think about where you would want to swap it out, and what your options are. I seem to recall that in all of Animal Kingdom park, there was only one machine. Beach Club and Yacht Club have no machines.
     

    Tomh

    1100 miles too far North.
    Joined
    Feb 2, 2008
    If you are thinking about getting a Fuel Rod, you should think about where you would want to swap it out, and what your options are. I seem to recall that in all of Animal Kingdom park, there was only one machine. Beach Club and Yacht Club have no machines.
    I believe you are right about that. I think the only kiosk in Animal Kingdom, or at least the only one I have ever found, is near Island Mercantile. Luckily, the way Animal Kingdom is laid out, it isn't terribly difficult to swing past Island Mercantile to swap it, but certainly, it is no as convenient as some of the other parks. MK is a treat with lots of places to swap a dead battery.

    All in all, I would say that I have MORE than gotten my monies worth out of the Fuel Rod. The only reason why I would advise against buying one now is because it seems obvious that a charge for the swap is in the future. If you are paying $30 for a charger that really is worth about $20, that extra $10 is for your swapping. Now, we are looking at the probability that those swaps are going to cost $2 or $3 each. Even at $2 a swap, just 5 swaps puts you at $10 . . . add that to the $10 that you overpaid for the Fuel Rod to begin with, and you have enough to buy a second charger at the going market rate of $20 each. This adds up quickly. On our typical trips, with 5 phones to keep charged, it is not unusual for me to swap my Fuel Rod out 5 times in a day. Over the course of a 10 day trip, that would be $100 in swap fees, more than enough to pay for any power pack I might want. With that fee pretty much a certainty on the horizon, it is not a very good deal now.
     
  • ShadowCross

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 5, 2018
    I love my RAV Power battery packs. I have two. Different strengths. They can be heavy the bigger you get, so if weight or size is an issue just keep that in mind. The fuel rods are small and much lighter. But I wouldn't get one. I prefer my own. My little one would get me through a day (I had an old battery that didn't last long and was dying at 30%, I've replace that since and I am sure my little one would go farther now that my phone is in a better place). My big one got me through a couple of days.
     

    DuskKodesh

    Marvel Hero in Training
    Joined
    Aug 11, 2019
    Hubs and I got a couple of 10,000 mah powerbanks from Costco a few years ago and for 20$ just picked up an extra 3 pack of 5000 mah ones. We get maybe four full charges on the big, a couple on the small but since we do full zoo days and play Pokemon Go we found it was a much better value to just pack our own.
    Just make sure you buy from a reliable company or business. Amazon is full of fake ones advertised as being high charge but really they are like 2000 mah and then just weighted with sand or metal inside.
     

    TinkNanny

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 28, 2006
    I like FuelRods simply for the fact that it is so light in my backpack. We bought the original one in Disneyland over the summer and used it for 4 phones to recharge. We probably swapped it out twice a day... Once in parks and back at our resort at night. We were in WDW this past week and used it again. We never had a problem managing to be near a location to swap. If you know ahead of time where the Kiosks are, just plug your phone in for a while and swap when near one. As we use both the Disney App and Lines App constantly, our batteries are always draining. We have more than made up our initial investment, and would still probably use FuelRods if there was a small swap fee. I will say that it does take a little longer to charge your phone than some of the other ones, but I think the size, weight and convenience is worth it.
     

    loves to dive

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 21, 2011
    We use the fuel rods mainly for the size. My son always has the nice big cargo pockets in his shorts or deep pockets in his jeans but women's clothes have next to nothing pockets. We don't carry bags into the parks, if it doesn't fit in a pocket it doesn't go. I can fit my cell phone with it's little pocket thing on the back for CC and some cash in one pocket and the little fuel rod in another even in women's pockets.
     
  • tguz

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 6, 2018
    I'd never buy a fuel rod. Eventually, they will charge to swap and you can get a good one for half the price with more capacity. Just charge it overnight.
     

    emily nicole

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 18, 2017
    I have a Fuel Rod and we love the convenience of it. I hope it stays free for a good long while. I like how light it is in my backpack. I tried a similar-sized charger off Amazon, and it didn't last long enough for the whole day and didn't give much of a charge. I also spent more $$ on one from Amazon that did last all day, however, it was too heavy and I didn't like dragging it around.

    If anyone can suggest a powerful portable charger that's as light and small as a Fuel Rod, let me know!
     

    Best Aunt

    "That's the best-est present ever!"
    Joined
    May 1, 2009
    I bought the Fuel Rod because I managed to lose my Mophie on arrival day. The Fuel Rod is much smaller than the Mophie, but FYI it was heavier than I expected. (I'm not saying it was heavy, just heavier than I thought it would be.)
     

    xipotec

    Grinning Ghosts
    Joined
    Feb 16, 2011
    I have an Anker lipstick charger, 3500mah.

    Small, light , pocket sized charges my iphone 6 about 1 an 1/2 times on a full charge, sometimes twice.

    Love that thing
     

    alwayssmile

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    May 19, 2016
    I recently grabbed the anker candybar (5200 mah) for $12. I'm pleased with the size and weight. Definitely fine for my husband to throw into his pocket. In the time took me to eat lunch one day, my phone went from 35% to 80%. I just couldn't see myself grabbing a fuelrod with possible upcoming fees and plus it costs a lot more upfront.
     

    Ralvek

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jul 8, 2019
    I think you can buy a MUCH better battery outside the parks that can charge your phone completely, multiple times and also pay less than the Fuel Rod.
     

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