Resort: Pop Century
We starts a three-week series of the All-Star style resorts with Pop Century. Pop Century is a little more expensive than the All-Star Movies, Music and Sports. Its layout is pretty much the same as the All-Stars, with four-story, motel-style buildings and large oversized themed icons at each of the buildings. I’d say Pop Century is slightly above the All-Stars, but not quite as good as the Art of Animation Resort.
The theme is fun, featuring nods to the 20th century. The buildings have oversized icons and sculptures paying tribute to each decade. There’s gigantic hula hoops, big Big Wheels, and silhouettes of 50’s style dancers.
Overall, it’s a fun theme. The Moderates and Deluxe Resorts have a different “feel” to them. They feel more grown up. I remember staying at the All Star Sports when I was younger and I loved it. Now it feels a little too childish. The Values are built for those looking to have a Disney experience at a lower budget. It’s perfect for younger families on a budget. Moderates are a slight step up. They’re not as “fun” as the Values, but they certainly have a better, fully immersive theme. At Coronado, it feels like you’re in the Southwest; at Port Orleans, it feels like New Orleans. The Deluxe Resorts are somewhere between transporting guests someplace new and offering the service and amenities one would expect from a resort where it costs nearly $1,000 a night to stay. The Grand Floridian has that classic Florida feel, but guests stay there for the amenities and the decor.
Christmas Decorations & Theming: 2/10
You won’t find many decorations at the Value Resorts. However, Art of Animation and the All Stars do a great job of keeping the theme with their decorations. Art of Animation has a large white tree, reminiscent of an artist’s canvas, decorated with loud pops of color. All Star Music has wreaths decorated with music notes. Then there’s Pop Century, which has a massive Christmas tree decorated with… regular Christmas ornaments.
The resort is such a letdown when it comes to Christmas decorations. I always figured that Pop Century would have different trees for each decade: a 50’s tree decorated with records or a 90s tree with Trolls and Game Boys. No such thing. It was such a missed opportunity, in my opinion.
As with all the Value Resorts, Pop is large and holds a lot of people. During peak season, this usually means a very crowded food court and even more crowded buses. Value Resorts are not the best choice for those looking to take a break from the crowded parks.
Of course, Disney finds ways to monetize prime locations. Preferred Rooms are closer to the the Lobby and Food Court, but will cost you more money.
This (among other reasons) is where Pop Century is better than the All-Star Resorts. Whereas All-Star Sports, Movies and Music Resorts share a bus, the Pop Century gets its own. If you need to stay Value and don’t care about the Christmas decor (and Art of Animation is out of your budget) this fact alone pushes Pop Century ahead of the All-Star Resorts. It’s even been argued that Pop Century has one of the better bus systems on property.
Here’s another area where Pop Century exceeds the All-Star Resorts. Similar to Landscape of Flavors at Art of Animation, Pop Century has a ton of different options, with stations serving pizza and pasta, burgers, sandwiches, salads and more.
Where Pop Century wins me over is the themed food. A Tie-dyed cheesecake will catch your eye in the dessert section. Pop used to also serve a “King” cupcake: a chocolate cake filled with banana custard, then topped with peanut butter icing, chocolate and candied bacon. Unfortunately, it’s been discontinued, but it’s my understanding that they’ve replaced it with a Whoopie Pie version.
Of course, if you can’t find something you’d like, Landscape of Flavors is a short walk over the Generation Gap Bridge.
All in all, there’s nothing wrong with the theme or with staying at a Value Resort. We almost stayed Value last year, but decided to use my sister’s teacher discount at the Dolphin. Pop and the other All-Stars are just a little too childish for me. I really enjoy Art of Animation because it pays homage to the movies that made Disney great. I hate to make the analogy, because it’s not that bad, but the Values have a “South of the Border” feel to me. If I’m going for theming, the Moderates appeal to me a bit more.
Tips & Tricks:
- The Food Court Cast Members do the Hustle at 6pm.
- You can get a slight glimpse of EPCOT’s Illumination from the back of the 50s building.