And to kick off this in-depth comparison between these two awesome resorts, let’s begin with the theming of both resorts and what you can expect to see and experience.
Talk about amazing theming when it comes to these two resorts. One of my favorite things to do at Walt Disney World resorts is explore everything a resort has to offer. I do not necessarily have to be staying at these resorts either. I’m all about resort hopping, which is going all over Disney World from one resort to the other to explore all of them.
This does not have to just include the deluxe resorts that have the monorail running through them, like the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. I love exploring the value resorts too, which is what Pop Century and All-Star-Sports are.
Pop Century and All-Star Sports are two resorts that do not hold back when it comes to theming. All-Star-Sports is pretty much what you think it is. If you love Sports, this is absolutely the place you need to stay. It is all things sports. Everywhere you step on the resort’s property, there is an homage to sports everywhere you go.
From the lobby to the rooms, all kinds of sports are honored in one way or another. In the lobby, there is a beautiful, almost abstract mural of people playing all kinds of sports behind the check-in desk. The lobby isn’t huge, but it is roomy enough. In another part of the lobby, there are beautiful pictures, historical and current of different sports legends throughout the walls. I love looking at all of them, talking with whomever I am traveling with about them all.It adds an elegant touch to the resort, and sports fans can look at all the different legends on the wall and hopefully can find their favorite one.
The gift shop there is called Sport Goofy and holds so many souvenirs. The entire gift shop is sports themed, of course, with goofy as the main star. Goofy has always been popular with sports because he has been a party of a “how to” cartoon series for years now. The cartoons have a specific topic, like setting up your television for a big football game on TV, and with Goofy being a part of it, shenanigans ensue. So, the entire gift shop is set up in this “how to” way, such as “how to play hockey,” with Goofy playing hockey.
The End Zone Food Court is an excellent place to grab something to eat, whether it’s on the go, or you are sitting down to relax. Different options are provided for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast is served from 7-11 AM, with lunch and dinner options served after breakfast. They also provide options for dessert and things you can take to-go whenever you are on your way to your next destination.
Trays are provided for carrying everything you could possibly need, and a variety of drinks are available as well. Coffee and tea are also available any time you would like them. Across from the End Zone Food Court is the Game Point Arcade, which provides so many games, old and new for guests of all ages.
When you go outside, you are immediately greeted by the surfing themed section of the hotel. This is one of my favorite parts of the resort. It is very fitting that the pool would be in the “Surf’s Up” area of the resort. It’s a big pool with various places to sit by the pool and also by the outside bar that is located next to the pool.
There are plenty of tables and chairs for guests to sit and relax in order to enjoy a drink and/or food from the food court. The entire section of the hotel is decked out in surfing gear, such as surfboards and outlines of fish on the railings of the buildings and “waves” on the tops of the buildings. Watch out! You may see a giant shark fin on the prowl…
If you keep walking around the resort, there are different sections dedicated to different sports, such as the surfing section. There is a basketball section near the back, which looks similar to a giant basketball court complete with baskets and basketballs lining the building walls. Giant megaphones and whistles are on either sides of the buildings because they are what cover the stairs to get up to your room. In another section, it is a giant tennis court!
Tennis rackets line the walls of the rooms, while giant Spalding tennis ball containers cover the stairs. The theming only gets better from here. In another section, there is a baseball section that is set up just like a baseball stadium. There is a second pool in this section, which is slightly smaller than the one in the surfing section. It is shaped just like a baseball diamond, with a scoreboard in the distance. In the middle of the pool, Goofy is at the pitcher’s mound!
On either side of the pool, there is the “Home” side and the “Visitor’s” side, one of them housing a laundromat. The last section is the football section, which looks exactly like a football field, except much smaller. It is super fun, because sometimes there will be guests outside actually playing football. Goal posts are even at either end of the field.
If you want a preferred room, which means your room is very close to the main building, you are going to want either the surfing section or the football section. When booking, you can request a preferred room, and hopefully that room will be available.
Disney’s Pop Century Resort celebrates nostalgia in the best way by covering material from the second half of the twentieth century. Five decades are celebrated in this resort:
Having a massive love for the nostalgic myself, I love this resort very much. It’s extremely fun to walk around the resort with my parents, because they grew up in most of the second half of the twentieth century. I was born in the nineties, so while many things were nostalgic for me, I was still very young when we entered the new millennium. However, it still brings back many memories!
The lobby is beautiful, bigger than All-Star-Sports. Older photos from all the different decades line the back of the check-in desk. On the opposite wall, there are shadow boxes that hold different objects from all the different decades. These are really fun to look at when you’re waiting to check in or just happen to be exploring the resort.
Across from the check-in desk is the “Everything Pop Shopping and Dining.” This is the gift shop and food court. They are connected and provide numerous souvenirs for you to take home and various amounts of food options for you to eat. The food court provides breakfast items from 7 to 11 AM, then lunch and dinner options for you to enjoy.
When you go outside of the main building, the Hippy Dippy pool is present in the sixties section of the hotel. It is shaped like a big flower and is positioned right next to the pool bar, which is called, “Petals.” Around the pool, there are plenty of chairs to sit and relax on, while there are tables you can sit at for as long as you want. Food and drinks are allowed to be brought out to the tables if you would like to enjoy them there.
The rooms at the Pop Century are fantastic, having recently undergone renovation. The rooms have more space for guests, while providing two beds with one of them being a Murphy bed. The Murphy bed is fantastic because it is a desk during the day and then folds down into a bed for people to sleep on at night. Trust me when I say it does provide so much space, while also being convenient for a group of four to sleep comfortably in the room.
There is so much storage available for all of your belongs, because there are so many shelves and cubbies for you to fit everything in to. The lighting is absolutely fantastic, and there is a door that separates the bathroom area from the bedroom. This is excellent because it also cancels some noise for those people who are still sleeping when others in your party get up early to get ready. This way, the light from the bathroom also does not shine into the bedroom area.
The sink area is separated from the toilet and shower, and there is so much space in the bathroom for all of your toiletries. There is also a closet space as well as a coffee maker! This is the icing on the cake for me. I need my coffee in the morning! This coffee is free and easy to make so you do not have to travel down to the crowded food court to buy coffee when you are in a hurry to get to the parks first thing in the morning.
Exploring resorts is one of my favorite things to do at Disney World. The reason I love to do this is because the resorts were designed to bring back the magic to your room after your beautiful day full of adventures. It truly feels like home when you go to Disney World and you stay at a resort. It is your home for the duration of your vacation—you have to love it!
Walking around the Pop Century Resort is awesome because they have little signs with bits of trivia and facts all along the paths. These pieces of trivia have to do with the decade section you are in. For instance, if you are in the fifties section, they are going to have signs with a certain year on it and tell you something that happened that year. Being a history nerd, it is super cool to walk around and perhaps learn something new. A little extra piece of magic is that music from each particular decade is playing in its designated section! I love listening to all the fun songs!
What are Each of the Resorts Closest To?
Something you might want to think about before booking a resort is thinking about which parks you will be going to. What are your favorite parks, and where will you be going during your Walt Disney World trip? Once you figure these things out, then you should figure out where you would like to stay? Reason I say this is because certain resorts are closest to parks than other ones are. The Pop Century Resort is closest to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
This is my second favorite park, so that is something that is really important to me. I am going to most likely want to be near this park whenever I go to Walt Disney World, so I would like to book at Pop Century.
It is about five minutes away from Hollywood Studios via bus and/or car. The Skyliner, that just opened in October 2019, is wonderful and can take you to this park as well. However, it does take much longer via the Skyliner than it does by bus or car.
Pop Century is also fairly close to EPCOT, where you can get to via the new 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-Sports, as well as the other All-Star Resorts (All-Star Movies and All-Star Music) are closest to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It takes about five minutes to get this park from All-Star Sports. 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 Sports.
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-Sports, but Pop Century is about fifteen minutes away from the Magic Kingdom, and All-Star-Sports 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 Disney World monorail resorts.
Transportation Details to Know
Details you really need to know about resorts are the types of transportation that they provide for guests. The options that these resorts provide are both similar. The bus transportation is the most popular option that guests usually pick in order to travel to all the different parks and destinations.
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.
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, here comes one of the most amazing parts about the resorts. Both the Pop Century as well as the All-Star-Sports are both considered value resorts. This means that you get quality service, a quality room, a quality resort for an extremely valued price. They are some of the cheapest hotels on property, but that does not mean that the quality of service goes down.
I have been able to stay at both resorts multiple times on trips, and I have found the average prices to be $190-$240 per night for the Pop Century and $170-$180 per night for the All-Star-Sports. (There is a possibility that it could even be lower at the less crowded times of year.) The prices for the hotels do vary depending on the time of year. One of the best things to do when Disney planning is to look at a crowd calendar.
It used to be the best kept secret that Walt Disney World was not crowded in the fall and winter months. Nowadays, it is one of the most crowded times of the year due to all the holidays and special events. The holidays and the summer tend to be the most crowded times of year at Walt Disney World.
This decision is a hard decision to make, due to the numerous amazing aspects of both of them. The price is super important to me, so they both fit that category when it comes to a value price range. Sometimes, it might come down to just which resort is cheaper at the time you happen to be going to Walt Disney World. However, when it comes down to it, the one I would pick out of the two would be Pop Century.
I just happen to love the theming more at Pop Century, and the transportation options are fantastic, even though it only has one more option that the All-Star-Sports. It is also very close to Hollywood Studios, which is my second favorite Disney World Park. The rooms are absolutely amazing, and I like to be comfortable with a lot of space.
Overall, the Pop Century is my favorite resort out of the two. Whenever you are planning your trip, you and your party need to figure out what is the most important part for you guys. Both resorts are absolutely amazing and deserve a chance to be looked at.
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