Disney’s Pop Century Resort has been open since 2003 providing guests with 2,880 “Value” rooms. The accommodation is set up just like Disney’s other value resorts, with huge icons, slogans and imagery covering a motel style block building. Disney’s Pop Century’s theme is based around the decade from the 1900’s and American Pop Culture. It was many years after the resort opened that I even started to wonder about how many years Disney thought was in a century. Disney’s Pop Century only showcased 50 years, while I would have thought 100 years was more traditionally accepted. After a little digging, the original Pop Century Resort was to feature all 100 years from 1900 – 1999, but due to a dramatic turn in the tourism market in 2001, a financial decision made construction halt. Both halves of the Pop Century were split by Hour Glass Lake. Each side was home to 50 years, The Classic Years and the Legendary Years. In 2010 Disney announced that they were going to start building on the Legendary side again, to create 1,120 suites and a further 864 traditional Value rooms. Unfortunately the Legendary Years were to be dropped in exchange for Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. Theming itself around The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Finding Nemo and Cars. The first 50 years of Disney’s Pop Century were to be lost in time. The map above shows the locations of the decade at Disney’s Pop Century Resort. Starting on the bottom Left we have the 1990s, moving up to the 1980s and across right to the 70s, 60s and ending in the 50s. If you had followed the path anti clockwise around Hourglass Lake you would have met the 40s, 30s, 20s, 10s and 00s. Each zone had it’s iconic symbol that was known for that decade. So let’s see how far back we can go before we look into the Legendary Years.
Looking at the Pop Century Resort Icons
Welcome to the RADICAL ’80s and ’90s.
Each T-Shaped accommodation block is flanked by an iconic object, with a large scale icon placed in the center of the T marking the main entrance. In the 90s it was all about the Mobile Phone. The ’90s have 3 to choose from. Each one is a different colour and calling a different number. Blue – is dialling 407-938-4000, the Disney’s Pop Century Resort phone number. Purple is dialling 407-WDW-DINE, the Walt Disney World Dining reservation line. Green is dialling 407-WDISNEY, the Walt Disney World customer service number. The building’s center icon is a laptop computer in the traditional dark grey casing. Here the styling is chunky and plastic looking, which is pretty much how computers were. The screen has an over the top Mickey icon background, with custom icons of the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney MGM Studios. The windows that are open are the ABCNews.com website with the news story of the opening of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The park opened on April 22nd 1998. The window on the right hand side shows a scene from Aladdin with the Genie singing the finale of “Friend Like Me”. Aladdin was release in 1992. The Shared swimming pool here is between the 80s and 90s sections. It is the Computer Pool. To the top right of the computer pool is a Laundry building, which is themed to look like the Computer Unit, To the top left is a utility building styled to look like a stack of disks. The Computer screen is the pool and there is a huge keyboard inset into the ground below it.
The 80’s accommodation blocks have huge icons marking their entrances. On the Left hand side the Building is marked with a Walkman on the right hand side it is Roger Rabbit. And don;t forget the Rubik’s Cubes flanking all ends of the blocks. Each cube is at a different stage of completion, with only one being solved.
The walkman that is used is very specific as the Sony Sports Walkman, possibly to keep with the 80’s decade as the original sony walkman was released in 1979. The Sports walkman had a study plastic waterproof case similar to camera encasements. The sockets also had rubber sealing caps. Roger Rabbit was released in 1988, and was ground breaking in terms of production, but also as it brought 2 studios together to create 1 film. Amblin and Disney worked together to create the animation / live action feature.
Welcome to the FUNKADELIC ’70s.
The 70’s have their own face to face accommodation block set up. The buildings are flanked by 8-trak cassette tapes. These were a step froward from cassette tapes with the ability to jump forward from track to track. Each of these are fictional in song title / album title, but capture the spirit of the decade. All the 8-traks are standing on their side, but one is tipped over to show it’s back edge. There is no swimming pool in this decades, instead the outdoor space is set up to represent family fun games and recreation. During the ’70s board games and family entertainment was big. After all “A family that plays together, Stay together!!”
The entrance icons in the ’70s are the Mickey telephone and the Big Wheel Trike.
The original Mickey Mouse Telephone with rotary dial was released in 1976. It stood about 15″ tall. A more modern version was release with touchtone keypad, but your moving from the decade then.
The Original Big Wheel trike was huge in the ’70s. However not quite as big as this one. This one is 40 foot high and 60 foot long. The structure was carefully digitised from an actual Big Wheel before being reproduced to faithfully make this one super-sized. As a side note, one our sources for this icon has a behind the scenes step by step construction of this Big Wheel. The original Big Wheel was released in 1969, but grew in popularity through out the ’70s, including being trademarked, cloned and sold on to the leading competitor in child size trikes. A Giant Table football has replaced a pool area, but there is still a water play area near by.
Welcome to the HEAVY ’60s.
The era was all about the flower power, groovy moves and surfing safaris.
The 1960’s buildings are located quite central to the resort and back onto the Generation Gap Bridge. With 2 pools heavily influenced by flower power.
A bonus scene here is Goofy with a red 1964 Corvette, ready to hang 10 with a surf board.
The main entrance icons are Baloo and Mowgli from The Jungle Book and a tub of Play-doh.
The Original Play-Doh Modelling Compound, was developed in 1956, in Cincinnati. Originally designed to be a coal residue remove compound, to clean up wall paper from coal fire particles. The owners needed to look into other avenues of revenue when people were switching Coal for Gas. The product went through several recipe tweaks, including a salt reduction. This allowed the colours to stay vibrant when the product dried out.
On the wall behind you can see many cut out shapes. Another popular use of Play-Doh was to extrude it through a press. Spin off Products including the Mop Top Hair Shop made full use out of it’s squish-ability.
Sadly there is no giant ball of all the colours mushed together verging on Brown. That’s how all my Play-Doh ended up.
The Jungle Book was produced in 1967 and marked the 19th animated feature from Walt Disney Studios. It was also teh last animation to be produced by Walt DIsney himself. He died during it’s production so never got to see the final results.
Welcome to the WAY, WAY OUT ’50s.
In the 1950s the New favorite “thing” was Bowling, Rock ‘n Roll or even better Bowling and Rock ‘n Roll. The music of this decade was revolutionary in terms of style and created a stir amongst communities. Icons such as Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Fats Domino took the music world by storm. This was the decade of celebration and fun.
Ten Pin Bowling was big and even bigger her at The Pop Century Resort. All ends of the 50’s accommodation blocks are flanked by Giant Bowling Pins, which makes 9 pins. The tenth one is lying down right in the middle of the decade as the swimming pool.
One of the most famous names in Bowling is Brunswick. The Brunswick name is known worldwide, which is also why these pins are Brunswick King Pins (Red Crown). The Red crown is the design around the neck.
Other Bowling items can be found around the 10th pin (Pool)
Lady and the Tramp was released in 1955. It was the first animation to be created in widescreen cinemascope. Lady and the Tramp was also the 15th Animated classic to come out of Walt Disney Productions.
Tramp is on the opposite side of the courtyard. Tramp is exactly the opposite in pose to Lady. While she has a coy, shy stance, almost embarrassed to look as Tramp. He is practically drooling now he has spotted her in front.
Giant Juke Boxes for some lively dancing.
And thats where the tour of the decades ends. We started in 1999 and ended up in 1950. Sadly this is as much of the Century that Disney had constructed… or is it? The 1940’s had actually started on construction, before the emergency brake was pulled. Unfortunately I will break from Pop Century for now, to return later with Part two. Pop Century : The Missing Years.