Disney’s Pop Century Resort is one of the many resorts at Walt Disney World. A stay here can be a lot of fun for children and a little more affordable for the family.
In this Pop Century Resort review, we will go over the rooms and theming of the resort in full detail. We will also take a look at everything you can anticipate when planning a stay here.
Additionally, I will discuss a few reasons why you might want to try a stay here. If you haven’t visited before, you might find some of the amenities to be surprising. My family has stayed here three different times since the last major resort refurbishment. We really enjoy the resort, considering it’s in a value category.
In case you aren’t familiar with the Disney value resorts, they all offer larger-than-life, fun Disney theming. Disney World’s Pop Century is themed to represent fads, fashion, and everything pop between the fifties decade to the nineties.
Pop Century Resort Review
Disney’s Pop Century is my preferred choice of the values. That’s mainly because of the room layouts and central on-property location. It also doesn’t hurt that the Skyliner transportation has been added in recent years. However, the gondola system is not the most reliable for getting to a park quickly during the day’s peak times from my experiences to date.
A few years back, the hotel underwent a massive refurbishment that resulted in much-needed room improvements. The rooms turned out well, better utilizing the smaller room space to its advantage.
The resort’s location is extremely convenient given the short proximity to Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park. If you have a car, you can be at Hollywood Studios parking lot in less than five minutes. Or you can easily turn onto Osceola Parkway and be at Animal Kingdom, off-property dining, and grocery stores within minutes.
Pop Century sits adjacent to Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. Hourglass Lake sits between the two values, and a bridge across the lake adjoins them. Furthermore, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is only a short Skyliner ride away. Unfortunately, there’s not a walking path to the moderate resort.
Pop Century Sections
One of the things that make staying at Disney’s Pop Century the most fun for children is the theming. This is where the trade-off comes in when staying here versus one of the moderate or deluxe Disney resort hotels.
Sometimes when you visit a moderate or deluxe, it doesn’t feel like you are at a Disney hotel. When you stay at a value, there’s no mistake that you are on vacation at the Walt Disney World Resort.
The theming at Pop is broken down into sections. Each section represents different decades from the ’50s through the ’90s. This makes the resort unique and fun in its own special way. Trust me; if you stay here, there are plenty of conversational pieces and fond memories for the young at heart.
Starting at the back of the resort are the 80s and 90s sections. Roger Rabbit stands guard over this area. Don’t worry. You are in good hands if you receive a room assignment here.
The Potato Heads will greet you as you stroll down Memory Lane to get over to the 90s section. It’s my favorite way to get to this end of the property. To reduce walking time, you can cut through the 70s sections to make it a straight shot.
The colors in the area are quite vibrant, okay, maybe even a bit loud. But we are talking all things Pac-Man and Pop, right?
The laptop that sits between the standard room area is another fun item. If you stay in this section, make sure to look closely at the screen. It shows several windows with things like Animal Kingdom’s opening. There’s also a picture of Cinderella Castle dressed as a birthday cake for Magic Kingdom’s 25th anniversary.
Hey! I visited Magic Kingdom that year, and I remember that! This is exactly the type of thing I mean by conversation pieces. Who knows what memories will trigger for you while walking the grounds of Disney’s Pop Century?
The 70s section is another fun stop. Who hasn’t wanted to come home at the end of a busy Disney day to a larger-than-life foosball court?
The front half of the 70s section falls into the preferred room category. A preferred room means that the location of the room is near the main lobby, shopping, dining, and transportation.
Mickey Mouse, telephone in hand, will be waiting to greet you every evening after a long day in a Disney theme park! A side note here–if you ever find one of those in a thrift store, don’t get excited and offer to pay a lot for it without checking the value first. I bet you already know how that one turned out.
The 70s section has an 8-track sitting out front. That probably matches the condition of my cassette tape collection with the film. However, that would be in the 80s.
All of the Disney values have stairwells that are wrapped. Like the Rubik’s Cube one below.
And the bowling pin encasements here in the ’60s.
Moving on, we have the ’60s section that sits directly behind Classic Hall.
All of the rooms in the 60s section fall into the preferred room category. The feature pool, the Hippy Dippy Pool, sits directly in the middle of the 60s.
You’ll see Jungle Book references along with other fun items.
Lastly, we have the opposite end of the resort representing the ’50s decade. Everything was “Way Out” back then, apparently. There are also a few select preferred rooms on the front side of this section.
You’ll see this Lady statue from Lady and the Tramp.
Tramp is looking over to her from the other side of the section.
Disney’s Pop Century Guest Rooms
As mentioned earlier, the Pop Century rooms are the top reason I enjoy staying here. Yes, they are standard rooms like you would find in a regular hotel. However, they were designed with great space consideration in mind. Each room has different compartments and adequate storage space for families to utilize while on a Disney vacation.
If you take a closer look, you will find the secret, hidden bed.
Okay, it’s not really a secret, but the Murphy bed is perfect for utilizing space. Plus, it transforms into a table and chairs when the bed is not in use.
The table and chairs above are actually where I wrote several of these blog posts. So if you decide to stay at Pop Century, you’ll always wonder if you stayed in the same room as the famous Disney blogger.
I’m just kidding.
There is a space on the wall beside the dressers where we usually store the chairs while using the bed. We do the thing where you flip one chair upside down and sit it in the other chair’s seat to save room.
Here is a look at the Murphy bed instructions, it’s fairly simple to figure out. Both beds in the room are queen size, which is a nice upgrade from the former full size.
There is a flat-screen TV on the wall. You can see the dresser underneath has a lot of counter and storage space. Those are USB ports and plugs on each end.
Below, you’ll see a stand-alone pantry in the corner of the room. I enjoyed having this space to put snacks, cereal, oatmeal, etc. A coffee maker and refrigerator sit underneath.
Here is a closer look at the fridge. It’s one with a glass door, so you can see what’s in there without opening the door. The drawer above pulls out with extra space and accompaniments for the coffee.
The bathroom has an extremely functional design given the smaller space. Since I travel often, usable space is a huge deal to me. This room has lots of nooks and crannies to place different items. It is also ideal for multiple people sharing a room to have their own storage space.
The closet area is built-in, and I love storing my shoes on the shelves underneath. Those are the kinds of things that get in the way when you are staying at a hotel, and this is a nice solution.
A full-size ironing board is hanging on the wall if needed. Below you will see the hairdryer, iron, and a few other toiletries in a cabinet on the vanity wall.
The bath has a standard tub with shower combination. And let’s face it, glass shower doors are a huge upgrade over a shower curtain.
You might notice the pocket door, this is another space saver.
In the shower, they have installed a rain-style showerhead and an additional, removable one. This, to me, is a massive plus for hotels in general. It’s great to have this option for washing children’s hair.
Here we have the built-in shampoo, conditioner, and liquid soap dispensers.
Back in the room, we will look at a few more details. The Mickey Mouse artwork is a nice touch with reading lamps on each end.
Built-in bedside tables offer usable storage space without taking up too much room.
Notice that there are plenty of outlets for standard plugs and USB ports.
Pools and Recreation
The resort offers several pools and recreation activities. Every month each Disney resort prints a new recreation calendar for guests. Make sure to pick one up during your stay.
Disney’s Pop Century has three different pools. The pools are specific to each section of the resort so that guests will have one close to their room. However, anyone staying at the resort is welcome to use any of its pools.
Pool hours vary during each season. During the winter months, hours run from around 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. They extend in the hotter months of the year from usually around 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Please check with the resort for specific hours during your stay.
Hippy Dippy is the feature pool. It is located between the 60’s buildings and Classic Hall. Hippy Dippy is where you will also find the Petals pool bar.
Behind the main pool is a kiddie pool. There are plenty of seating areas around the space for adults to relax while children play.
If you are staying on the ’80s and ’90s side of the resort, you should be able to walk right out to the Computer Pool. It’s a fairly large pool and not usually as crowded.
Finally, if you are staying in the ’50s, the Bowling Pool will be in the courtyard. It’s shaped like a bowling pin. As you can probably tell from the photo below, it’s a good size. There’s also a pretty cool jukebox in the background.
As far as recreation goes, you’ll find Fast Forward arcade inside Classic Hall.
The arcade is huge and features a tremendous variety of games.
If you have spent any time at the resorts you are probably aware that most of them have sizable arcades. Fast Forward is another one of those large places with plenty to do on a rainy day.
Each night there are “Movies Under the Stars” available at the feature pool. If for some reason you don’t care to see what’s playing you can also walk over to Art of Animation next door and catch their movie.
This is something that I recommend doing on an off day or evening when you get back to the hotel a little early. It’s a delightful experience.
While Pop Century doesn’t offer a gym, they do have a wonderful jogging trail. The trail goes all the way down Memory Lane on the Pop Century side. It circles Hourglass Lake and continues over to the Art of Animation Resort before coming back full circle.
It’s a nice place to jog on the property, especially around sunset.
Each pool at Pop Century has a laundry room in the immediate area.
A credit card reservation machine automates the machines. It’s a simple system to use but only takes credit cards.
One of the neat things about doing laundry at Disney is the Laundry View system they use to check availability or see if your load is done. The Laundry View page for the Bowling Pool is available here. If you want to check a different laundry facility, just change the location at the top.
Pop Century offers one large food court at Classic Hall. It’s the Everything Pop Food Court and is accessible through several areas of the lobby and exterior.
Everything Pop has several dining areas inside the food court and TV’s playing Disney cartoons for entertainment.
I took a few menu pictures on my last stay so you can get an idea of what all they offer.
Most of the menus have a kids’ meal section. You can order a large family-style pizza and pick it up here.
Here is the Italian station.
These sandwiches look pretty good.
There are dessert cases with grab-and-go items. Think late-night snack.
You’ll find a plethora of pastries.
The cooler has a variety of beverages, fruits, and salads.
A few more items.
If you spend a reasonable amount of time at a resort and drink soda, a refillable mug might be a good option.
Another thing you want to familiarize yourself with is Disney’s mobile ordering and pick-up service. Most counter services are now offering this option. It’s nice to order something on the way back from the parks or your room and have it ready by the time you get to the location.
Pop Century offers two different forms of Disney transportation. The first form is the Disney bus system. Pop has one bus stop that takes guest to and from the following locations:
- Disney’s Magic Kingdom
- Animal Kingdom
- Epcot and Hollywood Studios (when the Skyliner is not running)
- Disney Springs
- Both Disney Water Parks
Additionally, Pop Century is home to the Skyliner station that travels to Caribbean Beach. I have a full review of Disney’s Caribbean Beach, which is a moderate resort. There you will disembark and get in line to board a new gondola to the following:
- Hollywood Studios
- Disney’s Riviera Resort
Here is a look below at the Skyliner station Pop Century shares with Art of Animation. It is located on the bridge over Hourglass Lake. If you end up staying at the resort, you’ll definitely want to familiarize yourself with the travel times and routes of the Disney Skyliner.
If you are staying at Pop Century and enjoy meeting characters (or your children), I recommend reserving the breakfast with characters at Topolino’s Terrace on your Epcot day. You can take the Skyliner to Riviera and then re-board it for Epcot after your meal.
Disney will discontinue their Disney’s Magical Express service from the Orlando airport at the end of 2021. If you need help securing transportation from the airport, make sure to use an authorized Disney travel agent for all of your vacation planning.
Next, we’ll take a look at Pop Century’s lobby, Classic Hall. At first look, you might find it fairly generic. However, if you look a little closer, a few neat pieces are featured.
These shadow boxes hanging on the walls have some cool items.
But I kind of cringe at the thought of having to visit the front desk. The line here is nearly always extreme.
When you exit the bus at Pop Century, you can walk directly into the resort’s gift shop, Everything Pop Shopping & Dining. You can also enter the retail store from the Classic Hall side. But I tend to take my time and browse the gift shop when I’m coming back in the evenings.
It’s a standard resort retail store with something for everyone.
They will probably have some Star Wars merchandise out and about.
Along with some resort specific Disney merchandise.
You might even find a tie dye Pop Century t-shirt.
When it comes to pricing, I find the rooms pleasant, and the resort has an overall fun atmosphere for the money.
With that being said, I am a member of several online groups where I see a ton of complaints about the rooms being bland. It is true, but we’re not comparing guest rooms to lavish condos located off the property.
When you stay at Disney, you are more than likely to end up in a standard room unless you opt to reserve one of the Disney World Villa Resorts. But that’s a completely different price range.
Pop Century is a value resort for a reason. All of the rooms are exterior access, meaning no interior hallways. However, the resort does offer elevators in each building, along with the stairwells.
They do have bell services, but it’s not a service the resort tends to advertise or promote. The undertone is that everything’s self-service for the most part. And that’s fine, as long as you know these things in advance.
Final Thoughts on Pop Century
To sum up this review, here are a few last thoughts on staying here.
Pop Century’s newer resort rooms are nice, the food is okay, and transportation options have significantly improved with the Skyliner. The resort activities are comparable to what you might find at any moderate or deluxe resort.
However, the swimming pools don’t have a water slide feature like the moderate or deluxe offer. And the rooms are sprawled out over the property with exterior access. These are all tiny details.
In the overall scheme of things, you are paying to be “on Disney property” when you book a Walt Disney World Resort. It’s plain and simple. You are paying to stay on Disney’s scale of what they determine is value, moderate, or deluxe.
With that being said, the benefits of staying on property are numerous and valuable to your limited vacation time.
So when it comes to value, Pop Century is number one for me. I haven’t stayed at the newly updated All-Star Movies yet.
If you enjoyed my review of Pop Century, you might want to browse a few other popular resort reviews like Disney’s Gran Destino Tower, which is actually located at Coronado Springs. There’s a full Disney’s Coronado Springs review available as well.
As far as deluxe goes, you can usually stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge for the most reasonable price. And trust me, it’s a privilege to get to stay there.
Or you might enjoy staying in the Magic Kingdom resort area. For more info there, check out these:
- Disney’s Contemporary Garden Wing Review
- Polynesian Resort Review at Disney
- Grand Floridian Villas
- Bay Lake Tower Review
I hope this Pop Century Resort review helped you decide whether staying here was right for your next trip! Leave me a comment below to let me know your thoughts on staying at Pop Century.