Pop Century Hotel Review

Pop Century is a value resort at Walt Disney World.  Opening in 2003, Pop Century takes guests on a trip through time by separating wings of rooms into different decades.  There is larger than life icons spread throughout the resort.  Pop Century is located close to ESPN Wide World of Sports and fairly close to Epcot.  A typical price per night to stay at Pop Century is between $100-$160, depending on the time of year.  This review will cover our October 2016 stay here.

Pop Century sign

Value resorts over the years have earned a reputation of being loud.  That isn’t just because of their knack for having rowdy kids (get off my lawn!) running around but due to the style they portray.  This started back in the 1990’s when the All-Star Resorts were first introduced.  The trend continued when Pop Century was added into the fold.  Throughout the resort there are large statues of different items that represent a certain decade.  There are also Disney icons from that certain decade.  In the lobby and food court, the colors are loud and bright.  All of it seems to jump out at you, but that’s not to say it looks bad.  Pop Century is a perfectly adequate Walt Disney World Hotel when considering the value of the amenities and room offered.

Let’s start with the room because that is where you sleep, and sleep is wonderful.  Forgive my poor pictures, as I need to make a better habit of taking photos as soon as we enter the room instead of forgetting to do it until day 3.

Pop Century Room

As you can see, this looks like a hotel room.  As far as style of a room goes, I’m probably not a great critic.  My taste tends to skew toward minimalistic and this room appeases that.  I do like the accent wall where the heads of the bed are.  That shade of blue helps make the bland off-white walls more palatable.  The blankets on the end of the bed are a nice way to add some Disney to the room, as well as the poster on the far wall.  There isn’t anything special about the room but there are nice Disney touches.  With the abrasive style in the lobby and around the hotel, I was surprised that the rooms were far more subtle.  All in all, I liked the looks of them.

There are two areas of complaints when it comes to the room though.  The first of which is the bed.  These are only double beds (as opposed to queens) and they were very firm.  Now my preference is for a soft bed anyway so if you like firm then this might be fine, but I just did not think the mattress was comfortable.  They also made a bunch of noise whenever someone moved, which would have been a bigger deal if we weren’t all exhausted after the first couple of days.  The second complaint is that the room is pretty small.  This comes with the territory of booking a value resort compared to a higher price point but even knowing this ahead of time didn’t fully prepare me for a small room.  Now, we had four adults in the room and it’s not like we were bumping into each other at every turn.  A family of four likely wouldn’t have any space issues but it is a small space for longer stays.

Pop Century bathroom

Here’s the bathroom.  It’s small as well but absolutely fine.  The sink was outside of the bathroom, which I prefer at hotels.  I like the look of this bathroom… I debated for five minutes if that last sentence was worth typing.

All in all, it was a nice, cozy room with the only big drawback being the beds.  While there’s nothing that wowed me in the rooms, there’s also nothing that would keep me from coming back.

Bowling Pin pool Pop

Pop Century has three pools, all in different shapes.  None of them have slides but the main one (The Hippy Dippy Pool) did have some splash areas.  There was also plenty of space to lounge around these pools.  I believe they had ping-pong table and a few other activities around the main pool.

Hippy Dippy pool Pop

Like the room, these pools aren’t anything to write home about compared to other Disney hotels but they aren’t a deterrent either.  If you or your child love to go for a swim, these pools will work just fine.  I also hardly ever saw them crowded which is always a plus.

The food court at Pop Century is probably the best feature of the hotel.  We only had breakfast here but the choices throughout the day looked pretty diverse and they were at a decent price point.  You can check out the menu here.  I wouldn’t go out of my way to eat here but I think it would also be easy to find a good counter-service meal at the food court.

Other amenities include washers & dryers, a gift shop, and an arcade.  The gift shop doesn’t have much compared to what you will find in the parks but if you’re in a pinch it would do.  For some reason the arcade was open 24-hours a day.  The food court closed at midnight but the arcade was open all day?  Why?  I played a few games in there and left wondering why I didn’t spend that $5 on a snack in Epcot.  Still, if you love arcades (who are you?) this seems fine.

Bowling Pins Pop Century

One other area of Pop Century that I was impressed with was the space and walking paths that they had.  Across the lake you see in the photo above was the Art of Animation Hotel.  There’s a bridge in between these two and a path around the lake.  This is also a benefit when it comes to transportation.  If there’s a big line for the Pop Century bus then hop on Art of Animation’s and endure the extra 5 minutes of walking to your room.  This will most likely save you time.

Speaking of transportation, I didn’t notice the (complimentary) bus rides being extremely long to any certain location.  I think that the resort is located well enough that most bus rides shouldn’t be anymore than 20 minutes.  That doesn’t mean it’s a prime location but it’s not way off the beaten path or anything.

Mowgli Baloo Pop Century

Staying at Pop Century comes down to value.  There are surely nicer resorts at Walt Disney World (and off-property) but if you don’t mind the loud nature of the Value Resorts then Pop Century is a good pick.  For those on a budget, I think Pop offers a decent bang for your buck when you consider everything.  While I’m anxious to try other hotels at Walt Disney World, I’d be happy to go back to Pop Century especially if we were looking to save some money or were going to spend almost all of our time at the parks.  When it comes to pricing, I wouldn’t pay more than $150/night for this hotel as I just don’t see the value adding up once you get past that point.  But if it’s below that price, which it usually is unless you’re going during the holidays, then I think Pop Century is a decent place to stay.

Overall, I have no problem recommending Pop Century.  You could certainly do worse, with the only big negative being the beds.  The resort likely won’t wow you but there is plenty to appreciate here.  As far as value resorts go, I would probably place it 2nd on the list behind Art of Animation and above the All-Star Resorts when considering everything.

Overall Rating – 7.5/10

Do you have any experiences or questions about Pop Century?  Let us know in the comments!  Thank you for reading Wandering in Disney.

– Andrew

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