Pop Century has long been my go-to value resort. While I prefer the theme and appearance of Art of Animation the price of the family suites and the lack of discounts for the standard Little Mermaid rooms often don’t make it the best choice for smaller families. The distance of the All Star resorts from the parks, the frequent groups at those resort, and the seasonal shared buses put it a notch below Pop Century for my recommendations. A recent stay at Pop Century solidified my opinion on Pop Century as a great value choice for families. Plus, it is only going to get better with the addition of the Skyliner to reach the parks.
Arrival at the Resort
Once you get to Pop Century whether you are driving in or taking Magical Express from the airport you will enter the lobby with the expansive check-in counter. My favorite thing about this area is the smell. It is sort of a fun fruity flavor and sets your mood for the fun of Pop Century. Lining the walls are artifacts and pictures highlighting the decades of the resort in a timeline style—I encourage you to take some time to take a look at all of this groovy stuff.
Service at Pop Century is efficient with a touch of Disney magic. I found this to be the case in all of the areas of the resort we encountered, including the check-in process.
Pop Century is really in an ideal location in the center of the Walt Disney World resort so that you can get to your destination (the parks!) quickly. Disney’s Hollywood Studios is just around the corner, and Epcot and Animal Kingdom were very close as well. Magic Kingdom was a bit further, but compared to other value resorts this is a great spot.
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The Resort Layout
Pop Century has multiple room categories you can book: standard, standard pool view, preferred location, and preferred pool view. If you want to guarantee a location closest to the main building with the food court and bus stop, along with close to the feature pool you will want to book a preferred room category. Each set of buildings is themed on the outside to a certain decade starting with the 1950s and going through the 1990s. Gigantic icons representing each decade are on the facades of the building and on the grounds—they make some fun play spots as well as some great photo ops. At night the lighting on the resort makes it look very colorful and cheerful.
In the main building, located front and center of the resort is the food court & shop “Everything Pop.” In the center of the resort is the main feature pool that will have the daily games and other activities, and this is where you will find the pool bar, the only lounge at the resort. There are two other “quiet” pools on the far ends of the resort.
Opposite of the main building bordering the resort is Hour Glass Lake. There is a pedestrian bridge you can cross over to Art of Animation resort if you want to take a walk around or maybe sample their food court.
The recent room refurbishments at Pop Century were so well thought out for travel parties of all makeups. The rooms are incredibly bright, clean and cheerful, if a little stark in décor. The beds were upgraded to queen size with one “regular” bed and a second murphy style bed that easily folds up to become a table during the day. This is a great feature as it adds so much floor space to the room during the day. Upon entering the room there is a “bar” type cabinet that contains the beverage cooler, coffee pot and some counter space for any snacks you may have. An ample sized dresser is along the wall with a massive flat screen TV mounted on top. In the bathroom each nook & cranny was planned out with spots for toiletries, clothing, shoes, etc. This dressing area of the bathroom can be closed off with a sliding barn style door—perfect for privacy and so that you do not wake sleeping family members. If I had one complaint here it is that the closet space is somewhat tight for multiple people to share. The actual bathroom is standard issue, a little small since it is a value resort. A sliding glass shower door makes the tub/shower combo feel pretty roomy, and a sliding door for the bathroom helps with space.
The décor over the beds is fun & fits the theme—pop art style images of Mickey Mouse over the main bed and Pluto hidden over the fold down bed once it is opened up. I think they did a great job choosing the style for the room. I just wish they had carried it through a little further to liven the space up just a bit more.
One of the best part of the rooms are all of the outlets and USB ports everywhere you turn. It was definitely designed for the 21st Century traveler with all of our electronic devices.
I do find the value resorts to be a little noisier than others on property . . . which matches the price point to some extent. We could hear neighbors talking, showering, toilets flushing and people passing by outside.
All in all, I really enjoyed the room at Pop and felt it was a great fit for our vacation. It solidifies my recommendation of the resort, and I would stay there again.
Exploring the Resort
Most guest will utilize the Food Court, Everything Pop, at least a few times during their vacation. It can be a crowded and loud space during peak meal times, so you may want to plan accordingly to avoid longer waits in line. The space is set up as a typical food court with multiple windows serving different menu items. We found the variety of food served to be very good, and the grab & go section was a nice addition to supplement. Here you’ll also find the Tie-Dye Cheesecake and a recent addition, the Dole Whip! Being able to easily walk over to Art of Animation to dine at their food court is a plus so that you have even more options to choose from.
The shop in Everything Pop had a nice variety of merchandise from the standard park wares, Pop Century themed items, sundries and other items. It wasn’t must-stop shopping but if you needed something in a hurry you could find the basics there.
Just outside the main building is the one bus stop for the resort. Each park & Disney Springs had an area to queue up to wait on the bus. The new-ish addition of the signage indicating when the next bus would arrive is a nice way to manage your expectations on how long you would be in line.
We were located near the Computer Pool, but most of the action is at the Hippy Dippy Pool in the center of the resort. If you are wanting to take part in the recreational activities offered this is the place to be! Plus it is close to the food court to refill your mugs, and the pool bar if you need an adult beverage after a long day in the parks.
Once again, Pop Century impressed me from a value standpoint for the amenities offered at the resort and the quality of the refurbished rooms. I will continue to recommend this resort to families, couples and anyone looking for a nice place to rest your head while you spend most of your time having fun in the parks.