Pros and Cons of Disney’s Pop Century Resort
With so many hotel options at Disney World, it’s imperative to know the pros and cons of Disney’s Pop Century, as you’ll want to be sure that selecting this value resort is well worth your family’s time and money. So let’s dive right in.
Pros and Con’s of the Pop Century Resort at Disney
Let’s break down the rooms at the Pop Century.
Rooms at Disney’s Pop Century
The rooms at this resort are basic but functional. When we first visited in the mid-2000s, all of the rooms were themed to the building that they were in. For example, the rooms in the 1980s building featured artwork from The Little Mermaid, which came out in that decade.
They saw a refurbishment in 2019 to a cleaner, mid-century-esque theme. Every room looks the same, no matter the building where you’re staying. Frankly, they are much cleaner looking than in years past.
For a standard room, you can expect two queen beds. One bed is a Murphy-style bed that acts as a dining table by day and folds down to a bed in the evening. There are also hardwood floors throughout, which appear to be a common theme in Disney hotel room refurbishments. The bathroom also saw a re-theme, with new showers and a sink with a large countertop.
There is also more storage available. Open shelving is available in the bathroom and there is additional storage in the living area and underneath the bed. We love being able to tuck our suitcase under the bed for a while!
Pro: There is plenty of room for a couple in this room, especially if you do not fold down the murphy bed.
Con: The room is a little snug for families, especially since the beds are pretty close together.
Con: There is no additional seating beyond the beds and dining tables. So, you basically have to choose between sitting on the bed or at the table.
Amenities at Disney’s Pop Century
Below is a list of the room amenities at the resort:
- Internet (free WiFi)
- In-Room Safe
- Coffee maker
- Iron & ironing board
On the whole, the amenities are similar to a regular hotel. This makes sense, as it the resort falls under the ‘Value’ category of Disney resorts.
Below is a list of amenities available on the resort grounds:
- Parking ($15 per vehicle, per night)
- Complimentary day parking
- ATM – currency exchange
- Online check-in
- Laundry rooms
- Mail services
- Merchandise delivery/pickup
While you might not see premium services like at Deluxe resorts, there is plenty available for a standard stay. We have stayed at this resort many times and the amenities never fail us.
Our favorite is the laundry rooms. When you try to save on luggage by cramming a ton of clothes into a tiny backpack, it is important to have a space to freshen up your clothes after a while. You have to pay to use the machine, and they are a standard laundromat-style washer and dryer, but it is a big benefit for long stays.
Pro: We feel like Disney’s Pop Century covers everything you need for a basic trip.
Pro: The laundry is helpful, especially on long trips.
Con: You will miss out on some premium services given the resort’s affordability.
Cast Members of the Resort
Disney Cast Members are always fantastic. No matter my service, I will never discredit the hard work that cast members do on a daily basis to create magic.
It is worth noting that Disney’s Pop Century is a busy, family-friendly resort. There are many people traveling for their once-in-a-lifetime trip and tensions can be high. Unfortunately, sometimes that tension gets placed on the Cast Members.
For me, the way to make sure you get the best service possible is to show kindness. You’ll be surprised what magic can come your way with some basic manners and a smile.
Pro: Disney Cast Members still offer magic, even at affordable resorts.
Con: They can be stressed because of the guests, so a little kindness goes a long way towards them.
Dining at Disney’s Pop Century
You can expect very basic standard dining at this value resort. There are two options: cafeteria-style dining and a pool bar called Petals.
At the massive quick-service location, behind the gift shop in the main lobby, you will find breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals. You can order fare reminiscent of 1950s staples, like braised beef and the POP’ing Pimento Burger. There are also standard options like pizzas, salads, burgers, and more.
While you can buy wine at the gift shop, Petals Pool Bar is your main stop for cocktails. It is conveniently located next to the main lobby and pool, which is perfect for those poolside afternoons. There are some themed cocktails, but you can also expect staples like long island iced teas and frozen margaritas.
You can have food delivered to your room, but we have found it faster to mobile order our meal and walk to pick it up instead. Delivery can take upwards of an hour, which is a lot when you are hungry after a long day in the park.
Storing extra food can be tricky, but you do have a mini-fridge where you can store a small number of leftovers. In the past, we have stored pizza by breaking down our box a little bit.
Pro: There are a surprising amount of options available in large portions at the quick service location.
Con: There is no sit-down location, so you’ll have to travel outside of the resort to have a nice dinner. (Thankfully, there are plenty of options.)
Prices at Disney’s Pop Century
Disney’s Pop Century is a value resort, which means they’re going to be more affordable compared to hotels like the Contemporary Resort or Saratoga Springs.
As far as room prices go, they range depending on when you visit. For a standard room, you can expect to pay anywhere from $169 to $350. You can also pay extra for a preferred room, which places you closer to the lobby or the pools. But, we have found those unnecessary in many cases. In addition, the pools can be pretty noisy, so unless you intend on spending most of your time in that area I suggest finding a quieter room. That way, you can enjoy a mid-day nap more peacefully.
Dining prices vary based on what you order and the location. We found that snacks were anywhere between $1 and $10 and entrees ranged from $10 to $40. Disney has appeared to recently increase their cocktail pricing, which is now between $14.50 and $18. If you are looking for a draft beer or wine, you can expect to pay around $8.75 to $12.
Pro: Pricing is pretty affordable compared to other resorts but can still be pricey during peak times.
Con: The value vs. pricing ratio is not always there, especially during the holidays when you are paying premium prices.
Entertainment and Activities at Disney’s Pop Century
Surprisingly, there is a lot to do at this hotel. There are three pools: Hippy Dippy Pool, Bowling Pool, and Computer Pool. The Hippy Dippy Pool is the main pool close to the lobby. The Bowling Pool is shaped like a pin nearby the 1950s and 1960s buildings, and the Computer Pool is near the 1980s and 1990s buildings. There is also a splash pad for little ones behind the Hippy Dippy Pool.
During the day, there are plenty of pool activities hosted by Cast Members. Anything from trivia to relay and song-guessing games. Even as adults, we had fun sitting poolside answering questions about Disney songs and characters.
In the evening, you can roast marshmallows at the nightly campfire. Then, you can watch a Disney movie under the stars near the Hippy Dippy Pool. There is a schedule by the main lobby that tells you the time (as it can vary) and the movie playing that night.
If walking miles and miles at Disney World isn’t enough, then you can get an early start on your exercise routine at the mile-long jogging trail. The trail takes you around Hourglass Lake, which surrounds the Skyliner and is a kiddy corner to Disney’s Art of Animation resort.
For kids, there is a playground and an arcade available. You need to load a card with points to play, but then your kids can visit the arcade whenever they want during their stay.
Pro: There are a ton of kid-friendly activities available. If you plan on having a day at the resort, you will not get bored.
Con: There is not as much to do for adults. We found the Bowling Pool nice for a quieter spot, but there was not much shade.
Theming at Disney’s Pop Century
Honestly, this resort is over-the-top with theming. For those unaware, Disney’s Pop Century pays homage to the decades of the past, from the 1950s to the 1990s. Starting from the lobby, you see collages of pop culture throughout. From old games to merchandise and music, the hotel showcases the highlights of those decades.
On the grounds, the buildings are themed to the different decades. For example, in the 1980s building, you might find yourself walking up the stairways in a giant Rubix Cube. Or, in the 1950s, there are bowling pins surrounding the resort.
There are also gigantic figurines of Disney characters from those decades, including Roger Rabbit, Baloo and Mowgli, Lady and the Tramp, and more. It is fun to take pictures in front of them, especially if they’re from one of your favorite movies.
But, in the evening, we found it to be a quieter experience. Yes, the figurines are still there. But, the walkways are lit around Hourglass Lake and the Skyliner is gently passing by while you listen to oldies music. Somehow, even for a value resort, it is strangely romantic.
Pro: The theming is fun, colorful, and bright. You can expect lots of activity during the day but a subdued feeling in the evening.
Con: You will not find as much Disney magic in the theming beyond the characters. It feels like a basic hotel at the end of the day.
Transportation at Disney’s Pop Century
You have two transportation options available at this hotel: the Skyliner and the buses.
The Skyliner is the newest addition to the Disney transportation system. From Pop Century, you can head to either Epcot or Hollywood Studios. To access the “highway in the sky” you travel by the 1970s buildings near the main lobby toward Hourglass Lake. From there, you are transported to an interchange where you can choose which park you want to visit.
We love the Skyliner and consider this every time we travel to Disney World. We have saved more time taking the Skyliner than waiting for the buses on every trip since it opened. But, the lines can be long at park opening and closing, so you’ll want to plan ahead.
For the buses, you can visit Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, and Disney Springs from the main lobby. The wait can be long, but the Cast Members do their best at making transportation as efficient as possible. Similar to the Skyliner, the lines can be long at the park opening and closing.
With the implementation of the Skyliner, Disney’s Pop Century is definitely a step above the other Value resorts at Disney World. So, we would consider it a Value/Moderate option.
Pro: You don’t have to take the buses all the time.
Con: The resort is further away from the parks where you need to take the bus, so expect 15 to 20 minutes for transportation to Animal Kingdom or Magic Kingdom.
After the pros and cons of Disney’s Pop Century, would we stay there again? Yes, absolutely! While the theming and dining might not be romantic or upscale, the resort is a basic option that is suitable for most families. For us, the biggest benefits of the resort are the Skyliner and Petals Pool Bar (they make very tasty drinks).
If you plan on staying at this resort, we suggest visiting during non-peak times. The price-to-value ratio can start to wane during peak times like Christmas or Halloween. If you want a little more bang for your buck during those times, then you should consider staying at a moderate resort like Port Orleans.
So, what do you think? Have you stayed at Disney’s Pop Century? Let us know in the comments!
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