Disney’s Pop Century Resort

The Mature Mouse™ hopes to convince more middle-aged travelers to see the enjoyment and value of a Walt Disney World vacation. One of the key ingredients in any type of vacation is your home base, the resort you decide to call home during your trip. I recommend staying on Disney property at one of their numerous resorts, priced to fit any budget, and themed to fit your style and comfort. A resort should be more than just a place to sleep, and your time at Walt Disney World should not be spent roaming the parks from open to close. I must confess that The Mature Mouse™ did not follow his own advice during my last trip. I choose a resort based on budget and simply as a place to crash after each exhausting day. However, I did make sure that I chose a resort that offered certain perks and amenities that I would enjoy.

IMG_7795It has been a little over a month since The Mature Mouse™ returned from my trip to Walt Disney World. I have briefly mentioned Disney’s Pop Century Resort in past posts. I have included links to those pages below. However, I realized that I have not dedicated an entire post to a review of this value resort.

Previous references to Disney’s Pop Century Resort:

IMG_7793As I stated earlier, I chose the Pop Century for this trip for two specific reasons. As a value resort, this Disney motel fit into my budget for this trip. And, the theme of this resort reflects the first 50 years of my life.

Did you notice that I referred to this Disney Resort as a motel? Although extremely large in area and capacity, Pop Century is built like motel; you enter your room from the outside of the building, not from interior corridors. Except for Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, all the other value resorts are constructed this way.
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The balconies are decorated with images representing the pop culture of a specific decade. These images are of the two buildings in the section representing the 1960s. At the center of these two buildings is the Hippy Dippy Pool.

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My travel agent booked me a preferred room, meaning it was closer to registration, central pool, food court, and park busses. This convenience cost a few more dollars a night. IMG_7312My room could use some updating. The beds were comfortable, but not exceptional, tiles and grout are worn, as are the rugs.IMG_7775
However, rugs and wallpaper feature hidden Mickeys.
IMG_7790Disney’s Pop Century features an exceptional food court, one of the best on property. There are hot and cold dishes, most made to order, as well as assorted snack choices. There is plenty of room to dine in the food court area, and you can always bring your meals outside to the pool areas, or back to the room. There is also a gift shop on site, offering many of the items one would find in the parks.IMG_1838 This would also be the place to pick up items bought in the parks and shipped back to your room.

IMG_7794Disney transportation busses are dedicated to Pop Century, meaning that they will not stop at multiple resorts traveling to and from the parks. However, Pop Century busses traveling to and from Animal Kingdom will also stop at Disney’s Blizzard Beach. As with all the other Disney resorts, there are well-marked waiting areas for the busses. However, the lines are not covered, which can be brutal on those hot and humid Florida days, or during one of the daily downpours.

IMG_7160Guests staying at Pop Century can cross Hourglass Lake, via Generation Gap Bridge, to visit Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. Although it is in the value category, the cost per night at this resort is higher than the other value resorts. You are allowed to eat at the AoA food court, which is also exceptional, as well as use the pools. Knowing that Pop and Art are sister resorts affords you some flexibility in transportation. One could take a park bus to the Art of Animation and walk across the bridge to POP very easily. Although, if you are like me, you will usually return from the parks exhausted and not want a longer walk to your room.

IMG_7158 IMG_7159Overall, The Mature Mouse™ recommends Disney’s Pop Century in the value resort category. Although adults can appreciate the theming of the resort, it is geared more toward families with kids. I can only speak from my experience; the rooms could use some updating. However, the resort worked for me as a place to crash after a long day in the parks. I am in the process of planning a student trip to Walt Disney World for next April and this is the resort I have chosen for our stay.

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Follow this link to the unofficial fan site of Disney’s Pop Century Resort.

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A travel agent who specializes in booking Disney Vacations is a valuable free resource when planning your next trip, and will assist you in choosing the right resort for your stay at Walt Disney World. I started planning my recent trip by calling Jennie Nowers. When Cool Summer Savings was released, Jennie was up early applying these savings to my trip, which saved me 15% on the price of my resort stay. I did not have to do a thing. Tell Jennie that The Mature Mouse™ sent you and receive a special gift with your next booking

IMG_7405Please visit The Mature Mouse™ store for merchandise. Many of the items would make outstanding additions to your vacation gear and attire. This baseball hat is just one of the featured items available through the store. If you are a mature fan of Disney, consider getting an item. I am a Mature Mouse™, are you?

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A Disney World Vacation is the best

With so much to do and see at Walt Disney World, The Mature Mouse™ cannot understand why people choose to go anywhere else. This sentiment does not only apply to families; a Disney World vacation is a great choice for the more mature empty-nester. One does not need to have children in tow to enjoy all that Disney World has to offer.

Yes, Walt Disney World has attractions, rides, appropriate for all ages. However, as I have pointed out in numerous post, the resort also offers much more. There are fine-dining restaurants, and first-class hotels. There are first-class golf courses, and miniature golf courses. There are educational experiences, and cultural influences. There is a lot for vacationers, guests, to be thankful for at Walt Disney World.

Disney Questions has created a list of the top 10 things to be thankful for at Disney World. This list is not all inclusive, but it offers the non-Disney fan clear reasons why they should consider a vacation at the resort. I especially agree with number 7 on the list: The Cast Members. I make an effort to acknowledge those cast members who go above and beyond their role by handing them a thank you card during my visit.

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A travel agent who specializes in booking Disney Vacations is a valuable free resource when planning your next trip. I started planning my next Disney World Vacation by calling Jennie Nowers. When the Cool Summer Savings were released, Jennie was up early applying these savings to my trip, which saved me 15% on the price of my resort stay. I did not need to do a thing. Tell her that The Mature Mouse™ sent you and receive a special gift from Jennie with your next booking.

Please visit The Mature Mouse™ store for logo merchandise. Many of the items would make outstanding additions to your vacation gear and attire. Below are just a few of the items featured with my logo. If you are a mature fan of Disney, consider getting an item to let others know. I am a Mature Mouse™, are you?

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Is It Time to Retire Free Dining

freedineDo you agree with dadfordisney? Should Disney World discontinue the offer of Free Dining? Have you booked a trip simply because of this offer? The Mature Mouse™ would like to know what you think. I booked my next trip for June, hoping for summer savings, but not budgeting for this offer. Has an offer, like Free Dining, tempted you to book a trip?

I started planning my next Disney World Vacation by calling Jennie Nowers. When the Cool Summer Savings were released, Jennie was up early applying these savings to my trip, which saved me 15% on the price of my resort stay. I did not need to do a thing. Tell her that The Mature Mouse™ sent you and receive a special gift from Jennie with your next booking.

Please visit The Mature Mouse™ store for logo merchandise. Many of the items would make outstanding additions to your vacation gear and attire.

dadfordisney

For the last several years, Disney has offered a free dining promotion during what are “slower traffic months” for Walt Disney World.  Free Dining started in the early 2000’s when people were travelling a lot.  Free Dining was designed as way to get people to the parks.  My family took Disney up on the Free Dining offer in 2009 and we’ve made eight more trips since that first trip.  As years have gone on and more and more people have come to expect free dining in the fall, Disney has made the dates more restrictive, resort availability more restrictive, and increased the number of days or type of ticket that you need to qualify for free dining.

I have spent many years as avid Disney follower, one year as independent Disney blogger, nine months as an independent travel agent specializing in Disney vacations, and will be soon coming out with…

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How to avoid following big Walt Disney World crowds

recently posted their suggestions for avoiding the crowds while in the parks at Walt Disney World. Do you agree with their suggestions? Besides staying out of the parks, and away from WDW during peak seasons, what are your strategies for avoiding the crowds?

As a teacher, my trips to Disney World are limited to school vacations and summer break. Most of these times of the year will bring a horde of guests to the parks. I go when I can, regardless of the crowds. I do check various crowd calendars, especially those at Touring Plans. Here is a calendar for several days at the end of June 2015. Besides the data from Touring Plans, you will see recommendations from EasyWDW and WDW Prep SchoolScreen Shot 2015-03-15 at 3.51.57 PM

Touring Plans takes data collected over many years, inputs into a specific algorithm, and determines a forecast of crowd levels for months in advance. Their track record is excellent.

I also refer to EasyWDW for their suggestions for dealing with the crowds, how to plan for various parks, and their interpretation of events that can impact crowds in the parks each day.

If you are indeed a mature fan of Disney, a mature mouse, please use the link to visit The Mature Mouse™ store for logo merchandise. And, do not forget to consult Jennie Nowers about your next Disney vacation. Tell her that The Mature Mouse™ sent you and receive a special gift from Jennie with your next booking.

Dining Plans at Walt Disney World

Chip and Company have put together an overviewing of the various dining plans offered to Walt Disney guests who are staying at a resort on sight. Participating in a Disney Dining Plan is one of the things that makes a Walt Disney World vacation so relaxing for The Mature Mouse. I appreciate an all inclusive vacation so that I can enjoy the Disney experience without worrying about extra costs. I have purchased the Disney Dining Plan for our last visit, which afforded us 1 table-service meal a day. As I stated in a previous posts, for a few of these meals we chose fine-dining Disney resturants. For my next trip I am looking at the Quick Service Plan.

Do you use a meal plan when staying on sight? If so, which plan have you used? Do you think the dining plans are worth the cost, or do you pay out of pocket for your daily meals?

If you are indeed a mature fan of Disney, a mature mouse, please use the link to visit The Mature Mouse™ store for logo merchandise. And, do not forget to consult Jennie Nowers about your next Disney vacation. Tell her that The Mature Mouse™ sent you and receive a special gift from Jennie with your next booking.

Walt Disney World Value Resorts

“In 1994, the first of the Walt Disney World Value Resorts opened.” Dad’s Guide to WDW recently posted an overview of the Value resorts at Walt Disney World. As I have mentioned in this blog, my favorite resort is Disney’s Beach Club for many reasons. You can read about our resort choice back in Chapter 2: The right Disney Resort, for us. However, my budget will not always afford me the opportunity to stay at a deluxe resort. I am looking at Disney’s Pop Century Resort for my next trip. This value resort offers dedicated busses to the parks, and some great theming based on the pop culture of the 1950’s, ’60’s, ’70’s, ’80’s, and ’90’s.

Have you stayed at a value resort? If so, which one and how was your experience? If you have not stayed at a value resort, why not? IS it because these resorts are themed more for families with children, or because you really enjoy the comfort of the moderate and/or deluxe resorts at Walt Disney World.

Click on the image of Disney’s Pop Century to visit the full article by Dad’s Guide to WDW.disney-world-value-resorts-pop-front-judd

Chapter 7: Disney Magic and Romance at the California Grill

Our Walt Disney World vacation was a celebration of our 20th anniversary, and we chose to make an ADR at the California Grill as an elegant and romantic way to commemorate the occasion. It was important to us to fill this experience with as much Disney magic as possible. After all, that is why we came to WDW for our anniversary. To that end, we planned to walk from our resort at Disney’s Beach Club to the front of Epcot, by way of the International Gateway that leads into the World Showcase. From the Epcot monorail station, we could ride to the Ticket and Transportation Center, transfer to the resort loop in order to ride into the Contemporary lobby. It would take us about 90 minutes, but it would be a truly Disney experience.

On our way through the World Showcase, we stopped on the bridge that leads to France and had a Disney photographer take our picture with the France pavilion behind us. This certainly added to the romance of the evening. We also stopped at a Disney photographer at the entrance to Future World. He took a picture of us in front of a fountain and Spaceship Earth. It was a little further to the front of the park than we had imagined, and it was a warm afternoon, but we took it slow and enjoyed our first look at Epcot.   Our first ride on the monorail gave us an extensive view of the expanse of Walt Disney World between Epcot and the Seven Seas Lagoon. Luckily, we did not need to wait long for the resort monorail. This ride gave us an opportunity to get a glimpse of the Polynesian and Grand Floridian Resorts, as well as the entrance to the Magic Kingdom Park. There we were, on the monorail, traveling in true Disney style.

We arrived at the Contemporary with some time to kill, so we explored the massive lobby. There are several gift shops, and the beautiful 90-foot-tall mosaic by Mary Blair, which celebrates the Grand Canyon and the American Southwest. I was most fascinated by how smoothly the various monorail trains glide in and out of the foyer.

Our dinner reservation at the California Grill was for 7:30. My wife did not realize that I had left special instructions with our reservation. It was important for us to have a table next to the window to give us the best view of the Magic Kingdom. FL0005_dtI had also placed a special order with the Disney florist for a rhinestone tiara, which comes sitting on a rhinestone-studded pillow, surrounded by roses, on a silver-tone plate. This surprise was to be delivered to the restaurant earlier that day and placed on our table before we were seated. During our check in at the restaurant podium on the 2nd floor of the resort, I tried to convey who we were and the special instructions for our reservations without openly telling the hostess. It was a little awkward for me, and I had no way of knowing if things were going as planned when they finally called our name.

The hostess instructed us to follow a cast member to a private elevator, which took us up to the restaurant on the 15th floor. DSC04639-940x624A wine wall greets you as you exit the elevator. The California Grill has a curved wall of windows with a vista of the lagoon, the Floridian and Polynesian Resorts, and the Magic Kingdom. The entire dining room opens to the bank of windows, IMG_1413but it was the tables nearest and next to the windows that offer the guests the best view. There are linen tablecloths and napkins, as well as a candle centerpiece. The décor has a retro feel, and the rug design echoes the southwest mural in the lobby of the Contemporary.DSC04633-940x624

As we approached our table, I could tell that all my arrangements, along with some Disney magic, had gone as planned. On our table for two, which was next to a window, sat the tiara and roses. The staff at the California Grill had spread Mickey glitter all over the table and left us a note wishing us a happy anniversary. My wife was very surprised and very happy. OuIMG_6456-940x704r meal was delicious and the wait staff was very friendly and accommodating. I ordered the Pork Two Ways, which is a plate of grilled tenderloin, goat cheese polenta, mushrooms, lacquered belly and applesauce. We took our time, and ended our evening with a spectacular view of Wishes. The restaurant turns down the lights and the audio from the Magic Kingdom is piped in to the restaurant.

We were surprised that there were many young children at the restaurant that evening. There was a young couple, with a baby in an infant seat and a toddler, sitting near us. This family had come in shortly after 9 and stayed through Wishes. Most, if not all, Disney restaurants try to accommodate young children with different menu items. However, these parents had to, or decided to, bring infant and toddler food into the restaurant. I can only assume that they chose to come to the California Grill for the view of the fireworks, but their children seemed too tired to enjoy the show. I would not bring young children to this restaurant; they would not be able to appreciate the fine-dining experience.

Have you ever had the opportunity to dine at the California Grill, or one of the other fine dining restaurants on Disney property? What are your go-to restaurants for romantic evenings? How do you prefer to travel around Walt Disney World? Do you make an effort to ride the monorail during your vacation, even if you are not staying at one of the Magic Kingdom resorts?

In the next chapter of The Mature Mouse I will discuss our trip to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, including our lunch at the Sci-Fi Drive-in Theater Restaurant. If you are indeed a mature fan of Disney, a mature mouse, please use the link to visit The Mature Mouse store for logo merchandise. And, do not forget to consult Jennie Nowers about your next Disney vacation. Tell her that The Mature Mouse sent you.