Pop Century vs Port Orleans Riverside – Which Is Best?

Should you stay at the Pop Century vs Port Orleans Riverside?
Disney’s Pop Century Resort – Giant Jukebox” by Michael Gray licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Value or moderate? Buses or Skyliner? With so many resorts at Disney World, it is hard to know which is the right choice for your next trip. That’s why, in this battle between the Pop Century vs Port Orleans Riverside, we’ll have these two resorts go head to head, as we assess which hotel offers the best features and value for your money!

Best Disney Resort Room for the Money

Let’s begin by discussing the Pop Century.

Pop Century

There are different types of Disney hotels, including Value, Moderate, and Deluxe resorts. Pop Century falls under the Value category alongside other hotels like All-Star Music, All-Star Movies, and All-Star Sports resorts. Pricing varies by season, but you can expect standard rooms (those with views of the garden or parking lot) from $150 to $300 (as of this publication). Prices increase as you upgrade your room view.

Port Orleans – Riverside

This resort falls in the Moderate category, which has higher prices than Value hotels. Like Pop Century, the pricing for the Port Orleans Riverside varies. For a standard view, for example, you can expect to pay $250 to $375 a night.

While the cost varies, this hotel has more room and view options than Pop Century. So you could choose between having a garden or pool view, or you could splurge and book one of their Royal Suite rooms. So if you’re looking for variety or special accommodations, Port Orleans – Riverside is the better choice.

Restaurants and Dining

Pop Century

At this hotel, you can find a quick service and a pool bar restaurant named Petals Pool Bar. The main dining area, Everything POP Shopping & Dining, does well at keeping theme with some of their food by having classics like roast beef and buttermilk fried chicken. You can also order pizza, burgers, and chicken strips for an easy dinner.

Petals Pool Bar is one of my favorite stops, and we always have their long island cocktails while sitting poolside. But, the area is often busy with people heading into the lobby and the pool, which could be more relaxing. At the same time, if you visit this hotel during a busy season, expect to wait for your drinks. During our last trip, we waited almost 45 minutes for two drinks! (But we were on vacation time, so it was worth it.)

When mobile ordering food, picking up the items is more accessible than at Port Orleans – Riverside. This ease is mainly due to the restaurant’s central location, which is in the main lobby. Port Orleans – Riverside is a large resort, and you might have a bit of a walk to get your food.

Port Orleans – Riverside

You have a standard food court similar to Everything POP, but this resort also has an indoor bar lounge, a pool bar, and a sit-down restaurant. There are more options for every type of eater, from small bites to large meals. We found the food slightly elevated than Pop Century, with southern dishes like Jambalaya on the menu.

Did you know that there is also live entertainment? You can hoot and holler with Yehaa Bob Jackson at River Roost, a lobby bar lounge. He is typically there from Wednesday to Saturday nights.

Guests also have Boatwright’s Dining Hall, the table service restaurant. This spot plays into the southern shipyard theme with ship-making tools and a large suspended wooden ship frame. While we have not eaten there yet, it is a popular destination for Disney guests. You can expect southern classics like Boudin balls, shrimp and grits, and fried okra.

Hotel Amenities

Pop Century

Being a value resort, amenities are standard with many non-Disney hotels. You can expect free WiFi, a gift shop, and laundry facilities throughout the grounds.

Three pools are available, and all are themed to the different decades shown throughout the hotel. You can enjoy swimming in the Hippy Dippy Pool, the main pool by the lobby. It is shaped like a flower from the 1970s. Or, you can jump into the bowling pin pool in the 1950s/1960s area or the computer-shaped pool in the 1980s/1990s section.

Room amenities are standard: a hairdryer, in-room safe, telephone, coffee maker, iron and ironing board, and a mini-refrigerator.

Recreation-wise, Pop Century offers a jogging trail around Hourglass Lake, a playground, an arcade, a campfire with marshmallows, and nightly movie screenings over the Hippy Dippy Pool.

Pop Century can feel a little cheap, depending on the time of year. More amenities should be available when I am paying $300 a night. But, there are also days where I have not gone to the parks and felt I got my money’s worth spending my time at the resort.

Port Orleans – Riverside

Port Orleans has similar laundry, shopping, WiFi, and room amenities to Pop Century. The most considerable difference is in recreation, where this hotel has bike rentals, bass fishing excursions, a horse-drawn carriage ride, and more. All are at an additional cost to your stay, but they are unique experiences if you decide to have a day away from the parks.

More pool options are available at this resort, with a water slide, a kiddie pool, and quiet leisure spots. We liked having many options, especially since the main pools can be crowded.

Transportation Options

Pop Century

This hotel has two transportation options: the Skyliner and the buses. The Skyliner was added in recent years, and it is a gondola-style system that takes you to Hollywood Studios and Epcot. The buses take you to Animal Kingdom, Disney Springs, and Magic Kingdom.

Port Orleans – Riverside

At Port Orleans – Riverside, you have bus or boat options. You must take the bus to all parks, but you can boat to Disney Springs or Port Orleans – French Quarter. The boat ride is relaxing and a unique way to reach the shopping and dining center. 

Ease of Getting to and from Parks

Pop Century

As mentioned, you can choose between the bus or Skyliner depending on the park you are visiting. The Skyliner is floating over Hourglass Lake behind the resort. You must walk past the Hippy Dippy Pool from the lobby area to the loading dock. The lobby is the only spot to access the buses.

Frankly, the Skyliner is the best addition to Pop Century. It is primarily the reason why we stay there so often. It is convenient, even with the occasional wait, and is a relaxing way to start your Disney park day. But, the Skyliner is very high up in the air, so those with fears of heights might struggle. Considering that you cannot take a bus to Hollywood Studios or Epcot from this hotel, consider another hotel if the Skyliner is impossible.

The Pop Century resort is situated near the end of the Disney World property, so busing takes longer to Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom. We have experienced 15 to 20-minute rides to either park from this resort. Many families load up on the buses at the parks’ opening and closing, and it feels crowded. In addition, the bus queues do not have shade (there are benches off to the side), so make sure you bring some water or a cooling towel.

I do not like being pressed into the buses at the night’s end. Instead, I look at the lines for all Skyliner resort buses: the Art of Animation Resort, Riviera Resort, and Caribbean Beach Resort. Choose the shortest line and walk or take the Skyliner over to Pop Century.

Port Orleans – Riverside

When visiting the parks from this hotel, you can expect crowded buses at the park opening and closing. There are multiple bus stops, so you walk to the nearest stop to your room. The buses were the least favorite part of our stay at Port Orleans – Riverside. When I want to get to my hotel room at the end of the night, the last thing I want to do is think about my bus stop. 

Resort Theming

Pop Century

Pop Century theming is reminiscent of All-Star resorts. The lobby has collages of pop culture icons, games, and events. Outside, you will see gigantic figurines of Disney characters, some of which are appropriate for the decade of your building. You can expect to see Lady and the Tramp and Roger Rabbit. Walking around, you can hear oldies music gently playing throughout. 

Port Orleans – Resort

I love the theming around Port Orleans – Riverside. This moderate resort embodies a laidback, low-country southern feeling throughout. It has a relaxing feel, from the perfectly landscaped gardens to the sprawling mansion-style buildings to the working cotton press.

It is also a pretty romantic place, and walking around the grounds makes you feel closer to your loved one. We stayed here for our honeymoon and loved seeing the walkway lights come on as the sun descended, just walking hand in hand (with a tasty cocktail in the other).

Pop Century or Port Orleans Riverside: Verdict

So, when pitting the Pop Century vs Port Orleans Riverside against one another, which do we choose? Well, while we love the theming of Port Orleans, the top choice is Pop Century for its transportation options. If you are like me, the hotel is mainly a place to sleep, so getting to and from the parks easily is vital. This resort does a great job of getting people where they need to and with little fuss.

If you enjoyed this article, please “like” our Countdown to Magic Facebook page!

You May Also Like:

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *