This article reviews Disney’s Pop Century Resort. Pop Century is a value resort located on the Disney Skyliner’s route.
Anyone who reads this site regularly knows we believe there’s a Disney Resort for everyone. Sometimes, deciding to stay at a resort weighs heavily on how much you can afford. Meanwhile, others plan trips where most of their time is spent in the parks. Those guests might not want to hang out at the resort pool or have dinner at a classy restaurant that requires a neater appearance than fresh off Kali River Rapids.
If you were to fall under one of these two categories or similar, we think that one resort stands out a little more than others, Disney’s Pop Century. Pop Century has several factors that make it unique. Below, we’ll review these factors and a detailed account of our last visit. As always, we paid out-of-pocket for this stay. Our travel agent secured our room with an annual passholder rate of approximately $145.50 per night. Our room assignment was in the 50s section of the resort.
This article was updated on January 16, 2024.
Check-in and Arrival
We arrived at Pop Century at approximately 10:00 a.m. Since moving to this area, I’ve made it a habit to check in earlier in the day rather than later. This allows us to see if the resort can handle or accommodate early check-ins and to get some preliminary photography out of the way. Upon arrival, we received a text that our room was not ready. So we parked at the front of the resort, and I took a few photos of the gift shop. By the time I finished, we had received a text welcoming us to the resort that indicated our room number.
We never expect our room to be ready before check-in. But it always starts our experience off on the right foot. If you’ve had a long travel day, you understand the benefit of getting settled upon arrival. It’s nice to drop your luggage off in the room, change, and freshen up. If you decide to go to the parks on your first day, you won’t worry about having to locate your room and collect your luggage when you return. Early check-in makes things simple.
Of course, the rooms at Disney’s Pop Century initially sold us on the resort. They have an incredibly efficient layout. Given their popularity, these same room designs were replicated at Disney’s All-Star Resorts when they were last refurbished. That said, Pop Century still has a few other amenities that give it an edge over the All-Star Resorts.
Regarding the rooms, except for a few nuances, they are similar to what you might expect at a budget-friendly hotel. For starters, rooms have two queen-size beds. One queen bed is a Murphy bed that folds down from the wall. It has a regular queen mattress. Therefore, you won’t notice a difference in sleep quality like you would with a pull-out couch bed. During the day, you can store the bed if you prefer. When the bed is stored, the frame converts to a table with two chairs.
Other amenities include a dresser with a couple of storage drawers, an in-room safe, and a flat-screen television. The dresser top doubles as counter space for items like MagicBands and electronic devices. Multiple USB ports and outlets are built into the back of the dresser.
A stand holds items like a coffee maker, mini-fridge (beverage cooler), and other accompaniments toward the front of the room. A few shelves are available for storing snacks and other items.
Storage space continues in the guest bath area. You’ll find plenty of cubby holes to store personal items and other amenities like a hairdryer, an iron, and an ironing board. We had sufficient counter space, and value resorts all have one sink.
The bathroom is in a separate area with a toilet and a bathtub with a shower combination.
Theming at Pop Century
After we finished taking photos of our room at Pop Century, it was time to explore the resort. Pop Century is themed to pop culture references. The resort has larger-than-life attributes, from giant Rubik’s Cubes that wrap the staircases to statues of Lady and the Tramp in the 1950s section.
Of course, the theming is one of the most fun things about Pop Century or any of the value resorts. You won’t find this same kind of authentic Disney-theming at a moderate or deluxe resort. Deluxe and moderate resorts are themed to destinations. For example, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is themed to the Caribbean Islands. You’ll find subtle touches of Disney at these resorts, like hidden Mickeys.
Pop Century is themed to represent the decades between the 1950s and the 1990s. Each section of the resort uses bright colors and highlights popular trends. It’s the perfect place for anyone seeking a dose of nostalgia. Every which way you turn, you’ll find conversational pieces that bring back fond memories (and a few sad ones) for the young and young at heart.
Thoughts on Preferred Rooms (Based on this Stay)
We spent a decent amount of time in our room during our stay because of the rainy weather. I had to revisit the resort a week or so after to get a few more outdoor pictures. Below, we’ll walk through each section so you’ll get a better idea of where you might end up.
It’s essential to note that all the rooms at the resort are the same. But you can upgrade to a preferred room, which averages approximately $25.00 more per night. Another upgrade is to a pool view room, which we wouldn’t recommend. However, you might consider a preferred room if you would like to be closer to Classic Hall (lobby, dining, bus stop) or the Disney Skyliner station.
For a seven-night stay, the preferred room will likely cost about $200.00 more than the regular room. So you’ll want to weigh the difference against other ways you might spend your vacation budget. We rarely book a preferred room and usually only recommend one for those who think they need it. But on this trip, we were only a few doors down from the preferred rooms. With the rain, I noticed a considerable difference compared to our previous stays in the 90s, which is the furthest distance from the rest of the resort.
That said, we are experiencing an unusual winter in Florida with significantly more rain than usual. Winter is typically our dry season. If you’re visiting during the summer months, you can expect an afternoon shower or two almost daily. Therefore, I wouldn’t let rain be a huge concern for booking a preferred room location.
Since we stayed in the 50s section, we’ll start there. The 50s are on one end of the resort. Then, the 60s section is in the center, immediately behind the lobby. Afterward, you’ll walk through the 70s section before reaching the combined 80s and 90s area.
The 50s area features fun references to the decade, like records and classics.
Behind the pool, you’ll find a giant jukebox with song selections from the decade. Do you remember these being on the table at Pizza Hut when you were a kid? If so, that’s it! That is the exact feeling you’ll get when exploring the resort grounds. One memory after the next surfaces, jarred from the visual cues spread over each decade.
Here’s Lady from Lady and the Tramp as she watches over the 50s. This animated film was initially released in theaters in 1955.
Tramp sits directly across the courtyard, keeping an eye on Lady.
This section of the resort has bowling pins that wrap the staircases. No worries about the stairs, though. Each building at Pop Century has a pair of elevators in the center. So you won’t have to worry about luggage or taking the stairs to get back and forth to your room.
The 60s section of Pop Century is the heart of the resort. This area is closest to Classic Hall and extends to the bridge where guests can access the Skyliner. Most of the rooms in this area are preferred, and many have a pool view.
A giant cup of faux Play-Doh sits in one courtyard overlooking the pool area.
Mowgli and Baloo from The Jungle Book cheerfully represent the 60s on the opposite side. This animated film originally debuted in 1967.
Goofy sits on the outskirts of the 60s with a surfboard and a Corvette. Fun fact: this area used to have a water feature years ago if that jogs a memory for anyone.
Duncan Imperial Yo-Yo Tops serve as the staircase wraps for the 60s section. You might also notice the sign below that notes where a 19-year-old Harvard dropout (Bill Gates) co-founded Microsoft in 1975. These signs wrap around the entire Memory Lane walkway on the Pop Century side of Hourglass Lake. We have a separate article with photos of Hourglass Lake and signage.
The ’70s section is our next stop. Who hasn’t wanted to come home to a larger-than-life foosball court at the end of a busy Disney day? The front half of the ’70s section falls into the preferred room category. These rooms will be a short distance from Classic Hall.
In the 70s, you’ll find many slang words like What’s your Handle? Chillin’, and What’s the Skinny?
Mickey Mouse, telephone in hand, waits to greet you every evening after a long day in the theme parks!
Here’s that giant foosball court.
The ’70s section has 8-tracks buffering the ends of the staircases. Look closely. You might see where the magnetic tape is sticking out from the top!
80s and 90s Section
The 80s and 90s are a combined section past the 70s. As mentioned above, this area is the farthest from the rest of the resort. Colors in the area are pretty vibrant. Okay, they are maybe a bit loud. But we are talking all things Pac-Man and Pop, right?
The Potato Heads greet you at the 80s and 90s section entrance.
A larger-than-life Sony Sports Walkman sits on one side of the courtyard. This brings back memories of learning how to break dance to the beat of Michael Jackson back in the day. We grew up during the best of times, didn’t we?
Across the way, Roger Rabbit is thrilled to have guests visit the area. Who Framed Roger Rabbit? debuted in 1988.
Look closely, and you’ll see a few nods to Pac-Man.
In the 90s, we see slang like “whatever” and “Surf the Net.” Records and cassettes are long forgotten. CDs are now all the rage, and you might meet up with friends at the roller skate rink on the weekends.
You’ll find a giant laptop at the back of this resort section. What better reference to the 90s when many of us first began to be entertained by computers? Who knew we’d be holding them in our hands within the next decade?
Look closely at the windows on the screen. It shares the news of Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s opening on Earth Day in 1988, among other things.
If you have the time during your stay, we recommend taking the time to explore the resort. You might also enjoy the walk around Hourglass Lake. The path around the lake extends to Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. This is another excellent resort if you enjoy exploring. You’ll see references to popular animated films like Cars, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, and Finding Nemo.
After touring the grounds, or what we could during our stay, we ventured to Classic Hall for lunch. While there, we’ll look at the amenities and things you need to know about this area.
Classic Hall is home to the resort’s lobby. This is where you can speak with a cast member if needed. However, these days, your room number is usually sent via text. So, you can skip check-in and later check out via the My Disney Experience app. But someone is always available at the front desk should an issue arise.
Classic Hall has a fantastic timeline with the decades painted toward the top of the ceiling.
Shadow boxes feature references to each decade. I always enjoy stopping in and browsing the collections and memorabilia. The one below is dedicated to Walt Disney World’s opening in 1971.
Here are a few more collections. One box has science fiction material, and the other references man’s first walk on the moon.
Inside Classic Hall, you’ll find the entrance to Everything Pop Shopping and Dining.
Pop Century’s gift shop has almost anything you can think of when it comes to souvenirs and sundries. We have a separate article with photos of the items in the gift shop at Pop Century.
Pop Century’s food court is also tremendous in size. You’ll find multiple stations with various cuisines, burgers, chicken nuggets, and pizza. Yes, Mickey waffles are available for breakfast. Unfortunately, we can’t list everything in this review. But we have an overview of the Pop Century food court with photos of everything they had during this stay.
Here is one of the dining rooms.
This is the sesame chicken with stir-fry vegetables I had for lunch. I was impressed with the quality of this meal and enjoyed it. It’s something I would order on a return visit. We had a few other standard items during this stay and felt like things had improved immensely in the line of food offerings.
One of the other things I enjoy about Pop Century is hopping on the Skyliner and having breakfast or lunch at nearby Caribbean Beach or Disney’s Riviera Resort. If we stay anywhere on this side of Walt Disney World, we always end up at Primo Piatto, the quick service at the Riviera.
Fast Forward Arcade is located across from Everything Pop. Here are a few photos of what you can expect.
If you exit the resort side of Classic Hall, you’ll run directly into the Hippy Dippy Pool, the resort’s feature pool in the 60s section.
It’s shaped like a flower petal.
Behind the feature pool, you’ll find a separately fenced splash pad for the little ones. This is as close as it gets to a kiddie pool at Pop Century.
Petals Pool Bar sits toward the front of the main pool area.
A beverage refill station is on the side of the pool bar.
A few tabletop games surround the pool. Movies Under the Stars are held each night at the Hippy Dippy Pool. A recreation schedule is posted in the lobby and near the pool.
Laundromats are available at each of the three pools at Pop Century. We have a separate article that discusses the details of doing laundry at Pop Century.
The 50s section of the resort is home to the Bowling Pool. It’s shaped like a bowling pin.
Here is the entrance to the laundry, restrooms, and changing areas near the Bowling Pool.
The Computer Pool is in the 80s and 90s section of the resort.
If you want to learn more, we have a separate article discussing the pools at Disney’s Pop Century. It details complimentary towels, pool hours, and everything you need to know about taking advantage of this resort amenity.
Showers and changing areas are available at each pool.
Pop Century does not have a gym, but they do have an excellent jogging trail. The trail goes down Memory Lane on the Pop Century side. Then, it circles Hourglass Lake and continues to the Art of Animation Resort before returning full circle.
Related: Jogging Trails at Disney World
A playground is available between the 70s and 80s/90s section of the resort.
Pop Century offers two forms of Disney transportation. The first form is the Disney bus system. Pop has one bus stop that takes guests to and from the following locations:
- Magic Kingdom
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- Epcot and Hollywood Studios (only when the Skyliner is not running)
- Disney Springs
- Disney’s Blizzard Beach
- Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon
Here is a map that shows the layout of the resort. Pop Century only has one bus stop in front of Classic Hall.
A set of doors at the front of Classic Hall leads to the bus transportation area.
Here is a photo of where the buses pick up. Each destination has a queue.
A sign projects the wait times for the next bus. These times are pretty accurate, but they might fluctuate when the bus stops at a red light or if it gets in traffic. During our stay, we missed a bus pulling away to Magic Kingdom one evening. It took approximately 20 minutes for the next bus to arrive, probably the longest I’ve ever waited for a bus. Again, it was raining (heavily).
Additionally, Pop Century is home to a Disney Skyliner station that travels to Caribbean Beach. At Caribbean Beach, you will disembark and get in line to board a new gondola to one of the following locations:
- Hollywood Studios
- Disney’s Riviera Resort
Below is 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 want to familiarize yourself with the travel times and routes of the Disney Skyliner.
You can expect long lines for the Skyliner first thing in the morning. However, the Skyliner moves quickly, so the wait shouldn’t be terrible.
We have a separate transportation guide for Disney’s Pop Century. It details how to get from the resort to the main destinations and popular locations like other resorts. If you have dining reservations or want to resort-hop, it will teach you the best ways to get around the property.
You’ll need to arrange transportation to and from the airport. Mears Connect is similar to the former Disney’s Magical Express. However, you will have to pay for whatever service you decide upon.
We love Disney’s Pop Century for its room, nostalgic vibe, convenient location, and reasonable price point. No, it’s not a fancy, plush hotel, but staying here likely won’t break the bank.
Since Pop Century is a Walt Disney World Resort, guests can enjoy early theme park benefits. This benefit allows guests to enter the theme parks 30 minutes early. It applies to each park every day.
If you would like to learn more about this resort, you might enjoy our guide to Disney’s Pop Century. It references the other articles we’ve highlighted in this review.
As for Pop Century, we rank it as the best value resort at Disney World. For comparison, here are our reviews of the other value resorts:
- Disney’s Art of Animation Review
- Disney’s All-Star Music Review
- Disney’s All-Star Movies Review
- Disney’s All-Star Sports Review
Or you can preview our entire list of Disney World Resort Reviews.
Are you trying to decide between Disney’s Pop Century and the Art of Animation? We have a comparison article that details the differences.
What Do You Think?
Hopefully, this Pop Century Resort Review helped plan your Disney vacation. What are your thoughts on Pop Century? Have you stayed at this resort before? Do you prefer it when it comes to value resorts? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments section.