The giant "80" pictured here does not refer to the trio of octogenarians who left their scooters parked outside the food court. No, it means it's time for us to take a trip back to the "totally awesome" 1980s at Disney's Pop Century Resort!
Bridging the gap between the '70s and '80s are the Potato Heads, Mr. and Mrs. Mr. Potato Head toys actually date back to the late-1940s, but it wasn't until 1975 that Hasbro introduced the familiar large, plastic potato shape which we all remember today.
The graphic traditions established throughout the rest of Pop Century continue in the '80s cluster with figures engaged in Break Dancing and Moonwalking and words and phrases like "Yuppie," "Preppy," "Radical" and "Fer Shure." The balconies here are turned into a giant game of Pac-Man, complete with the ghosts (Blinky, Pinky, Inky & Clyde), Pac-dots and power pellets, while the stairwells are shrouded in giant Rubik's Cubes.
While I certainly remember the '80s, I could never figure out the Rubik's Cube, and (sadly) Pac-Man was the last video game I was really able to play well. There are lots of other pop culture icons in the '80s, though, that definitely resonate, like Roger Rabbit. Who Framed Roger Rabbit, a co-production between Disney and Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment, was released in 1988 and became a monster-size hit. I remember seeing the movie at least three times in the theater (movies took much longer to come to video back then), and for a time, Roger had a widespread presence at the Walt Disney World Resort. He appeared in shows and parades and was the biggest star of the new Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park.
Another icon of the '80s on display is the Sony Walkman, the first portable music player, introduced in Japan in 1979 before being brought to the states a year later. The Walkman had a built-in radio and cassette tape player, along with stereo headphones, and became a huge part of the exercise craze during the decade. Today, those old Walkman devices just look plain huge, compared to the digital music players we have now.
At Pop Century, the '80s and '90s buildings are actually part of one cluster, with the 1990s occupying just one building. When the resort opened in 2003, it was perhaps harder to feel nostalgic about such a recent decade, so relatively little space was devoted to it. From our more-distant perspective in 2011, though, it's easier to find the charm in The Macarena and The Running Man or expressions like "Phat," "Keepin' It Real" and "Whazzup?!" The balconies are adorned with Rollerblades (still in use today) and compact discs (quickly vanishing in the digital age).
The pool at the center of the '80s/'90s cluster is known as the Computer Pool. It has a soft, keyboard-inspired deck and a waterway in the shape of an '80s-era computer screen. Nearby, an engineering building is disguised as a stack of floppy disks (modeled on the 3 1/2 inch diskettes common in the late-'80s and early-'90s), and the laundry room is made to look like the computer's external disk drive, complete with vents on the side and screws holding on the front panel.
Computers get more modern in the form of a giant laptop (with a pair of "hidden" Mickey keys), serving as the primary icon of the 1990s, a time when personal computing, e-mail and the Internet became integral parts of our lives. The images on the screen include everything from Mickey wallpaper and '90s-era All-Four-Parks desktop icons to the old Disney.com and a story on ABC News about the opening of Disney's Animal Kingdom in 1998. Look closely, you'll even see a banner ad for Disney Channel, inviting you to "Subscribe Today!" Remember when Disney Channel was actually a pay channel, like HBO or Showtime?
The stairwells here in the '90s are enclosed in gigantic cellular phones, the kind we had before flip phones or iPhones. They probably weren't much smaller than the ones seen here (okay, maybe that's a slight exaggeration). Now, if the Disney references on the laptop screen were too obvious for you, here's one that's much more subtle. Take a look at the phone number depicted on the screen. If you call it, you'll be connected to... Disney's Pop Century Resort!