Like many 20-somethings, I often travel on a budget. Fortunately, Disney provides four value level resorts to pick from for guests trying to keep a cap on their spending. My favorite of these is definitely Pop Century. I’ve stayed in all of the values, but I keep coming back to this resort. There are several reasons I prefer Pop, but price has to be one of the main factors. I usually go, go, go all day long at the parks so I really just need a place to rest my head at night. On most of my trips, I just can’t justify spending a lot on accommodations. Standard rates at this resort start at $82 a night (plus taxes) and top out at $145 for the same room during the holiday season. Annual pass holder discounts are often available so be sure to check them out if you have one. In December I was about to book for approximately $85 dollars a night vs. the $135 during the first holiday season.
In addition to the low price, I think the theming at this resort is adorable. It stars in the lobby with displays of pop culture fads over the years and huge photos behind the desk. Continuing outside, ach group of buildings is assigned a decade from the 50’s through the 90’s and decorated with those years in mind. Larger than life icons look over the courtyards throughout the resort grounds. The bright colors and nostalgia might be a little cheesy, but they are fun. The huge bowling pins, yo-yos, and cell phones decorating the stair cases round out the whimsical décor.
So what are the rooms like? Yes, the rooms here are small. But for two adults it does the job. I’m sure sharing the room with a child wouldn’t be so bad, but I don’t have experience in that area. There are two double beds, a small dining table, a console with the television, and the bathroom area. The sink and closet are in one area and the shower and toilet are closed off to make getting ready in the morning easier. We have all come to expect cleanliness at Disney resorts and Pop has never disappointed me in that regard. If you know you won’t spend much time in the room it’s certainly not a bad place to spend the night.
I like the food court here. It’s by far the largest of the value resort food courts. The size makes it easier to grab breakfast without being shoulder to shoulder with what seems like every guest in the resort. This is also the resort which combines its gift shop and quick service eatery. Everything Pop! makes getting a lunch on the go and picking up sun block easy since they are all in one area. Likewise, the Petals pool bar is my favorite of the value resorts bar options. It’s the largest of the four and the cast members tending bar are fun and friendly.
There are three pools for guests to enjoy. On my last trip I finally took the time to relax and enjoy the pool a bit. Although the pools at value resorts are not as elaborate as those at more expensive accommodations, they provide a nice place to lounge around and cool off. I can’t tell you how much better I felt after lying by the pool and taking a dip or two. Something to keep in mind though is the rooms near the pool can be loud. You may want to request one further away if you like to take mid day naps. Like I said, I don’t often spend a lot of time at my resort to take part in other recreational activities so it doesn’t much matter to me that there are not many other options at the value resorts.
Like all WDW resorts, Pop Century offers free transportation to all of the parks and Downtown Disney. Pop has its own bus service, where the other values share busses. Therefore the busses are less crowded and wait times are generally shorter. I’d still recommend getting a rental car if it’s in your budget; having your own car makes getting WDW much easier and faster.
I definitely think that Pop Century offers the best bang for the Disney resort buck. While everyone has their own priorities when choosing lodging, you can’t argue the price. If saving money is your biggest priority I encourage you to consider Pop.
Next time I’ll report on the day we hit both water parks…
Photo: Night time shot of a 60′s building by Don Sullivan