Walt Disney planning is some of the best vacation planning you will ever take part in. Being my favorite place in the world, it is a destination where family and friends can go together and let their imaginations take flight. No matter what age you are, Disney World pulls you right into the story, inviting you to take part in the adventures.
Of course, before all of that can happen, you need to figure out where to stay, right? Planning a Walt Disney World trip can seem a bit overwhelming at first, especially when it comes to choosing the right resort for you and your party.
I’m going to tell you about two of my favorite resorts in this article, revealing which one I believe is the absolute best option at the end. Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s All-Star Music Resort are both places that offer so much to guests at a value price. Because of this, they are usually very popular. What exactly makes them so favored?
Let’s find out!
My Experience at Both Resorts
Both resorts are absolutely beautiful, and I’ve been fortunate to be able to stay at both of them more than once. First of all, Disney World resorts are amazing all around. Their service is impeccable, the rooms are spacious and provide so much, and the themes go above and beyond. My suggestion to you would be to definitely stay on property if given the chance. There are so many perks for doing so.
For instance, transportation is free when you stay on property; whether this be bus transportation, the monorail, or the new skyliner, etc., it is free to travel from one place to another. Even if you drove to Walt Disney World, you can park at the parks for free because you are staying on property. Staying on property is one of the best things you could possibly do for your Disney trip. It adds an amount of ease to your trip with all your transportation taken care of for you so you do not have to worry about it.
Now, what exactly are the resorts’ aesthetic? What are their themes? The Pop Century Resort takes you back to the last five centuries of the 20th century. The resort is beautiful and very big, divided into sections that each depict a different decades. There’s the fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties, and nineties.
Each section holds large statues depicting different popular facts and objects from that decade. For instance, the seventies section has a giant Big Wheel and Foosball table that you can walk in and around. The fifties has a giant jukebox and giant bowling pins where the stairs to your room are located. The entire aesthetic is fabulous no matter what decade you are in.
These statues and aesthetics make for perfect photo-ops. A giant Rubik’s Cube and Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head inhabit the eighties section. Pictures are absolutely necessary. This resort’s theme is so unique, you have to stay here at least once.
All-Star-Music’s theme is right in the name. The art of music flows like water. The resort pays homage to all kinds of music, old and new throughout the area. What is your favorite kind of music? I guarantee you can find it somewhere on the property. There might even be a section dedicated to that kind of music. All the rooms are divided into sections that are themed, which include:
- Country Music
- Rock n’ Roll
- Broadway-style Show Tunes
Like many of the other resorts, each section personalizes itself to that type of music by creating an atmosphere that takes hold of that genre. For instance, in the country music section, there are huge cowboy boots that create the perfect photo-op along with a huge guitar. The Broadway section is one of my favorites, because there are “ticket booths” outside of the rooms with billboards of different Disney broadway shows.
It honestly looks like you are walking down Broadway Street in New York City will all the lights lit up and the music flowing in the background. This is one of my favorite spots to take pictures, especially at night. When the lights are on at night, it’s so beautiful, and it really makes you feel like you are about to go see a Broadway musical. The theme at this resort is so universal because everyone can relate to it. Who doesn’t love music after all?!
Something else to point out is that both resorts have food courts in them that offer options for breakfast and then options for lunch and dinner. The All-Star Music Resort has the biggest cafe out of all the All-Star Resorts. This is also the place where food comes from if you order room service at all of the All-Star’s. It’s a perfect place to stop by if you just need a snack or want to relax and have a great meal while taking a break from your busy day!
Next to the food court is also a gift shop in both resorts. Lastly, each resort has a pool that is right outside the main building that provides various seating for everyone. Almost every day, a cast member will come out and do activities with guests that have decided to have a relaxing pool day. They do different games, such as trivia and hula-hoop contests, all the while playing music. It’s an excellent way to have a chill day while still having the magic of Disney with you.
Having stayed at both resorts, I can honestly say I have had very positive experiences at both. They both have excellent rooms that provide room service, as well as amenities that any guests might need. A bonus aspect of Pop Century, however, is that it is currently having their rooms updated, if not all of them already. These rooms provide more room because one of the beds is a Murphy bed that folds down at night and provides a desk during the day.
There is so much storage in the updated rooms too! It’s amazing! There is plenty of space for all of your belongings and all of the souvenirs you will be buying. Lastly, and very importantly, there is a coffee maker! This is complete with creamer, sugar, stirrers, and portable coffee cups! This is one of my favorite things about the new rooms. This way, you do not have to walk to the food court and pay for coffee when everyone else is there trying to get food before going about their day. You can bypass the food court and have free coffee! This way you get going on your adventures quicker!
The resorts are so fun to walk around and explore, which is one of my favorite things to do at resorts. They are both so beautiful, but also bring elements of fun to your vacation. It has always been more than enough room with a party of three or four, which is how big my groups usually are. These resorts truly do have so much to offer.
One detail guests really need to look for when picking a resort to stay at is the transportation. How are you going to get to the parks? What is the easiest way to do so? That is usually the entire point for traveling to Walt Disney World in the first place! So what kind of transportation options do we have at both resorts?
First and foremost, the most popular way of getting to the destinations is the bus transportation system on Disney property. The bus transportation is free for guests who are staying on Disney property. The stations for the buses for each resort are located in the front of the main building. There are designated sections for each destination where you wait in line for a bus to arrive.
The bus transportation is the most popular, so they are usually pretty crowded. This is also because buses can take many guests at a time. They can also transport those in wheelchairs as well as scooters; they just take a few minutes to load them onto the bus before they load the rest of the passengers. There is limited seating, so during crowded times, there is a chance you might have to stand. Crowded times are usually early in the morning when everyone is getting ready to go to the parks and at night when everyone is leaving the parks. The buses are the easiest way to get to the destinations, besides driving yourself.
Now, one of the best things about driving to Walt Disney World is that you get the opportunity to drive to the different parks and destinations on your own time and usually faster. You will have to pay each night you are staying at the resort to park your car. I believe it is about thirteen dollars a night. However, the excellent news is that you don’t have to pay to park at the parks if you are staying on property. It is absolutely free. Free parking while arriving at the parks faster? Sounds like a plan to me!
Something that is really fun is the new Skyliner at Disney’s Pop Century! Pop Century now has a transportation option that is so smooth and fast, and it also gives you a little bit of a different perspective. The skyliner opened in October of 2019, and sours you above the property, transporting you to different destinations. The skyliner goes from the Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort to Disney’s Caribbean Resort.
From the Caribbean Resort, there are two tracks you can take: to Disney’s new Riviera Resort and then EPCOT, or to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Having had the chance to ride this already, I can honestly say it is an extremely smooth ride that provides beautiful views. It is also very fun to just ride around on to be honest! It is extremely efficient because it is a never ending track that slows down for passengers to board. Because of this, the boarding process is very easy and can be very fast.
They also provide boarding for scooters and wheelchairs, which is absolutely wonderful! The process for boarding them is extremely efficient and easy as well. In my opinion, it’s way easier than boarding them on a bus. It’s a fun and different way to travel to some other destinations. If you are resort hopping, meaning you are going around and exploring different resorts, then this is one of the best ways to do it! Not only do you get to travel around to other resorts, but you get to feel like you are flying across Walt Disney World!
These are all things to keep in mind when choosing the resort you and your party are going to stay in. What is the best way for you guys to travel? Once you figure out what you all would like and what would be easiest for you, you can all figure out the resorts that have that type of transportation. Pop Century Resort has one more option that All-Star Music with the Skyliner, but overall, they both have wonderful options for all of you!
Now, these resorts shine in various ways, but this is where they really become amazing. Pop Century and All-Star-Music are both considered value resorts, which means they are some of the cheaper resorts that guests can stay in at Walt Disney World. The prices do vary every now and then throughout the year. They, of course, will go up in price at the more crowded times of the year. Disney World crowd calendars can be looked up all year long, such as this one. They give a pretty good estimation on the crowd levels at the parks every day of the year.
Sometimes it can be difficult to pin down an exact price for the resorts. 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. Obviously, the higher prices are during crowded times of the year. This is usually around the holidays and in the summer-time. For All-Star-Music, the average price per night is around $170-$190, per night. This is usually what I find the prices to be at when I have stayed there.
There is even a chance it could be lower at the least crowded times of the year. This usually falls right at the beginning of the year from January to March. 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.
The other thing you might have to think about is how are you going to travel to Walt Disney World. The reason I bring this up is because, if you drive, you must pay for parking each night you park at the resort. It is thirteen dollars a night, so that is an extra expense if you decide to drive. However, like we mentioned before, driving yourself is faster, and you get to park at the parks for free if you are staying on property. You and your party need to just figure out what is most important for all of you and what you need.
What is Each Resort Closest To?
One aspect many people examine while Disney planning is what the resorts, they are considering, are closest to. So what are Pop Century and All-Star-Music closest to? Pop Century is extremely close to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We are talking right across the street close. It only takes about five minutes to get to the park from Pop Century.
This could be even faster by car because you are leaving and driving on your own time. You can also get to Hollywood Studios via the Skyliner from Pop Century. The only thing with this is that it takes a lot longer to get to the park this way than just driving or taking a bus. You cannot have a straight shot from Pop Century (or Art of Animation because they are the same station) to Hollywood Studios. You have to disembark the car from Pop Century at the Caribbean Resort and then continue on another track to Hollywood Studios. So, in my opinion, it takes much longer to do that than to go via bus or car. Ultimately, of course, it is up to you. Hollywood Studios is the closest to Pop Century, and this is my second favorite park, so I have loved staying at this resort for this reason.
Pop Century is also fairly close to EPCOT, where you can get to via Skyliner as well. It takes about twenty minutes via skyliner, because you have to disembark at the Caribbean Beach Resort and get on another track. Via bus and/or car, it usually takes about ten to fifteen minutes. In my opinion, driving there, or taking the bus is your best bet, especially when you are trying to get to the parks as soon as you possibly can. Believe me, you are going to want to get to the parks as soon as you possibly can in the morning in order to have as much time there as you possibly can.
All-Star-Music, as well as the other All-Star Resorts are closest to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It takes about five minutes to get this park from All-Star Music. The only transportation that is available from the All-Stars is the bus system and driving yourself. Animal Kingdom is super close, so if that is one of your favorite parks, consider staying at All-Star Music. As a matter of fact, this resort is very close to three out of the four parks.
It is about seven to ten minutes away from Hollywood Studios and ten minutes away from EPCOT. The park that is furthest away, not just from All-Star-Music but also Pop Century is the Magic Kingdom. Pop Century is about fifteen minutes away from the Magic Kingdom, and All-Star-Music is about the same time frame. The Magic Kingdom is usually the furthest away from all from all resorts unless you are staying in one of the deluxe monorail resorts.
My Final Opinion
As I’ve said throughout this entire article, both Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s All-Star-Music Resort are two of my favorite places to stay at Walt Disney World. They both have so much to offer, and they both really taking theming to a new level. Honestly, it is difficult to pin down which one I like the best. Having been blessed to stay in both of them multiple times, I can honestly say I’ve had an excellent vacation in both of them.
Many people always say that it doesn’t matter where guests stay at Walt Disney World. Many say that you are just there to sleep and have a place to store your belongings. While this may be true for some, it does matter where you stay when you go on vacation to Disney. It is absolutely important. You and your party have to be comfortable and have to figure out what is most important to you.
Overall, I think the resort I would stay at between the two of these would be Pop Century. The pricing varies and sometimes can be just a tad more expensive than All-Star-Music, but it is everything that you are paying for which makes it worth it. My second favorite park is Hollywood Studios, so it is important to me to be close to this particular park. The rooms in Pop Century are everything and more, and I love everything about them. I love the theming at Pop Century and love that the Skyliner is also a part of this resort. Both resorts are excellent, but this is the one that is just a touch more magical for me.
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