Now, there are many pros to staying at Pop Century Resort, which is why we chose it in the first place. I’ll start with those and then explain why we won’t be back.
Pop Century is the best of the Value Resorts and is the best value for your money. It is nicer than the All Star resorts, but not as expensive as Art of Animation. The service, as at any Disney Resort, is excellent. The theme of the resort is a bit over the top, but still fun, especially for kids. And, although the buses are still crowded, Pop Century doesn’t share bus service with the other value resorts. Which means you won’t be waiting as long to get on the bus heading to and from the parks.
But, having said that, this was our 10th Anniversary Trip and in hind site I should have paid a little more for at least a moderate level resort and I’ll share with you why…
#1 IT WAS CROWDED!
I should preface by saying that we were at Disney in late September which is one of the least busiest times at Disney. I say this so that you know that if it felt crowded to us, then it will definitely feel crowded during busier times of the year. The food court was crowded, the shop was crowded, and the buses were crowded. There was always a line for the bus, especially at the end of the day trying to get home. And, we rarely had a seat on the bus. I even held a child on my lap that wasn’t mine once.
The food at the Everything Pop food court was decent, I highly recommend the omelet station, but I felt it was over priced for what you got. The food court was also very busy and crowded. This is the only restaurant at this resort and is considered quick service, as you don’t typically have table service level restaurants at the value level resorts. It’s cafeteria style where you choose an area, grab a tray, order your food and get in line to pay. The lines to pay, even when all lanes were open, also took forever. The busiest time appeared to be in the morning between 6 and 9 am when everyone is trying to eat before heading to the parks.
Shockingly, the coffee canisters and creamer were often low or completely out. They had several beverage stations and you’d have to flit around to each one trying to track down available coffee. Also, the food court isn’t exactly the most romantic spot in the world. You are having to push past people, fight for a table, and then sit in a crowded area. This doesn’t allow for privacy, which I think is important on a couple trip.
The rooms left much to be desired. The rooms at Pop Century are definitely more family oriented. Your choices are either the standard room with two double beds (yes, I said doubles, not queens) or an accessible room with a king bed. We opted for requesting an accessible room in favor of having a king size bed. We don’t have a king at home, only a queen, but we knew that a double would be pushing it if we wanted to sleep in the same bed. And, sleeping in separate beds on what should be a romantic couples trip is not ideal. So, because we chose the accessible room, we had to deal with not having a standard tub, which meant towels all over the bathroom floor. The rooms are also just lackluster. They are extremely basic. The carpet looked like it had seen better days, the bed spread was the typical kind you see in cheaper hotels and the decor was for lack of a better word, ugly.
This was an issue in many ways at Pop Century. The area is quite spread out. I will say that because we booked our trip through Build a Better Mouse Trip (Toni is awesome, ask for her!), we had free access to the Touring Plans website. This website allowed us to search for rooms by things like distance to the buses, proximity to the pool, noise level and view. The website then lets you request a specific room. We chose the 50’s section as it was less noisy, but still less than a 5 minute walk to the buses. The 50’s also has it’s own pool. I highly recommend requesting your room in advance if you can. If you end up in the 80’s or 90’s section you will have a long walk to the buses, which also means a long walk back to your room at the end of the day. You also have a long bus ride to every park and Disney Springs, which is harder when you are standing the whole way.
Okay, this may sound like a silly one to mention. Your at Disney World right? The kids are going to be everywhere right? But, some resorts are more geared toward families, hence more kids. When your on a romantic getaway vacation, you usually want to getaway, which involves less screaming kids. They are going to be at the parks, you can’t get around that one. And, honestly seeing the joy on kids faces, even ones that aren’t your own, at the parks is part of the magic. But, on a couple trip, you also want to be able to get away from it if you want to. Pop Century is not that getaway resort.
*I apologize for the lack of Pop Century specific photos. I trip here was before I started my blog and we in our lack of love for the resort, did not think to take photos while we were there.*
Since Kevin and I became DVC owners, we have had the chance to visit a few of the Disney Deluxe level resorts. Check out my reviews of Boardwalk Villas, Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa and Old Key West Resort. We’ve also stayed off site and will soon be staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, so I will be sharing those reviews down the road!