ResortsWalt Disney World (FL)

Resort Exploring: Vol. 3 – Pop Century

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As you may recall from my posts about the Caribbean Beach and Port Orleans Resorts, I enjoy wandering the grounds of Disney resort properties regardless of whether I am staying there.  This series of posts is meant as a tribute to theme appreciation (or nosiness…whatever).  It is speaking to those who take the time to simply explore, enjoy, and savor the immersive environments that Disney has created at its resorts (or are also nosy).

This entry is all about Pop Century Resort, which I recently stayed in for my first experience with a Disney Value Resort (I’m more of a moderate kind of guy).  Disney’s Value Resorts in general are very popular, and Pop Century specifically is frequently busy.  Their cost effectiveness speaks loudly to most people who are already spending a large amount on their vacation.  That exact reason is how I found myself at Pop Century and, since I can never sit still, I also found myself doing several loops around the property at all hours of the day.

Okay, I didn’t love everything about the resort but I don’t want this to seem super-negative, so I’m going to go through all the praise before I get to the parts I didn’t like.  As with all Disney resorts, the grounds are meticulously kept.  Some of the walkways are surprisingly lush and that helps give them a more private feeling.

The layout of Pop Century, with its multiple building groups, also lends itself to many areas that are less busy than the main food court and pool area.  The pool areas themselves (there are three of them) are very cool, even if they can be crowded.  They are all themed and generally flanked by giant statues of Disney icons (although I understand if swimming while being stared at by a 30-foot tall Roger Rabbit makes you uncomfortable).

Another great area of Pop Century is the walkway that abuts Hourglass Lake.  The lake and its bridge were originally meant as the separation between the two Pop Century resorts, but will now serve to separate the Pop Century Resort from the Art of Animation Resort.  Walking near water is always a nice thing, even if the only view is of the construction of a new resort.

Then there’s the theme (and this is where I’m going to get all curmudgeonny on you); it’s kind of just a bunch of giant stuff.  Okay, that’s exactly what it is…it’s a bunch of giant stuff.  I understand why they did it, and I understand that kids like that kind of in-your-face stuff, but I don’t.  It’s fun the first time you see it (hey look, a giant big wheel… I had one of those), but it is not the type of theme that you can find hidden details in by looking closer.  What you see is what you get.

The overall theme of Pop Century reminds me of a goofy chain restaurant.  Since there’s no real identity, they just put a bunch of crazy stuff on the wall and call it decorating.  That’s not to say that you can’t enjoy it or get some fantastic pictures of all the crazy stuff.  I’m very happy with some of the pictures I got at Pop Century (and they’re all over this post) and there are some fun photo opportunities with Goofy, Mickey, Baloo, and Potato Head statues available.

To me, an ideal resort is someplace removed from the parks, where I can unwind a little bit and immerse myself in someplace that is not constantly spitting marketing promotions at me.  I don’t find Pop Century to be that place.

I call this one “Mickey’s Army.”

Would I stay there again? Yes, but because of the price, not the theme.

Would I go out of my way to visit the resort? No.

Do I enjoy asking and answering my own questions? Clearly.

Do you agree with my assessment of Pop Century Resort?  (You’re supposed to answer that one below)


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Brian McNichols

In addition to blogging, I also do some analyzin' here at Touring Plans. I am a travel nut, planning nut, Disney nut, wall nut. Husband of 1, father of 2. Hilariously funny in my own mind. Find me on Twitter @YesThatBrian if you like really dumb jokes.

13 thoughts on “Resort Exploring: Vol. 3 – Pop Century

  • We stayed at Pop Century in an effort to convince my in-laws that Staying at WDW was the only way to go. Especially with my (then) little kids They are “cheap” and this was the ideal. They loved it and agree staying at WDW is the only way to go now. I prefer a moderate location myself but we would stay at Pop Century again as a cost saving option. The kids enjoyed it and still talk about the giant play-doh and flower pool. Not sure I would stay at a resort long enough to need deluxe accommodations.

  • We stayed at this resort one night for EMH’s & utilized the pools – which are open 24 hours/day! We swam until 2 am, which was fun for the kids since they never get to do anything like that (the bad part was that us adults had to stay out to lifeguard…). The rooms are small, but the decor was very fun to reminisce about. I think that if you need to have a cheaper hotel for your Disney stay that this will be sufficient.

  • I couldn’t agree more with your review. We stayed there in September of 2010, and while the ‘value’ of the resort was nice, it was definitely too “in your face” for me. My kids definitely liked the huge statues, but it was a bit much for me. I would stay there again if we wanted to save money, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to stay there, either.

    I much prefer the moderates. I like the more sophisticated themes of the moderates. They are more sprawling, so you don’t feel like other guests are right on top of you!

  • Thanks for the review. Will be staying there for the first time in Feb. and looking forward to it.

  • I think you really have to compare Pop Century to the other values. I think it fares considerably better in that light.

  • Do I agree with your assessment of POP? Yes.

  • I was just at Pop for the first time last week. For the price, you can’t beat it (esp with a 35% off AP discount!). I was impressed and would stay again. As others have said, there’s not much to it, but it’s clean and safe and cheap. Others have said it’s loud, but I didn’t think it was and I was overlooking the computer pool.

  • I love the names of the tracks on the 8-track tapes at the 70s buildings and that the cell phone is dialing 1-407-WDISNEY. That’s over the heads of most kids but funny when you stop and read them.

  • The value resorts are a place to sleep and keep your luggage, and possibly get a bite to eat before or after a day touring the parks. If you want more than that, you’re going to have to pay more. It’s no different off property — there’s a certain level of money you need to pay to have a reasonable expectation that you won’t see a drunk tumbling out of the dumpster or have a helicopter tour take off from next door.

  • I really like Pop. The decor is quite random, but it’s quite fun to see things and say “OMG! Do you remember?” I particularly love the shadow boxes by the check-in desks. It’s goofy, but there’s always something to look at. And you always meet nice people in line for the bus!

    • I’ve stayed at Pop three times, and it served its purpose. Not very relaxing, but a good place to sleep. My favorite part of the resort are the shadow boxes in the lobby, organized by decade. I think I like the original artifacts more than the giant stuff. Kind of like a museum of pop culture!

  • I agree it’s definitely more a kids resort. But even adults can enjoy the “crazy” stuff. And anything that keeps little ones happy ultimately keeps mom and dad relaxed!

  • You’re not nosy – you’re inquisitive 😉


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