Disney’s Pop Century Resort first opened its doors on December 14, 2003, making 2023 its 20th anniversary year. As the resort celebrates two decades of bringing guests back to the second half of the 20th century, let’s take a nostalgic look back at some key aspects of its history and experience:
The Development and Opening of Pop Century
Originally planned to open in two phases – the “Classic Years” spanning the 1950s to 1990s, and the “Legendary Years” covering the 1900s to 1940s. However, after 9/11, plans for the Legendary Years were put on indefinite hold.
Construction on the Classic Years began in 1999 and was originally scheduled to open in December 2001. The opening date was pushed back multiple times before the resort finally opened on December 14, 2003 with 2,880 rooms.
The resort sits on 250 acres and was built at a cost of over $800 million. For the theming and iconic oversized decorations, Disney partnered with the original manufacturers to recreate items like the Big Wheel tricycle, Rubik’s Cube, and Mickey Mouse phone.
Themed Areas and Decor
The resort features bright, vibrant theming across 5 decades:
Oversized bowling pins, a drive-in movie screen, and a giant jukebox
Catchphrases like “Get in the Groove” and “See You Later Alligator”
Large-scale peace signs, go-go boots, Beatles wigs, and flower power designs
Phrases like “Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out” and “Make Love Not War”
Huge 8-track tapes, disco balls, and platform shoes
Quotes such as “Right On!” and “Have A Nice Day”
Big Rubik’s Cubes, boomboxes, and breakdancing figurines
Slogans like “Frankie Say Relax” and “Save Ferris”
Giant computers, cell phones, roller blades, and scooters
Catchphrases like “Talk to the Hand” and “No Fear”
Guest Rooms and Amenities
Recently renovated 260 square foot rooms with queen beds and pull-down murphy beds
Newly added coffeemakers along with mini-fridges and safes
Three themed pools, playground, jogging trail, arcade, nightly campfires and movies
Changes and Updates Over 20 Years
Preferred rooms located near the main building were added, for a premium price
The food court was expanded and updated with more seating and food options
Bus transportation was enhanced with the addition of the Skyliner gondolas in 2019
Room renovations took place from 2017-2019, improving bed sizes and storage space
While parts of the original Legendary Years expansion were never completed, Pop Century has seen tremendous growth and improvements over its first 20 years. With its affordable rates and unique theming celebrating American pop culture, the resort continues to be a guest favorite among Disney World’s hotel offerings. After two decades of creating magical memories for visitors, Pop Century is sure to entertain families for decades to come.