Welcome to the next stop on the Magical Blogorail. Today we are discussing some of the best Disney resorts around the world.
When it comes to picking that perfect resort for your Walt Disney World vacation, it can seem pretty daunting. There are almost 30 on-site hotels to choose from with per night fees of anywhere from $49 to over $2,000, how do you even go about choosing where to stay?
Well, when I travel, I know three things:
- I want to be on-site so I can enjoy perks like Disney transportation, extra magic hours, dining plans, and airline check-in at my hotel.
- I want to be surrounded in Disney magic.
- No way on earth can I afford to spend $2,000 a night for my hotel. I want magic on a budget.
Having been lucky enough to stay as resorts as luxurious as Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and as economical as Disney’s All-Star Music resort, I’ve gotten a wide sampling of hotel experiences. While I always say I want to try something new, inevitably I always end up back at my resort of choice… Disney’s Pop Century Resort.
Yes, the Polynesian is fantastic, an experience like no other. Yes, I’ve slept in faux Pirate ships in the Pirate Suites at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. And yes, I’ve gone uber-budget friendly at the All-Stars. But Pop Century has that something special that makes it my unofficial home resort.
Why you may ask? Well:
1. Price – You know, rolling out of bed and seeing Cinderella’s Castle across a lake while the sun rises behind it is a marvelous experience, the rooms that allow me to do that just aren’t in my budget for every trip. On the flip side, I subscribe to the philosophy that says “you know, there is such a thing as being too inexpensive…”
Pop Century hits that sweet spot, being affordable enough that I can stay there, but not so inexpensive that I’m sacrificing quality, magic, or experience.
2. Location – Being only about 10ish minutes from Epcot, 20ish minutes from Magic Kingdom, 5-10 minutes from Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and about 15 minutes from Disney’s Animal Kingdom, this resort is close enough to all the parks that I don’t feel like I’m on some remote island, away from the action.
Even some Deluxe resorts don’t offer that! Like, I love the Polynesian, but it feels so far away from Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. And Animal Kingdom Lodge? It just feels far away from… Everything. Granted, their rooms and amenities are nicer than mine, but I don’t feel like I’m compromising too greatly when I’m so close to everything. Oh, and not sharing buses with other hotels? Win!
3. That food court – Can we talk about how much fun the food court is? I remember staying at Caribbean Beach Resort and being surprised at how spoiled I was by Pop Century without even realizing it. The food options there are insane!
Everything from regular old pizza to cotton candy lemonade and my favorite, Tie-Dye Cheesecake. You’d never think that Pop Century would be home to some of Disney World’s craziest food options… But if you want a Pop Tart sandwich stuffed with bacon, eggs, and cheese, you can get it there.
4. The crazy atmosphere – Call me crazy, but I think the theme there is so much fun. By dividing the hotel out by decades, it not only means that each space is uniquely themed, but it makes exploring lots of fun. I love wandering to the 80’s section and seeing the 50 foot tall Roger Rabbit icon surrounded by little Pac-Men chasing ghosts. The glitter floor in the lobby?
Come on, you know that’s awesome. And even if I’m not participating in the movie they’re watching out by the pool or the hula hoop contest in the lobby, walking by families and kids acting all wild and crazy, it just brings a smile to my face. Oh, and one of these days, I’m going to swipe those awesome shadow boxes in the lobby… Those are my childhood on display.
5. It’s quiet – I know what you’re thinking… Didn’t I just say that the atmosphere is really crazy? Well, yes it is… But as you wind your way to the quieter areas of the resort, like the 1990’s, 1980’s, and 1950’s, it’s super quiet and peaceful. Grab a lake view room in the 80’s or 50’s and you’ve got an experience (and a view) that rivals anything at the Polynesian. Sure, you’re not staring at Cinderella’s Castle, but what you do get is everything from colorful sunrises over the water to wildlife.
Taking a run around Hourglass Lake (which actually takes you through Disney’s Art of Animation Resort as well) one quiet morning, I had the place entirely to myself, and I saw everything from baby rabbits and ducks to huge cranes and blue herons. It was a surreal, but gorgeous experience. Honestly, that’s one of my happy places.
There’s really so much more at Disney’s Pop Century Resort that makes it a great place for every traveler, from couples to families, I could go on for another whole post. I’m addicted to the gift shop, I’m in love with all of the nostalgic songs, posters, and toys they have out and about, and I could spend a good 20 minutes talking about the rooms and the cute little touches that we’ve seen or experienced there… But really, there’s only so much I can gush about before I start to really get homesick for Disney.
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