When trying to do Disney on a budget, you may opt for one of the value resorts in order to save some money. One of the more popular value resorts at Disney is Pop Century… which is why we did this Pop Century review. Value rooms are great for families that are on a budget or that know they will be spending most of their time in the parks. Disney’s Pop Century Resort 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. Since then it has become one of the most popular hotels at Disney and if you’re thinking about staying here soon then keep reading to find out all about Pop Century.
Our Disney’s Pop Century Resort Review
This Pop Century review is from a recent trip were we did a split stay between Disney’s Pop Century Resort 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 Disney since 2013; we usually either stay in at a Moderate, Deluxe, DVC resort, or in offsite suites. So 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. Now, some people (like Jeremy) hate Murphy beds, but for us it worked out really well.
So What About The Rooms at Pop Century?
A Pop Century review wouldn’t be worth much if we didn’t talk about the room, where most will find themselves staying during their stay at any resort. The rooms in Pop are refurbished and one of the things they added were the Murphy Beds. When the Murphy bed was folded up, there was a small table connected to the bottom of the bed against the wall with a few chairs and it was a nice 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 (which was annoying) 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 in between the the two beds – like a one person wide walking space. 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 space between the door and the bed. So that’s another nice feature to having the Murphy bed; when you don’t need it you can just fold it away and you magically gain all this space to move around in.
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 – bright colors, wallpaper, lots of characters, etc. Now the walls are white and the only characters in the room was this one picture of Mickey, Donald and Goofy over the bed. And when you 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 Disney standpoint, it would have been nice to see some more theming. This obviously comes down to personal taste though.
Pop Century has 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 space would probably fill up pretty quickly, but it was enough space for us.
Are The Rooms At Pop Century Spacious?
The refurbed rooms at Pop Century have a ton of storage space! Disney took a cue from their own cruise line and created more storage space, starting with elevated beds at the resorts like Pop Century that have undergone refurbishments. You can now fit your suitcases under the bed instead of stacking them in a corner, taking up space. 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 a ton of USB outlets, which comes in very handy since everyone nowadays has 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 kinda made things a little difficult because with the rooms where we usually stay, our daughter will have her own sleep space. That wasn’t the case here, so that took some getting used to as far as noise and turning lights on if she was sleeping.
Speaking of bathroom…that area also 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 a lot like 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, 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. So 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 about the bathroom, 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 – we’re pretty sure the room next to us could hear her screaming. And 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 nice 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 lot of parents.
Overall, though the rooms at Disney’s Pop Century 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 the lobby, which was nice because we did not request a preferred room, we just got lucky.
How Is The Lobby At Pop Century?
Ok, so onto the lobby area at Pop Century Resort…it was quite large with pop culture icons decorating the walls. We checked in around 6:15-6:30 and had to wait for quite a while to get to the front. When we did, the 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 NC to GA was being evacuated and everyone was heading to Florida and apparently decided to stay at Pop Century. 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 nicer 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 objects from each decade from the 50’s to the 90’s. So overall not bad.
Everything POP! The General Store/Gift Shop
When you walk in on one side is the Pop Century gift shop/general store. You can purchase stuff like bandaids, 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 awful, but obviously they are going to be more expensive then, say, Walmart. The general store at the Pop Century 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. The nice thing about it is that if you are getting ready to jump on the Magical Express and realize that you forgot to get a gift for someone, you can run in there real fast and find a decent souvenir.
At the Pop Century food court we mostly did a lot of 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 price, 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 was always busy.
We did purchase refillable mugs for our stay and we would fill them up on our way out to the buses and again when we’d head back to our room at the end of the day. 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. And Jamie was really excited because she managed to snag the Halloween themed mug, which sold out daily and after she got the second to last one, they didn’t restock them.
How Are The Pools at Pop Century?
No Pop Century 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. 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 nice for what they were.
Pop Century 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 Disney buses. We say for now because later this year, the Disney Skyliner will be available to take you from Pop Century and Art of Animation to Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
One of the issues with the bus stop at Pop Century 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. But the crowded buses were basically a byproduct of the 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 the 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 allow yourself over an hour.
Pop Century Review Summary
So overall, we liked Pop Century. Probably the best out of all the Value resorts. The refurbished rooms are great – lots of storage space, clean looking, 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, the music they played when you were walking through the different eras of the resort reflected the music from that era. If you can’t tell by our Pop Century review a solid resort if you are planning on spending most of your vacation at the parks. Our biggest gripe was with how crowded the buses were, but that’s not really at the fault of the resort.
We’d stay at Pop Century 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.
Pop Century Resort – we went in with low expectations and were pleasantly surprised. As we think you can tell from our review, overall, we think Pop Century Resort is a good place to stay on your Disney vacation!
If you enjoyed our Pop Century Review, then you might enjoy one of our other articles about Disney resorts, like our article about the best Disney Resorts For Couples.
By Jared Lee
Jared is the co-host of the Capture The Magic Podcast, The Dis Dudes Podcast and is the head honcho of the Capture The Magic Network. When he’s not talking and writing about Disney he can usually be found at the gym, eating meat and spending time with his family.
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