This year, I stayed for the first time ever at the Pop Century resort for the Wine & Dine half marathon. I will say, I really, really loved staying at the Pop Century and liked the hotel a lot (dare I say I liked it more than Art of Animation).
The rooms were decent; they lacked the really fun theming of the Art of Animation rooms and were mostly just generic and minimal Disney but that didn’t bother me at all. They were clean, neat, and everything worked even if it was a little outdated and maybe time for a refurb in the bathroom. Fun theming I noticed walking around the resort: the light posts changed in each section to reflect the area’s decade. Adorable, Disney.
The food court was very similar to Art of Animation in one way: it took forever to get food there. From really slow lines to get the food to even slower lines to pay for the food, I find the food court experience at the values to be The One Thing That Drives Me Insane. People on the meal plan take forever to check out because they have no idea how to use their meal plan, so the cashier spends 5 minutes per customer explaining it and it drags. I would love a separate “I’m paying with regular currency” line.
I did enjoy the baked potato bar, though, and as always the King cupcake with peanut butter, banana, and bacon. The cupcake is 100% worth the stop at the food court if you’re staying in the area (either at Pop Century or walking over from Art of Animation). The baked potato bar was really slow but I liked picking my toppings and it was a solid under $10 lunch choice.
The other thing I love about Pop Century: Hourglass Lake makes for a great running route. I went for a run on Thursday and Friday in the evening before heading out for dinner and a park while I was there and found it really enjoyable, easy, and very conducive to running. I added in some extras at the end of the 3-4 miles by doing squats at the fun fact signs and planks at the hotel directional signs. Spoiler: Grossly underestimated the number of those signs. Plus, I brought my iPad and did some youtube yoga in the evening by the pool. (So yeah, even though I didn’t run 13.1 miles for the half marathon, I did run 13.1 miles while in Disney World.)
As an added benefit, I was in the ’50s section, which was very close and accessible to the food court and buses to the race and parks. And they played ’50s/early ’60s music by the pool every day and nothing makes me happier than hearing Dion or better yet: Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” on the bus back to the resort every time I came back and singing along. There was a lot of Sweet Caroline this trip.
Overall, I give Pop Century high ratings because I loved the kitsch of it, had a great room location, and it had a soundtrack I could really get into.