Wednesday, July 6, 2011

All Star Music vs. Pop Century: Help Us Decide!

I feel like I need to preface this blog post with a very important fact:  I love All Star Music.  Love it.  LOVE it.  I've stayed there four times, and I even chose it over Port Orleans French Quarter.  So ponder that before you read on and give your opinion.

I love All Star Music, and everyone else loves Pop.  It has made me want to try Pop, so I tried to book Pop way back when there was a room only discount that had just come out.  Pop wasn't available, so we booked All Star Music.  Maybe that was a sign not to stay at Pop.  Anyway, fast forward a few weeks, and annual pass discounts are available for our August trip.  I am now reconsidering switching to Pop, if we do get annual passes.

Before you tell me which resort you think James and I should stay at, here's a list of things that worry me about Pop:

1. Buses.  Please don't tell me that the All Stars share buses.  We were on a shared bus maybe 10% of the time.  I'm concerned about the bus service at Pop because the resort is much bigger than All Star Music.  Which means more people.  Which means more crowded buses and longer lines.  The line for Pop always seems longer than the line for All Star Music.

2. Sound proofing.  Pop supposedly has the worst sound proofing of all the resorts.  All Star Music is very well soundproofed.  I'm nervous about being woken up by noisy kids in the middle of the night.

3. Unofficial Guide ratings.  The fact that I take every word written in the Unofficial Guide as un-debatable fact is one of the reasons I signed up to be a affiliate (see banner in sidebar).  That said, 100% of All Star Music visitors said they would return to that resort, but only 93% of the Pop Century visitors said the same.  If you don't think 7% seems like a lot, multiply that by the total number of people that stay at Pop every year.  (Also note that 80% of All Star Music visitors would recommend the resort to a friend, but only 70% of Pop Century visitors said the same.)

4. Fellow All Star Music lovers.  Pop lovers swear that I will like it, but many fellow All Star lovers say that they didn't like Pop as much as Music.  Some even said they couldn't wait to get back to Music.  Some cite the things I listed above, plus things like the scenery: Pop is all plastic, while the All Stars have a lot of trees and landscaping.

So that's that.  On one hand, I want to try something new.  On the other hand, All Star Music signifies Disney for me, and I kind of want to go there forever (until I can afford a deluxe).  So what's your opinion on the great debate?  Should I stay at All Star Music or Pop Century?  Let me know your thoughts in a comment, on Twitter (@amandaenchanted), or on Facebook!


  1. I've done both and will never do a value that isn't Pop again (unless there's a new one maybe). I found the buses quicker on the way TO the parks at Pop for sure, and for the way home despite being at Pop at a much busier time the two times we went (august) vs when we were at Music (Feb) the wait was pretty similar. I don't remember sound being anything significantly different or too loud either way, I for sure heard toilets at both.

    Pop had a better food court (by far!), better pools, better decor (I liked the Music, but nothing beats Mr.Potato Head, twister, rubik's cubes and pretty much every toy from my childhood, plus the "memory lane" path with signs from significant things from every year is fun (find the year you were born!)... I would say try it, but if you are soooo biased against it you may be setting yourself up for disappointment right off the bat and won't like it- I know I do that to myself sometimes.

  2. Disclaimer: I have only stayed at deluxe resorts at WDW (Poly, GF, and Boardwalk).
    Buses: I listen to WDW Today religiously and believe they say Pop has some of the best bus service in WDW. If you want really bad bus service stay at the Boardwalk which also includes stops at Yacht Club, Beach Club, and the Swan and Dolphin.
    Unofficial Guide: I love this book but it is not a gospel: I believe Sehlinger admits he has reservations about the All Stars but that did not stop you from liking Music. Also, considering Pop is essentially a motel a 93 percent approval rating is pretty good.
    Also, I believe Mike Scopa from allears/ WDW Today has stayed at Pop more than anyone on earth. Maybe consider sending him an email for his take?

  3. Had the dvc rental not come through, I would be staying at pop next month. It's the only value I ever stayed at-I was in the 1990's n the midst of hurricane Fay and I still loved it.
    The old icons are cool - being able to Check out the Art of Anmation construction might be fun.

  4. Angela, I think I might do that indeed. I feel like I'm so unsure that I'd be setting myself up for failure.

    Andrew, considering ASMu is also basically a motel, a 100% approval rating is even better!

    Hedy, being able to check out Art of Animatino would be really cool!

  5. I have stayed at Music and Pop. I liked Pop so much better. While I liked the around the pool entertainment at Music, I found the buses faster to Pop, the food court service quicker and I noticed the lighting at night around the buildings at Pop to be superior.

    I didn't notice any difference in the sound proofing between the two resorts.

    What I noticed about the buses leaving the theme parks was that, yes, the line-ups for Pop were huge - but they would load 2 buses at a time and the line-ups moved very quickly.

  6. Andrew's correct. Mike Scopa stays at Pop so often the WDW Today group refers to it as Scopa Towers.

    When we stayed at Pop we had an excellent stay. I've never stayed at the All-Stars, but my mother and sister have and both preferred Pop. The food court is nice and has a lot of variety, and it's a pretty short walk to the bus stop even from standard rooms.

    I don't mean to sound rude, but it's starting to sound like you're setting yourself up for a bad stay because you've been obsessing on not liking Pop (both here and on Twitter).

    In the end, the motel buildings for all the Value resorts are pretty much the same. What differs between the All-Stars and Pop are the number of rooms in the area, the theming and layout, and the location (which isn't a huge difference). Buses were usually prompt and even with a long line the wait wasn't bad. For what I paid Pop was pretty good; I'd stay there again for sure.

  7. I think trying out all the resorts is a good idea, even if you have one that you really really really love. It's my goal to stay in every single resort on property so my vote would be for Pop, just to see if you like it!

  8. Oh also, on allears, Pop has an 8.45 out of 10, and Music has an 8.14... not much, but if you think the 93% vs 100% is big than this is similar. In addition, 95% of people would recommend Pop versus 90% for Music. Plus Pop's is based on 1081 reviews and Music's is on 305, which shows to me how much more confident the Pop numbers are, as well as just how many people like the resort enough to write up a review on it!

    Just some food for thought :)

  9. Hi Amanda,
    Just wanted to say thanks for posting on this subject. I'm curoius about it too since my husband and I booked a stay at Pop in November - previously we've only stayed DVC Villas, Deluxe and Moderate - but the savings at a Value would buy us lots of fun events at Food & Wine Fest so we're trying it out. Everyone's comments have reassured me this will still be a fun experience, and I can't wait to hear your review if you decide to stay at Pop!

  10. Gaylin, good to know that your experiences were so positive! Thanks!

    Scott, I do agree. I'm setting myself up for failure. No bueno.

    Jessica, I thought it was my goal to stay at every resort, but then I realized it isn't. I never want to stay at All Star Movies, for example. My new goal is to eat at every restaurant!

    Angela, good to know about All Ears! Thanks for the info!

    Elisabeth, I've never stayed at a deluxe or DVC, so I have nothing to compare it to. I think the savings for a value are more than worth it though, no matter which one you choose!

  11. So did you make a decision?

    I also agree with what Scott said. in your post you listed all the reasons why POP was a bad idea but you didn't give any thoughts on why it would be a good idea. I think, and it is just my opinion, if you are already convinced that there is so much wrong with it you are not going to be happy during your trip if you stay there. The only things that will stick out in your mind are the things that may be going wrong or bad.

    I can't say which might be better cause I have never stayed at either but I am booked for POP in October because I heard a lot of good things about it before I heard any of the bad. I am happy with my choice and I am convinced it is going to be great. (Sorry for the REALLY long post.)

  12. Yes, I did decide to stay at All Star Music. Thanks for everyone's help, but I decided it would be silly not to stay in my favorite resort!

  13. I love too all star music. It's common thing.