Why Pop Century is the Only Value Resort For Me

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612px-Disney's_Pop_CenturyWhen planning a Walt Disney World Vacation there are a number of decisions to make ranging from which FastPass+ reservations to book, what ticket option is best for you and your group, and even how to get there. But one of the most important, if you’re staying on property, is which Walt Disney World Resort to choose as your home away from home during your stay! Now as you may have guessed, the size of your budget will play a considerable role in the decision-making process. This is why Disney has conveniently grouped the Disney World Resorts into three different categories based on price with Deluxe Resorts being the most expensive, Value Resorts being the least, and Moderate Resorts falling somewhere in the middle. I’ve already covered my Why Port Orleans Riverside is the Only Moderate Resort for Me and Why Wilderness Lodge is the Only Deluxe For Me; but for today’s post, I’m focusing on one of Walt Disney World’s budget-friendly resort options in Why Pop Century is the Only Value Resort for Me!

But first, a little more info about the Disney World Value Resorts!

The Disney World Value Resorts have bright and colorful theming and are geared towards families whose vacation budget isn’t quite as flexible. Disney World’s Value Resorts consist of the Pop Century Resort, All-Star Music Resort, All-Star Movies Resort, All-Star Sports Resort, and the Art of Animation Resort.

Now when I want a Disney World fix with the least damage on my bank account, I have to say that Pop Century is the only Value Resort for me.

SS_PopCentury_BigWheelHere’s why…

Generational Appeal

Walt Disney’s motivation for Disneyland was a place where he could have fun with his daughters, and the Pop Century Resort stays true to that original vision in that it offers a theme geared towards both kids and adults. Each section of the Pop Century Resort is themed after a particular decade ranging from the 1950s to the 1990s. Each section, or wing, is decorated with huge, colorful icons and catchphrases from their respective decades, such as giant 8-track tapes, Big Wheels, bowling pins, and foosball. The lobby is also filled with shadowboxes of memorabilia from days gone by. I always stop and check out the boxes from the ‘80s and ‘90s to revisit some favorite old toys and mementos from my childhood, and I love hearing music from the different decades when waiting for the buses. Naturally, all this nostalgia is fun for adults; but for kids, Disney wisely included some larger than life Disney Characters alongside the pop culture icons based on what decade their films debuted. In this way, everyone in the family is familiar with and relates to the fun resort décor!

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Close Proximity

Another reason why Pop Century is the only Value Resort for me is that most of the different themed resort wings are considerably close to Classic Hall, where the lobby and food court are located. The only two wings that aren’t conveniently close are the 80’s and 90’s. Still, Pop Century’s convenient layout is actually better than what I’ve encountered at most of Disney World’s Moderate Resorts; and after walking all day at the parks, the distance between your room and the lobby can be a huge factor.

Value

While I absolutely love Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, what I don’t love is its price. Now I understand that the resort is new and that it offers family suites, but I have often seen it priced at a Moderate Resort price range and occasionally even more. Now the Art of Animation Resort does offer standard-sized rooms in The Little Mermaid wing, but they are usually not included in discounts or special offers. This is one of the biggest reasons why Pop Century is the only Value Resort for me.

Everything Pop Food Court at Disney's Pop Century Resort
Everything Pop Food Court at Disney’s Pop Century Resort

Food Court

I must say that I truly appreciate a good resort food court. I love variety, I love a good value, and I love being able to grab a quick meal before heading off to the parks or before I turn in for the night. Unfortunately, not all food courts are created equal. However, Everything Pop Shopping and Dining has my stamp of approval and its one of the reasons why Pop Century is the only Value Resort for me. Why? For starters, I love the amount of seating and spaciousness. Even though it can be busy, I don’t recall ever not being able to find a clean, open table. Secondly, Disney has made huge strides in recent years to provide menus with more variety and that effort is clearly illustrated at Everything Pop Shopping and Dining. Here you can dine on specialty burgers, chicken pot pie, flatbreads, and rotisserie chicken. They even have a few unique items which can only be enjoyed there, such as The King Cupcake themed after Elvis Presley and Tie-Dye Cheesecake! Finally, I like the fact that the food court and gift shop is connected. I know it’s Disney pushing merchandise, but I just don’t care. Shopping at Disney World is one of my favorite things to do. My family also likes to take the younger members of our group to the gift shop to be entertained while an adult orders and pays for a meal. The whole ordering and payment process runs much more smoothly.

Pools

Pop - Pool 1-2
Hippy Dippy Pool

While the All-Star Resorts only offer two pools, Pop Century and the Art of Animation Resort offer three! The Hippy Dippy Pool is right off Classic Hall and is shaped like a giant flower. This particular pool is usually the most popular but mine has to be the Bowling Pool. It’s shaped like a giant bowling pin and is almost always less crowded than the Hippy Dippy Pool. The 1950s theming is awesome too. The third pool at the Pop Century Resort is the Computer Pool, naturally located in the 90’s wing of the resort. Of all three resort pools, it’s the farthest away; however, that could work to guests’ advantage as that could mean less crowds and maybe even a pool to yourself.

Location

Disney’s Pop Century is close to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but also in the near vicinity to Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, and Epcot. The resort is also just across Hourglass Lake from Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, and guests from either resort can cross the bridge to visit and explore.

SS_PopCentury_KingCupcake
The King Cupcake

Well Done

While this is probably a matter of opinion, my personal take is that Pop Century is a step above the All-Star Resorts. The lobby and food court are more spacious, there are three pools instead of two, the location is much more convenient, and it isn’t quite as outdated. For instance, over at All-Star Movies, there are wings themed after The Mighty Ducks and The Love Bug; and while they are great entertainment franchises in their own right, kids today simply don’t know about them and they have next to presence anywhere else on Disney World property.

While every Disney World Resort offers its own unique theme and perks, Disney’s Pop Century Resort meets all of the requirements on my Disney Value Resort check-list better than the other Value Resorts. But now I want to know if there are any other Pop Century fans like me out there? If so, what is your favorite thing about this resort? Let me know!

Savannah Sanders

Savannah has been visiting Disney World since she was a year old and has gone back almost every year since. In the real world, she teaches high school history and government and enjoys writing about all things Disney. Savannah can be reached on Twitter @DisneyParkSavvy.

20 thoughts on “Why Pop Century is the Only Value Resort For Me

  • March 22, 2016 at 7:50 am
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    Savannah –
    Thanks so much for the wonderful insight! My wife and I have been to WDW several times, but this is the first time that our 11 yo son will be going. We had booked this value hotel s few months ago, assuming that we would be spending most our time in the parks, and only using the hotel as a place to sleep and shower. After reading your piece, I’m glad we made this choice, and look forward to our arrival next Saturday 3/26.

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    • March 22, 2016 at 9:30 am
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      We just stayed at Pop Century in October. My kids absolutely loved it! For the price, it is perfect. We will be staying here again.

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    • March 22, 2016 at 12:28 pm
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      Tom, so glad you enjoyed the article and I’m sure you will enjoy your stay at Pop Century as well. Hope you have a wonderful trip!

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  • March 22, 2016 at 9:44 am
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    We stayed at the Pop for the first time this past November and really liked it. It’s only the two of us so we don’t really need more space. The location is as good as any, transportation is prompt, the food court has good selections for “fast food”, the CMs are courteous and helpful (as always) and the price is right! We would stay there again.

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  • March 22, 2016 at 10:11 am
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    We have stayed at Pop 9 out of 10 trips and we even moved from Arts of Animation to Pop Century on one trip. We were in the Little Mermaid rooms and they are closer to Pop Century than they are the Arts of Animation food court and bus area. Although we got to walk through some awesome theming at AofA. Love walking through and taking pictures but prefer not to stay there over PoP. We are booked at Pop again for December.

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  • March 22, 2016 at 11:15 am
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    I’m so happy you posted this! My family will be staying at Pop Century for 9 days in April and we are super excited!!!

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    • March 22, 2016 at 9:26 pm
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      Jennifer, hope you have a great stay and thanks so much for commenting!

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  • March 22, 2016 at 12:14 pm
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    Now you have me even more excited for my upcoming stay at POP this July! I’ve stayed there before – more than a decade ago. Thanks for the great article!

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  • March 22, 2016 at 12:56 pm
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    Are there any value or moderate resorts that have a bedroom and a living room with a pullout couch? I looked at the price for Art of Animation Resort and it was over triple what we would pay offsite with the similar room setup. I can’t see paying triple just to be on property.

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    • March 22, 2016 at 9:29 pm
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      There are rooms as the Caribbean Beach resort that have a small pull-down bed along with two queen sized beds. I don’t think that the pull down bed would work for an adult or a teen, but for a small child you should be okay.

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  • March 22, 2016 at 3:29 pm
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    We just got back from a 2 night stay at Pop Century last week and I definitely agree with all of your points. It’s certainly not as luxurious as the Deluxe resorts but for the value price it had everything we needed.

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  • March 22, 2016 at 6:21 pm
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    This might not be popular, but I think the rooms are in dire need of remodeling.

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  • March 22, 2016 at 6:23 pm
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    We’ve been to All Star Music, All Star Movies, Art of Animation (Little Mermaid) and Pop Century. We’re going back in August and we’ll be at Pop Century again. While AofA is very nice, the non-suite Little Mermaid area is a long walk to the food court and bus (and we’re walkers!). Pop Century is only a little more expensive than the All Stars and worth the extra price. Thanks Savannah for sharing your thoughts which we second.

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    • March 22, 2016 at 9:32 pm
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      Lou, thanks so much for commenting and glad to hear you’re a Pop Century fan too. Hope you enjoy your stay this summer!

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  • March 23, 2016 at 2:55 pm
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    My wife and I just returned from our first stay at Pop, and we were pleased with it. Rooms were about the same as the All Stars, but I loved how close we were to Classic Hall (we were in 60’s Bldg 5). If the price is right, we’d definitely stay there again!

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  • March 23, 2016 at 3:23 pm
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    Agree!!! We stayed at Pop a couple of years ago. I wanted to stay at a Moderate but was overruled by my nephew who decided Pop looked like a more fun place to stay. We were all really happy there, and agreed it was the best choice for us, since we didn’t spend much time in the rooms (and the rooms were fine). One additional benefit — transportation! Pop has its own buses, no stops at other resorts, and only one stop within the resort. Major time (and legs!) saver.

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  • April 3, 2016 at 8:07 pm
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    Thank you for a great article! This fall we are staying at POP as part of a group tour (my daughters dance studio is performing @ Disney Springs) and this is our 1st ever stay at a value resort. Wondering about a pool bar…is there one? If so, at which of the pools? Thanks again!!!!

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    • April 5, 2016 at 12:08 am
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      Scott, Pop Century does have a pool bar by the Hippy Dippy Pool called Petals. It’s right between Classic Hall and the pool area, so it’s hard to miss. Hope you enjoy your upcoming trip and thanks for your kind words!

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  • April 3, 2016 at 10:56 pm
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    My family and I are staying at Pop for 10 days as from April 14th, I was a bit worried about the dinning court since we are not having a dinnig plan and won`t have a car for 6 days…are POP guests allowed to eat at ART OF ANIMATION FOOD COURTS? BTW, THANKS FOR THE REVIEW!

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    • April 5, 2016 at 12:13 am
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      Susan, Pop Century guests are definitely allowed to eat at the Art of Animation’s Landscape of Flavors food court and any other resort restaurant/food court that they might like. I was actually staying at Pop Century this weekend and took the walking paths and bridge over to Art of Animation for a little dining variety! Have a wonderful trip and I do hope you enjoy your stay. Thanks for commenting!

      Reply

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