By the co-author of the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook ever -- The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit.

Now available in PDF format!—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor

Review: Disney’s Pop Century Resort

By Dave Shute

The Value Resorts    Pop Century    Movies    Sports    Music   Art of Animation


Main Pool at Disney's Pop Century ResortAmong my 95 stays (so far!) in Walt Disney World resort hotels, I’ve stayed at Disney’s Pop Century Resort more than half a dozen times, most recently in February 2014.

This last stays confirms that for those who can’t afford a deluxe resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort is the second best place to stay, after Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, and, for families with mobility issues who can’t afford a deluxe, it’s number one.

Mickey Phone at Disney's Pop Century ResortYou can have a wonderful visit at any Walt Disney World resort hotel.

However, this site recommends that first time visitors to Walt Disney World who can afford it should stay at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, a deluxe resort, and that those who can’t should stay at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, a value resort. (See this for more on the value resorts at Walt Disney World.)

(It also suggests that first time visitors should avoid the moderate resorts, while noting that these resorts are wonderful for visits after the first. See this for why.)

Compared to other Walt Disney World owned and operated resorts, the value resorts are distinguished by having the lowest prices and smallest rooms.

Pop Century Floor Plan from yourfirstvisit.netYou likely will never stay in a hotel with smaller rooms.

Like other value resort standard rooms, rooms at Pop Century sleep four in two full-size beds, plus one more, younger than three, in a crib; the crib fits best between the dresser and closet wall.

Bed Side from Bath Disney's Pop Century Resort from could not imagine staying in one of these rooms with five including a crib…but many do!)

However, if your family will fit, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, like the other value resorts, has much more kid appeal than the moderate resorts, the next higher price class (about twice as expensive, but with much bigger rooms and nicer landscaping.)

(See this for much more on resort distinctions by price class–value, moderate, deluxe, etc.)

Compared to staying off-site, the value resorts are distinguished by their higher kid appeal, convenience, and access to certain key perks that off-site hotels can’t provide.


Resorts are ranked on this site for first time visitors based first on their kid appeal, and then on their convenience.

On this basis, Disney’s Pop Century Resort is the second-best value resort for first time family visitors.

Kid Appeal. Several of the deluxe resorts–notably, the Wilderness LodgeAnimal Kingdom Lodge, and Polynesian Resort–have spectacular kid appeal. None of the moderates do.

All of the value resorts–Disney’s Art of Animation resort, Disney’s All-Star Sports, All-Star Music, and All-Star Movies, and its Pop Century Resort–have terrific kid appeal.

Play-Doh at Disney's Pop Century ResortThis appeal comes from the approach to theming they all share: bright and vibrant exteriors, framing much larger than life objects of interest to kids. These objects reinforce that these resorts were designed for the sake of kids…and not necessarily for adults!

Pop Century’s theme is to recall the later decades of the twentieth century, through enormous statues of toys, games, Disney characters, and other stuff. You’ll find scattered around the resort a Mickey Mouse Telephone, Roger Rabbit, a Big Wheel, bowling pins, Baloo and Mowgli, Lady and the Tramp…all 30 to over 60 feet tall!

Elsewhere you’ll find Play-Doh, Mr. Potato Head, a more than life sized foosball game, a pool designed to look like a bowling alley, a four-story laptop, and more.

Disney's Pop Century Has a Hare More Kid AppealPop is–by a hare–the second most kid-appealing of the values.

Art of Animation has the most kid appeal among the values, with deeply themed sections and rooms evoking the settings and characters of Little Mermaid, Car, the Lion Kings, and Finding Nemo. (Only the Little Mermaid section has standard rooms–the other three sections of Art of Animation have much more expensive family suites.)

All-Star Music and Sports are thin on Disney-specific decor, and can be visually dull except to kids devoted to sports or music. All-Star Movies is more kid-appealing than these two, living more richly in Disney’s visual world.

Toys at Disney's Pop Century ResortPop Century adds to its own strong Disney visual presence lots of fun toys!

Convenience. Disney’s Pop Century Resort is slightly more convenient than the All-Stars, and in general as convenient as Art of Animation.

Compared to the All-Stars, it is more central. Pop Century is quite centrally located.

  • It is just south of Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, nestled in the area between Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
  • It is closer to Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and the Magic Kingdom than the All-Stars are.

Bus Stop at Disney's Pop Century ResortSecond, Pop Century is one of only two resorts at Walt Disney World that has only one bus stop and does not share buses with any other resort. (Art of Animation is the other.)

Each of the All-Star resorts has only one bus stop, but they share most of their buses with one or both of the other All-Stars.

Pop is a little easier to get around than Art of Animation is for those in standard rooms.  The standard rooms at Art of Animation are more distant from the hotel’s central services than most of Pop’s are.

Other distinctive features. Pop and Art of Animation are the only values on a lake; Pop is also (slightly) more graceful, and (slightly) less garish, than the All-Stars.

Best places to stay. This site suggests that first time visitors stay in standard rooms, not preferred rooms (because they won’t be spending much time in their rooms, or going to the main resort food area often.)

The single exception is visitors to the Animal Kingdom Lodge, who should always pay for savanna views.

Map of Disney's Pop Century ResortDisney’s Pop Century Resort is divided into areas named for decades from the second half of the last century–’50s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s.

Click the map to see the general layout.

Of these, a fourth floor room on the lake side of the ’70s area is the best place to stay.

View from Recommended Location at Disney's Pop Century ResortThe lake view speaks for itself.

The ’70s area is the only one at Pop Century not built around a pool, which makes it quieter.

The fourth floor is also the top floor, which improves the lake views, and makes it quieter as well.

The image above is from just outside the rooms I recommend. Below is the last on-line check in form I used.
Pop Century Online Check in from


Families than cannot afford a deluxe resort, or who are otherwise on a tight budget, who can fit into its small rooms, and don’t wish to, or can’t, stay at Art of Animation.


Families who are tall or otherwise won’t fit into full-size beds, or who have more than two adult-sized people, or who will be using a crib.


This review continues here.

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1 Trisha Reeder { 05.29.13 at 8:58 am }

My family of four just stayed at Pop Century in earlier this month and we would stay there again! It was perfect! We stayed in one if the 50’s buildings so we were close to Classic Hall to get breakfast every morning before we would head out for the day. We really liked the fact that the resort does not share shuttle busses with any other resort. It was so easy to get around. I would highly recommend Pop Century to anyone. We rarely spent time in the room and enjoyed the pool a couple of nights. We were gone all day..every day enjoying all of the fun Disney World parks have to offer. Thank You for all of your “insider tips”. We used your spring itinierary and had a wonderful vacation. We could not have had a better week. Great weather and wonderful people who work for Disney. This website is awesome for planning a Disney vacation. I have recommended it to everyone I have talked to :) THANK YOU!

2 Dave { 05.30.13 at 7:00 am }

Hi Trisha, and thanks for both your comments on Pop and kind words!!

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3 Sara M { 12.14.13 at 12:23 am }

Is there a reason Pop had no towels at any of the pools? I talked to the life guard and she said they never stock them at Pop or AoA.

Also, will they have refrigerators in 2014?

4 Sara M { 12.14.13 at 12:23 am }


I can’t find our last conversation about going in November or August if you can send me that link! Thanks!

5 Dave { 12.15.13 at 10:12 am }

Sara, typically the values do not provide towels at the pools–you’ll find rebellious exceptions to this sometimes, especially at Music. And the fridges should have been fully replaced by now…

6 Dave { 12.15.13 at 10:13 am }
7 Jennifer { 02.03.14 at 3:23 pm }

Hi we are going to this RESORT in one month and we want to know if its located far away from Port Cañaveral and if the food is expensive in this Resort?
Thank u!

8 Dave { 02.04.14 at 9:23 am }

Jennifer, it’s about 70 miles. All Disney food is expensive…

9 Patty { 03.10.14 at 1:35 pm }

I also would recommend Pop Century. Family has stayed there twice(both times with port-a-crib in room). Rooms are small, but worked. All rooms had fridges now. Walked over bridge to Art of Animation just to get a feel for it. Mermaid rooms were 10 min. walk from the main building(food court, front desk etc). Beautiful outside decor, but would still stay at Pop Cent. on future visits.

10 Dave { 03.11.14 at 7:41 am }

Thanks, Patty!

11 Tim { 03.15.14 at 12:13 pm }

Do Pop Century rooms have coffee makers and if not, can you bring one? We are planning a trip in the first week of May.

12 Dave { 03.16.14 at 8:03 am }

Tim, they don’t. I suspect Disney might fuss if you bring your own–using fire code as the talking point–but it’s hard to imagine that it really matters. Worst case is they ask you to unplug it/remove it, and you are no worse off…

13 Tim { 03.16.14 at 2:38 pm }

Thanks for your insight and also for your knowledge. It has been helpful. Another question if I may, is Pop Century a good choice for us as my wife and I are in our 50’s and our two sons are 22 and 18 ? It seems to be the most convenient to the parks without dropping a lot of cash. We stayed in a cabin at Ft. Wilderness several years ago and getting to the parks left a lot to be desired.

14 Dave { 03.17.14 at 7:33 am }

Tim, the issue with Pop (and the other values) is that the beds are full-sized. Will the boys be OK with a 54″ by 75″ bed?

15 Tim { 03.17.14 at 8:43 am }

Dave, one still sleeps in a twin(his choice) and none of us are over 5’8″. By the way, we were booking two separate rooms. Are there better options for us? Considered a family suite at AA but too much kid appeal decor. I think after full day at the parks, we all could sleep anywhere. We are requesting one king room, are they hard to come by?

16 Dave { 03.17.14 at 4:33 pm }

Oh, Tim, I misunderstood–thought you would all be in one room. Two rooms will work well!! King rooms can be hard to find–there aren’t many, and they go to those with mobility challenges first.

17 Tim { 03.17.14 at 4:58 pm }

Dave, Sorry about not being clear(I confuse myself at times). I just booked us two preferred rooms at Pop and requested 1K, lake views in the 70’s or 60’s buildings and rooms thar adjoin or close on second floor. We’ll just gave to wait and see what we get.

18 Dave { 03.18.14 at 7:15 am }

Great, Tim–and good luck!

19 Beverley { 04.16.14 at 12:32 am }

Hi Dave,
Thank you so much for your wonderful website which is a wealth of information.
Could you perhaps further expand on the difference between a preferred room and a preferred pool room and let me know which you think is the better option? My husband and I will be staying with our two sons who are 11 and 13.

20 Dave { 04.16.14 at 8:06 am }

Beverly, I can’t answer that without knowing what resort you are thinking about… the use of the words varies a bit across the hotels… “Preferred” usually means a shorter walk to the central services, and “Pool” is a view class, usually to be avoided becasue of noise.

21 KEITH { 05.04.14 at 12:44 am }

Hi Dave,
on the basis of time savings/convenience alone, if i had to pick 2 standard rooms at Pop or AoA, which would win? (We have 3 kids)

22 Dave { 05.05.14 at 6:46 am }

Keith on that basis there’s no material difference. The odds are that at AofA all your walks will be a minute or two longer–if that matters, then Pop is the better choice.

23 Scott { 05.10.14 at 12:00 pm }

Hi Dave,

In your opinion is Pop or CBR a better choice when it comes to transportation to the parks.



24 Dave { 05.11.14 at 4:30 pm }

Scott, once the buses have left the resorts, it’s the same, since they are right next to each other. Because CB has SO many stops, it’s likely to be a shorter walk from your room to the bus stops there, but, for the same reasons, you’ll spend more time in the resort with the bus stopping again and again. So all in Pop is better.

25 Jessica { 10.05.14 at 10:20 pm }

Stayed at movies resort last year in preferred room dalmations #4. Was thinking of trying sports now since they just refurbished the food court. Then i saw your review about how movies had the best dining….what do you think? I have a 7 year old. We like to be close to dining and we used the microwave a lot to make our store bought popcorn! If we stay at sports which rooms best to be close to dining? Thanku

26 Dave { 10.06.14 at 8:37 am }

Hi Jessica, the Surfs Up and Touchdown areas are closest to the food court–see this:

27 Caroline { 04.30.15 at 7:38 pm }

Great site, thank you so much! I’m wondering for the Pop Century why on the online check-in form you only selected water view and close to transportation, but didn’t include 70’s building since that is the one that you are trying to get? Thanks!!

28 Dave { 05.01.15 at 7:59 am }

Caroline because it wasn’t my first visit lol. For most of my images like this I remember to capture them before I put my own clicks in… I didn’t this time! First-timers should pick 70s and Water View

29 Jen { 05.07.15 at 10:03 pm }

Hi Dave, we are staying at Pop for free dining in Sept. The room we were able to secure is a “standard pool view”. We have two small children so being close to pool, transportation, and main building area would be nice. I would think 60 s to be most convient, is that possible with my “standard pool view” ? If not, what is the next best area? Thanks so much!

30 Dave { 05.08.15 at 8:42 am }

Jen I suspect that all the 60s pool view rooms will be preferred. So you’ll be in the 50s, 80s or 90s. Of these, 50s is closest to the central resort services and bus stop.

31 Tammy { 05.10.15 at 10:10 am }

Hi Dave!
After many hours of looking at your website, we finally decided on Pop Century for our stay in Nov this year. I am so thankful for all the exceptional information and details you provide. This website is simply amazing…
Wondering something about park hours. It looks like all the parks open at 9am during the length of our stay. If we want to get to Chef Mickey’s in the contemporary resort via bus then monorail; I’m wondering what time do those transportation methods start going in the morning? Would we be able to get to Chef Mickey’s early enough to be able to get back to the Magic Kingdom by 9am? Chef Mickey’s starts at 7am so was hoping to do that then start our day at MK.

32 Dave { 05.11.15 at 6:58 am }

Tammy, there’s an early morning bus expressly designed to get you to these breakfasts. Ask at the Pop concierge desk after you check in for the details!!

Chef Mickeys books up well in advance so you want to try for a reservation as soon as you are eligible–180 days befroe your arrival date.

33 Sandra { 08.10.15 at 3:23 pm }

Family of 4, sons 7 and 14 years old. First Time Disney Experience. I am looking for the best value resort with all the great character appeal and a room closest to the dining hall and transportation depot. I would love your recommendations. Sandra

34 Sandra { 08.10.15 at 3:25 pm }


I forgot to mention that we are all pretty tall, so we would need extra room, may not fit comfortably on a full size bed for 2.

35 Dave { 08.10.15 at 5:20 pm }

Sandra, value resort standard rooms have either two fulls or one king. All moderate rooms (except the pirate rooms at Caribbean Beach) have queens, so you may want to check them out. See this.

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