During our Walt Disney World Vacation in October, we chose to stay at Disney’s Pop Century Resort. I had never stayed at Pop Century before, and I was excited for the chance to explore this resort.
Previously, when choosing a value resort, I have always gone with one of the All Star Resorts. After a couple of stays at All Star, I knew what to expect from them and I was always comfortable with that decision. However, on this last vacation, when I was actually able to book our trip, all of the All Star Resorts were full, and being on a tight budget, I was forced to branch out of my comfort zone.
On the Walt Disney World website, the following description of the resort is given:
“Experience the unforgettable fads of the 1950s through the 1990s all over again. From yo-yos and Play-Doh® to Rubik’s Cube® and rollerblades, this Resort hotel salutes the timeless fashions, catch phrases, toys and dances that captivated the world through the decades.”
Now, being a kid in the 1990s, I was not very enthused to relive that time period. However, when booking your room at Pop Century, you have the opportunity to request a certain “decade” that you would like to stay in. You can also choose preferences such as a room close to transportation, or a room close to the lobby.
I made my preferences (I opted for an early check-in option rather than choosing a specific building to request), and we did not have to relive the 90s. Instead, we relived the 1980s.
Disney’s Pop Century Resort features three different pools! Described on the Disney World website:
“Immerse yourself in the spirit of the 1960’s at the sprawling Hippy Dippy Pool, which features flower-shaped water jets. For the little ones, a kiddie pool area with a pop-jet water fountain is located nearby. Two more pools, the smaller 1950’s Bowling Pool and the 1990’s Computer Pool, are also on hand for Guests looking to take the pop-culture plunge.”
Our room was nearest to the 1990’s Computer Pool.
We took advantage of this pool during two different evenings, and during each swim, there were only a very small handful of other guests in the pool. We swam around 8pm each time and I never counted more than ten other people.
I enjoyed that we were close to one of the smaller pools, as many guests took advantage of the larger Hippy Dippy Pool instead of venturing to the others. Each night, guests can also take advantage of a movie under the stars at the Hippy Dippy Pool.
Walking around the resort, you are greeted by larger than life pop icons such as Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, giant Foosball players, and a Big Wheel. The themeing is fun, and exploring the different decade areas was a nice way to pass a quiet evening at the resort. However, I did feel that Pop Century lacked in Disney themeing quite a bit.
Our actual room was very clean and comfortable, and featured art of Disney merchandise from the 1980s. The carpet and wallpaper featured some subtle hidden Mickeys, but again, I felt like the Disney themeing was a little lacking here.
Our room came with two full size beds, and being exhausted at the end of each day, it was nice to have a bed to ourselves and to be able to stretch out! However, if you are traveling with children and not as just a couple, this room could easily sleep a family of 4 (2 adults and 2 children).
The lobby of Pop Century is spacious and welcoming. Every Cast Member that I encountered was very helpful and always had their Disney smile on! For one day of our trip, we had planned to visit Universal Studios, and the front desk was very helpful in arranging transportation for us. Before our trip, I was a little worried about asking a Disney Cast Member to help me arrange transportation to “the other theme park,” but the concierge was very helpful and even recommended the transportation provider that would provide us with the best rate and service.
More than just filled with helpful Cast Members, the main building of Pop Century is home to “Everything Pop Shopping and Dining.”
The gift store was well stocked with a variety of items – including alcohol. I was able to find a resort exclusive Pop Century pin here, which I was really excited about.
The main building holds a full Quick Service restaurant, complete with several different stations to get all different types of food. Sandwiches, pizza, chicken, burgers, pasta – there is really something for every taste bud here.
One night we were adventurous and decided to try the Elvis Cupcake. Chocolate cake filled with a banana puree, topped with peanut butter frosting and crumbled bacon. Usually, we would have stayed clear, but we were on vacation and had Snack Credits to spare! And guess what? It was delicious!! Seriously, this was one of the best cupcakes I have ever had.
Here is a photo montage of Aaron digging in!
“I’m not too sure about this…”
“Alright, here I go!”
“No turning back now…”
“Wow, that was a big bite. Almost bit off more than I could chew. Hahaha. Get it?”
“That was awesome! Sorry Monica, I’m not sharing this cupcake. You’re going to have to get your own!”
So let’s see, we’ve covered the pools, the rooms, the shopping, and the food. Ah yes, just one more note about transportation.
My number one complaint and tip for staying at Pop Century is to leave plenty of time for transportation. There is only one bus stop at this resort (located outside the main building) and the lines can get pretty long in the mornings. If you have early dining reservations or are trying to make it to a park for rope drop, leave your hotel room at least an hour early! Also, each night it seemed like every single guest leaving the park was also staying at Pop Century and the line to take the bus back to the resort was always the longest resort line – by far! As we left Magic Kingdom one night, we waited in the bus line for over an hour! Just be prepared and know that you may have to wait in line for transportation longer than you would at another resort.
Overall, we had a great experience at Pop Century. If you are traveling to Disney World on a budget, I would definitely suggest giving this resort some consideration.
My Favorite Part: the convenience and the price. Everything that we needed, our resort provided and the friendly and helpful staff rivaled those at more pricey Disney resorts.
Aaron’s Favorite Part: The larger than life Pop culture icons that fill the property.
My Least Favorite Part: long waits for transportation. Be prepared to wait! We traveled during a slow time of year for Disney World and still waited in line for a bus for 45 minutes or longer each night to return to our resort.
Aaron’s Least Favorite Part: The dining room at the resort fills during peak meal-time hours, and finding a table can sometimes be a little tricky.
Have you ever stayed at Pop Century? What did you like about it? Any complaints? I would love to hear your reviews – just leave them in the comments.