Take A Stroll Down Memory Lane at Pop Century!

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I’m sure all Disney World fans could name their favorite resort.  Maybe you love the atmosphere

Photo by Betsy Bates

at the Polynesian or you just love the southern charm of the Port Orleans resorts.  While the Boardwalk Inn is my all time favorite, the majority of my stays at Disney World are spent at the Pop Century Resort so  it feels like a second home to me.  While it is not as elaborate as many of the other resort offerings, I’ve always been very comfortable here.

One of the reasons I keep returning to this resort is the price tag.  It is categorized as a value resort which makes it among the most affordable accommodations on property.  Since I make multiple trips to WDW each year, keeping my budget in check is a must.  While I love when I have the opportunity to stay at one of the deluxe resorts, staying at a value allows me to keep coming back to my favorite place without breaking the bank.  Standard room rates vary from $82 a night in the value season to $164 per night during the busy holiday season.  However, annual pass holders can often get a discount, and keep an eye out for savings for the general public as well.

Photo by Betsy Bates

The price may have been what attracted me to Pop Century, but the fun theme keeps me coming back for more.  The theme of the resort is a larger than life representation of pop culture icons from the 50s through the 90s. When guests arrive, they will immediately notice the bright colors and nostalgic items used to decorate the resort.  Inside the huge lobby displays line the wall with memorabilia from each decade and fun  photos are hung

Photo by Betsy Bates

behind the desk.  Outside, the strong theming continues with each group of buildings representing a decade.  Giant icons like Lady and the Tramp in the 1950s and jute boxes are used to mark each area.  The exterior of each building features phrases and pop culture references appropriate to its given decade.

 

 

 

Resort Lobby Photo by Deanna Simmons

Resort Lobby Photo by Deanna Simmons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The theme even continues with the resorts three swimming pools.  The main pool is called the Hippy Dippy pool which is just behind the main building called Classic Hall.  It is shaped like a flower and offers plenty of lounge chairs and room for kids of all ages to have a blast splashing around.  There is an additional quiet pool which sits among the 50s buildings so it is in the shape of a bowling pin.  The nearby decor drives home the bowling alley idea with prop bowling balls and a huge rack of bowling shoes.  The third pool is between the 80s and 90s buildings and has been dubbed the Computer Pool with its stack of floppy disks .

Bowling Pool Photo by Betsy Bates

Computer Pool Photo by Betsy Bates

 

 

 

 

 

The food court even gets into the act at this resort! Everything Pop offers a wide array of menu choices from 6 a.m. until 12 a.m. each day.  I think this is one of the better resort counter service restaurants in all of Walt Disney World with its vast offerings and fun atmosphere.  I don’t know of any other resort where the cast members encourage guests to do the hustle or the twist!  Additionally, each night the “Mom’s night out” dinner special is presented in a TV dinner tray.  How cute is that?

Photo by Betsy Bates

Looking for a place to grab a drink during your stay? No problem! Petals pool bar is located between the Hippy Dippy Pool and Classic Hall.  Here, guests can have a night cap or order a drink to enjoy while they lounge by the pool.  It is a fun place to hang out on a nice night and the bartenders couldn’t be more friendly.

Now that we’ve discussed the common areas around Pop Century, let’s talk about the rooms.  They are approximately 260 square feet which is fairly small, but is comparable to the other value resorts.  The vibrant and cheery colors used outside are also used in the rooms to further the bygone days theme.  There are two full beds as well as a flat screen tv, a table and chairs, as well as a dresser and nightstand.  The bathroom has been split into two sections with the toilet and shower being in one area, and the vanity sink being in the other.  The rooms are nothing lavish, but they have been clean during every one of my stays.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Betsy Bates

Since the rooms are pretty similar at all of the value resorts I though I’d point out an advantage to Pop Century over the others is the bus system here.  The buses which transport guests to and from the parks are shared among the All Star hotels, but Pop has its own buses.  This is a great time saving feature since your bus will not stop at two other resorts along the way.  You’ll also be more likely to get a seat on your bus since there will be less people waiting at your stop.  While the buses aren’t so bad at Pop Century, you may want to consider renting a car when you stay here.  I find it much easier to have my own transportation than to rely on the bus system where ever I stay at WDW.

 

Photo by Betsy Bates

I just returned from another stay at Pop Century.  As usual, my room was exactly what I expected and cast members were friendly and helpful.  I enjoyed spending time by the pool when I needed a break from the usual craziness of my Disney vacation.  I only used the bus once on this trip since we rented a car, but it was efficient and I had no complaints.  I view Pop as a cheap place to sleep at night when I know I will spend most of my time in the parks and having fun with friends.  The rooms aren’t huge or fancy, but they are clean and comfortable.  The pools are not as flashy as those found at the deluxe and moderate resorts, but I barely use it.  If you are on a budget and looking for a place to crash after a day of commando touring, this is the resort for you.

It seems many Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World readers have mixed feelings on this resort I love so much, giving it a C+ rating; however, 93% of our readers would stay there again.  How about you? Have you stayed at Pop Century recently?  Let me know all about your experience in the comments!

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Posted on June 8, 2011

43 Responses to “Take A Stroll Down Memory Lane at Pop Century!”

  • by Philip Jones on June 8, 2011, at 10:05 am EST

    We always stay at Pop Century for exactly the reasons you state above. Clean rooms, friendly cast members and the separate bus system. When we visit WDW, we are there for the parks. All we need is a shower and a clean place to sleep.

    If you are looking to hang out by a fancy pool or want a great spa experience, this may not be the place for you. But I can hang out by the pool at home. For us, visiting Disney is all about the parks, the whole parks, and nothing but the parks. And Pop Century lets us make the most of the parks without breaking the bank.

  • I too make multiple trips per year to WDW. The variations in my trips are who I travel with. With my DH, it is Ft Wilderness in our motor home. My Mom and I have stayed at moderates and BLT. But last year I tried POP with my 11 YO DGD and we had a blast. Returning this year with my 8YO DGS. Hoping to make these trips with a grandchild a yearly tradition. Since we have 11 grands I think I’ll be seeing lots of POP!

    • That sounds like a great tradition! It is a good point to make that different trips lend themselves to different resorts. I hope you have a blast on your next trip with one of your grandchildren!!

  • I find it a bit of a double standard, the way the Dining plan is treated (buy or don’t buy) vs the way the hotels are treated (value vs mod/deluxe). The dining plan is commonly abused as a poor value because you would not normally eat that much, or that if you do not plan really hard, then you likely will not receive the “value” from it. The convenience factor is completely tossed aside as a non factor. Yet the hotels, the deluxe in particular are for me as much of a waste. Spa on site? Sit down restaurant on site? monorail access? These things may mean something to someone, but for most of us they are useless add-ons that we will never get our money’s worth. A huge percentage of the people who visit WDW don’t take advantage of most of the benefits that they are paying for at their resort.

    $400 a night, you take the monorail twice and you don’t eat dinner (at an additional charge) at your resort table service restaurant. You spend 10 hours a day in your room, but you are asleep for 7 of those hours. Sure its worth the money, clearly.

    Value resort is the only way to go for most of us. Save you money and take a tour, pay for a year of college, etc.

    • by Philip Jones on June 8, 2011, at 10:41 am EST

      Or use the money you saved to buy the dining plan! :-)

    • Thanks for that comparison, Kevin. I never really thought of it that way. Deluxe resorts have their appeal for me, but I can’t justify spending the money every time. I have a great trip either way so I’m happy to stay anywhere. Pop is my standard crash pad option and it has served me well over the last few years. I totally get why you’d use value resorts exclusively though. I hope you continue to enjoy them!

    • I agree! Most of us have a limited amount of time on their Disney vacation. Ask your kids if they would rather go to the spa or the theme parks, and guaranteed,they would pick the theme parks.You can go to a spa at home,but in Disney, the theme parks are where it is at,so why spend all the extra money to spend time at your hotel?

  • We haven’t stayed at the Pop yet, but have stayed at All-Star Movies. We LOVED all of it. From the ambiance (Disney all the way), to the food court, and even the transportation. We sometimes had a bus all to ourselves and other times stopped at the other resorts. We spend most of our time in the parks and only go to the rooms to sleep or go to the pools. After reading the article, maybe Pop will be our next destination.

    • I’m glad you’ve enjoyed your other value resort experiences! For me, Pop is the best of the four so I hope you get the chance to try it out and enjoy it too. Thank so much for your comment!

  • Can’t agree with Philip more. That is EXACTLY why we stay at Pop. I’ve never been one to splurge on a hotel, I’d rather stay at Holiday Inns than Hiltons because when I’m on vacation, I want to spend the money seeing and doing things outside the hotel room. For this reason I’ll always stay at a Value. Pop’s food court and having its own bus (which will probably change with the addition of Animation, boo!) make it a lock for our Disney home away from home.

    • I completely understand this point of view. On many of my trips it is all about the parks and I just need a place to crash and that is what I love about Pop. I still get to take advantage of things like EMH, but I can save a bit of money while doing it. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • I love POP-we stayed there in 2009 and this year we are staying there again-can`t wait. Really how much time are you planning to spend at the hotel-you are at Disney and no matter how grand the hotel is you really are not there for the hotel. We have 2 kids and they had a blast at this hotel and can`t wait to go back again

  • Pop and the value resorts are a great way for me to go to Disney more often. I would rather take two trips, each time staying at a value resort than take one trip in which I stay at a deluxe. For me, Pop has a few things over the All-Stars – the shrimp lo mein @ the food court, more recently renovated rooms, and no-shared buses!

    • Thanks for the comment, Betsy! I completely agree that I’d rather take more trips for less money. A nice splurge from time to time is fun though too. All of those things you listed are great added bonuses of staying at Pop!

    • I was just talking about this with a friend. For me, I would rather go every other year and save my money to stay at a deluxe vs. every year at a value. This is what I love about Disney – an option for everyone depending on what kind of experience they want!

      • You’re right that’s the great thing about Disney: options for everyone! I’ve loved my deluxe stays as well so I can completely understand this. I hope you enjoy your next vacation!

  • We can’t wait for our 1st stay at Pop in the fall! All that we have read about the resort has been good and sounds exactly like what we are looking for. Can’t wait to try the tye dye cheesecake I’ve been hearing all about! We are easy to please and all we need is a clean room with a shower! We camp a lot, so a stay at Pop is luxury compared to our pop up camper because it has a shower and bathroom! : ) I’d much rather save the money I’ll be saving by staying at a value and use that savings towards something else special at Disney World!

    One question I have though, I’ve been hearing rumors lately that the All Stars now have their own bus system? I don’t care either way, just wondering if anyone can confirm this? I’ve heard that it’s only during busy times and I’ve also heard that they will always have their own buses now.

    • I can say that we have stayed at All-Star Movies 5 times and more often than not, we had our own bus. During the off season, we may have had a bus that stopped at all 3 resorts, but that was because with all 3 we didn’t even fill a bus.

    • I hope you have a great first stay at Pop! The cheesecake doesn’t appeal to me but I know a lot of people love it. Pop will definitely be a step up from camping!

      If a bus is full they will send it on without making an additional stop so at busy times you will very likely have your own bus for your resort. I hope that helps answer your question! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • We stayed at POP Century in December 2010 with the free dining plan. It was a fantastic deal. The room was always clean and although I got a bit tired of the food after 8 days the mom’s night out was a good alternative. I will be returning in September with the free dining plan again. Pop Century is our choice.

  • I stayed at Pop Century twice,the first time in June 2009 and the second time in August 2010. Mainly for the exact reason listed in the article,we were on a budget and didn’t need all the extra that the moderate and deluxe resorts offer.The first time we stayed,we requested a room in the 1950s section got a nice room behind the Lady statueon the first floor. My daughter loved it. For the next visit,we wanted a change so we requested a room in the 1970′s section but got a room in the 1980s section on the 3rd floor behind the Roger Rabbit statue and on the other side of the building, bit of a walk to the food court,but was managable. We loved all the classic icons. On the first visit to Pop Century,when we arrived, the key to the safe got stuck in the keyhole and we couldnt open it to get our valuables out,so we had to call the front desk and wait for the maintance man to fix it. Frustrating when we first arrived and were very anxious to get to the parks since we had a noon time arrival at Pop Century.The rooms were clean and quiet during both stays so I have no other complaints.We loved the food court also. I would definitely stay here again.I liked the fact that it didnt share a bus with 2 other resorts but it did have a stop on the way home from one of the theme parks to Blizzard Beach. Other than that,this resort was really nice and we were only at the resort to sleep an shower,then we were off the the theme parks so for someone on a budget,this resort is great!

    • The shared bus between Animal Kingdom and Blizzard Beach is standard on all of the buses. It is annoying when things go wrong in your room, but hopefully they were pretty prompt and friendly when fixing it for you. I’m glad you enjoyed your stay at Pop! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Just came back from my 1st trip at WDW and we had a blast staying at Pop Century. This value resort makes it possible for my kids and I to go back in a few months and get to enjoy once more, the craziness of commando touring! ;)

  • We stayed at Pop Century Nov-Dec 2010. This was the first time staying on property in almost 10 years (we usually stay at family’s time share). And we LOVED it. We had a preferred room (I think that’s what it’s called). We did have the dining plan and payed for the upgrade. We ate our table service meals in the park and most of our counter service meals at POP Century. The food court was great. I’m a single mom of 3 children and there were choices for everyone. (Have to say the Caesar salad is my favorite). We basically had the Hippy Dippy pool to ourselves (one night we did). We drove to the parks so we didn’t have to wait for the buses, but did use the buses on one ocassion and had no trouble. Rooms were a good size for the 4 of us. If I stayed on property again, that is where I would go. 5 stars for POP Century.

  • The only not great thing at Pop Century is that, when at the theme parks, the Pop Century bus stop is the farthest away from the entrance. It seems like the higher price resorts are the closest to the entrance. In the morning,the bus drivers dropped everyone off close to the entrance instead of at the bus stop so you only have to do the long walk when returning to the bus stop leaving the parks.To us,it wasn’t that much of a hassle and I will be staying at Pop agaIn.

    • That is true about the value resorts, but it makes sense to have the pricier ones closer right? I think it is a small sacrifice to make for an affordable resort. I’m glad you like Pop! Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • by kerrythomas on June 11, 2011, at 7:57 am EST

      ..except at the Studios, which is also just a five-minute bus ride away from Pop.

  • I love Pop Century! We have stayed at Carribean Beach and Port Orleans Riverside – they were great, but Pop Century is home. I’m a mom and grandmother – value resorts are great on the budget. The savings allow us to visit WDW at least once a year. And why would you stay in a resort room, when you’re at the World?????!!!!!

  • Another happy guest at Pop! It sounds like your family uses it well! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • We’ve stayed at Pop twice now and its become a favorite. I stayed at All Star Movies as a teenager and I liked it but Pop just seems better across the board. Food court has much more variations and its closer to everything. The rooms have all been upgraded it seems and the decor is just awesome to go around looking at.

  • I have to put a plug in about Pop’s bus service at the end of the day at the parks. In the morning bus service is so-so, but you can always count on Pop Century buses being really consistent in the evenings. Once we were leaving the Magic Kingdom after Wishes and the Pop Century line was wrapping around and down the sidewalk! Luckily buses kept coming over to us, so a wait that could have taken forever only took about 45 minutes to get through. Because so many people line up for the Pop bus, the buses are always being diverted our way! (I’ve stayed at Pop three times, and I love it!)

  • We have stayed at Riverside, All Star Music, Caribbean and Pop, twice. I thought All Star was ok, did not really like Caribbean, and loved Riverside. I also loved Pop. I am more of a touring commando and when I do slow down, I check out the other resorts on property. I would love to try almost all of them, but Pop suits my budget the best. I also can’t wait for Animation to open. I am excited to try it as well! We were also there in December and will be back Sept 12-19. Yay,89days and counting!!!!

    If you have a little more room in your budget and want to try a moderate, I highly recommend Riverside. It was beautiful and so calming, an oasis of peace in the craziness that is Disney.