SATURDAY SIX: 6 Reasons We Love Disney’s POP CENTURY Resort

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This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons We Love Disney’s Pop Century Resort.

With 26 on-site resorts at Walt Disney World, there is a wide variety of choices for families coming down. We’ve covered many here on the SATURDAY SIX including Value Resorts (Art of Animation), Moderates (Port Orleans French Quarter and Caribbean Beach), and Deluxe (Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge). We also can’t forget the Disney Vacation Club resorts such as Old Key West and Saratoga Springs. Today we are going to look at one of Disney’s most popular Value Resorts: POP CENTURY.

The entire resort is themed around pop culture icons from the latter half of the twentieth century, with the wings of the hotel dedicated to the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Each wing has elements from their particular decade throughout the area. If it sounds cheesy, that’s because it is cheesy, but in a good kind of cheesy way and one that can bring back a lot of cherished memories for every family. At the very least Pop Century is great for an afternoon of “resort hopping” to see some of the things they offer that you can’t find at any other Disney resort, starting with…

# 6 – The Lobby is a Wonderful Trip Back Through Time

Memorabilia from the 1970s, including the issue of LIFE magazine when Magic Kingdom opened. (photo by Brandon Glover)

While the check-in experience inside Classic Hall is similar to what you will encounter at several WDW hotels, the walls opposite check-in are filled with shadow boxes containing items from the 1950s through the 1990s. This is a wall that will have various generations of every family seeing an item and instantly remembering where they were in life when that was popular.  Elvis, the Moon landing, Dobie Gillis (with Maynard G Krebs), the Beach Boys, Star Wars, Mork & Mindy, Jane Fonda’s workout book, Trivial Pursuit, He-Man, Go-Bots, Smurfs, and so much more are in this area.

Pictures of Mouseketeers are just one of the items in this shadow box. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Like being able to look into a time capsule. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Seeing a Furby, Tamagotchi, and an old school Nintendo Game Boy makes this Gen-X heart a flutter. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Quite possibly the single greatest item in any Disney resort. (photo by Brandon Glover)

This is not a drill people. There is a video game inside the Pop Century lobby that is free to play.  Video games are popular now, more than any time in history, but Pop Century celebrates how big arcade games were in the pre-Nintendo era of household gaming. Set on free play, the arcade cabinet has both Donkey Kong Jr. and Super Mario Bros to play. With Nintendo playing a major role in Universal’s upcoming Epic Universe theme park in Orlando, you’d think this would be a great opportunity for Disney to replace this machine with a Wreck-It Ralph one.

Arcade game. (photo by Brandon Glover)

 

# 5 – Walk Around Hourglass Lake

Pop Century was originally conceived to have two separate resorts. The first section, the Classic Years, was completed and is what we know as Pop today. A second section, the Legendary Years, was going to be built across Hourglass Lake and the two resorts would be connected by Generation Gap Bridge. The Legendary Years would have focused on the 1900s through the 1940s and what I wouldn’t do to see how Disney would have handled the Great Depression and World War II. As we all know, the Legendary Years section was never built and instead that area was eventually used for Art of Animation.

One of the strengths of both Pop Century and Art of Animation is being able to take advantage of Hourglass Lake between them and take a gingerly stroll (or prepare for a runDisney race) around the entire area via large walkways. On Pop Century’s half of the walkway there are signs along the way that highlight major events that occurred in various years.

(photo by Brandon Glover)
A sign for 1959 shows us in was the year Hawaii and Alaska were added as states. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Hourglass Lake on our right and a giant Rubik’s Cube, straight ahead. (photo by Brandon Glover)
“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” (photo by Brandon Glover)
The Space Coast represented nicely on the pathway around Hourglass Lake. (photo by Brandon Glover)
One half of Hourglass Lake now has the Disney Skyliner riding above it. (photo by Brandon Glover)
This is pretty much the halfway point between Pop Century and Art of Animation. Here you can see Generation Gap bridge and the Disney Skyliner station. (photo by Brandon Glover)
(photo by Brandon Glover)
The walkway around Hourglass Lake is lit up at night. (photo by Brandon Glover)

 

# 4 – The Food and Snacks at Everything Pop

The Everything Pop food court at Pop Century is split up into several sections, so while one area may have slices of pizza, another one will have burgers. Similar to the Bayliner Diner at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Everything Pop has several choices to echo the theming of yesteryear as well. These include “comfort food” entrees such as pot roast and meatloaf. Our favorite? The fried chicken! Where Everything Pop goes above and beyond is in the snack department. Not only are there milkshakes available, but here is where you will find their famous tie-dye cheesecake along with other assorted goodies.

Pot Roast. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Lasagna-Pasticcio. (photo by Brandon Glover)
“Baked layers of Stracciatella, Bolognese Sauce, Pasta, and Béchamel Sauce topped with our House-made Pomodoro Sauce and served with a Bread Stick.” (photo by Brandon Glover)
Fried chicken, just like mom used to make. (photo by @HoCoHowie)
Chimichuri Salmon. (photo by @HoCoHowie)
Breakfast bounty platter. (photo by @HoCoHowie)

For those that like Mickey-shaped waffles, we have some good news. They are on the menu at Pop Century all day long!

We ordered the “plant-based Mickey-shaped” waffle plate, and the Cast Members use a separate griddle for those.

Cast Members at Everything Pop. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Not only were the waffles made to order (and taste great!) the breakfast potatoes they were served with tasted excellent as well.

Plant-based Mickey-shaped waffles. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Here we have the signature item at Everything Pop, the tie-dye cheesecake.

Tie-dye cheesecake. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Side view of tie-dye cheesecake. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Turtle brookie. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
This blogger-in-training knows the real pros coordinate MagicBand colors with cupcakes. (photo by @HoCoHowie)
Brownie sundae. (photo by @HoCoHowie)

 

# 3 – Larger Than Life Disney Characters

If you enjoy getting pictures of Disney characters, Pop Century just may be the resort for you. Not only is there a great photo-op with Goofy outside of Classic Hall, but you will also find characters such as Roger Rabbit and Baloo the Bear standing at almost four stories tall throughout the resort.

There’s definitely not enough Roger Rabbit in WDW in my book. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Mowgli and Baloo from Jungle Book. (photo by Brandon Glover)
(photo by Brandon Glover)
Tramp. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Lady. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Classic Mickey Mouse phone that is well known to people of a certain age. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Larger Than Life EVERYTHING

You’ve seen the Disney characters, but throughout the resort there are also gigantic versions of various pop culture items from the 20th Century. Foosball players, a Big Wheel, a tub of Play-Doh, and even Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head are among the large icon figures you will discover in each wing. Across each building  you will also find phrases from each era along with various items, such as transistor radios and Pac-Man. The outside stairwells for each building are also covered by four story tall props including bowling pins, 8 track tapes, and yo-yos. The “90s” building has three different types of retro cell phones hiding stairs behind them (sorry Millenials, you can’t send emojis from any of them).

Big Wheel, literally. (photo by Brandon Glover)
How great is this detail?! (photo by Brandon Glover)
Giant Rubik’s Cube. (photo by Brandon Glover)
At night the larger than life items are lit up. (photo by Brandon Glover)
(photo by Brandon Glover)
This building in the 1950s section has a giant jukebox. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Kids, every time your parents give you grief about “LOL” or “slap” just remind them of the words they tried to add to the American lexicon that never went anywhere
Mrs. and Mr. Potato Head.(photo by Brandon Glover)
E-Ticket photo op. (photo by Brandon Glover)
There are photo ops throughout the resort, including this giant piece of baggage near the lobby. (photo by @HoCoHowie)

One thing not every guest knows is that several WDW resorts have hotel-exclusive activities for kids. At Pop Century you can ask for the scavenger hunt map when you check into the resort.

(photo by Brandon Glover)
Pop Century scavenger hunt. (photo by Brandon Glover)

The map is “secured” by a slap bracelet.

(photo by Brandon Glover)
Pop Century scavenger hunt. (photo by Brandon Glover)

The map has icons to look for while you explore the property.

Pop Century scavenger hunt map. (photo by Brandon Glover)

# 2 – The Disney Skyliner

A huge game changer to Pop Century was added this year with the debut of the Disney Skyliner. Now guests can walk to Generation Gap bridge and hop on the Skyliner to the Caribbean Beach station where they can connect to either Epcot or Disney Hollywood Studios. Like the monorail, the Disney Skyliner is a method of transportation you just don’t see at Disney’s competitors. Not only is it efficient, it’s fun! Kids will enjoy the various character wraps on the gondolas, while adults will enjoy the birds-eye view of Disney property (for the best views, ask the Cast Members if you can wait for an unwrapped gondola). The Skyliner also gives guests staying at a Value Resort like Pop the opportunity to take a quick ride over to Caribbean Beach and dine at at Centertown Market, Banana Cabana, or Sebastian’s at Old Port Royale.

Disney Skyliner signage. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

I personally love the aesthetics of the Pop Century/Art of Animation Skyliner station. It’s whimsical and has a very artistic design.

Disney Skyliner Station. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Disney Skyliner signage. (photo by Brandon Glover)
View of gondolas inside the Pop Century Skyliner station. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Gondolas coming and going into the Skyliner station. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Stunning photo of gondolas making their way to and from the Pop Century Skyliner station. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
(photo by Brandon Glover)
A Skyliner gondola passes by Pop Century. (photo by Brandon Glover)
The decent into the Pop Century Skyliner station. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Signage when you leave the Skyliner station. (photo by Brandon Glover)

This aerial view shows the Pop Century/Art of Animation Skyliner station and the gondolas as they make their way to and from the Caribbean Beach station.

(photo by @bioreconstruct)
Pop Century is on the left, Art of Animation is on the right. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

We should note that Pop Century continues to have one of the best bus services on Disney property. I’ve stayed at the Disney All-Star Resorts and not only can the waits be interminable when leaving a park to go back to your resort, but the busses make stops at each of different hotels. Pop Century has a dedicated line, and the wait time at the resort seems to be much less than almost any Disney hotel I’ve ever stayed at.

Busses at Pop Century. (photo by Brandon Glover)

# 1 – The New Rooms

I’m going to eat a little crow here, because while I’m not a huge fan of the fact there is minimal Disney theming in the room, the overhaul at Pop Century is a HUGE improvement. When staying on vacation with your family, space can become a premium, and these new rooms have some great touches that add up. Like our recent stay at Gran Destino tower, the “main” bed in the room is on an elevated platform, allowing you to store stuff under it. The Murphy bed folds up, allowing the room to have a table and also free up space for “activities.”

(photo by Brandon Glover)
Disney Pop Century. (photo by Brandon Glover)
(photo by Brandon Glover)
Murphy bed in up position. (photo by Brandon Glover)
(photo by Brandon Glover)
Murphy bed pulled down. (photo by Brandon Glover)
(photo by Brandon Glover)
I like the “Andy Warhol” like artwork of Mickey Mouse and the comic book/Pop Art presentation of Pluto sleeping when the Murphy bed is pulled down. (photo by Brandon Glover)
(photo by Brandon Glover)
Room safe. (photo by Brandon Glover)
(photo by Brandon Glover)
Mini-fridge. (photo by Brandon Glover)
(photo by Brandon Glover)
The TV did not have Disney+. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Closet to store more items. (photo by Brandon Glover)
(photo by Brandon Glover)
Hair dryer and iron in the room. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Sink. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Nice shower design, allowing a “rain” type waterfall and the ability to use a hand help shower head. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Recently Pop Century also expanded their in-room dining menu. It had been a while since I had Disney pizza delivered to my hotel room, so I figured it was time to see if there was any changes. Turns out there was a HUGE change. The pizza was actually good!

Pizza meal was $29.99 and included a Caesar salad, and breadsticks. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Pizza. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Honorable Mention – The Merch

I love the new Pop Century logo design that incorporates Mickey Mouse, and there were a good selection of items available. For the most part Disney has been lackluster in delivering exclusive merchandise for the Value Resorts, but Pop’s selection has been getting better and better over the years giving guests a good variety of options to choose from.

Pop Century merchandise. (photo by Brandon Glover)
(photo by Brandon Glover)
Magnet. (photo by Brandon Glover)
(photo by Brandon Glover)
Pin. (photo by Brandon Glover)
(photo by Brandon Glover)
“Toothpick holder.” (photo by Brandon Glover)
(photo by Brandon Glover)
Tumbler. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Christmas ornament. (photo by Brandon Glover)
T-shirt. (photo by Brandon Glover)

While not exclusive to Pop Century, it is appropriate that they offer the Disney themed Rubik’s Cube. It would be nice to see Disney themed yo-yos or a Pop Century bowling pin in the line-up. Maybe one day.

Disney Rubik’s cube. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Regular readers of this fine blog series should know by now how much we loved our Walt Disney World pressed coins, and Pop Century has several good designs. First up is Mickey Mouse with a yo-yo with the Pop Century logo.

Pop also has a souvenir quarter design, featuring the logo and Mickey in his “cool” 80s wear.

Double Secret Honorable Mention – Fast Forward Arcade

Fast Forward Arcade. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Located off the lobby, Pop Century has a world class arcade to have some fun in that has a gigantic cross section of games including your standard arcade games, driving simulators, air hockey, and various games of skill (such as basketball). Highlights include even more old school arcade games (including Galaga, Joust, and Space Invaders) pinball, and games based off current smart phone games such as Jetpack Joyride. While the opening of the NBA Experience won a coveted Turkey of the Year award, we can probably thank the closing of Disney Quest for why this arcade got infused with some really cool games.

Pinball. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Old school arcade games. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Four player Pac-Man. (photo by Brandon Glover)
A Pack-Man/Galaga game that uses a GIANT screen. (photo by Brandon Glover)
This Marvel photo book allows you to put your picture on a comic book cover or as part of a story.
Air hockey. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Basketball. (photo by Brandon Glover)
A carny game! (photo by Brandon Glover)

So there you have it: Six Reasons We Love Disney’s POP CENTURY! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles, or, for your listening pleasure, check out the E-Ticket Report podcast. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).

If you enjoyed this article, you will surely like the following: 

6 Reasons We Love Disney’s CORONADO SPRINGS Resort

6 Reasons We Love Disney’s SARATOGA SPRINGS

6 Reasons We Love Disney’s ART OF ANIMATION

Special Thanks to The Elite Brandon Glover, the bio-est of all reconstructs @bioreconstruct, door locking Howie Berman, Captain Cruiseline Scott Sanders of the world famous Disney Cruise Line Blog, my personal protege Hunter “Elvey” Underwood, the SAT SIX Fun Squad of Parkscope Joe and Nick, hot shot Michael Carelli, and Hermione Granger’s tutor Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. The SAT SIX is inspired each week by goofballs Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde and you Potterheads will  enjoy Meg’s other blog work over at the Central Florida Slug Club.

3 thoughts on “SATURDAY SIX: 6 Reasons We Love Disney’s POP CENTURY Resort

  • December 7, 2019 at 3:54 pm
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    Love pop century Bein going to this place That I Call Home for last Three years People are Great Always Go Back to Pop

    Reply
  • December 8, 2019 at 8:25 am
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    Nice article. What section & building(s) are the best for Skyliner access? Thanks!

    Reply
  • December 9, 2019 at 2:53 pm
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    We were there in October. 60’s section (buildings 5 & 6) are the closest to the Skyliner station.

    Reply

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