ORLANDO, FLORIDA -- Please note, this is a long review because I feel strongly about the stay I had there, so much so, that I've contacted Disney Resorts directly to discuss the issues. I'm amazed by the number of positive reviews I've read about Pop Century (the only reason I booked it in the first place). I've done a lot of domestic & international travel and have stayed at all types of hotels – good, bad & ugly. STAY AWAY from this one.
We had problems with everything from bed bugs to housekeeping throwing personal items away. My fiancé & I stayed at Pop for 1 week and I can assure you that we will never return to this hotel even if they were giving the rooms away.
The lobby was fine. Nothing spectacular, but it was clean and the front desk personnel were friendly. The outside décor is interesting and looks cool from afar, but “good from far, far from good”. We stayed in a “Preferred” room which costs a little more, but it's closer to the lobby, pool, and restaurant. This is a large resort, so if you choose not to heed my warning, at least pay the “Preferred” rate.
Upon entering the room, I was surprised at how very small it was and the stains on the carpet. The bathroom was even smaller with only the tub and toilet; the sink is outside in the main living area with little counter space and no water pressure. The bathtub grout has darkened over time as a result of mildew buildup and small pieces of grout were missing altogether.
There were tiny black bugs on the bathtub floor to welcome us every morning. The corners of the floor and at the base of the wall were filthy & clearly not cleaned in years. There is no refrigerator or microwave and if you want to access the internet, it's $9.95/day. The walls are paper-thin and you can hear everything. The plumbing is worse. You will know every time a neighbor flushes the toilet or takes a shower. Bring ear plugs.
As for transportation to the parks, expect to wait in long lines for the crowded bus rides. We endured and, yes, although you spend a lot of time outside of the room, you eventually have to return and it would be nice to come back to a clean room without the fear of bed bugs.
After being there for a couple of days, we found ourselves very itchy and developed red bumps on our arms and legs–bed bugs. Mosquito bites? Definitely not. My brother and his family were staying at the Ramada Celebration hotel and we met them everyday in the parks. They were perfectly fine. No itching or scratching or red bumps the entire time AND their room was only $28/night (and they had free Wi-Fi)!
The kicker came the last night we were there. We returned to our room late at night to find it in disarray. The beds were made and the towels were refreshed, but our toiletries, which I always left neatly arranged in the shower and on the vanity, were all over the place - sitting on the toilet tank or knocked over on the vanity - and a cup that I had been saving on the vanity was missing as well as our guides and ‘Do Not Disturb' sign.
I walked down to the front desk & spoke with the manager who was very nice about the situation and had the head of Housekeeping call me to apologize. Interestingly enough, I later heard the woman in the next room outside talking to housekeeping about how all of her items had been put on the bathroom floor, on top of her suitcase and in disarray throughout the room.
That, to me, is scary because you wonder what else the housekeeper was doing in your room when no one was watching. I would say to you to lock up your valuables in the in-room safe, but it's a wall safe that is about 2 inches deep–not fitting much in there. I recommend locking everything up in your suitcase before leaving the room.
Considering my brother only spent $28/night for his room (through HotWire) and had a better experience than me, price isn't always a determining factor in service. Pop Century is considered a budget Walt Disney World hotel and does attract a certain class of people. I couldn't believe the number of parents sitting by the pool every day with several beer bottles on the table and ashtrays all over the place. There are big planters filled with sand throughout the pool area for cigarette butts. Millionaires smoke & drink, too - absolutely. I'm just saying there's a certain vibe you get at Pop Century.
There are kids everywhere, so if you don't have kids, don't smoke, don't like being eaten alive at night, and prefer a higher level of service, class and cleanliness, DO NOT stay at Pop Century or, from what I understand, any of the All-Star Resorts. Another example of "you get what you pay for". NEVER, EVER AGAIN.