We stayed at Pop Century Resort in early December 2013 on our latest Walt Disney World trip. It was our first time at a value resort. (See here for differences in Disney Resort hotels, for reference.)
We had low expectations for the value hotel in terms of perks. That was true for the most part, but we were pleasantly surprised. The first time Magen stayed in the Grand Floridian (one of Disney's top and most expensive resorts) and was supremely disappointed in the rooms. While Magen stayed at different level resorts since then, she noticed that the rooms stayed relatively the same- other than elaboration of themes.
So when planning, we noticed the savings between the quoted price for the value resort versus the moderate resort was $900, we chose the value. What did we lose in going down one rung on the Disney ladder? Not having a sit down restaurant located in our hotel lobby. That's pretty much it. Room size is a tad smaller, but we live in the city and are used to smaller habitats. An extra $900 sounded much more appealing than a few square feet.
On to the resort details. This resort is sprawling and large. If you have a problem with walking, you may want to request a room closer to the lobby/bus area. We live in Chicago and walk a million miles a month (dramatic) so the extra five minute walk was nothing. Check in was a breeze and the front desk was super helpful and nice, as per my usual experience with nearly all Disney Cast Members.
The building themes are technically "decades," but the focal points are huge (as in four-stories-tall-huge) icons related to the decade of that area. There are bowling pins, the Jungle Book, Roger Rabbit, Rubik's Cubes, etc. that reach the top of the buildings. It's pretty overwhelming if you're not into over-the-top cartoon-like themes. Kids love it, and we thought it was pretty fun. The larger than life theme didn't translate to the rooms, though.
The room was perfectly adequate for what we needed- a clean place to sleep. It wasn't overly nice; it didn't have top notch bathroom fixtures, but it was clean and very comfortable. It had everything we needed. It had a fridge, television, drawers/closet, iron and ironing board, a safe, a clean bathroom, comfortable linens & pillows, end tables, and even a desk and chair (which was used as a stacking mountain for our souvenirs.) It was excellent for the things we needed it for: sleep, showers, and getting dressed.
The pools seemed great. The main pool was really crowded and loud with kids (there are slides at this one) but the pool next to our area was extremely quiet. We didn't utilize this, so we can't speak to it much more than that.
The lobby is definitely not as exciting as the lobbies of the Deluxe resorts. It's nice and slightly themed, but nothing noteworthy. There is an arcade, though. The food court was a mixed bag for us. It was usually pretty crowded and slow at checkout. The lunch and dinner wasn't great, we only ate there once. We did eat breakfast there almost every morning. They have Mickey Waffles, so that was all we really needed. The gift shop was pretty great, in our opinion. We tend to buy things at different gift shops throughout our trip, but a lot of the things we saw elsewhere were actually in our hotel gift shop.
We only used the bus transportation once since we had a car. I've heard other value resorts share bus service to the parks, but Pop Century has it's own so the wait time is minimal. It really is very convenient and it's right off the lobby.
In terms of value, I think this is an excellent choice. If you spend a good bit of time in your room and prefer other amenities, you might want to consider a moderate resort, like Coronado Springs.
Please comment below and share your opinion if you've stayed here. Thanks for reading. xo- Magen and Ashley