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Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites: Complete Guide

Skip to: General information | Rooms | Pools & public spaces | Dining and lounges | Distance from the parks | Value vs. prime value | Is Dockside like the other hotels? | Vacation-planning tips

Dockside Inn and Suites exterior
Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites

Dockside Inn and Suites – general information

Relax in a beachside resort that intertwines sea, sand, and “breathtaking sunsets” to create a carefree getaway. Opened in December 2020, this second half of the Endless Summer Resort hotel complex features 2,050 rooms, 1,113 of which are two-bedroom suites for coastal family escapades at Universal Orlando’s lowest room rates ever.

Dockside Inn and Suites is the second value hotel at Universal Orlando Resort (not to be confused with Cabana Bay Beach Resort or Aventura Hotel, which are prime value properties). Its guests have access to the other part of Endless Summer, Surfside Inn and Suites (which opened in June 2019), including its additional slate of amenities – namely, three food or drink venues and one more pool. (In case you were wondering, while this may be the first Universal resort to contain multiple venues, it actually isn’t the first to open in different phases; Cabana Bay’s two courtyards bowed three months apart, with its tower expansion following three whole years later.)

Endless Summer is built on the 64-acre plot of land that used to house Wet ‘n Wild Orlando, the 1977 water park that Universal purchased in 1998 (and demolished in 2016) – meaning it’s a good five-to-10-minute bus ride away from Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, and the CityWalk hub. While this might seem like a bit of a drive, it’s actually not that much longer than the trip from Cabana to CityWalk and the two theme parks.

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, this second half of Endless Summer Resort was delayed by almost a full nine months, finally opening on December 15, 2020. If there was one good item to come from the hold-up, however, it was having the massive hotel (mostly) bow in one fell swoop – originally, Universal had planned to open it in phases all throughout the year. (We say “mostly” open because Dockside’s game room and second pool bar, The Wavemaker, remain closed for the time being.)

Dockside Inn and Suites – Rooms

Dockside Inn and Suites's two-bedroom suite
Dockside Inn and Suites’s two-bedroom suite

All rooms at Dockside Inn and Suites feature bright, beachy designs with fun sunset-related touches. Prices for standard rooms range between $147 and $279 per night. Ideal for families, the two-bedroom suites are 440 square feet and sleep up to six, featuring two queen beds in one room and one queen bed in the other. Free wifi is available for up to four devices per room, but faster online connectivity for up to eight devices is available for $14.95 per day. There are no club-level rooms at Dockside.

Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites is home to 2,050 total rooms, with sizes that start at 313 square feet.

Dockside Inn and Suites – pools and public spaces

Dockside Inn and Suites’s striking lobby

Despite its designation as a “value” hotel, Universal did not skimp on the design and theming of the shared spaces at Dockside, including:

  • A spacious, beach-themed lobby, with check-in, guest services, eateries, and more
  • Two basic-yet-perfectly-adequate pool areas
  • Complimentary fitness center for guests
  • A Universal Studios Store offering sundries, guest necessities, newspapers, and magazines, as well as Universal- and hotel-logo merchandise
  • A game room for some arcade fun

Dockside Inn and Suites – dining and lounges

Dockside Inn and Suites lobby/Sunset Lounge
Sunset Lounge at Dockside Inn and Suites

Although there are no full-service restaurants, Dockside Inn and Suites still has all the basics you’ll need to sate your hunger during your stay. Pier 8 Market has pantry staples, grab-and-go snacks, and a hot food counter, while the in-house Starbucks lets guests get their coffee fix. Then there are the drinks-only bars: Sunset Lounge in the lobby and The Oasis Beach Bar and The Wavemaker at the two pools. Finally, don’t forget about the pizza and fried chicken delivery right to your hotel room.

For more info on the food and dining options, check out our full Dockside dining guide.

Dockside Inn and Suites – distance from the parks

Dockside Inn and Suites is located on a plot of land that isn’t contiguous with Universal Orlando’s main campus, which means patrons don’t have the option of using the water taxis that service four of the six other resorts. Again, the prime-value hotels only offer shuttle bus transportation to CityWalk, and even though they’re on the road for roughly the same length of time, it’s still important to point this out.

A word on value versus prime-value hotels

Endless Summer Resort aerial view
Endless Summer Resort concept art

As already noted, the two properties of Endless Summer Resort represent an entirely new category for Universal’s hotels: value, which now joins the ranks of premier, preferred, and prime value. This may cause guests some confusion, so we figured we’d spend just a moment to clarify what the differences between the two value classifications are.

The “value” part of their designations means that, as one might expect, these four venues offer the most inexpensive room rates to be found all across Universal Orlando Resort. Where the “prime” part comes into play is in two benefits that both Cabana Bay Beach Resort and Aventura Hotel offer that Surfside and Dockside Inn and Suites don’t (and, in fact, can’t): closer proximity to the theme parks and direct access, via private entrances, to Volcano Bay (which, if you’re planning on going to the water park, is actually a huge perk – waiting to be transported via shuttle can take a fair chunk of time, particularly if one does so from CityWalk as opposed to from any of the other hotels).

Furthermore, guests of Dockside do not have “pool hopping” privileges at the other hotels but can utilize the pool areas at Surfside, giving families plenty of pool spaces for your vacation enjoyment.

Is Dockside Inn and Suites like the other Universal Orlando hotels?

Dockside Inn and Suites at sunset
Dockside Inn and Suites at sunset

Given that Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites sits on its own little chunk of land out on Universal Boulevard, one is inclined to ask: is the new value venue technically still a Universal Orlando Resort hotel? In a word, yes.

Dockside still offers the same level of theming and service that can be found at the other Universal properties, along with – more importantly – most of the same bevy of benefits, such as Early Park Admission, resort-wide charging privileges, and package deliveries to your room. And as far as the distance from the parks and CityWalk, it actually is extremely comparable to that of Cabana Bay (less than five minutes, according to Universal), with the only difference being what is on the land that lies between the hotels and CityWalk’s transportation area.

What are the top vacation-planning tips for Dockside Inn and Suites?

Dockside Inn and Suites pool
The pool at Dockside Inn and Suites

We’ve already gone over a few of these points regarding Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites, but we’re going to do so again, as it doesn’t hurt to have them all collected in one convenient location (nor to repeat some of these finer points).

The first value hotel (complex) at Universal Orlando delivers guests the lowest resort room rates that Universal has ever offered, but it also means that certain hotel benefits won’t be present, starting with the most important one of them all: 

  1. Guests staying at the resort will not receive unlimited Express Pass access. This is widely regarded as the single best benefit of staying at the three premier properties (Portofino Bay HotelHard Rock Hotel, and Royal Pacific Resort), especially considering that complimentary Express Passes hold a value of up to $170 per person, per day, if you were to purchase them outright.
  2. Second, guests staying at Endless Summer don’t receive the benefit of priority seating at the full-service restaurants inside Universal’s theme parks or at CityWalk.
  3. Third, Dockside doesn’t allow pets.
  4. Finally, the ability to pool hop – that is to say, to take your room key from Dockside Inn and Suites and then go to, say, Hard Rock Hotel’s pool area to enjoy the amenities there – is also absent here. (And, conversely, those staying at the other six venues won’t be able to use any of the three pools at the overarching Endless Summer Resort complex, either.) This, presumably, is to prevent the several thousand guests staying at Universal’s two new value hotels from flooding all the rest of the resort (and vice versa). (For more on pool-hopping around Universal Orlando, please see our adventures in pool-hopping article.)

Despite the absence of these perks, there are still benefits to be had by staying at Endless Summer over a non-Universal hotel:

Since all resorts located at Universal Orlando are operated by Loews, they all feature the same cancellation policy: if you cancel your reservation six or more days in advance, you will receive a full refund. If it’s anything fewer than five days beforehand, however, you will be charged one night’s room rate, plus tax.

How much does it cost to park at Dockside Inn?

As with all Universal Orlando hotels, guests must pay a fee to park. Here, it costs overnight guests $17, plus tax, per night, to park a car (paid at time of check-in). For daytime guests, parking is free for under five minutes, $8 for less than 30 minutes, $48 for anything over half an hour, plus tax, per day, per vehicle.

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