Recently, we experienced out first time staying at a Walt Disney World value resort. We stayed at Pop Century and are eager to to share our experience with you! We had never even set foot on a value resort so we didn’t really know what to expect. Several bloggers/vloggers/friends swear by Pop Century but we didn’t want to get our expectations set too high.
We flew out on yet another midnight flight, but this time we had a layover so we didn’t get onto the Magical Express until around ten am. Our Magical Express went to Art of Animation and Pop Century and Pop Century was the second stop. When we got in, one thing we noticed right off the bat were the incredibly vibrant colors, even in just the front of the resort at the bus pick up and drop off and the parking lot area.
The floors are a shiny stone in black and white and cream with pops of color and the registration and guest services area is right to the left when you first walk in from the bus circle. If you have read our previous posts about our adventures in Disney you know, we stay at a lot of Deluxe Resorts so I did notice, and expected to notice, a large increase in families and what appeared to be school groups.
Registration was quick and we headed off toward our room. After you leave registration you walk farther into the main building, at the end you can either go left which leads out to the park and resort busses, go right where there are restrooms, the pool and the buildings that house the rooms, or you can go straight and it takes you into the large gift shop and dining area.
The dining area for Pop Century consists of one large cafeteria style dining location. There are pool bars, one right off the Hippy Dippy Pool; that surrounds the 60’s buildings called Petals. There are no table service dining locations at Pop Century.
The dining location is called Everything Pop and had a wide variety of foods to choose from. Everything pop is located in the main building of the resort, and is easily accessible from the Hippy Dippy Pool. Important to note, if you are coming from the pool, you must put shoes and cover up on to enter the dining location.
There was a lot of seating and even some outdoor seating. Dining is open seven days a week from 6 am until midnight and dining options include everything from mickey waffles, eggs, omelets, toast, bagels, pastries, breakfast meats, pancakes, biscuits and gravy and more for breakfast. Sandwiches, pizza, soups, salads, turkey, salmon, pot roast, burgers and homemade desserts for lunch and dinner. There really are a lot of options.
There is one other area and that is Petals, which is the pool bar attached to the Hippy Dippy Pool. Petals serves alcoholic drinks including an amazing Pina CoLAVA, which is a pina colada swirled with raspberry puree, the Hula Hoop which is a delicious mixture of coconut rum with melon and banana liqueurs with grenadine and pineapple juice and other fun libations.
The 50’s building will be to the right of the main building, if you come out the back entrance and area, facing the Hippy Dippy pool. There are really cute and gigantic statues of Lady and the Tramp and the dog house from the movie in the courtyard of those. The 60’s buildings are right in the center of the resort directly off the main building and feature a hippy motif. The 70’s buildings are to the left if you come out the same entrance. Those feature cassette tapes, mood rings, a giant Big Wheel bike, a massive Mickey phone from that era and more.
The 80’s and 90’s buildings are past the 70’s buildings. If you walk through the 70’s buildings you come to Hourglass Lake, which separates Art of Animation from Pop Century. There is a walkway in the middle of the lake that you can cross over to the other resort. That is also where you can view a lot of construction currently being done on the Gondola system coming soon to Walt Disney World called the Skyliner.
Now, let’s get to the rooms. All of the rooms at Disney’s Pop Century have now been renovated. They are done in clean, modern tones and lines. The floors are made to look like wood, the linens are white, the towels are white, the walls are white, the furniture is a medium brown tone that compliments the room nicely. Our room had a queen bed and then a desk that folded down into a murphy bed. When the bed was up, there were two chairs that fit around the desk. The nightstands were small but there were three of them that flanked each bed when both were laid out. There was a mini-fridge, plenty of outlets which is something that we always look for, there was a large flat screen tv that seems to be standard in all Disney resort rooms now. There was also a large dresser with plenty of space to store things; we used ours for hats, mickey ears and camera equipment.
The bathroom had a separate vanity and toilet/shower area which you could close off with a pocket door. There was also a pocket door that could close off the vanity area from the rest of the room. In the vanity area was a single sink, two places for storage, one with hangers, so that was the official closet. There was also an iron. In the toilet/shower area were those two obvious items, the shower itself was a shower and bath combination. There was a removable hand held shower head as well as a rain shower head which was nice; although I will say, for my taste, I don’t love those shower heads because it always feels to me like the pressure is decreased, but that is honestly just my preference and I know most people love those types of shower heads so that is a plus.
Also worth mentioning is that all of the rooms at Pop Century have been changed to the large dispensers of shampoo, body wash and conditioner, which again, I prefer but I know that I am in the minority on that. There was also no body lotion provided so be sure to plan for that.
The room would be very tight for more than two or three people but if you, as many do, use the room for a bed and a shower, it really is everything you need and at quite a lower price tag than many of the other resorts.
As with all Disney resorts, there are busses running to all parks and Disney Springs. The Minnie Van service is also available. If you rent a car or drive to Disney and need to park your car, Disney implemented fees for parking at the resorts overnight so be aware of that.
We found two pools at Pop Century. The Hippy Dippy pool in the 60’s buildings which appeared to be the main pool. There were games and interactive events taking place throughout the day at this pool and that is where Petals is located. This pool is open from 8 am until midnight, according to the Disney website. The pool in the 50’s buildings was much smaller and quieter. This pool is open from 10 am to 10 pm daily, according to the Disney website.
A couple of things in regards to the areas and the differences between value resorts, specifically Pop Century and other resorts that are Deluxe or Moderate resorts. One is that if you are not a smoker and the smell of smoke bothers you, it is important to know that there seemed to be a large number of designated smoking areas at this resort and they were not tucked away from main walking areas but were right in the pathways and along areas that were difficult to avoid.
There are elevators in these buildings and the buildings are four stories high. Our room was on the fourth floor and was at the very edge of the building, while the elevators were in the center of the buildings so it was easier for us to use the stairs instead.
On our last night of this trip, we returned from a ten hour day in the parks. It was hot and humid and had rained so were at a bit of a mess. We were heading to California Grill for dinner and were excited to shower and get refreshed before this meal. When we got into our room we discovered that mousekeeping had accidentally locked us out of our shower and toilet room. The room had been locked from the inside and we were unable to access that area. We called down to get someone to unlock the door. We had about an hour and a half before we had to get to our reservation. Guest services had assured us that someone would be along shortly to rectify the situation. We waited, and waited and waited and no one came. With about fifteen minutes before we had to leave we ended up just changing and doing what we could do prepare for dinner and we headed out. We went to the front desk and explained the situation and it was rectified by the time we returned.
One thing about Disney is that if something goes wrong, they will work to fix it. We have rarely had the need to complain about anything in Disney. Service is always good, we have never had an issue with a room that wasn’t clean and have rarely experienced a lack of magic. It is important to remember that even at the happiest place on earth the castmembers are human. Mistakes happen. Calmly explain the situation, when magic go awry and Disney will do their best to make it right.
Pop Century is full of color and has a ton of advantages for families. The rooms are wonderfully renovated as we mentioned earlier and the fact that the hideaway bed is able to do just that, and hide away will give families more room because it for sure will be a tight space with more than two people.
The bottom line for us is that, if you are going to go to Walt Disney World and use your room for a bed and a shower and not much more than that; we think Pop Century is perfect for you. We understand why people go back time and time again and you still are able to take advantage of the transportation options, including the Minnie Vans and if you are going to be spending a lot of time in the parks and are looking to save money on a hotel, Pop Century is a great option for your group.
Have you stayed at Pop Century before? Would you stay again? What were your pro’s and con’s? We’d love to hear from you. That’s it for this post. Thank you for stopping by and for the love of the mouse, never forget that it all started with a mouse.