I’ve seen a lot of discussion about various resorts so I thought I’d share our experience at Pop Century the last week of August.
Arrival and Checkin
We did online checkin and a faxed room request. On the fax we requested Rm 5208 or similar but stated in the notes that our main priority was to be in the 60s section. We had a preferred room booked. For online checkin we made no request but indicated we would arrive around 3 pm.
We were driving to Pop from Universal (no parking fee because we booked before they were added). We wound up arriving early, around 1:30. We parked and headed to reception. Since we are Canadian we had to go to the front desk to get our magic bands. We only spent a few minutes at reception getting checked in and were delighted to learn that our room was ready. I felt very lucky because I heard the man at the next counter saying that they had been there for two hours and were still waiting for their room.
We got Rm 5441 in the 60s section. We were quite pleased with the room location, facing towards the 70s buildings. DH went to bring the car around to the front and I found a bellman to help with our luggage. I think we could have had the bellman bring a cart out to the parking lot, but we weren’t aware of that at the time. He quickly unloaded the vehicle and followed DD14, DD11 and I up to the room while DH reparked. We got to the room with the luggage, tipped the bellman (I think he was new, he seemed surprised by the tip!) and prepared to settle in.
Checkin was easy and efficient. A great start to our stay.
As mentioned above, we had Rm 5441 in the 60s section. Top floor with a view of the gardens and pathways. We could also see one of the 70s buildings.
The renovated rooms are fabulous. There is a ton of storage space, especially in the bathroom. I like the sliding door which separates the sink area from the bedroom. It was great for getting ready in the mornings. The dresser is not huge, but we had enough room to unpack all of our clothes and could then slide the suitcases under the bed. Side note: packing cubes are the best!
The two queen sized beds are super comfortable. The Murphy bed was easy to fold up and down. The table underneath was good for eating breakfast though there are only two chairs. We kept the second bed folded up most of the time to have more space in the room.
There is a great little hutch containing the fridge and coffee maker. We stored all of our breakfast supplies there. The fridge is not very big but easily held a carton of milk, a jug of juice, some yogurt and a few cans of beer. It seemed to keep everything cool.
The bathroom had a tub/shower. I love the new rain showers. The tub has a sliding glass door which was great for us, but I could see it making it difficult to bathe young children. There are dispensers for shampoo, conditioner and shower gel in the tub. They worked great but you do need to keep an eye on them and let mousekeeping know when they are getting low. The bottles are not transparent and you can run out of something before you realize it needs refilling.
We were very pleased with the room. It was clean and comfortable and met all of our requirements.
We did not opt out of mousekeeping. I like having the room made up and the towels changed when I am on vacation. Plus, I always feel like I am taking away someone’s job if I opt out.
They did a good job keeping the room clean, not that we were making much mess! My biggest complaint was that the room was always cleaned so late. Whenever we took an afternoon break, the room was never done. I’m sure it was after 4 pm before they ever got to the room. I should have called and requested an earlier cleaning since we were always out of the room before 9 am and usually earlier.
I would also keep track of anything you want refilled like shampoo or coffee and leave a note. Whenever we did that things were topped up that day, but we did run out of conditioner one morning because we didn’t realize it was getting low.
We were close to the Hippy Dippy pool and saw lots of people enjoying it at all hours. We were even up early enough to see some lifeguard training a few mornings!
Unfortunately there were a lot of thunderstorms during our stay so the pools were closed a lot in the afternoons. As a result DD11 and DH only ended up using the pool one evening on our stay. Something to keep in mind depending on the time of year you are going.
Food and Shopping
We only ate breakfast and snacks in the foodcourt. It gets pretty crowded there in the mornings. DH headed down each morning to fill our water bottles and was surprised by the crowds.
We went for breakfast three times around 8:30 am. It was still crowded at that time. We had a few of the quick service breakfasts, some fruit and a bunch of pastries. You can get a fairly large container of strawberries as a snack credit! The pastries were all delicious. Favourites were probably the banana loaf and the raspberry chocolate chip muffin top. For the meals, I highly recommend the omelet station. I had the spinach, tomato and feta omelet twice and really enjoyed it. It can be a bit of a zoo around the toasters and microwaves. DH tried to toast a bagel one morning and returned complaining about how inconsiderate all of the people were. For some reason the butter is also over by the coffee instead of near the toasters.
For snacks, Pop now has Dole Whip! We stopped in one afternoon for cool, refreshing floats! So good. The shop also has all kinds of packaged snacks. We stopped in there on our last morning to use up our snack credits. They had candy, cookies, rice krispie treats, chocolate bars, trail mix and more! It seemed like a bigger selection than we saw in any other resort shops we stopped in.
We used the resort buses to travel everywhere except Typhoon Lagoon. Since we had a vehicle and TL is so close to Pop, we drove there to avoid having to change buses at Disney Springs. It is only about a five minute drive.
We had great luck with the buses to and from Pop. We only waited more than about five minutes once. We had a twenty minute wait for Epcot one afternoon. That seemed to be our experience wherever we were traveling to Epcot from. We waited more than twenty minutes for a monorail at TTC as well!
I will say that while there were plentiful buses, they were also very crowded. It seems like everyone staying at Pop takes the buses. We stood on most of our trips whether going to the parks or returning to the resort. It wasn’t a problem for us but might be if you are travelling with small children.
The bus drivers were great. There were a lot of tired, cranky people and they always handled it well.
Checkout and Departure
At last our final day arrived. We packed and called bell services to pick up our luggage. I recommend calling early. We wanted to be out of the room around 8:30. DH called a little after 8 am and spent several minutes on hold! Eventually he got through and a bellman arrived shortly. He took our bags right out to the vehicle in the parking lot.
We spent a few minutes shopping for snacks and were on our way.
A caution if you are driving. There is a lot of construction on World Drive near the resort and several of the traffic signs are either confusing or outright missing! We were going to the Poly for breakfast and got completely lost. Very frustrating!
Overall we were quite pleased with Pop. The rooms were clean and comfortable. The transportation was convenient. There were some decent choices for food. We don’t spend a lot of time in our room when we are at WDW so we don’t need luxury. Just somewhere nice to sleep at night. Pop Century definitely provides that. We would go back again.