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Art of Animation vs. Pop Century: Which Disney Value Resort is Best?

Wondering how to choose between two popular value resorts at Disney World? Check out our comparison!

If you’re comparing Art of Animation vs. Pop Century resorts, you’ll find several similarities. But it’s the key differences that make one stand out above the other!

Ariel statue in the Little Mermaid area of Art of Animation resort at Disney World

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Planning a vacation to Walt Disney World in Orlando starts with deciding which Disney resort is best for your trip.

But with so many choices, how do you know which one?

Is it worth the upgrade to a deluxe resort or will a Disney value resort give you all that you need (and save some money in the process)?

The rates for resorts change often, but if you’re looking at mid-priced options with good ratings and tons of features, Disney’s Art of Animation and Pop Century resorts are both great options in the value range. This can be a great way to decrease the cost of a Disney vacation.

They’re just a short bus ride or gondola ride to the four Disney parks and have many wonderful amenities!

Disney's Pop Century resort sign

Art of Animation vs. Pop Century Hotels

So, which is better? Well, at the end of the day, the choice is up to you and what works best for your family or travel party.

But to help you decide, here’s a comparison of Art of Animation vs. Pop Century to help you choose between these two Disney resorts.

Layout of Resort Rooms

Both resorts offer family suites for up to six people or standard rooms up to four people.

Art of Animation Room Layout

Art of Animation has nearly 1,120 family suites, with one or two separate bedrooms and two bathrooms, which can accommodate up to six guests.

These spacious rooms and bathrooms are great for getting everyone ready for the parks or nighttime baths after a long park day!

Art of Animation also has 847 standard rooms, which are designed to sleep up to four people.

Pop Century Room Layout

Pop Century has 915 family suites, also designed to accommodate six guests, and 1,048 standard value rooms.

The bathrooms in these rooms are divided into two separate areas, one with a toilet and sink while the other has a bathtub and sink.

This is great for families traveling together who want some privacy when getting ready or need to accommodate multiple showers after a long day at the parks.

image of the mops from Sorcerer's Apprentice shown at Art of Animation Resort

Decor of Resort Rooms

The decor of the rooms will vary between hotels, since they offer different themes.

Art of Animation Decor

Art of Animation rooms have themes from–you guessed it–animated films like The Little Mermaid, Cars, Lion King and Finding Nemo.

These themes are so fun for young kids or anyone who has a favorite Disney movie or character!

Pop Century Decor

Pop Century has an Art Deco theme to their rooms, which are divided into different decades like 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s.

The rooms recreate iconic pop culture images like a giant Rubik’s cube, big wheel, a Walkman and other popular items from that decade.

Overall Resort Themes

It’s not just the rooms that have varying themes–each of the resorts has different themed areas, too!

Art of Animation Theming

The Art of Animation resort has larger-than-life themes that kids love more than most Disney hotels.

With its Disney & Pixar movie themes and scenes, kids and animation fans of all ages will love the different photo opportunities with their favorite characters, like Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater.

The lobby at Art of Animation has memorabilia from the different films that is interesting to explore.

Each building is themed to a different Disney movie. Some of the movies featured are The Little Mermaid, Cars and Finding Nemo.

These detailed theming elements really set this resort apart from the others, because there’s something for everyone!

Finding Nemo themed area at Art of Animation Resort

Pop Century Theming

Pop Century carries the eras featured outside the buildings into the rooms with different pop culture images from each decade.

The designs are more subtle and don’t have the same “wow” factor as at Art of Animation, but it features tons of memorabilia to keep fans engaged.

It’s one of our favorite value Disney resorts for adults, thanks to the fun theming.

Big Wheel at Pop Century Resort

Resort Pools and Play Spaces

Each resort boasts its own themed pools and play areas, for plenty of outdoor fun!

Art of Animation Pools

The main pool at Art of Animation is the largest of all the value resorts, with plenty of space for kids to swim or play games.

The Big Blue Pool (named after Finding Nemo), also has a pool bar area called The Drop Off, along with plenty of Finding Nemo theming.

The Big Blue Pool has exciting areas that are so much fun!

In one area, you can go underwater to hear sounds from the movie Finding Nemo. Two other areas feature playscapes for any adventurous guppies–both in and out of the water.

There are also two other pools that kids will love!

Located away from the main pool area, where it’s a little more relaxing, there’s a pool in the Cars area (The Cozy Cone pool) and in The Little Mermaid area (Flippin Fins pool).

The Lion King area of the resort also has an elephant graveyard play area that’s fun for kids, and also great photo op for guests of all ages.

outdoor area at Art of Animation Hotel

Pop Century Pools

There are also several pool areas at Pop Century that might make it more appealing than Art of Animation.

The first pool is in the 50s area and is shaped like a bowling pin.

The popular Hippy Dippy Pool is based on the 1960’s and has one large flower-power shaped pool.

The next pool is in The ’90s section, with a large main pool that features a huge computer keyboard and the old school version of a cell phone.


Whether you want indoor or outdoor activities, there’s always something going on!

Art of Animation Activities

Art of Animation also includes a running/walking trail around Hourglass Lake, a business center, an arcade, and free drawing lessons to keep everyone busy while at the hotel.

Photo opps are everywhere you turn at Art of Animation too!

Some favorite photo spots at Art of Animation include:

  • In the Nemo pool area, you’ll find Crush and Mr. Ray.
  • In the Cars section, find your favorite automobiles from the movie and snap a pic.
  • Rafiki greets guests in the Lion King area with larger-than-life scenes from the film.
  • In The Little Mermaid section, see King Triton, the evil seas witch Ursula, along with Ariel herself!
Ariel in the Little Mermaid area of Art of Animation Resort

Pop Century Activities

Pop Century has an arcade for playing games, plus an outdoor play area younger kids will enjoy.

The resort also has a movie at the Hippy Dippy pool each night, under the stars. Be sure to check with the front desk for the schedule and movie titles when you check in.

Dining Options

We can’t forget about the food! There’s crowd-pleasing fare at both resorts.

Art of Animation Dining

There are three dining options at Art of Animation.

You’ll find the most variety at a quick service spot called the Landscape of Flavors. This food court style restaurant includes choices like pasta, burgers, plus some healthier choices.

There are also limited food options at the Drop Off Bar located at the Big Blue Pool.

Last but not least, there’s an in-room option for pizza after 4pm.

Pop Century Dining

Similar to Art of Animation, Pop Century has a quick service option, a bar option and in-room pizza delivery.

Everything Pop, the food court at Pop Century, has five stations to choose from: Bakery & Cafe, Market, Grill, East meets West, and Pizza and Pasta. You’ll also find a self-serve grab-and-go area here.


Both hotels have access to buses that run back and forth to the parks.

Both also offer access to the gondola system, the Disney Skyliner, which can take you to Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Cars themed area at Art of Animation Resort

Art of Animation vs. Pop Century: Choosing Your Resort at Disney World

As you can see, both Art of Animation and Pop Century resorts are a great option for families with children, or adults traveling without kids who want to enjoy the fun rooms and themes throughout the hotel grounds.

They share many similar features, but with some key differences as well, most noticeably in theming.

For our money, when it comes down to Art of Animation vs. Pop Century, the Art of Animation resort edges out Pop Century slightly.

It’s definitely our recommendation if you’re on the fence about which value resort at Disney is best for your next stay in Orlando.

You can’t go wrong with the super fun themes, awesome pools, versatile dining options, and access to the parks!

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collage image featuring various photos from Art of Animation vs Pop Century hotels at Disney World