Oh value resorts at Walt Disney World, and the love/hate relationship we have. We have stayed at Disney’s Pop Century a multitude of times, the price per night is usually around $100 (sometimes less, sometimes more), so if we’re going for a weekend trip we usually stay there due to its relative cheapness. Pop Century is one of the newer value hotels (with Art of Animation being the newest), and is patterned after “decades” of entertainment from the 1950’s through the 1990’s.
All of the value resorts are, very decidedly, Disney. In a somewhat in-your-face, sometimes creepy, way.
Pop Century has everything you need in a bare-bones sort of way compared to the moderate resorts. It has a gift shop, quick service cafeteria, a few pools (no water slides), an outdoor pool bar (no inside bars), an arcade, and a running trail. So, if you’re looking for a trip and do not want/need any of the “frills” you get at a moderate, you cant go wrong with one of the values.
The rooms are your standard hotel rooms. They have beds, a sink, a shower, a toilet, a refrigerator, a phone, a TV… You’ll be comfortable while you’re sleeping and be able to shower. Still no digital clock though, which annoys me.
I reviewed a moderate resort, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, here. There are a few things you might want to know about Pop Century before you book.
The resort boasts a pretty big gift shop and a really big cafeteria with a lot of seating. The gift shop has everything you need, including toiletries/etc. The cafeteria serves your standard fare. There is no sit-down restaurant option at Pop Century, but if you’re just going to your room to sleep that shouldn’t bother you. Since there is only one cafeteria option there is no way to defer some of the guests anywhere else, so the cafeteria is particularly busy, especially so in the mornings with everyone trying to grab breakfast before they head to the parks. You can see part of the gift shop, some of the cafeteria seating, and the cafeteria in the pictures above. These were taken at an off-time, so everything was pretty empty.
The pools are pools. You wont find the water slides or water parks that you might find at one of the moderates or deluxe hotels. But, if you’re looking to swim or for a mid-day break they’re large and have life guards.
The busses are just as prompt as any hotel, but if you’re waiting in line there is no shade or seating without giving up your spot. If the people around you are nice and willing to hold your place you might be able to talk them into letting you sit in the shade. There are monitors that tell you the arrival time of busses, and we found them very accurate.
My favorite area of Pop Century is the walkway over to Art of Animation, which crosses over a river. There are two seating areas over to either side right before the bridge, and I like to grab coffee in the morning and sit over there, away from the business of the cafeteria. Its very quiet and peaceful. I think they’re smoking areas but they did not seem very well traveled.
So, Drinking Ever After, do you recommend Pop Century?
Yes, depending on the type of vacation you’re looking for. Overall, the value of a value resort is great. If you’re looking to go to the parks and use the room to sleep and shower you’re not going to be disappointed in what you’re getting. If you like to hang around the hotel at all, I recommend a moderate resort.
I will say that there are a few cons to Pop Century (and I’m assuming any value resort). Due to its relative friendliness in price per night, school groups usually stay at value resorts. This adds to the business and nosiness of the resort. The value resorts are gigantic, so at park close with everyone leaving at the same time, you’ll be waiting in line for a bus for a long, long time. Be ready to stand if you’re able. The lines were definitely longer than any of the moderates I’ve stayed at and I’m assuming its because the values are both busier due to the prevalence of school groups and their overall size. It can be difficult to find a quiet, adult, place to relax after you’re back from the parks, because there is only one pool bar.