In the early spring, my family and I stayed at Disney’s Pop Century Resort at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. This was our first time staying at one of Disney’s “value” resorts and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. We have either stayed at their deluxe resorts in the past or off site on International Drive. We were all so overall pleased with our stay. There were a few misses, but now I wonder why we ever stayed off site to save money before. The Disney value resorts are a great deal for your money and the benefits are rich in convenience for your family. What we loved most was the “college dorm area” feel, because recreation, social activities, dining, and transportation were all together at our fingertips.
Here is the breakdown on what you get at Disney’s Pop Century Resort:
Affordability: We went right before Spring Break peak started to surge at the end of March. I paid $132/night. When I was researching hotels off site from the major chains, the prices were comparable. If you plan on completing the majority or all of your stay at Disney Parks, I’d stay on site purely for the benefits. We received Magic Bands to serve as our room keys, tickets, fast passes, and purchasing mode at the parks. You also are eligible for the “magic hours” which enable you to enter or leave certain Disney Parks beyond regular park operating hours. This makes it perfect to retreat mid-day to enjoy the resort and come back in the evenings to enjoy a park with less crowds!
Modest Accommodations: I always felt that when you vacation at Disney, your family should not be spending time in the hotel room! There is too much to do! To be honest, the room was rather small, and the beds are even smaller. Complete with two double beds, each room is suitable for sleeping four people. There is no room for a rollaway bed. I have a 1 year old and we thought we could sleep comfortably with him between me and my husband, but it was too cramped! We ended up sleeping sideways on the bed, which made us long for our own bed at home. I will probably purchase two adjoining rooms next time. A big plus however, is that each room has a mini fridge which was perfect to keep cold drinks and snacks in! There are no microwaves, but there are microwaves for guest use in the main Classic Hall, which has the on site dining.
On Site Dining: Before this trip, I actually thought we wouldn’t use the dining hall that much. I figured we’d eat a quick snack in the room and be at the parks all day. This was totally not the case. Something about having easy quick-service food (even up to 11PM!) at your finger tips makes you realize his famished you are. There was variety including ethnic foods like Asian and Mexican dishes, comfort foods like beef stroganoff, and all-American staples like pizza and pasta. On the last night my husband even dined on a pork shank as a late night snack! Even better, there is a convenience mart-like section where you can get bottled drinks, beer, wine, and snacks. We were so thankful we were able to buy milk for the baby at $3.59/half gallon.
On Site Gift Shop: I’m used to having small gift shops in the hotel that mainly have items you don’t want to buy, however, the resort had a full Disney store with tons of goodies to buy. A few things I saw at the resort store were actually cheaper than when I saw it at the parks. Needless to say, we did all our souvenir shopping here.
Convenient Location: The Pop Century resort is located near ESPN Wide World of sports close to the Epcot area. There is direct transportation from the resort to all WDW parks. This was nice because when I stayed at the Boardwalk, it seemed to take forever to get on a bus and once you were on, there were a few resort stops to get to prior to the destination. It was great to have a direct route! It is a longer trip to get to a Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. I would say at least a 10 minute drive.
To my surprise, the Pop Century resort had easy access to the newer Art of Animation resort! Directly across the main pool behind Classic Hall is a beautiful short bridge to AoA. They are basically almost adjacent to each other. So we took a walk to see the resort and check out all of the neat theme integration and play on the playground! Note that the pool has a gate around it and is secured for only AoA guests.
Fun Pop Culture Theme: I thought that the resort would look gaudy when I got there, but it was actually fun! Everything is larger than life and was quite fun to look at up close.
I definitely wouldn’t mind staying here again with my family. The amount of convenience provided is necessary to help make your Disney vacation stress-free!