Disney’s Pop Century is a Value Resort themed to the evolution of pop culture throughout the decades. In comparison to the three All-Star resorts, most people agree that this resort is a step up, both in quality and in theme. In this review we’ll explore the amenities and features that Pop Century has to offer, and I’ll discuss some of the specific experiences that I had on my last trip. Everything discussed here is my personal opinion, but for up-to-date info be sure to check out Disney’s official website for additional insight.
This review mostly consists of my written thoughts. For a better sense of the visuals, my YouTube review and room tour is the way to go!
Pop Century is divided up into five main sections, each themed to a decade from the 1950s through the 1990s. Each section is painted in bright, vibrant colors and is decorated with giant icons that recon back their respective decade such as 8-Tracks in the 70s, Pac-Man in the 80s, or CD ROMs in the 90s. Because there are multiple buildings, you can expect to walk outside to get to your destination. The farthest building is just under a ten minute walk to the lobby.
The lobby includes all of the resort’s main amenities such as the front desk, food court, gift shops, bus stop, and arcade. Unlike the Moderate Resorts, guests using the WDW buses will have to make the trek to the lobby to travel across the property. However guests using cars won’t necessarily have to walk as far since the parking lot spans the length of the entire resort.
If you think you’ll be relying on WDW bus transportation, I recommend checking out my video which gives some in-depth tips and tricks on how to navigate and make the best of the system’s quirks.
Pop Century is located in the “ESPN Wide World of Sports” area. In other words, not particularly close to any of the best attractions WDW has to offer – the closest park is Hollywood Studios. With no other forms of transportation currently available, you will be relying on bus or car to get to your destinations (this will change in 2019, be sure to see how at the end of the article.) With that said, Pop’s neighbor resort, Art of Animation, is just a few steps away across the bridge. If you’re waiting for a return bus at the parks, it’s possible to use Art of Animation’s bus transportation and walk to your room as well. One of my favorite activities is going for walks around the lake that connects the two resorts. The decorations at both resorts are great to see at night, but the Cars section at Art of Animation is particularly astounding.
Check out my Art of Animation review for more info!
The main “Hippy Dippy” pool is centrally located in the 1960s section near the lobby. Near the main pool is a kiddie pool and the “Petals” pool bar. There are also two smaller “quiet” pools located on the far ends in the 1950s and the 1990s. But don’t hold your breath, neither of the pools are particularly exciting. As usual for the Value Resorts, there is no hot tub or other water features. In addition to the pool bar mentioned prior, the resort has the “Everything Pop!” food court/quick service location. There are no other food locations at this resort.
Some other activities available at the resort are a pool-side movies that play in the evening. Each night a family-friendly movie is projected onto a screen by the pool, free for all to enjoy. During the day, tie-dye t-shirt decorating is also offered on occasion, for an additional fee.
All of the rooms have recently undergone a major refurbishment. In my opinion, the quality of the rooms greatly overshadows what the rest of the resort has to offer. They’re bright, slick, and modern. Everything in the room feels deliberate and smart. In addition to one queen sized bed (updated from just a double), there is another fold-out Murphy bed. If the additional bed space isn’t needed, the bed folds into a small table. Perfect for couples. Nightstands have been replaced with smaller shelves on the walls. The loss of storage space is compensated with a raised bed, where items like suitcases can be stowed underneath. As a result, families of all sizes will benefit from more space to maneuver throughout the room. Unlike many rooms on property, these rooms have been brought to the 21st century with plenty of outlets and USB chargers for electronic devices. The rooms also include a mini fridge and a coffee maker, but no microwave.
The bathrooms have also been updated with a much brighter aesthetic and more storage space. While some rooms still have a tub, many have removed the tub in place of a shower. The shower and toilet are separated from the sink and counter by a door. This area also includes additional storage space for clothes, an ironing board, a hair dryer, and a small safe. As opposed to the curtain dividers at most other Value and Deluxe resorts, the sink and counter are divided from the rest of the room by a sliding door, adding an extra element of privacy.
For a more visual review of the room, I highly recommend watching my video review on YouTube.
Pricing for a standard view room at Pop Century ranges from $130-$245 a night, depending on the time of year. In the summer peak-season, it’s typically around $178. Of course, you should always check Disney’s website or other sellers for discounts which can bring prices down to around $100 per night. If you don’t want to walk as far, you may choose to book a preferred room or pool view for an additional amount in order to get closer to the heart of the resort. Even though these prices may seem expensive for a “Value Resort,” keep in mind that guests staying at any WDW resort are eligible for the on-site perks such as 60-day advanced FastPass+ reservations, complimentary transportation, and extra magic hours.
Most people do not consider Pop Century to have one of the best resort food courts, and I must agree the few experiences we had here were not particularly positive. Most notably, don’t expect a variety of food offerings available during the last few hours each night, despite the fact that the food court is listed as open on the app. The offerings are divided up into different zones with different lines for each category (i.e. pizza, salads, pastas, sandwiches, etc.) When we arrived late on our first night, exhausted from our delayed flights, we were unpleasantly surprised to see only one section open with a massive line. We were counting on the food court being open, so to have to wait in such a long line for so few choices was truly a disappointment. Not to mention the food itself is a mixed bag, some offerings are delicious, others are mediocre at best. Fortunately, Art of Animation’s food court is considered to be one of the best one property, and that’s just a few steps away. I recommend checking out that food court instead, if you get the chance.
I also don’t find any of the pools to be particularly special.
Although I feel the resort’s theming is a solid step up from what the All-Stars have to offer, it was the newly renovated rooms that were the selling point for me. The quality of the rooms felt more in line with that of the Deluxe Resorts and were a good value for the prices.
With that said, in late 2019 Disney will be opening the Skyliner gondola system, which will connect Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and numerous other WDW resorts. Art of Animation and Pop Century will be included in this system, sharing a station in-between the two resorts. If you like what you’re hearing, I highly encourage you to BOOK NOW for this resort before the gondolas open and the prices skyrocket. I don’t know how much the prices will increase, but I’m sure Disney will take that as an opportunity to raise prices and thus reduce the value that the renovated rooms offer to the price currently. Like the rest of the Value Resorts, Pop Century’s theming is more kid-oriented. This is not by any means a romantic getaway or a five-star resort. If you’re searching for a resort with beautiful theming and an abundance of amenities, I would recommend looking into a Moderate or Deluxe Resort instead. However, if you’re just looking for a place to stay at night and want something a little nicer than the All-Star resorts, this might be the resort for you.
The lobby has display cases filled with artifacts and memorabilia from the decades. Here are just a few…