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By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2019, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

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Theming and Accommodations at Disney’s Pop Century Resort



By Dave Shute

For the first page of this review of Disney’s Pop Century Resort, click here.

THEMING AND ACCOMMODATIONS AT DISNEY’S POP CENTURY RESORT

Disney’s Pop Century Resort is one of 5 value resorts at Walt Disney World:

Each of these five has four-person standard rooms. At all but recently-refurbed rooms at Pop Century and All-Star Movies, standard room beds are full-sized, and there are no coffee makers. At Pop Century and in ALl-Star Movies’s refurbed rooms, you get two queen beds and a coffee maker!

For most families looking for standard roms and not worried about full beds or coffee makers,  Art of Animation is the best choice, followed by Pop Century. Art of Animation rooms are also the most expensive–especially in the summer, when they approach moderate-level pricing. The All-Stars are all priced the same, and are the least expensive. Pop rooms average $15 more per night than the All-Stars, and $35 less per night than Art of Animation.

Disney’s Pop Century Resort officially salutes “many of the 20th-century popular culture crazes—including toys, gadgets, music, movies, fads and catch phrases.”

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 relevant to the decades. 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 and more…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.

ACCOMMODATIONS AT DISNEY’S POP CENTURY RESORT

There are 2,880 rooms at Pop Century, evenly divided among ten accommodations buildings, each with elevators.

They are available in four booking classes, basically preferred or standard, with each of these available as pool view or not.  The least expensive rooms are standard without a pool view, and most expensive are preferred pool view.

Preferred rooms are scattered in wings of several buildings and in general are a shorter walk to the main pool, the gift shop and food court, and the bus stops. Pool view rooms overlook one of the three pools, and will be louder than others.

Once you’d booked your class, during online check in (or over the phone) you can further request particular areas, a lake view, upper or lower floors, near transportation, and near elevators.

All room refurbs were completed in July 2018. These rooms now have two queen beds–the second is a fold-down bed that makes the table  disappear when it’s down. Refurbed rooms also have more storage, more power points, bigger TVs, more bath privacy, and coffeemakers.  A full photo tour of a refurbed room begins here.

Also available are rooms that sleep two on one king bed.  There’s fewer than 200 of these, and they too are not directly bookable, nor do they show up on the on-line forms.

My general recommendation is an upper floor lake view room. These will be quietest and loveliest. Here’s some lake views:

THE 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 50s AREA AT DISNEY’S POP CENTURY RESORT

The three buildings in the 50s area– Buildings 1, 2 and 3–take dancing at a sock hop and bowling as their overall theme, with a bowling pin shaped pool and bowling pins hiding the stairs. While bowling was more popular in the 60s, its popularity began to take off in the 50s.

A jukebox decorates the center of one of the buildings…

…and Lady and the Tramp (1955) the other two.

The 50s buildings are reasonably good places to stay, with their principal negative being distance from the bus stops.

THE 60s AREA AT DISNEY’S POP CENTURY RESORT

The 60s area, with Buildings 4 and 5, is themed to flower power and other more innocuous 60s themes and has the most centrally located of the Pop Century rooms. Many of them surround the main pool at Pop Century, the Hippy Dippy pool.

These rooms will become even more convenient when the new gondola station opens on the bridge between Pop and Art of Animation.

Stairs are themed to yo-yos, which resurged in the 60s.

The movie theming is the Jungle Book (1967).

You’ll also find here Play-Do–invented in the 30s as a wallpaper cleaner, and repurposed in the 60s as a creative toy.

THE 70s AREA AT DISNEY’S POP CENTURY RESORT

The 70s has buildings 6 and 10, and is the only area at Pop Century that does not surround a pool, making these rooms generally Pop’s quietest.  Still close to buses and the central services and main pool, and with plenty of lake views, it’s the area at Pop Century I recommend the most.

Stairs are themed to 8 track tapes, frankly a dull and forgettable choice.

In a testament to the state of Disney animation in the 70s, this area is the only one at Pop Century with no Disney movie highlighted…

The overall theme is active play, and the courtyard of buildings 6 and 10 is dominated by a larger than life foosball court.

Smaller play areas are also here–e.g. Twister, which nowadays is a prima facie venue for sexual harassment.

You’ll also find an enormous Micky phone which sets a Disney connection that makes up for the absence of a movie reference.

The Mickey phones were part of an AT&T program of “Design Line” phones that launched in the early 70s.

Across the foosball court is a Big Wheel–launched in 1969.

THE 80s AND 90s AREA AT DISNEY’S POP CENTURY RESORT

Two 80s buildings–7 and 9–and one 90s building, 8, make up a three building group surrounding a pool that works more as a unified area than as two separate themed areas, which is why I consider them together here.

These buildings are most distant from the main pool and central dining, gift  shop and other services, but some rooms, especially in Building 9, are not far from the bus stop.

Stairs are themed as Rubik’s Cubes, invented in the 70s but licensed to be sold in the 80s…

…and to 90s-style cell ones, which are almost life-size.

The pool area in the center of the three buildings is laid out like an early laptop, with the keyboard on one side and the screen on Building 8. The green item at the left of the screen is a floppy disk, which were central to computing until they weren’t.

The Disney movie referenced here is Roger Rabbit (1988).

Across from Roger is probably the weakest principal icon at Pop Century, a Sony Walkman–introduced in Japan in 1979.

Adding some playfulness to what other than Roger Rabbit is pretty dull theming is this charming couple, found near Hourglass Lake.

The 2017-2018 Pop Century room refurb began in these three buildings. As a result, this area became quite popular.  However, the refurb is now complete, so limits of distance and theming will make it once again the least compelling area of Pop Century.

And speaking of rooms…

PHOTO TOUR OF A REFURBED ROOM AT DISNEY’S POP CENTURY RESORT

This review continues here.

 

MATERIALS IN THIS REVIEW OF DISNEY’S POP CENTURY RESORT

OTHER KEY PAGES FOR WHERE TO STAY AT DISNEY WORLD

 

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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 Dave { 05.10.14 at 7:44 am }

🙂

13 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.

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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