First let me say that with this review I will be splitting it into for most and for us. We were very conflicted about Pop Century Resort so hopefully this will give a fair review.
Price: Pop Century is one of Disney’s Economy resorts. This means that it is on the cheaper end for Disney resort and that Disney often has deals for rooms. We stayed in the Spring and were able to get a “Spring Getaway” special so the room was around $100 a night with taxes. We also stayed in the cheapest room, standard.
For Most: For most people this is a great deal! The price is right and the special offers are great.
For Us: Usually we have DVC points to use so we are basically paying nothing (ignoring yearly dues for this discussion) so deal or no deal, this would not be worth it for us. Since for this visit we had no points to spend this was a good deal.
Room Size: N and I have become accustomed to the One Bedroom suite at the DVC resorts so we knew this would be a lot smaller and were a little apprehensive. Happily we found that the room was nicely sized. There were two double beds, a night table, a small table with two chairs, a dresser with a TV on top, a small closet with a safe that also contained a sink, and the bathroom which had a tub with a shower head and the toilet.
For Most: For most people this is more than adequate especially as the point of the trip is not to hang out at the hotel but to go to the parks. As such, this is more than enough room. However, the dresser was broken so we lived out of our packing cubes.
For Us: Putting aside the DVC versus economy discussion for a moment. I had a big issue with the room, not so much the room size as the room design. Perhaps another parent can help me with this one. We had a really hard time with A. We were all in the same small space and so she was in the closet/sink area. The only separation from the main area was a curtain.
The first night, A pushed the curtain aside to gleefully crow at us. We had to turn out all of the lights and be super quiet but she was still super restless for the rest of the night. For the other two nights, A fell straight to sleep but she was still very restless and woke us up quite a bit.
In our room at home, A only moved to her own room after she turned one, so around a month ago. So we are used to sharing the same bedroom and having different bedtimes. Due to travel times and business at the park and the fact that her schedule was super off, this really didn’t work for us.
I don’t know how parents with young kids stay at hotels that don’t have a closing door between the child’s sleeping area and the adult’s. Several years ago when I went to Disney World with my sister and nephew (he was 4), we stayed off property and had a suite so he could go to bed and we could stay up without having this issue.
Amenities: Pop Century Resort has many Amenities, most of which are standard Disney resort amenities. These include busing to the parks, Wi-Fi, Parking, Busing to and from the airport, Airline check in, Mini fridge, Crib, Pool, a Cafeteria and more.
For Most: For most people the busing alone makes this a fantastic option. This means that you do not need a car so you can forgo that expense. Pop Century will pick you and your luggage up from the airport, you can catch any bus to any Disney destination and then catch the bus back to the airport after checking your luggage at the hotel.
For Us: We need to get a car since as Kosher eaters we need to buy Kosher food. This usually means a stop at the local supermarket and a stop at the nearby Kosher restaurant. Here was a big issue that I had with Pop Century. I have never stayed at any hotel like this where there was no microwave in the room. I was astounded. This meant that we had to go down to the main cafeteria to heat up our frozen meals, which due to the poor quality of the mini fridge, were no longer frozen. The mini fridge issue was minor and we are used to that. But the fact that we did not have a microwave was really hard for me to understand.
The parking offered was good. The Wi-Fi was barely adequate, often we tried to check the weather in the morning, and had to use our phones. We could not use the Airline check in due to the crazy long line. We did not have a chance to use the Pop Century pool.
The cafeteria was large, fun and packed with people. They even had some of the Disney kosher meals so we were able to eat there one night for dinner. This was also the location of the two microwaves that we used.
We had asked for a crib when we booked the room. It is an option to add it to your reservation, which I did. Sure enough, when we checked in, they restated that the crib was requested and would be in our room. However, when we got to our room that evening there was no crib. After calling down to the front desk, we were informed that it was on it’s way. Almost 2 hours later, they finally brought up the crib. This was very disappointing. We couldn’t put A to sleep until the crib came so she was up super late that first night.
Service: As with all things Disney, the staff was amazing. It was great to deal with people who were so pleasant.
For Most: Good service may be something that most are used to but at Pop Century, the staff gave it an extra Disney magic feel.
For Us: We are used to staying at DVC, which, as a timeshare only gets you cleaning service every 4 days. So it was very nice to come back to a nice clean room every day. The first day we came back the cleaners had arranged A’s toys to greet us, it was adorable.
Aside from this one minor situation, the service was fantastic. However, it is also worth noting that even Disney has minor bumps. I was looking all over for some items I had left around the room (utensils left on the dresser top, baby shampoo left on the night stand, etc.) After searching all surfaces where I clearly recalled leaving all of the items, I called the front desk. I asked if there was a place that loose items would be put by the cleaning staff to tidy up the room.
The cast member was aghast and informed me that none of our items would ever be moved by the staff as all they did was clean the bathroom and make the bed. After speaking with her for a couple of minutes she stated that if there was something on the bed that may have been moved so the bed could be made. I then thought to check the drawer in the night stand. Sure enough, there were all of the missing items.
I was not pleased with this as the staff member so clearly insisted that nothing of ours would ever be moved when it was clear that things were. I understand that she may have thought I was saying something had been stolen but I made it clear that I was not saying that at all. I just thought as someone who frequently cleans her house, that it is very hard to clean with items strewn all over the place and that it is completely normal to move items to a new spot so that things can be cleaned. It would have been much more preferable for her to say something like, “If an item was left on or right by the bed, it may have been placed in the night stand drawer so that the room could be cleaned.” Instead, I felt bad about the encounter even though I had a legitimate question.
Theming: Pop Century Resort has a cool nostalgia theme. Around the resort are blown up items from different decades such as a Yoyo (which concealed a staircase) or a cellphone. The lobby is decorated with collages of pop stars and common items from the different decades, which are the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s.
We stayed in a room in the 80s section. On the wall was a poster of Disney releases from the Eighties. It was cute.
For Most: This theming is fun and upbeat. It is colorful and right on target with the nostalgia feel.
For Us: The theming seemed much lighter than we are used to with DVC. But it was still cute and fun.
For Most: This is a great way to stay on Disney property and still keep in budget.
For Us: I had high hopes for Pop Century as I had heard so many good things. But it just didn’t work for us. It was an ok place to stay but we are used to so much more. It almost felt like someone who is used to living in a luxury home staying in a tiny one bedroom apartment. We are too used to our usual comforts and are too spoiled.
I feel a little sad that we never stayed at Pop Century before. Pre DVC and Pre A it might have worked better for us. However, with A, the thin walls which meant that N didn’t get much sleep and the lack of microwave, we will not be staying at Pop Century again. Instead, if we have no points to stay at DVC, we will stay instead at an off property hotel that has a suite. This means that we won’t be able to stay at Disney as often, but when we do, we will do it all out and stay at DVC.