Posts Tagged ‘Pop Century’
by Ryan Kilpatrick
on July 16, 2012
Yes, it’s true, there have been times where it feels like I’ve spent more time in Disney’s Pop Century Resort than in my own home. As a father with two children, it’s difficult to take trips to Walt Disney World and splurge on hotels, because most of our time is spent in the parks, and hotels are used for sleeping. With two younger kids who are still willing to share a bed most of the time, the value of a Disney Value Resort is too much to pass up. So, on most of our trips, I find myself choosing which building at Pop Century to stay at, rather than which resort I’ll be picking.
But why Pop Century, you might ask? Aren’t the All-Star Resorts also Value Resorts? It’s true, they are. But as far as amenities and ease of access to the parks goes, Pop Century has them beat. Small touches, like the food court, shelves above the sinks, little indentions in the sink to put your soap – they all add up to make Pop a shade better than the All-Stars. For just $5-10 more per night, I’m able to enjoy myself at Pop Century and really immerse myself in the vacation. It fits like an old shoe now. Here’s what I really enjoy about Pop:
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by Brian McNichols
on October 20, 2011
As you may recall from my posts about the Caribbean Beach and Port Orleans Resorts, I enjoy wandering the grounds of Disney resort properties regardless of whether I am staying there. This series of posts is meant as a tribute to theme appreciation (or nosiness…whatever). It is speaking to those who take the time to simply explore, enjoy, and savor the immersive environments that Disney has created at its resorts (or are also nosy).
This entry is all about Pop Century Resort, which I recently stayed in for my first experience with a Disney Value Resort (I’m more of a moderate kind of guy). Disney’s Value Resorts in general are very popular, and Pop Century specifically is frequently busy. Their cost effectiveness speaks loudly to most people who are already spending a large amount on their vacation. That exact reason is how I found myself at Pop Century and, since I can never sit still, I also found myself doing several loops around the property at all hours of the day.
Okay, I didn’t love everything about the resort but I don’t want this to seem super-negative, so I’m going to go through all the praise before I get to the parts I didn’t like. As with all Disney resorts, the grounds are meticulously kept. Some of the walkways are surprisingly lush and that helps give them a more private feeling.
The layout of Pop Century, with its multiple building groups, also lends itself to many areas that are less busy than the main food court and pool area. The pool areas themselves (there are three of them) are very cool, even if they can be crowded. They are all themed and generally flanked by giant statues of Disney icons (although I understand if swimming while being stared at by a 30-foot tall Roger Rabbit makes you uncomfortable).
Another great area of Pop Century is the walkway that abuts Hourglass Lake. The lake and its bridge were originally meant as the separation between the two Pop Century resorts, but will now serve to separate the Pop Century Resort from the Art of Animation Resort. Walking near water is always a nice thing, even if the only view is of the construction of a new resort.
Then there’s the theme (and this is where I’m going to get all curmudgeonny on you); it’s kind of just a bunch of giant stuff. Okay, that’s exactly what it is…it’s a bunch of giant stuff. I understand why they did it, and I understand that kids like that kind of in-your-face stuff, but I don’t. It’s fun the first time you see it (hey look, a giant big wheel… I had one of those), but it is not the type of theme that you can find hidden details in by looking closer. What you see is what you get.
The overall theme of Pop Century reminds me of a goofy chain restaurant. Since there’s no real identity, they just put a bunch of crazy stuff on the wall and call it decorating. That’s not to say that you can’t enjoy it or get some fantastic pictures of all the crazy stuff. I’m very happy with some of the pictures I got at Pop Century (and they’re all over this post) and there are some fun photo opportunities with Goofy, Mickey, Baloo, and Potato Head statues available.
To me, an ideal resort is someplace removed from the parks, where I can unwind a little bit and immerse myself in someplace that is not constantly spitting marketing promotions at me. I don’t find Pop Century to be that place.
I call this one “Mickey’s Army.”
Would I stay there again? Yes, but because of the price, not the theme.
Would I go out of my way to visit the resort? No.
Do I enjoy asking and answering my own questions? Clearly.
Do you agree with my assessment of Pop Century Resort? (You’re supposed to answer that one below)
by Kristen Helmstetter
on June 8, 2011
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!
by Kristen Helmstetter
on August 3, 2009
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
by Kristen Helmstetter
on May 16, 2009
First of all, I’m so sorry I haven’t finished my trip report sooner. I got home a week ago and have been sick, trying to get back into the swing of things at the office (and life in general), and have had illness in the family. It’s been one of those weeks. On Monday, I’ll be back to my regularly scheduled programming. So without further ado here’s an overview of the rest of my trip.
On Wednesday we checked out of Wilderness Lodge, moved back to Pop Century, and headed to the Animal Kingdom. Have you ever noticed how hot this park feels? As the day progressed we became more and more miserably hot! We hit most of the headliner attractions and had lunch at Flame Tree Barbeque. Julie had to go back to North Carolina that afternoon so Tom and I decided to take a break and go to the pool at Pop when she left. I now understand why the Unofficial Guide recommends doing this! It was exactly what we needed. That evening we headed to Downtown Disney to have dinner, ice cream at Ghirardelli’s (yum!), and do a bit of shopping.
Thursday we finally got to sleep in! Tom got up just in time to still grab breakfast at Everything Pop. It was such a nice break! When we finally got going we parked at DHS and took to boat over to Epcot’s International Gateway. We spent the afternoon finishing up our drinking around the world and exploring some of the countries we often overlook. We grabbed drinks in Morocco, Italy, and Japan to conclude our expedition. We had dinner at Biergarten in Germany which is climbing up my list of favorite places to eat in WDW. Later we headed back to DHS to try to hit up a few attractions before calling it a night. We didn’t realize it was Fantasmic! was running that night, making it pretty crowded. We decided to skip out early since we weren’t in the mood for the mob.
On our last full day of vacation we grabbed a breakfast ADR at Whispering Canyon Café. After eating far too much we hopped on the boat to visit Magic Kingdom. After wandering around Frontierland and Adventureland for a while we headed back to Pop for a pool break. After our break we went to Epcot to hang out in Future World. We tried some of the activities in Innoventions since I had never spent much time in there. Later, our friend Don came to join us after he was finished with work for the day. We capped off a good day in the parks with some drinks at Petals at Pop.
Saturday was departure day. I was planning on meeting up with Don at Magic Kingdom for a while before making my way to the airport, but I woke up sick. The idea of walking around MK in 95 degree weather not feeling well was not appealing. I called Jetblue and was able to snag a seat on an earlier flight. So my last day was sort of a bust, but luckily it didn’t spoil the trip.
Thanks for following along on twitter and my few blogs about my trip! It was another great trip with great friends. Stay tuned to future blogs to hear more detailed reports on some of my activities.
Next week I’ll give my review of Disney’s newest restaurant Sanaa…
by Kristen Helmstetter
on April 13, 2009
One of the great things about traveling as a 20-something is traveling with good friends. Even better is splitting the hotel fees! When selecting a resort you have to ask yourself what you can afford and what you really need from the accommodations during your stay. A lot of times we just go for the cheapest option, allowing us to make multiple WDW trips per year. Plus, we usually are up and at ‘em early in the morning and down return to our room until the wee hours so it doesn’t make sense for us pay for fancy accommodations. But our little posse has grown this year and now we have to consider where we can get a room that will comfortably fit three adults or get a second room. Having three of us to split the bill has allowed us to stay at some deluxe resorts all in one room. So with all of that in mind, where did we decide to stay this time?
Since this upcoming trip is going to be so long we decided to split it up among a value resort and a deluxe resort. The plot gets a bit confusing, but try to stay with me. The first three nights we’re stay at Pop Century with another friend of ours, Don. The next three nights we’re going to enjoy some Pacific Northwest atmosphere at the Wilderness Lodge. Then, Julie has to leave us and Tom and I will head back to Pop since there will only be two of us.
We decided to get two rooms at Pop the first few nights because with Disney’s Hollywood Studios 20th anniversary festivities we’ll only been in the room to sleep and we had a fourth friend so share the second room. Since we can make use of either annual pass or UK resident discounts (thanks, Tom!) we decided to splurge on the Wilderness Lodge for a few nights. We were able to book a bunk bed room since WL doesn’t offer a day bed. This is one of Julie’s favorites, but Tom and I have never stayed here before (just got harassed by the CMs at Whispering Canyon Café). We’ll probably spend a lot of time in the Magic Kingdom during this stay since we’ll have access to the Lodge’s boat. And since Julie is leaving us Tom and I decided to cheap out and go back to Pop after she takes off.
I hope our plans might give you some ideas for your own upcoming trip! Be sure to weigh all of the options for your group and get the best deal you can. Good luck and happy travels!
Next week: To rent a car or not to rent a car, that is the question.