Not too long ago, my family and I stayed at Disney’s Pop Century Resort for 4 nights in February. It wasn’t wasn’t our first choice where to stay, but this is where my girls’ teams were staying for a competition held inside ESPN Wide World of Sports- so here is where we where…
Upon check in you are given a map and a Recreation Calendar to use during your stay:
This isn’t much different than what you receive when you arrive at a Deluxe Resort. As you can see it lists the activities and when are where they are located. The map is clearly marked and very easy to follow as well. The Cast Member at check in will circle the reception area, your building where your room is located, the pools, food court, and where the bus stops are located.
Now, I haven’t stayed at a value resort since our family stayed at Art of Animation in 2013, and then we stayed in a family suite. In my opinion, there are vast differences in a value vs our usual, deluxe Disney resort.
- Enclosed hallways are only found in deluxe level resorts or Art of Animation’s family suite sections. I didn’t think it would bother me, and it didn’t too much- except my family of 5 needs 2 rooms at Pop (and we were traveling as a family of 6 with 1 of the girls’ teammates)- so we had a room with 3 teenage girls inside- I hated that the door just opened right up to the outside. Yes there are locks, and yes we used them- but for me personally, I like an enclosed hallway. So, yes, this would bother me in a moderate level Disney Resort as well.
- Closets are non-existent in value and moderate resorts. There are dressers and yes there is a closet like area, but it doesn’t have a door, but a curtain instead. It is a personal preference I have and it really bothered me. We don’t travel light and I like to have things tidy when I leave a room and not having a closet to put our things was out of my comfort zone.
- Toiletries are minimal in a value resort. You are given bar soap and combined shampoo and conditioner. I have a massive amount of long curly/wavy hair… in the Florida humidity, it wasn’t pretty.
- The rooms are TIGHT. The door entering the room was very close to hitting the bed nearby the door.
- Single sinks- that is REALLY TOUGH when trying to get ready to leave for the day or when trying to get ready for bed and you have 6 people across 2 rooms. Well within our room occupancy and it wasn’t easy.
- Double beds that only come with 2 pillows- we called immediately to have more pillows delivered and it wasn’t an issue. That said, we are usually met with too many pillows in hotel rooms so this was a bit of a surprise. Double beds for 4 of my family members (myself included) who are over 5 feet 8 inches tall- were REALLY tight to share.
- Bus stop locations at the park- these are the furthest from the park exits and at the end of a long park day, every step counts.
- Cost- can’t beat it. For everything that is included in a Disney Resort stay- these rooms are a steal when you factor all of those costs into an off-property stay.
- Theming- over.the.top. Kids LOVE these resorts and once you walk in and everything is totally geared to them and their abilities, you are at ease and ready to begin your magical vacation with happy kids.
- Everything POP Shopping and Dining: I have to say, the Cast Members I spoke with were absolutely fabulous, helpful, and courteous. The food was above what you would expect from a food court and the Cast Members, when we went shopping or grabbed something to eat, were super helpful and friendly. OMGoodness and the desserts…
Bottom line- I would totally stay at a value resort, with my family, over an offsite hotel. That said, I need the space with the 5 of us- so it would have to be in a family suite (these can be found in both Art of Animation and All Star Music Resorts). To my surprise, the location didn’t bother me at all. Yes, it is far from the parks- but once you are on the bus, time really flew. And if we were in a time pinch- we used Uber and never paid more than $10. 😉