By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here. PDF version available on Gumroad here.



yourfirstvisit.net—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor







Review: Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Page 4



By Dave Shute

This is the fourth page of this review of Disney’s Pop Century ResortFor the first page, click here.

Night Exterior at Disney's Pop Century ResortTHE AREAS AT DISNEY’S POP CENTURY RESORT

A quick look at the map tells you a lot about Disney’s Pop Century Resort.

Annotated Map of Disney's Pop Century ResortThe key points to notice are Hourglass Lake, at the top, and the central resort services, circled in red and orange at the middle.

Rooms facing Hourglass Lake will have the best views, and rooms closer to the central resort services will have the shortest walks to concierge services, dining, and the bus stops.

Pop Century’s ten buildings are nominally divided into five areas–1950s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s–representing the icons and memories of each decade, each area with a different set of larger-than-life Disney characters, toys from the era, and other decorations, with a particular focus on music playback tools.

However, there’s just one ’90s building, grouped in with the ’80s buildings, so in fact Pop Century really has just four areas.

  • The three ’50s buildings, grouped around the bowling pin pool
  • The two ’60s buildings, grouped around the main Hippy Dippy Pool
  • The two ’70s buildings, the only ones without a pool in their center–making them quieter–and
  • The two ’80s and one ’90s buildings grouped around the computer pool

THE ’80s AND ’90s BUILDINGS AT POP CENTURY

A look at the map will tell you that the ’80s and ’90s buildings (on the far left on the map) are, on average, least convenient of the Pop buildings to the central services and bus stop of Pop.

Computer Quiet Pool at Disney's Pop Century ResortThese buildings–also known by their numbers, 7, 8 and 9–are framed around the Computer Pool.

Roger Rabbit at Disney's Pop Century ResortDecorations include bulky old 90s cell phones, floppy disks, and other items unrecognizable to today’s kids–plus Rubik’s Cubes, a Sony Walkman and Roger Rabbit.

Some rooms in building 10 have nice views of the lake, and some in building 9 are actually pretty close to central services, but in general this area is to be avoided.

THE ’50s BUILDINGS AT POP CENTURY

The three ’50s buildings–also known as Buildings 1, 2 and 3–are at the opposite end of the resort, on the far right of the map.

Because the resort is not laid out symmetrically around the central services, rooms in buildings 1 and 3 are, on average, actually about as close to the central services as any other building at Pop Century.

Building 3 also has a lot of rooms with nice lake views.

These areas are themed around bowling and Lady and the Tramp, with the musical note being a jukebox.

Yo-Yo and Bowling Pin Stairs at Disney's Pop Century ResortThe building exit stairs are enormous bowling pins…

Bowling Pin Quiet Pool at Disney's Pop Century Resort…and the pool itself is also in the shape of a bowling pin, backed by a jukebox.

Lady at Disney's Pop Century ResortLady and the tramp watch over this area.

A lake-view room in Building 3 would be a good choice for most families.

THE ’60s BUILDINGS AT POP CENTURY

Main Pool at Disney's Pop Century ResortThe ’60s buildings– Buildings 4 and 5–are the most centrally located, and surround the main Hippy-Dippy pool.

About a third of the rooms in these buildings have loud views of the pool, a third have lake-views, and a third have neither.

Most of the rooms here are “preferred” and given how many other good rooms there are in these buildings and in other sections, there’s no value to paying for preferred rooms.

playdoughYou’ll find Mowgli, Baloo, Play-Doh, and enormous yo-yos in this area.

Non-preferred lake view rooms in this section will be great for most families.

THE ’70s BUILDINGS AT POP CENTURY

Building 6 of the two ’70s buildings (the other is Building 10) is where I recommend you try to stay.

HourGlass Lake at Disney's Pop Century ResortNon-preferred rooms here are as convenient as those in any of the other buildings; two-thirds of the rooms in Building 6 have lake views; and there’s no pool here to add noise.

Toys at Disney's Pop Century ResortThese buildings feature 8-track tape stairwells (“What’s that, Mom?  “I dunno…”), and a Mickey phone, Big Wheel, and central foosball game.

A lake-view room in Building 6 will be the best Pop Century choice for most families.

HOW DO YOU GET THESE ROOMS?

You can do on-line check in 60 days before your arrival date, and the online process lets you indicate two preferences.

Online Check-In Pop Century from yourfirstvisit.net

Above are the choices I was offered in late January 2017 (these forms change now and then).

SOME FINAL NOTES ON DISNEY’S POP CENTURY RESORT

Pop (and the other values) are often dinged for being “too large and spread-out.”

This is an inaccurate criticism, as each of the value resorts fits into a much smaller footprint than any of the three larger moderates, leading to much less walking than at the moderates.

This is particularly true for Pop–it fits 50% more rooms into a smaller footprint than any of the three larger moderates.

Like the other values, Pop has no sit-down restaurant. In Classic Hall you will find a large food court and gift shops. On a per-room basis, the food court is larger, with more tables, than at the All-Stars (All-Star Movies, the last of these built, is close).

Pop is one of only two resorts at Walt Disney World to both have only one bus stop and to share no buses with other resorts. (Art of Animation is the other.)

Among the values, Pop’s strength compared to the All-Star resorts for first time visitors is a slightly higher degree of kid appeal–it is a little more visually Disney than the All-Stars, with All-Star Movies being the next best, and a slightly higher degree of convenience. It is both more centrally located and, because of the single bus stop, a little easier to deal with.

Moreover, Pop and Art of Animation are the only values with lake views.

Art of Animation has even more kid appeal than Pop, and about the same convenience. This greater kid appeal and equal convenience makes standard rooms at Art of Animation a better choice for most families than Pop Century.

However, the standard rooms at Art of Animation are distant from that resort’s central services, so families with mobility issues should choose Pop.

See this for more on distinctions among the values.

EXTERNAL LINKS FOR DISNEY’S POP CENTURY RESORT

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21 comments

1 Tom { 06.05.13 at 6:29 pm }

Dave,

Great review (as usual!) I have been to Pop twice and in my opinion it offers the great value for money alternative (excluding Art). We are a party of 4, children ranging 5 to 7, and they have never complained about walking distance at all. Our first time was at the 90’s on the upper floor with a stroller but the second time was on the ground floor at the 70’s just right on the corner where Mr Potato Head is (much better choice).
I must say that for people who want to spend most of their time at parks and not at the hotel, this is a great choice. I think Art of Animation is an up-to-date version of Pop with more Disney “appeal” on it and worth the slight extra difference required.
However, if Art were not available, Pop should be choice #1 for sure!
My first stay was at Caribbean and I have to admit I regret spending those extra bucks for nothing, because Pop has nothing to lose against it.
Cheers!

2 Dave { 06.06.13 at 7:58 am }

Thanks, Tom!

3 nona rodriguez { 06.08.13 at 2:04 pm }

I agree pop is one of my favorites I used to there before I got my dvc

4 Dave { 06.09.13 at 8:15 am }

🙂

5 Maya { 03.05.14 at 2:38 am }

Hi Dave, Great reviews and helpful info! I’m trying to decide between Pop VS Caribbean. This will be my 3rd visit but first with a 2 yrs old. Last trip with my hubby we stayed at Port Orleans FQ. At Pop, I’m considering a preferred room. With a toddler, I would like to be near food court and bus stop. The price diff is only $27/night ($40 with standard room). I read that Pop is rather noisy (people/plumbing) and room will be even smaller with a crib. Though I also read that Caribbean is huge and that can be a hassle getting around especially with a little one. Also, which one has a better pool for toddler? We will be there for 4 nights. Just 3 of us. This is a last minute trip to use up free miles. We have plan to go back in 2-3 yrs. Thanks in advance for your response!

6 Dave { 03.05.14 at 8:04 am }

Maya, kids love ANY pool. CB has a “water play area” and Pop has a kiddie pool. AT CB, that water play area will be a hike, unless you pony up for preferred rooms. On the other hand, you and your husband will like the room at CB much more. Many cranky husbands –not that your is, ever — find their vacation ruined by the fact that no rooms at Pop have a coffee maker. All at CB do…

7 Leah { 05.06.14 at 1:10 pm }

We just did online check-in two days ago, and it did not give us the option to pick an era, i.e. 60s, 70s, etc. Is this because we booked preferred? (Not because we want it, but because it was the only thing available at POP for our dates).

8 Dave { 05.07.14 at 12:24 pm }

Leah, I do know you get a different on-line form depending on where you’ve booked. So that may be why you didn’t get the choices…

9 DisneyLover ^_^ { 05.07.14 at 3:54 pm }

Hi Dave!

I just booked preferred room for December. I know you suggested not to, but my daughter has autism and it’s too tough for me not to have the food court/ bus nearby and I didn’t want to take a chance.

My Q: Which building/ room in Preferred section would you recommend that’s the CLOSEST TO THE BUS AND FOOD COURT? Thank you so much! Again, your website ROCKS!!!! ^_^

10 Dave { 05.08.14 at 8:02 am }

Pop Preferred Rooms Hi again! See the map (click it to enlarge it), where the yellow is preferred rooms. I’d ask for a room in the 70s section.

11 DisneyLover ^^ { 05.09.14 at 1:20 pm }

Thank you again Dave! You’re so amazing!! I’ll definitely ask for the 70s room ^_^

12 fred porter { 05.09.14 at 5:39 pm }

Dave,
Any opinion on the tours that are available at the Animal Kingdom? Looking at the Safari one that takes you into the vet area, feeding, etc, Have you or any of guests on your page expressed any thoughts or opinions. Thanks will be there in early June.

13 Dave { 05.10.14 at 7:44 am }

🙂

14 Dave { 05.10.14 at 7:44 am }

Don’t have an opinion, Fred…sorry…

15 Jane { 08.18.15 at 9:53 pm }

Hi Dave, after 4 tries I got us the military salute discount at Pop Century for our November stay! (All the Values were sold out for that when it was first announced in June, but now they are all available and we chose this one.) My question is, I heard that some sections of Pop are older buildings than others. Do you know the dating of the buildings? Thank you!

16 Dave { 08.19.15 at 7:46 pm }

Jane, they were all built at the same time!

17 Jane { 08.19.15 at 8:31 pm }

Hi Dave, thanks! I feel a little silly that I asked this, however–the person who told me was probably referring to the section of 1900-1940s that didn’t get built and instead became AOA.

18 Lauren { 02.29.16 at 12:49 pm }

Hi,
Though all in my family are Disney veterans (though we haven’t been in several years), this site is wonderful! We are a family of 6 and have stayed at moderate resorts and pop century in the past. We usually travel with the grandparents, allowing us to put a few kids in their room, but our next trip will be just our family. We only have one girl that fits into the Disney definition of “child” and the rest of the kids are 2 girls in college and and 6′ teenage boy. We would obviously be needing either a family suite or two rooms, so my question is which do you recommend and which resort would be the best fit for our family? Also, we have never used the dining plan before. Would you recommend it, or do you prefer staying without the meals?
Thank you,
Lauren

19 Dave { 03.01.16 at 6:31 am }

Lauren I don’t recommend the dining plan except for people who have lotsa kids 3-9 who are doing a lot of single credit character meals and buffet. Otherwise you’ll typically lose money.

Among the family suites, the beds at All-Star Music (except the one queen) don’t really suit folks older than 12 or so. So you’d want Art of Animation. Two standard value rooms are cheaper than one Family Suite, so that’s another option.

20 Dawn { 01.04.17 at 9:46 pm }

Just reading over your review! Tons of useful info thanks..I’m really worried now that we won’t fit though!! Oh well!! This is what we can afford so hopefully we’ll be okay!! Thank you for the photos and the recommendations for rooms.

21 Dave { 01.05.17 at 7:09 am }

You’re welcome, Dawn–come back after and let me know how well Pop worked for you!

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