It was new for us this summer. The flavored kind at Epcot like the sour cream and buffalo mix was amazing! I have tried to recreate it at home to no avail. We only filled it a couple of times so they probably come out ahead on that deal with us. We really did not feel like carrying it around the park ever day and the flavored kind was only at Epcot we noticed, so only brought it to the parks a few times.
Yeah, we've been doing this since the end of September. While I suppose they could ask for the original receipt, check your MB or add an RFID chip (ala Rapid Refill) to enforce the "length of stay," from a pricing perspective the marginal revenue generated by the program is likely going to make it worth while even if there are AP's (like me) take advantage of the refill price on every visit.
Anecdotally, I've purchased 2 buckets (since they are now using the Christmas design) since September and we refilled at the special price on 4 or 5 visits. That means they've gotten $25-$28 or so out of me. Before the offer, we'd get a popcorn every other visit or so (never the souvenir bucket), so around $12-16.
Looks like they finally have some pricing people that understand demand curves and consumer behavior so they don't leave as much money on the table.
That's the same thing my wife was saying to me when I bought one, but like others have said, if you have a stroller just throw it in the bottom. Honestly that's the only reason I bought one, if we didn't rent a stroller I would definitely not be lugging it around the parks
Popcorn has to be as cheap as soda, if not cheaper, on a per serving basis (For arguments sake, I am ignoring the fact/rumor that Disney gets all it's fountain soda for free from Coca-Cola). They are charging more for the souvenir popcorn bucket now (IIRC, they were in the $8 range, depending on the park), but getting more repeat/$1.50 per refill business from them. Smart move, I'd say. And this is something I could definitely see my family buying whenever we're at the parks next.
Great deal for families. But as much as I love popcorn, I'd be too lazy to cart it around, given that it's just the two of us. - if it doesn't fit into a pocket or in a lanyard, it's staying in the car.
(Says the person who gladly wore those cumbersome plastic Halloween Horror Night refill containers around my neck all night for the $6 cocktail refills!)