When planning to stay at Walt Disney World Resorts in Orlando, Florida on a budget, you may opt for one of the value resorts in order to save some money on your vacation. Two of the more popular value resorts at Walt Disney World is Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. This article will focus our Pop Century Resort review. Value resorts are a great option and a favorite for families that are visiting who are on a budget and/or know they will be spending most of their vacation time in the parks.
Disney’s Pop Century is one of five Value Resorts on property. It first opened in 2003 and has 2,880 rooms in 10 separate, motel-style, four-story buildings. The grounds feature fun, oversized pop culture icons that scream photo opportunity. Pop Century has become one of the most popular hotels at Walt Disney World and if you’re thinking about staying here we will talk about the food court, pool bar, hippy dippy pool, bus transportation and more in our Pop Century review below.
Our Disney’s Pop Century Resort Review
This Pop Century review is from a recent trip where we did a split stay between Disney’s Pop Century in a standard room and Disney’s Art of Animation’s Little Mermaid Room (review coming on that resort soon). Before this trip, we hadn’t stayed at a Value Resort at Walt Disney World since 2013; we usually either stay in at a Moderate, Deluxe, DVC resort, or in offsite suites.
Our first concern had to do with the size of the room, as this was going to be the first time our daughter was going to be sleeping in the same room with us. But when we first walked into the room at Pop Century, we were very impressed with how clean and spacious it was. Everything was very white and clean and crisp. The carpet had been replaced with a laminate hardwood floor, so it looked brighter. There used to be two full sized beds in the rooms at Pop Century, but after the refurb, the beds were replaced by one queen bed and one queen size Murphy bed.
So What About The Rooms at Pop Century Resort?
A Pop Century Resort review wouldn’t be worth much if we didn’t talk about the room. The rooms in Pop are refurbished and one of the things they added were the Murphy beds. They are a queen bed and when it was folded up, there was a small table/desk connected to the bottom of the bed against the wall with a few chairs and it becomes a little seating area. It also gave our daughter some room to run around.
When we wanted to use the Murphy bed, we had to move the chairs and put them in a corner, clear off the table/desk (which was annoying admittedly) and pull the bed down; the table would fold nicely into the underside of the bed and become essentially the main support. The process itself of putting the bed up and down was very easy, and the mattress was super comfortable to sleep on. Now, when the Murphy bed is down, there is a very narrow pathway between the two beds – like a one-person wide walking path.
Also, when you open the room door at Pop Century and the bed is down, you basically walk right into it. There’s just not a lot of room between the door and the bed, at least in the room we had while staying at Pop. So that’s another cool feature to having the fold up bed; when you don’t need it, you can just fold it away and you magically gain all this room to move around in (plenty of room for activities)!
The overall theme of the room at Pop Century was severely lacking for a room at Disney. The Value resorts used to be synonymous with the rooms looking like Disney threw up all over the place – fun, bright colors, wallpaper, lots of characters and details, etc. Now the walls are white and the only art in the room was this one picture of Mickey, Donald and Goofy over the bed. And when guests pull the Murphy bed down, there is a picture of Pluto.
We couldn’t even find any hidden Mickey’s anywhere. From a regular hotel decor standpoint, the room was beautiful, but from a Walt Disney World resort standpoint, it would have been cool to see some more theming. This obviously comes down to the guests’ personal taste though and really didn’t impact our review of Pop too much.
The Pop Century Resort rooms have a huge flat screen TV above a dresser, a coffee maker, a small glass front refrigerator (which is smaller than the ones they used to have), but no microwave. The coffee maker and fridge were housed in a hutch like cabinet with several shelves where we stored food and drinks. If you had a bunch of groceries, the area would probably fill up pretty quickly, but it was enough room for us.
Are The Rooms At Pop Century Resort Spacious?
Perhaps the most asked about part of any Pop Century Resort review is about space in the rooms. The refurbed rooms at Pop Century have a ton of storage space! Disney resorts have started to take a cue from their own cruise line and created more storage areas, starting with elevated beds at the resorts like Disney’s Pop Century that have undergone refurbishments. You can now fit your luggage under the bed instead of stacking them in a corner, taking up precious square footage.
The side tables are like floating shelves so there is space to store stuff underneath them. There’s a big dresser with six drawers that you can unpack and keep your clothes in. There are plenty USB outlets, which comes in very handy since guests nowadays have at least two or three electronic devices with them. It’s not even a perk anymore, it’s more like, well, yeah, you should have USB outlets because everyone uses them. Kind of like having a T.V. in the room with cable; no need to advertise that, it should be a given.
We had to set up our daughter’s pack and play over by the bathroom because that was really the only place it would fit when the Murphy bed was down. It made things a little difficult because with the rooms where we usually stay, our daughter has her own sleep area. That wasn’t the case here at Pop Century Resort, so that took some getting used to as far as noise and turning lights on if she was sleeping.
How Are The Bathrooms at Pop Century Resort?
The ever lovely bathroom segment of our Pop Century Resort review! The bathrooms had a ton of storage and shelf space. They took out some of the closet space where you would hang your clothes and added more shelves. For some people that is a big deal, but since we don’t typically hang our clothes when we’re at a hotel, it really didn’t bother us. We’d rather have more storage space than hanging space.
The bathroom is very clean looking, very white, very modern with straight lines – it looks very much like a scene out of an Ikea catalogue It actually looks very similar to the bathrooms at Coronado Springs, except there is only one sink at Pop Century and two sinks at Coronado. Everything else was pretty much the same. It did have the pump dispensers for shampoo and such, which we’re not big fans of but still used them.
At Pop Century Resort, the sink and counter area is separate from the shower and toilet area, and the whole bathroom area is separated by a pocket door instead of a curtain, which came in really handy since our daughter was sleeping right next to the bathroom. There were a few nights when I got in pretty late and it had been like, 170 degrees out, and I really wanted to take a shower before getting into bed. I was able to close the pocket door and the bathroom door to shower and not have to worry about waking up our daughter or Jamie, who are both very light sleepers.
One big negative in this Pop Century Resort review of the bathrooms, however, was it only had a shower and no tub. Apparently, there are very few rooms with bathtubs anymore. Our daughter is used to only taking baths and having to take a shower just made her angry. It was a total nightmare and to top it off, it’s no longer a shower curtain, but a sliding glass door, so that didn’t make it any easier either.
It would have been helpful to have that option to use the shower or the tub – we can’t be the only parents out there who’s kids take baths all the time. It’s just surprising in a resort like Pop Century that pretty much caters to families and this is probably an issue for a good number of parents.
Overall, though the rooms at Disney’s Pop Century Resort were really, really nice. We were staying in the 50’s section of the resort in the Tramp building (since Tramp from Lady and the Tramp was the giant icon) and our room was sort of facing Hourglass Lake – it wasn’t a great view, but it was decent. It also ended up being pretty close to Classic Hall, which was cool because we did not request a preferred room, we just got lucky – a preferred location for the price of a standard room.
Pop Century Resort Review Of The Lobby
Ok, so onto the Pop Century Resort review of the lobby area, better known as Classic Hall…it was quite large with pop culture icons decorating the walls. We checked in around 6:15-6:30 in the evening and had to wait for quite a while to get to the front. When we did, the Pop Century Resort Cast Member we spoke to said they were at 100 percent capacity for the night.
This was also during the last hurricane when pretty much the entire southeast coast from North Carolina to Georgia was being evacuated and everyone was heading to Florida and apparently decided to stay at Pop Century and visit the parks. So it made sense why the resort was so busy (and why they couldn’t honor our request for a tub).
So in terms of being a Value resort, the lobby area at Pop Century was very nice – much better than any of All Star resort lobbies. Of course, if we were to compare it to a Deluxe resort lobby, it would not be a fair comparison at all! But there was a good amount of seating and there were shadow boxes on the walls filled with different pop culture objects from each decade from the 50’s to the 90’s. So overall not bad, and if you have time to visit the lobby, it’s a fun, cool little area to check out.
Everything POP! The General Store/Gift Shop
When you walk in on one side of the lobby is the Pop Century Resort gift shop/general store – Everything POP! Guests can purchase stuff like band aids, sunscreen, Tylenol, t-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs…general stuff like that – things you could probably buy at the Emporium. Like any resort, the prices at Pop Century are high, but obviously they are going to be more expensive than, say, Walmart.
The general store at the Pop Century Resort doesn’t take Annual Passholder discounts either. But if you’ve forgotten something from home at least there is a place on resort property that you can go to buy what you need, even if that means you have to pay a premium. The good thing about it is that if you are getting ready to jump on the Magical Express bus and realize that you forgot to get a gift for someone, you can run in there real fast and find a decent souvenir.
Pop Century Resorts Everything POP! Food Court
Perhaps the most important aspect of any Pop Century Resort review is of course the dining aspect of it. The only dining option at Pop Century Resort is the food court section of Everything POP! We mostly did grab and go items like fruit and bagels, and we only had one actual meal there since we usually would eat at the parks. Jamie and I had the chicken sandwich and our daughter had chicken nuggets and some macaroni and cheese.
The food was good, but we didn’t really try much of it. But it was better than the one at the All Stars, the food tasted better. As far as prices, you could get a meal for about $10.00 to $15.00, depending on what you get. But we did notice that no matter what time of day it was, the food court at Pop was always busy.
We did purchase refillable mugs for our stay at Pop Century Resort and we would fill them up on our way out to the bus and again when we’d get back from the parks and head back to our room at the end of the day when we would pass the food court.
The mugs are good for about two weeks and we were also able to use them at Art of Animation for the second half of our trip, so we definitely got our money’s worth out of them. We were really excited too because we managed to snag the Halloween themed mugs, which sold out almost daily and after we got the second to last one, they didn’t restock them.
The only downside to being in the section we were in (a standard room in the 50’s section) at Pop Century, was that it was a bit of a walk from our room to the food court, so it wasn’t always easy to just go to the food court to get some food or a refill for your mug. Anything toward the center of the resort near the pool would be an ideal place to be if you want easy access to not only the pool but the food court.
How Are The Pools at Pop Century Resort?
No Pop Century Resort review would be complete if we didn’t talk about the pool options! There are three pools at Pop Century: the Hippy Dippy pool, the Computer pool, and the Bowling Pin pool. The largest pool is the Hippy Dippy pool in the 60s/70s section of the resort, and is located the closest to the main lobby.
The Computer pool is located in the 80s section (shaped like a giant computer), and the Bowling Pin pool (themed to be like a bowling alley) is located in the 50s section. All three pools were pretty basic with no diving boards or slides likes they have at a Moderate or Deluxe resort. But the resort pools were still very enjoyable for what they were.
Pop Century Resort Transportation Options
This is probably the aspect of our Pop Century Resort review that is always a negative for us when we review value resorts and it’s the transportation options. If you don’t have your own car, the only other transportation to get you to all four parks and Disney Springs – for now – are the Walt Disney World buses.
The Disney Skyliner, located between Pop Century Resort and Art of Animation Resort over Hourglass Lake, gives guests access to Epcot and Hollywood Studios which is a great additional transportation option; however, it depends on what park you are going to for the day and if it’s useful to you.
One of the issues with the bus stop at Pop Century Resort is that it’s out in the open with no shade whatsoever. It’s not as bad early in the morning, but once the sun is out and beating down on you, it can be very uncomfortable. The other big issue at Pop Century was that the buses were CROWDED. Especially the ones going to Magic Kingdom park. But the crowded buses were basically a byproduct of how busy Pop Century is as a resort; which is pretty much true for all the Values.
But you always have the option to call a Lyft or Uber, or even a Minnie Van, especially if you are pressed for time. We did miss early morning magic one morning because we took the bus and the line to get through security was INSANE. It took us 45 minutes to get into Magic Kingdom park.
But I think that was a combination of several factors – busy park day, not enough security, etc. But definitely if you have a reservation to get to, maybe think about using an alternative mode of transportation. Otherwise, you’ll need to plan ahead and allow yourself over an hour to get where you are going.
Disney’s Pop Century Resort Review Summary
Overall for our Pop Century Resort review, we liked it a lot. Probably the best out of all the Value resorts we have done a review on currently. The refurbished rooms are great – tons of storage areas and clean looking. We do wish there was a little more theming in the rooms, but the outside theming more than makes up for it.
The food at the Pop Century food court, Everything Pop! was pretty good, even though we really didn’t eat there that much. The pools at Pop Century were nice, especially the Hippy Dippy pool and the music they played when you were walking through the different eras of the resort reflected the music from that era.
The pool bar was what you would expect and if you need a break from screaming kids it is a great place. If you can’t tell by our Pop Century Resort review, we think this is a solid resort if you are planning on spending most of your vacation at the parks, or for families looking to save money on their room. Our biggest gripe was with how crowded the buses were, but that’s not really Pop Century’s fault and is something you’ll find at any value resort.
Would We Stay At Pop Century Again?
We’d stay at Pop Century Resort again, but maybe when our daughter is a little bit older so we don’t have to deal with figuring out where to keep the pack and play. And maybe stay here when we have our own car with us, so we don’t have to worry about transportation.
Overall when it comes to our Pop Century Resort review, we went in with low expectations and were pleasantly surprised. We think Pop Century Resort is a good place to stay on your Walt Disney World vacation! With the Skyliner now open for Pop Century and Art of Animation, they both are great resorts to stay at if you plan to go to Epcot or Hollywood Studios a bunch of times during your stay as well.
If you enjoyed our Pop Century Resort review, then you might enjoy one of our other articles about Walt Disney World resorts, like our article about the best Disney Resorts For Couples. or you could check out our great Disney World backpack for your next trip!