If you are looking for a budget friendly resort at Universal Orlando and a great place to stay, look no further than Universal Endless Summer Resort Dockside! Our family of five spent a week at the Dockside Inn 2 Bedroom suite and we’re sharing the pros and cons to staying at this value resort during your Universal Orlando vacation.
Universal Endless Summer Resort Dockside is a value resort but depending on what you are looking for it might be the best Universal resort choice for your stay.
I suggest planning at least a 4 night stay if you decide to visit all the theme parks. Universal often runs special rate deals for the longer you stay, the less you pay. This can save you more money in the long run for your stay.
Universal Endless Summer Resort Dockside Inn and Suites Overview
Universal Endless Summer Resort actually includes two resorts that are across the street from each other. Universal Endless Summer Resort Dockside Inn and Suites and Universal Endless Summer Resort Surfside Inn and Suites. Read our Surfside Review.
Both resorts are nearly identical in offerings. The décor at Surfside has a “surfer vibe” and Dockside is a “dock/water vibe”. Honestly they are really similar and I don’t think we prefer one to the other in regards to décor.
They all have the 2 bedroom family suites as well as standard rooms, laundry facilities, game room, fitness room, and pools.
It is a personal choice which hotel you want to try. The price is typically similar as well.
How much does it cost to stay at Endless Summer Dockside?
During our visit Endless Summer Dockside nights were starting around $88.00 a night. This was for a standard room. For a 2 bedroom suit the cost increases to about $130.00/night. This is a great deal for an on property resort in Orlando. The room is incredible! I will go into more details later in this article.
Can you walk from Dockside Resort to Universal Studios?
You can walk from Dockside Resort to Universal but I do not recommend it. It is about 1.5 mile one way. After a long day at the parks walking an extra 3 miles might not be a good idea, especially with kids.
Universal provides complimentary bus transportation to and from the Endless Summer resorts and the theme parks. The buses were very consistent and we never waited more than 10-15 minutes. Typically there was a bus waiting for us. There bus ride is about 10 minutes from your resort to the parks.
How much is parking at Dockside Resort?
Parking is $15.00 a night. Guests need to find their own transportation to and from the local airports too.
Dockside Inn and Suites Universal Pool
Dockside Inn and Suites has two pools. One is located at Tower One and the other at Tower Two. We spent most of our time at the Tower 1 pool. Both pools are nearly identical. They do not have a water slide or extra amenities but the size of the pool was great for families.
One thing to keep in mind when planning your pool day is the hours differ between the two. There were days when the Tower 2 pool didn’t open until after 3:00pm. Be sure to ask about the pool hours when checking into the resort.
Endless Summer Resort Dockside Inn and Suites Dining
Dockside has an on-site dining option at Pier 8. Pier 8 offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. This includes salads, sandwiches, pizza, and grab and go options. We ate at Pier 8 a few times and enjoyed the Cuban Sandwich and breakfast choices.
If you are traveling with kids you will like the fruit cup, hummus and pretzel, and cereal options for quick snacks. There is also a Starbucks in the lobby.
Perks of Staying at Dockside Inn and Suites
- Early Entry into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter one hour earlier than opening time.
- Complimentary transportation to the theme parks.
- One perk that the Premier hotels like Hard Rock Hotel Orlando have that Dockside doesn’t have is Unlimited Express Pass. Guests do not receive Unlimited Express Pass with their stay at Dockside and must purchase them if they would like.
Dockside Inn 2 Bedroom Suite Room
The 2 bedroom suites at Dockside are what I will rave about to anyone that will listen. For a family of five or more these rooms are perfect.
They have a main area with two queen beds, a dining table with seating for 5, a microwave, sink, coffee maker, and mini-fridge. There is one bathroom and a vanity area with two sinks and a bedroom with a queen bed.
This room allows my family space to spread out and has a bed for everyone to sleep in. We don’t have to worry about pull-out sofas or requesting a rollaway bed. It is perfect! The price is also on point with most nights starting at $132.00 a night.
Is Dockside Inn and Suites a Good Choice for Families?
I think Universal Endless Summer Dockside is a great choice for families. From the budget friendly nightly cost to the amount of space, it is perfect for families.
A few people have asked about the distance from the parks but I feel like it is a non-issue. Most Orlando theme parks are not within walking distance to the resorts. If staying within walking distance is really important to you, check out the Hard Rock Hotel or Cabana Bay Beach Resort.
We wanted more space within the resort room and a short bus ride to the parks was not an issue for us.
One of the cons of the value resorts is that they do not include Unlimited Express Pass. Express Pass allows you to skip the regular lines during your visit to the parks. It is a huge perk and on busy days can make your day much easier.
No lines means more attractions to experience and less time standing around. Purchasing Express Pass as an add on starts at $70.00 a day, per person. This does not include your regular admission ticket. The price can really add up.
One way to get unlimited express and save money on hotel stays is to do a split stay. On our most recent visit we stayed the first few days at the Hard Rock Hotel Orlando. This was during the weekend when we anticipated the parks to be busy. We stayed for 2 nights, which includes 3 days of Unlimited Express Pass.
Then we checked out of Hard Rock and into Dockside. This allowed us to save for most of our trip, splurge a little on two nights, but enjoy the perks of express pass for a few days.
Overall we loved Universal Endless Summer Dockside Inn and Suites. It was perfect for a week stay at Universal, gets you into the parks early, and is a great space for rest and relaxation during your vacation.
Leah has been traveling with her family of 5 since 2012 and sharing her expertise on planning family vacations and visiting theme parks since 2016. Leah has been featured in Visit Rochester, Undercover Tourist, and Home Publications. She has worked with brands like Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, Hersheypark, Toyota, and various Tourism boards and destinations. Leah creates family travel itineraries based on real trip experiences with her family. Her guides and tips help others plan great family vacations. Learn more about Leah and Five for the Road.