Pop Century

by josh on January 6, 2013


Address:

1050 Century Dr
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-1000

Phone: 407-938-4000, Fax: 407-938-4040, General Reservations: 1-407-WDISNEY (1-407-934-7639)

Resort Class:

Pop Century is a Value, the least expensive Disney resort type.  There are four room categories – Standard ($95 – $186/night), Standard Pool View ($100 – $191/night), Preferred ($110 – $201/night), and Preferred Pool View ($115 – $206/night).  Preferred rooms are closer to the main building and cost an additional $15 per night.  Pool View rooms cost $5 more than Standard rooms, while Preferred Pool View rooms are $20 more than Standard rooms, $15 more than Pool view rooms, and $5 more than Preferred rooms.

Standard Pool View rooms are found in the 50s (Bowling Pool), 80s (Computer Pool), and 90′s (Computer Pool) sections.  Preferred Pool View rooms are in the 60s section overlooking the main Hippy Dippy Pool.  Preferred rooms do not overlook the pools and are located in certain sections of the 50s, 60s, and 70s buildings closest to the main building and bus stop.

A map of the resort is available for printing or viewing here.

Location:

Pop-Century, along with Art of Animation across the bridge, are the only ESPN Wide World of Sports area resorts.  It’s south of the Caribbean Beach resort and near Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and the Wide World of Sports.

Size:

In terms of rooms, Pop Century is the largest resort on Disney property with 2,880 rooms.  That is 960 rooms larger than either All-Star Sports or Movies.  The layout of the buildings is more compact than the All-Stars and walk times are generally shorter to the resort’s amenities.  Although the square acreage of the Pop Century is similar to the All-Stars, Pop Century’s buildings each have an additional floor.

Room Amenities and Quality:

All rooms are 260 square feet, the same standard size as the other Value resorts.

There are either two double beds or one king size bed in each room, depending on reservation.  There are 2,621 rooms with double beds, 115 handicap accessible with double beds, 81 King Bed rooms, and 63 handicap accessible King Bed rooms.  Each room has a nightstand, two chairs, armoire, 32” LCD HDTV, wall mirror, clock radio, small safe, one sink, one mirror, one refrigerator, and bathroom area with toilet and combined bathtub and shower.



Items that are not included, but can be requested for free, include iron, ironing board, extra pillows, towels, and blankets.

Each room with double beds can sleep up to four people.  There is a $10/night charge for a third and fourth person over the age of 17 on the reservation.  King Bed rooms sleep only two.  Both configurations can accommodate a small child in a crib.  The beds are attached to the floor and cannot be moved and there is not enough room between them to fit a twin inflatable mattress.  A twin bed should fit if the other furniture is moved around a bit.

WiFi Internet is available in all guest rooms at no additional charge.

Rooms are outfitted almost exactly like the rooms at the other Value resorts and you won’t find quality or amenities to be much higher at one resort over the other.

Theme and Layout:

Pop Century is similar to All-Star Movies, Music, and Sports in that it features gigantic figurines and bright colors.

The overall theme of the Pop Century is 20th century popular culture.  In addition to the 40+ foot tall Rubik’s Cube, 65 foot tall bowling pins, and dancing silhouettes, Disney has also included several gigantic Disney character figurines so the Pop Century looks more like the All-Star Movies.







Mickey Mouse is here, along with Goofy, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, and Roger Rabbit.

Pools:



Pop Century’s feature Hippy Dippy Pool is 235,000 gallons and situated in the 60s section just outside the main building.

A smaller play area for children is located next to it.

The Petals pool bar is nearby, serving an assortment of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks:



It’s mostly the usual resort menu along with a couple of specialty cocktails.

The Computer Pool is located in the 90s section.

Here, you’ll find slightly quieter surroundings along with plenty of lounge chairs.

On the opposite side of the resort in the 50s section sits the Bowling Pin pool.

Music is still played at both from 8am into the night, but there are less people and fewer organized games.

Movies are offered nightly at the Hippy Dippy Pool along with other activities like dancing, scavenger hunts, and similar activities. When it gets dark earlier, the movie is scheduled earlier (7pm usually).  Boards near the lifeguard stations will have the days’ activities and the concierge will also have the schedule for the week available.

Hair Wraps available from 4pm – 10pm near the Hippy Dippy pool.  $2.00 per inch plus the optional cost of beads.

Finally, laundry rooms and bathrooms are located near each of the pools.

No Value resorts have water slides or hot tubs and Pop Century is  no exception.  Towels are not available at the pool so guests must bring them from their room and request more from housekeeping.  Like the All-Stars, Pop’s pools are themed well and are plenty large, but they are not much more than “just a pool” due to their lack of slides.

Transportation:

One of Pop Century’s advantages over the All-Star Value resorts is that it does not share bus service with any other resort.  Art of Animation across Hour Glass Lake provides its own bus transportation.  There is only one bus stop at the front of the main building and there are separate lines for each destination.  While the lines themselves don’t offer shade, there are benches, fans, and cover behind the queues for each stop.

The times below are calculated after the bus leaves the resort:

Hollywood Studios: about 10 minutes
Epcot: about 15 minutes
Animal Kingdom: about 15 minutes
Magic Kingdom: about 15 minutes

Parking lots line the exterior of the resort, making parking convenient to all guest buildings.  Those staying in the 50s, 80, and 90s section will be particularly close to their automobiles.

Best Rooms: With the relatively small size of the resort, booking a Preferred room at $15/night isn’t going to be necessary for most people staying at Pop Century.  It might cut two minutes off of the walk to the main building and as much as five to the feature pool, but those rooms also see the most foot traffic outside.  Add in the pool view and it’s going to be noisy outside your room from 8am through at least 11pm.  You can actually find quieter accommodations and save money by simply booking a Standard room.  Of the Standard rooms, my favorites are on the 4th floor in the 60s building facing Hour Glass Lake.  These rooms benefit from being among the quietest at the resort and are also closer to the walkway over to the Art of Animation.  You can easily walk to Art of Animation’s food court or bus stop from these rooms.  Otherwise, any room facing the lake will be quieter and just a minute or two walk around the building to the pool.  Consider putting in a request for a top floor room facing the lake when you book your vacation.  Request the 60s, 50s, or 70s sections if you’d like to be closer to Art of Animation.

On-Site Dining Options:

Everything Pop, located inside Classic Hall, serves as the resort’s shopping and dining outlet.

The food court is among the most robust of any Walt Disney World resort, thanks to the number of people dining here daily.  An example of what’s available:

Smorgasbord:








Burgers and Such:



Italian Inspired:



Dinner:







The Mom’s Night Out entree changes depending on the day of the week.  I’ve had the meatloaf.  Very good, though not particularly photogenic.

Dessert:




Additional Items, Drinks, and Condiments:

Snacks and cereals.

Beverages:





What they may lack in beer choices, as compared to Art of Animation, they more than make up for in orange juice availability.

Goodies.

“Special Dietary Snacks.”

Pricing.

Soy milk and sushi.

More snacks.

Better snacks.

More. Bigger: http://www.easywdw.com/reports4/popdrink1.jpg.

Cream Cheese, Peanut Butter, and Milk.

More milk.

Fruit. Bigger: http://www.easywdw.com/reports4/popdrink2.jpg.

Pickles.

The popular and somewhat unique Tie Dye Cheesecake.

Candy and such:


Most of it should be a snack credit.

Condiments and beverages:



The difference being some have Sprite Zero, Sprite, and/or Cherry Coke. So you don’t necessarily want to give up if the first machine you encounter doesn’t have your soft drink of choice.



What you can expect from breakfast.  Prices are from before the last price increase, so while options should be the same/similar, prices are currently higher:












Here we are skipping right ahead to breakfast.  There are a ton of options.

I opted for the “Bounty Platter.”  As you can see, it consists of eggs, french toast sticks, bacon, sausage, potatoes, and a biscuit.  This wasn’t particularly good.  We’re talking powdered eggs, limp bacon, and flavorless potatoes.  The biscuit was nice and flaky and the french toast sticks had a reasonable amount of cinnamon flavor, but it was disappointing considering all of the rave reviews I’ve heard about Pop Century Food Court.  A liberal amount of salt and pepper may have helped, but my brain wasn’t functioning this early.  Remember, I had been up for evening Extra Magic Hours at Magic Kingdom until 3am and was up for morning Extra Magic Hour at Hollywood Studios at 6:30am.  I’m also not a “big” breakfast person.  The size of this breakfast doesn’t exactly scream, “I’ll be riding Tower of Terror in an hour.”

The Create Your Own Salad affords the opportunity to put together a salad exactly to your specifications.

They toss it for you right there while you wait, filling the empty space with lettuce and then topping it off with a pre-packaged bag of meat.  In this case, I ordered it with shrimp and the chipotle ranch dressing.  This was far and away the best salad I’ve had on property.  Everything was extremely fresh, the shrimp were a nice change of pace from the usual chicken, and the chipotle ranch dressing was excellent.  I wish they’d roll out that dressing elsewhere, as the balsamic vinaigrette and Ken’s ranch are pretty boring.  At the resorts, you can’t do much better than the Create-Your-Own Salad or Pasta and both should be on anyone’s short list.

This is the “Mom’s Night Out” special, which is served in this cute sectioned tin tray.  Tonight’s offering was meatloaf, served complete with mashed potatoes, green beans, and corn bread.  While this did not get rave reviews based on the picture on my Twitter feed, it was actually pretty good and a lot of food for the money.  There’s a third slice of meat loaf hidden underneath the cornbread.  The fact that Everything Pop takes the Tables in Wonderland discount is also nice (it’s also accepted at the food courts at the other Value Resorts).  I’ve seen reviews where people say they would go out of their way to eat at the Pop Century Food Court, even if they were staying elsewhere, but I’m not sure I would go that far.  It isn’t like someone other than Disney is in charge of food service here.  It’s “good,” but I certainly wouldn’t drive over to eat their hamburger over someone else’s hamburger.

Overall, Pop Century offers a wide variety of items, particularly for dinner.  With the Art of Animation’s food court just a five to ten minute walk away, you also have an opportunity to basically double the number of choices available.  This is one of the best food courts on property.

Shopping:

Everything Pop also functions as the resort’s single store, offering up many of the usual generic Disney products.  No resort specific merchandise is available for sale.

You’ll also find alcohol and an assortment of items that you may have forgotten at home:



Like the other resorts, items are generally travel sized and at least twice as much as you’d expect to pay for the same item at Target.

Check-in and Lobby:

Check-in is located inside Classic Hall and is as straightforward as it gets.

The kids can watch Disney cartoons or look at the memorabilia hung on the wall opposite of the check-in desk.

The arcade is also located next to the lobby.

It offers an expansive area for kids to play now or later.

Best For: Those who do not plan to spend much time at the resort and are aware of the limited amenities offered.  Those on a budget who want to take advantage of Magical Express, Disney Transportation, and Extra Magic Hours.

Worst For: Those used to staying at the Ritz Carlton or are otherwise expecting more than they receive.  People who plan to spend a lot of time at the resort.

Summary of Key Points: Pop Century is the most recommended Value resort because of its dedicated bus service, resort layout, food court quality/selection, and pools.  It is also the first to sell out during popular promotions.  The dedicated transportation is a key advantage because it could save an hour or more on transit times daily over a resort like Caribbean Beach which makes up to seven stops per trip around the resort or the All-Stars which may share buses.  Pop Century’s rooms are also more centrally located and walk times are significantly shorter than those found at rooms in many of the Moderates.  Rooms are still small and two adults and two teenagers may have trouble getting along in such cramped quarters.  The resort may also be noisy depending on who is around you as walls are not well insulated against noise.  I would recommend the Pop Century to anyone wanting to stay at a Value resort as it has the most upside of any of the resorts in the category.

For additional pictures of the resort, please see these posts:

Walking Around the Pop Century Resort

Pop Century Main Building, Food Court, and Pool

Pop Century Resort Disney World Review

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Jodie February 12, 2011 at 6:42 am

Thanks for your great insights! I have learned a lot from your site for our first trip to Disney!

henry June 13, 2011 at 8:42 pm

for 2012 reservations, disney added a new room categorie at Pop Century: “preferred pool view”.

josh June 13, 2011 at 8:44 pm

Thanks, I noticed that too. I would prefer a preferred category that was as far away from the pool as possible.

Terri in So Cal September 11, 2011 at 11:25 am

We have stayed here for the past 5 years. Mostly because it is our favorite value resort. Also because I run a fridge share/swap at POP that started in Aug. 2006. We really enjoy this resort and since we have been so often it truly does feel “like home” when we arrive. We like the top floor of the 50′s building (Tramp) facing the lake and MK. We can see MK and Epcot fireworks from there as well as DHS. Plus we are overlooking the lake which is peaceful and away from the pool areas. Not too far to walk to the food court or to the parking lot.

We will be back home at POP in just under 4 weeks and can’t wait!

MaryBeth September 29, 2012 at 4:04 am

I believe not only have the All-Star Movie room been refurbished in 2011, but ALL the values now have mini-fridges as a (free) standard now

Anonymous January 7, 2013 at 11:20 am

The busses are great at Pop, but one trick that makes them even better is the fact that at several of the parks the Pop pick-up point is right next to the Art of Animation pick-up point. If you don’t mind a little stroll across the bridge between the resorts, you can cut down on your standing-and-waiting time by just grabbing whichever bus happens to come first.

Also, I keep forgetting that the Pop Century rooms don’t include a coffee-maker. Bring your own, if you have a small portable one!

melissa January 7, 2013 at 8:13 pm

Pop def. Has much better dining options for kids then the art of animation….guess ill be heading there to eat more often then not

Jill January 8, 2013 at 2:22 pm

I stay at Pop when I have shorter trips and will not be spending a lot of time in the room. But we love it there and have stayed there about 6 times. I stayed there twice for solo trips. We’ve never had a bad experience there.

Andrea January 14, 2013 at 2:55 pm

I absolutely LOVE Pop. We have stayed at Deluxes, Moderates, and all the values except Movies. And Pop is our favorite!!

Merrilyn January 22, 2013 at 8:32 am

We have stayed at Pop at least 7 times. It is our favorite and with the walk to Art of Animation food court so easy, why pay extra to sleep with a mermaid?
However, I learned something on our trip in December 2012 that I did not know. When we asked for connecting rooms, 1 king and 1 double, they got us connecting rooms, but only had with both doubles. Then the cast member says “You know, you can push the beds together”. Well you can and we did!!! So you’ll need to revise your note about the beds not moving. They do!

Lisa February 5, 2013 at 5:33 am

Really appreciate the thorough review and great information. We’re looking forward to our first stay at POP in June, and this article is very helpful for understanding the layout, what to expect. etc. Thanks, Josh!

Viajo July 13, 2013 at 1:30 am

Do you have an elevator for the fourth floor or just a stairs?? thanks

Jeremy August 14, 2013 at 12:49 pm

There are two elevators for each building.

Alysia August 30, 2013 at 12:42 pm

This web site is amazing. I’m a little nervous about staying at Pop since my last two trips were at Moderates. Your info was very helpful and put my mind at ease a bit.

Mark November 14, 2013 at 8:18 pm

Thanks for all the great info, Josh! Really looking forward to our stay in May now.

DizneyGirl January 6, 2014 at 5:26 am

There ARE NOT 2,880 rooms at Pop Century. There were going to be with the completion of phase 2 which never happened. They built Art of Animation instead. Check your facts.

Dawn H January 6, 2014 at 4:34 pm

wow! DizneyGirl…chill

sadie January 18, 2014 at 6:13 pm

oh i love pop century to bad my family got the dvc member ship and we can now go to the higher class hotels. pop century is my favorite hotel ever! my family and i go to disney every year and we always went to pop. Im going to miss you pop century!

Crystal January 27, 2014 at 4:50 pm

This is really one of the best most detailed reviews (even better than Disney themselves!) It has helped me figure out a game plan for when I stay there in a few weeks. I totally appreciate the time you took and the attention to detail.

Heather January 31, 2014 at 7:26 pm

Do they have microwaves anywhere near your rooms?

Erica H April 17, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Thanks for the detailed photos. Have 2 in my group with dietary restrictions but being able to see exactly what’s offered and the snack options make me feel so much better!

AussieKaren July 22, 2014 at 9:21 am

Thank you for your detailed review of POP, you have helped me a lot and POP is where we would like to stay! We will be needing connecting rooms, are they easy to get, and is the price the same as 2 rooms or a little bit extra?

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