Disney's Pop Century Resort Review

Disney’s Pop Century Resort is one of the most popular value resorts at Walt Disney World. This pop culture themed hotel is a really popular alternative to the All-Star Resorts and almost a cult favorite for some people. Here’s everything you need to know when considering a stay at Pop Century!

Pop Century Resort Basics

Disney’s Pop Century Resort is a value resort located near Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Non-discounted room rates at Pop Century in 2019 start at $130 per night and go up to $271 per night. If you can snag a lower hotel rate, or a discount, Pop Century’s slight premium over off-property resorts will be more than made up for by the Disney spirit and convenience, in our opinion.

Staying at Pop Century, you get the perks of any Disney stay. You’ll have access to free transportation (by bus, as discussed below) to and from the parks and Disney Springs. You’ll also be able to book make your FastPass+ reservations 60 days in advance rather than the standard 30.

If you’re considering Pop Century, you may want to read some of our other posts, including reviews of the other value resorts. We have a ranking of the Disney World value resorts. We also have a guide to all the hotels of Walt Disney World. Here are our reviews of all the value resorts (links open in new tabs):

Booking Pop Century

For our most recent visit to Pop Century, we were only looking for a single night to see the refurbished rooms. We booked an annual passholder rate of $108.85 for the night in a Preferred Room. The rack rate for the room that night was $145, meaning our discount came out to 25%—a really great discount for a value resort.

If you’re interested in booking Pop Century, we suggest contacting our favorite Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, Lauren Quirk of Enchanted Escapes Travel about the nights your interested in.

Pop Century vs. Art of Animation

Disney’s Pop Century Resort is across Hourglass Lake from Art of Animation, a similar resort at a similar price point. The biggest differences between these resorts are:

  • Theming: Art of Animation celebrates Disney Animation, Pop Century celebrates pop culture in the 1950s through 1990s

  • Rooms: Pop Century has four room categories (standard/preferred and pool view/regular view); Art of Animation has one category of standard rooms (Little Mermaid Rooms) and three categories of suites (Lion King, Cars, Finding Nemo)

  • Food Court: Art of Animation has the better food court

We have a review of Art of Animation. We also have a full post comparing Pop Century and Art of Animation.

Pop Century Grounds & Theming

The theme of Pop Century is pop culture from the 1950s through 1990s. Each section of buildings is themed (on the exterior only) to a decade.

disneys pop century resort review map.jpeg

Pop Century comprises 11 buildings and three pools. The main building is Classic Hall. That’s where you’ll find the Everything Pop! store and food court, lobby, concierge, but stops, and arcade. Directly behind (west) Classic Hall is the main pool—the Hippy Dippy Pool—in between the two ‘60s-themed buildings (buildings 4 and 5).

North of the ‘60s buildings are buildings 1, 2, and 3, themed to the ‘50s and with the Bowling Pool between them. South of the ‘60s are buildings 6 and 10 themed to the ‘70s. And south of those buildings are 7 and 9—’80s themed—and 8—90’s themed. Those three sit around the Computer Pool. All three pools have laundry rooms near them.

West of the entire resort—so straight out back and past the ‘60s buildings—is Hourglass Lake, which you can cross to get to Art of Animation.

Pop Century Pools and Activities

Here are some pictures of the pools. First, the Hippy Dippy Pool between the ‘60s buildings.

And the Bowling Pool by the ‘50s buildings.

And finally the Computer Pool in the ‘80s and ‘90s area.

Pop has a standard value resort lineup of activities. The list doesn’t run deep, but it would fill an afternoon.

disneys pop century resort review activities 1.jpeg

We don’t often highlight fitness opportunities around the resorts, but Hourglass lake between Pop Century and Art of Animation is a great route to run or walk. It’s a 1.2 mile loop with some great views. Along the way, you’ll see signs with fun facts about the different decades.

Shopping at Pop Century

Pop Century’s store is “Everything Pop” (it shares a huge space with the cafeteria). Unfortunately, there is no Pop Century gear [Update: there now are small Pop Century items like keychains, but still not clothes], but it otherwise has a variety of Disney gear.

Pop Century Resort Review - Food and Drink

Pop Century’s restaurant is the Everything Pop! cafeteria. If you’ve ever stayed at a value resort or read any of our reviews, you know the food courts offer a standard lineup—pizzas, burgers, salads, pastas, sandwiches (and of course standard breakfast options of eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, waffles).

We love the food court, and getting a full pizza can be a particularly great bargain. If you’re not feeling the Everything Pop! cafeteria, consider making the 10 minute walk to Art of Animation’s Landscape of Flavors. We’ve done this, and generally find the different options to be a good way to mix things up.

As we’ve written nonstop, we love that the value resorts have reasonably-priced food courts that are open late. The deluxe resorts often have only minimal, way overpriced quick service options.

Pop Century has a pool bar—Petals. It’s not unlike the other pool bars, with an okay selection of beer and liquor, along with some mixed frozen drinks, like the Pina Colava.

Transportation at Pop Century Resort

Like all Disney hotels, you can get to the hotel from MCO for free via Disney’s Magical Express. To get to any of the four parks, Disney Springs, Typhoon Lagoon, or Blizzard Beach, you’ll probably be relying on Disney bus transportation (until the Skyliner opens, more below).

disneys pop century resort review bus 1.jpeg

The good news is we’ve consistently had acceptable experiences with bus transportation to and from Pop Century, with Disney sending the buses with appropriate frequency. While relying on bus transportation isn’t ideal, it’s always going to be a part of a Disney World vacation, no matter where you stay.

We generally recommend using Uber to get around Disney World for things like dinner reservations at other resorts. Alternatively, you can spring for a Minnie Van.

Skyliner

Disney has announced that the Skyliner will begin operations on September 29, connecting Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Pop Century Resort, Art of Animation Resort, Caribbean Beach Resort, and (opening December) Riviera Resort.

The most recent rumor on the Skyliner gondola system was that it would begin operations to Hollywood Studios on or before August 28. While we think this is a smaller possibility now that Disney has officially announced a date, we think it’s worth mentioning.

While we are expecting the Skyliner to enhance transportation at the resort, we’ll have to see what supply and demand looks like for this new transportation system before we can really draw any solid conclusions.

Our Room at Pop Century Resort

We checked in online and didn’t arrive until later in the day, so our room was ready when we arrived.

All the rooms at Pop Century were recently refurbished, and they now have some of the newest rooms on property. While these have maybe been a bit divisive, we absolutely love them. These are nearly identical to the refurbished rooms over at All-Star Movies. If you’re like to see older value rooms, check out our recent review of All-Star Sports or our recent review of All-Star Music.

The room is highly functional, with plenty of space, including under-the-bed space for luggage. The television is I think in the biggest group at Walt Disney World, but it’s possible there are some that beat it. Regardless, it’s bigger than some of the televisions in deluxe hotels right now.

The rooms use Murphy beds for the second bed. Generally I really like this, but I do worry about how the mechanism will age. The room does get noticeably smaller with the Murphy bed out, particularly because you’re left to find space for the chairs. It also seemed a bit dusty, indicating maybe they aren’t being really wiped down after every use.

The bathrooms use sliding doors both at the entrance and on the shower.

There are plenty of outlets and USB ports around the room.

There were two notable bad things about the room. First, they smelled obnoxiously clean—like someone had just bleached them. We’re hoping this is temporary or Disney finds a solution, because we’re sure people complain about it.

IMG_9960.jpeg

Second, we did have quite a bit of noise in the early morning when people started heading to the parks. The bad thing about Preferred Rooms is they’re “preferred” because they’re close, and that means everyone has to walk past them in the morning.

But noise is a problem at pretty much every Disney resort. I was kept up for hours last time we stayed at Yacht Club because someone was fighting with their partner over the phone at 1AM.

Pop Century Resort Review - Conclusions

We’re “Pop People,” no doubt about it. Obviously the deluxe resorts are each uniquely amazing, but there’s always something that draws us in at Pop Century.

The value resorts aren’t perfect. And maybe they aren’t even perfectly priced. But they’re reasonably priced, and they offer an unmistakable Disney energy.

With its recently refurbished rooms, Pop is our go-to value resort. Our biggest worry is that the introduction of the Skyliner will mean increased prices, but that’s a problem for the future.

All Your Other Disney World Planning Questions Answered

Don't be overwhelmed by Disney World planning! Take a second to check out our most important content and you'll not only be an expert, but you'll save big $$$ along the way.

Just starting out? Check out our Walt Disney World planning guide! If you're still picking dates, we've got everything you need to know about Disney crowd calendars. For picking your hotel, check out our Walt Disney World hotels guide.

When it comes time to book, we've got you covered with posts on how to book cheap flights, how to get the best deal on your Disney hotel, and where to find discount Disney World tickets. And of course everyone wants to know whether or not they should get a dining plan—check out our Complete Guide to Disney World Dining Plans!

Don't forget to master your Disney World FastPass+ strategy a few months in advance. We'll keep you out of long lines so you can maximize the magical time in the parks! We've got park-specific guides as well: Magic Kingdom FastPass, Epcot FastPass, Animal Kingdom FastPass, and Hollywood Studios FastPass.

Know what to ride with our guides to: Magic Kingdom rides, Hollywood Studios rides, Epcot rides, and Animal Kingdom rides! Plus learn about the water parks with our guide to Blizzard Beach and our guide to Typhoon Lagoon!

Finally, before you head out, be sure to check out our to-the-point packing list, 10 essentials you forget to pack for every Disney trip. And if you're interested in saving, there's no better list than our 53 Ways to Save on your Disney trip from start to finish.