While visiting Orlando a couple of months ago, we stayed at POP Century on Disney. Here is an overview of our stay and a recipe for Shrimp Pesto Pizza. Here are other posts from our trip: Epcot, Downtown Disney, Magic Kingdom, Universal Orlando Part 1, Legoland Florida, and Animal Kingdom.
This was our first time staying at a Disney Resort. There are so many Disney Resorts to choose from. We ultimately decided on Pop due to the cost with the military discount and we wouldn’t have much time to actually spend at the hotel. We got a preferred room without the pool view. With Evan going to bed around 8 every night, I didn’t want the noise from the pools keeping us up. The room was on the small side, but it was perfect for the three of us.
I did online check-in the day before we left for Orlando and was able to make two requests for our room location. They honored both requests. We stayed in the fifties building on the top floor. It was right next to the bowling pin stairs and a short walk to the main building. It also wasn’t too far from the parking lot. We absolutely loved this location. We did notice that the rooms have very thin walls. We could hear every time our neighbors opened and closed cabinets, talked loudly, or left the room. Luckily, they weren’t up super late or early and it never disturbed Evan.
Pop Century Resort opened in 2003. The closest theme park is Hollywood Studios and another resort, Art of Animation, is within walking distance on the other side of Hourglass Lake. Buildings inside the resort are separated into the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s/90s. As with the rest of Disney World, an incredible amount of detail is put into the theming.
In the 50s section, you can find a bowling pin shaped pool and stairs, a large jukebox, and figures of Lady and the Tramp.
In the 60s, you will see the largest (and most crowded/loud/fun) pool complete with petals and tie-dyed coloring, yo-yos for the stairs, and Jungle Book and Play Doh statues.
The 70s courtyard is made up of a huge foosball field. A large Mickey and Big Wheel are located on either side. You will also find a twister game and the stairs are made of 8 track tapes.
The 80s/90s courtyard has a pool shaped like a computer. Rubik’s cubes are used for stairs and a large Sony Walkman and Roger Rabbit are on either side of the pool.
We were only able to spend the afternoon of check-in by the pool. Without fail, every other time we had an opportunity, a thunderstorm popped up. I am really glad we made the time to enjoy it on check-in day.
When those thunderstorms ruined our pool plans, we spent a little time in the arcade. They even have a coloring station with Disney papers.
To be honest, we weren’t overly impressed with the food court. We actually went across the bridge to Art of Animation on evenings with no meal plans and no thunderstorms. The food wasn’t overly bad, just mostly bland and we enjoyed the offerings at Art of Animation more. With multiple food stations and an extensive menu, most people will find something they like here. You sometimes have to be careful of your meal timing. The area was an absolute madhouse during breakfast before park opening. We never had issues at any other time. There are also many to-go options if you are in a hurry.
We tried the Oreo Cupcake, Shrimp and Goat Cheese Flatbread, Margherita Flatbread, Pasta and Sausage, Pop Waffle, Salmon Burger, Parmesan Crusted Chicken over Cavatappi, Sesame Chicken, and Wonton Soup. One thing that did stand out was the flatbreads. They also came with a bit of a wait time (but this also meant they were fresh). The Shrimp and Goat Cheese Flatbread was the winner for all of us. We ended up getting it twice since Evan stole most of it the first night.
Since we all loved the Shrimp and Goat Cheese Flatbread so much, I decided to recreate it at home. I have a yellow tomato plant in the backyard and the tomatoes finally started to ripen this week! I separated the dough to make 2 medium pizzas. If you want one large pizza, don’t halve the dough after rising. I spread pesto on the base, then topped it with shrimp, red onion, yellow tomatoes, goat cheese, and mozzarella.
If you don’t have yellow tomatoes, you can substitute with Roma tomatoes.
Be careful not to overcook the shrimp in the pan, since they will cook further in the oven. They should be just beginning to turn pink.
If using store-bought pesto, test it for saltiness before adding additional salt to the shrimp. Some products have a high sodium content.
Shrimp Pesto Pizza
Adapted from PDX Food Love
1 1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water (105-115 degrees F)
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
olive oil for greasing
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 pound small to medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
salt and pepper to taste
3-4 tablespoons homemade or store bought basil pesto
2 yellow tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 ounces goat cheese
2 cups shredded low moisture Mozzarella cheese
In a small bowl, sprinkle yeast over lukewarm water. Let sit for a minute before stirring to combine. Let sit until frothy, 5-10 minutes.
In the bowl of a large food processor fitted with a dough blade or a large bowl, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Mix in frothy yeast and water until dough comes together. If too crumbly, add a little more water. If too sticky, add a little more flour. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough until smooth and elastic. Grease a large bowl with olive oil. Add dough, turning to coat. Cover and let rise until doubled, 1-2 hours.
Divide the dough in half for 2 medium pizzas or leave whole for 1 large. Use floured hands to stretch the dough or roll out on a lightly floured surface to desired thickness. Place on oiled baking sheet or a bakers peel dusted with semolina or cornmeal if using a pizza stone.
If using a pizza stone, place on center rack of oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
In a large pan, drizzle olive oil over medium high heat. Add the red onion slices and cook until beginning to soften. Stir in the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to turn pink. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
Spread the pesto across the large or divide between the medium pizzas. Evenly top with shrimp and red onions. Add the tomato slices. Evenly crumble with goat cheese and sprinkle with mozzarella. Transfer to heated pizza stone or place baking sheet in oven. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly and crust is puffed, 15-20 minutes.
Let sit for 5 minutes before slicing.