Comparing resorts at Walt Disney World can sometimes be frustrating when it comes to Disney World planning. Which resort is the best value? What does each resort offer? What do the rooms look like? How close are they to the parks? What transportation options do they each provide?
It can be extremely overwhelming and crazy trying to pin down exactly the resort that is right for you and your party for your Disney World trip.
In this article, we are going to compare Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s All-Star-Movies Resort! Both are incredible resorts with so much to offer. Honestly, it’s very difficult to figure out which one is best.
There’s no question that these resorts are actually very popular amongst guests at Walt Disney World. The non-Disney goer might find that quite strange at first since they are value resorts and do not possess all the bells and whistles of the deluxe resorts and even the moderate resorts.
However, they are very wrong to think that these resorts could not be popular. Having been to Disney multiple times, these two resorts are mostly the two I have stayed in. I’ll share more reasons as to why later, but right now, let’s explore everything these resorts have to offer.
Just because they come at a value price does not mean they don’t possess anything worthwhile. That is just not the case. For instance, at the moment, these two resorts are the only two that are having all of their standard rooms redone into something more modern and spacious.
I love these updated rooms. They are still the size of your standard room at a Disney resort with two full-sized beds, a bathroom, a dresser, and television. However, one of the beds is now a Murphy bed, folding into the wall and revealing a spacious desk during the day. You wouldn’t think that this provides a lot of room, but it is amazing how much it does.
The desk is wonderful for any work you might have to bring with you on your Disney trip and/or eating snacks and perhaps meals you bring back to your room from the food court. It’s a wonderful addition that provides more options for guests and much more space for all of your belongings. These updates also provide, wait for it, a coffee maker! This has been a life-saver at times, believe me.
Whenever I’m getting ready in the morning and I don’t want to take the time to run down to the food court to grab a cup of coffee, this coffee maker works wonders with saving time. To-go cups, lids, creamer, sugar, and stirrers are provided for you to make your perfect cup of coffee, and it’s FREE.
Who doesn’t love that?
The coffee maker, along with a small refrigerator, is located on an additional storage space that stores little knick knacks and souvenirs you may have. Any options for storage are absolutely welcome. More storage is provided in the large dresser underneath the huge television in the center of the room. I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for more space on table tops in order to set things upon.
The space that this dresser provides is absolutely immaculate. I’ve set everything from mouse ears to popcorn buckets, Disney bags, snacks, bottles of water, and clothes on it. Honestly, it’s amazing what you can fit on it. There is also a coat rack for anything you need to hang up such as coats, hats, or bags of any kind.
The bathrooms are insane, providing some much light, it’s crazy. One of my favorite features is the sliding door that goes across, separating the bedroom from the bathroom. This is incredibly useful for privacy reasons. It’s also useful for blocking out light and noise from those in your party who are still sleeping while you are getting ready in the morning. Extra closet space is provided with multiple hangers for clothes you perhaps do not want to fold up in a drawer.
Below this is more storage space. In the sink and vanity area, there’s even more storage! Whenever my family of four has stayed in these rooms, we have been able to separate all of our toiletries and belongings into separate cubbies in order to stay organized and so nothing would get lost.
The toilet and shower are separate from the sink area, which is super convenient, and the shower is a sliding glass door. In my opinion, these are way better and easier than a curtain, which is what the older rooms had. Now, not every single room in these resorts are like this yet. They are working on it. However, they will be soon.
The rooms truly are modernized for the guests to enjoy, and the amenities are fantastic. Our family has discussed that it is actually hard for us to go back to the original standard rooms at the other value resorts that have not updated yet. This is due to us loving the updated rooms so much, due to the space and what they provide.
Like I said, right now, Pop Century and All-Star Movies are the only resorts that currently have these types of rooms available. As far as I know, the response to them have been immaculate, so there is hope that they will spread to the other value resorts as well.
The purpose of a Disney World resort is to bring the magic back to your room after you leave the parks, right? Who doesn’t love that? Both of these resorts bring hardcore theming after you return from a long day of amazing adventures.
For the Pop Century resort, the theming is a blast to the past to the second half of the twentieth century. Each section of the hotel is themed either 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, or 90’s. Whenever you are walking around the hotel, you know exactly which section you are at due to all the decorations, statues, and buildings themed to that decade.
Each building in the different sections has images, sayings and types of dances from different decades. For instance, the 70’s section has moon rings and “Discoteque” written along the railings on the outside of the rooms. The 60’s section has images of flowers and “Can you dig it?” written along the railings.
Each section is like this and brings a huge element of nostalgia to the viewers. One of my favorite things to do is walk around the resort I am staying in to look at all the different details. There are plenty of photo-ops here as well, I can assure you.
All-Star Movies is kind of similar when it comes to the set-up and layout of the resort. Obviously, the theme of the resort is movies and the film industry. There are different sections throughout the resort based on different Disney movies. The different sections are:
- Toy Story
- 101 Dalmations
- The Love Bug
- The Mighty Ducks
Like I mentioned for the Pop Century Resort, one of my favorite things to do is walk around and explore the resorts I am staying in. All-Star Movies provides so many options for photo-ops. Everything is larger than life with huge statues, themed pools, and themed buildings. My favorite section is the newer Toy Story section.
First off, Toy Story is one of my favorite Disney movies, so I am a little biased. There are huge statues of different characters from the movie: Woody, Buzz, RC, Rex, and Bo Peep. It’s super fun to take pictures with them because you have a moment where you truly feel like a toy.
A huge door is standing at the beginning of the Toy Story section that is partially opened with all the toys behind them, making you feel like you really are a toy in Andy’s room. It’s amazing. Every section in the hotel really feels like this, and it is so much fun to go around and see all the little details that Disney is so famous for.
Rightfully so, something that most people are usually concerned about is transportation to all the parks and Disney World destinations. The most popular and well known transportation option are the Disney buses. Both resorts provide bus stations out the front of the main building of each resort. They are not hard to find at all.
You can just go through the main buildings, which houses the check-in desk, a food court, and a gift shop. Each destination has a dedicated spot for guests to wait in line for a bus to arrive. The buses try their hardest to get back to the resort’s ASAP, and the wait time in-between each bus usually isn’t more than twenty minutes.
This obviously depends on traffic and crowds. Buses will be more crowded in the morning whenever people are heading to the parks. Due to this, they try to send as many buses as they possibly can to bring people to their chosen park.
In order to see exactly when the next bus is going to arrive for your destination, each resort has tv screens up on the wall at the bus stations in order to tell you when the next bus will arrive. They have scooter and wheelchair transportation as well, and they take a few minutes to load.
There is limited seating, so you might be standing on your way to your destination. The Pop Century Resort is very close to Hollywood Studios. In fact, it’s right across the street, pretty much. The resort is also very close to Disney Springs and EPCOT. Animal Kingdom is a little further away, and the Magic Kingdom is the furthest away.
For All-Star Movies, Animal Kingdom is the closest to it, with Disney Springs, Hollywood Studios, and EPCOT being nearby. The Magic Kingdom is the furthest. These are good things to keep in mind when you head out to a park and also when Disney World planning.
Another option that these resorts offer, as does any resort, is driving yourself. This, obviously, cannot happen unless you chose to drive to Walt Disney World. However, it does get you to the park faster since you are not waiting for a bus. The only one that is difficult to drive to is the Magic Kingdom. Driving and parking there is not difficult, but you have to park at the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) because there is no parking lot right next to the entrance of the park.
You then have to take either the monorail or ferry. With the other parks, you can simply walk to the entrance of the parks from the parking lot. At both resorts (and all others) you do have to pay $13 per night in order to park your car in the resort parking lot.
However, if you are staying at a resort on Disney property and drive to a park, you do not have to pay in order to park at the park. Bonus of staying on Disney property!
Now, as of October 2019, the Pop Century Resort has the skyliner as a mode of transportation to Hollywood Studios and EPCOT! The skyliner is absolutely amazing and is the wildest thing. The other resorts it travels to is Disney’s Caribbean Resort, and the new Riviera Resort. It’s a very efficient way to get around to these locations because it is on a continuous moving belt that moves smoothly yet quickly. I absolutely loved it!
There really is no difference as far as transportation for either the Pop Century or All-Star Movies. The only difference is that Pop Century is located closer to Hollywood Studios, and All-Star Movies is located closer to the Animal Kingdom. Other than that, both resorts are pretty similar when it comes to transportation.
A Value Price
Both the Pop Century and All-Star Movies are considered value resorts, which means they provide amazing quality service at a value price. Now, the thing you must remember is that the pricing is not fixed. It will go up and down throughout the year depending on availability and the season.
For instance, mid-summer and the holidays are an extremely busy time for Walt Disney World. During this time, the pricing of the rooms will rise due to supply and demand. While it might be hard to find a time where Disney World is not busy, they do exist, and the prices will fall.
My suggestion to you would be to check a Disney World crowd calendar to see what the crowd predictions are at the time you are planning on going. Usually some of the least crowded times to visit would be January, February, and early March.
For pricing, it can sometimes be difficult to pin down an average price of the hotels. However, through staying at Pop Century multiple times, I’ve found it to be between $190-$240 per night. It could possibly go lower, like to $170-$180 per night. All-Star Movies can be even cheaper; for I’ve seen it at $170 per night.
Sometimes, depending on the time of year and the crowds, it can be even lower. This is why I always look at these resorts before anything else when Disney World planning. They are the cheaper options, but that doesn’t mean you don’t get quality service, and like we discussed earlier, the rooms are spectacular.
- You can also read our in-depth Disney World crowd calendar, as well.
Sometimes, you need a break during your busy Disney World schedule. When this happens, time at your resort is actually something that a lot of Disney guests do. So, what do each of these places offer for a relaxing day at your resort?
Both resorts have pools. The Pop Century Resort has the Hippy Dippy Pool which is right in the center of the resort, outside the main building. The All-Star Movies resort actually has two pools; the main pool in the Fantasia section of the resort and the other one being in the Mighty Duck’s section.
Both pools are spectacular and provided excellent seating for you to set out all your things for the day. Every now and then a cast member will come out and put on different activities for the guests at the pool that day. They have activities like Disney trivia, hula hoop contests, music playing, and other games while you’re enjoying your day at the pool.
This happens at all resorts on Disney property. You are allowed to bring food from the food court out to the pools if you would like. There are tables that you can sit at to enjoy your food. The tables have umbrellas so you can be shaded from the hot sun.
For adults, both resorts also have poolside bars. They each only have one even though All-Star Movies has two pools. The Pop Century has the Petals bar, and All-Star Movies has the Silver Screen Spirits bar by the Fantasia pool.
Both bars are roomy and provide other seating besides at the actual bar. They both have a variety of options, some different from each other and some the same. They are very casual bars where guests can go and relax with a drink by the pool.
Now, both resorts also have a food court for quick service options. This is not necessarily a “day activity” but they both provide excellent meals to bring out by the pool or even back to your room on your day off from the parks. Both food courts always provide meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Breakfast is served from 6:30-11, and lunch and dinner is served from 11 am to midnight. If you have any food allergies, you can ask a cast member no problem about alternate options. Upon request, they will give you a menu or suggest different options you can eat. Both resorts usually have different options from one another for all three meals. The Pop Century menu can be found here, and the All-Star Resort menu can be looked at here.
My Final Opinion
Like I said at the beginning of this article, both resorts are absolutely amazing. Many people who are not consistent Disney goers or even Disney fans would not understand why these resorts are very popular for Disney trips. Many immediately would go to the moderate resorts and start there, looking at how nice everything is.
The reality is is that these resorts really are amazing places to stay for your Walt Disney World trip without breaking the bank for you and your party. They are both a beautiful way to still bring the magic back to your resort after your adventures in the park without spending so much money.
It’s really hard to be able to pick which resort I would love more to stay at more, because they both are honestly a couple of my favorites. They both represent quality service with amazing amenities and awesome theming. I love staying at both, and both are close to certain parks.
Whatever is most important to me at that moment is how I will pick my resort. When it comes down to theming, price, amenities, everything overall, I believe that I would choose All-Star Movies. The price is amazing, the theming is fantastic, and the rooms and amenities are awesome.
This is a hair above the Pop Century, due to the Pop Century being close to Hollywood Studios (which is my second favorite park) and having the Skyliner. They both are usually similar when it comes to price, but I’ve found that the All-Star Movies is usually cheaper at more times than Pop Century.
When it comes down to it, both of these resorts are top notch, fantastic places to stay at Walt Disney World. With these awesome resorts at a value price, you can’t go wrong with them.
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