Disney Pop Century
Disney Pop Century Resort - Legendary Years
Where: Orlando, Florida
This is a strange one... well first things first, this is my first update in a long time. I've been sitting on these pictures for months, so I'll be working from memory here. Let me start by setting the mood. About three days before leaving for my first family vacation with my future step children, I managed to come down with something that felt to be a cross between sars, ecoli, and death. I honestly can't recall the last time I had felt so miserable. What happened was that right as the weather was starting to get warmer, we had a sudden cold spell. I'm not sure why, but this threw me in to a the worst sickness I could imagine. I was basically sleeping around the clock, except when I'd wake up to throw up, convulse, shiver, roll around in pain, etc. It was awful.
So as luck would have it, I wasn't better the day before we left, so I went to the ER, hoping only that they could load me up with saline to rehydrate me. They didn't.
The next morning I'm being shuffled in to a car, having not eaten for days, still ill. I was without fever by then, so I'm hoping I didn't make others ill. I somehow managed to get on to a plane and made the absolute worst trip of my life. It may have been amongst the worst two hours of my entire life. It was awful beyond words... but I made it... and little did I know that by the time I got to the hotel, things would quickly perk up.
Looking across the lake toward the abandoned section of the hotel.
We stayed at the Disney Pop Century Resort, which is a themed Disney hotel that has buildings from each century... 1950's, 1960's, etc, up to 1999. It didn't occur to me until we got there that the Century starts at 1900 and the hotel starts at 1950. Where were the first 50 years? Well sitting abandoned across the lake of course! Hooray! Disney thinks of something for everyone... even me.
The first sign of what was once to be... The generation gap bridge that didn't gap anything... notice there is no arrow pointing you toward it.
I was still so sick that I could barely keep my eyes open. I was sore, tired, etc. I felt much better than before, but still awful. I decided to let the kids, girlfriend, grandparents, etc, go to disney without me for the evening. I slept.
The next morning I awoke feeling... still awful. So I once again decided to sit the trip to the park out. I instead went to the very nice lobby restaurant to try to find something to eat. As it ends up, they have all sorts of decent food, and you can pay with your room key. I loaded up on fruit, smart water (I love this stuff), and anything else that might help me feel better.
I'll never know if it was the fruit, water, granola bars, etc that helped, but as the day progressed, I felt better and better. I would walk around a little, rest, eat, walk, etc, and every time I felt better and better. I started thinking that if I was walking anyhow, and there was a big old abandoned resort within walking distance... why not go for it... and that leads me to this page.
I first apologize for my half assed coverage. I was still feeling absolutely awful. I did this for all the people that send me nice emails. I also didn't want to get busted and miss any more of my vacation with the kids... yeah, I'm getting old and lame, but that's life.
I made a quick slip around the fence where it butts up to the lake between the two resorts. The way it was to work was that 1950-1999 would be on one side of the lake, connected by the 'century gap' bridge to the 1900's through 1940's on the other side.
One of the abandoned buildings with no interiors, theming, etc.
That brings us to why this place exists. With the first half of the resort completed, September 11th 2001 came along and changed travel and tourism for quite some time. Faced with big declines in tourism, disney decided to halt construction on the second half of the project for fear of not being able to fill the hotel. It really surprises me that Disney would allow this to be seen so clearly from one of their hotels, but here we are seven years later. All of this is the story that was relayed to me by a couple that I meant on the century gap bridge... which is open, but ends abruptly at the abandoned side of the resort. The entire thing is strange. Word has it that they will eventually finish it, but with family suits... which seems strange since the rooms are already built.
As you can see here, the numbers are styled to represent the century that they are representing... if that makes any sense.
As you can see, the main structure of the lobby building was completed, including the year markers across the front. The side that is open is very similar, but much more colorful. As you can see, the numbers match the art type of that decade... art deco being my favorite. Each hotel building has period decorations on it. For example, ours had stair cases that looked like giant bowling pins with the stairs in them, etc. Its actually really neat for the kids. This side didn't have its art yet, but you can see where it would have been mounted at the ends of the buildings.
So basically that was it. I made a quick trip from one side to the other and then hopped the fence on the Century Gap Bridge (its very low) and walked back to my resort. I felt pretty tired by then, and I honestly kept thinking... I hope the people that go to the site appreciate my poor ass nearly dying in the sun... send thank you cards to my home address.
In addition to the abandoned buildings, which were mostly still shells at this point, it was neat seeing some of the activity that still goes on at the site. Apparently Disney uses the area to test decals, pavement, store props, etc. There were big lights in the parking lot for something, not sure what, and some of the lot had recently been landscaped. I'd love to know all the neat details of what is going on, but I really have no clue. Anyway, enough of my life story... check the pictures.
Oh, and if you're wondering, I made it in to Disney that evening feeling pretty decent, and made it to the park the next day to enjoy my trip!
These appeared to be logos from the open side of the resort being tested in the sun on various types of surface... one glass, one metal, one something else, and there was an additional one stuck to the building.
A better view of the hotel rooms, unfinished. This was behind the big numbers with the windows in to the lobby to my right. You can see tracks from what I assume is a security cart.
Elevator shafts that never were... A better view. They're much deeper than they look!
A blurry pick looking in to the room. As you can see, you're actually looking through to the room that would be behind you. The dividing walls weren't in yet. The pipes you see would typically run between the backs of the rooms. This would have been the big entrance in to the lobby area. This is looking at the parking lot side of the building. You can see how they sort of just walked away from some of this stuff. I don't know what this is from, but I'm assuming it was a prop from a movie or ride? I'm sure someone knows. It had lots of bondo in it though.
I really suggest checking the gallery below for some more pictures... there are some cool ones this time. Note the part about the pop up blocker. You may have to allow pop ups.
NOTE: Your browser's pop up blocker may prevent you from using the gallery correctly. If so, you should be able to change it to allow content from my page. There is nothing harmful on my page, its simply a protection against a useful application that some people do use maliciously.
Lots more 2008 pictures can be found in the gallery here.