Looking for an affordable Universal Orlando resort property with large rooms and all the perks of pricier on-site hotels? The Loews Endless Summer Resort gives you two options, the Dockside and Surfside. Both offer large standard rooms or huge two-bedroom suites. And, because they’re official Universal properties, you get all the goodies: complimentary transportation between the parks and early entry. Here’s a review of the Dockside Inn and Suites to help you decide if this value option Universal Orlando resort works for you.
From the moment we walked into the lobby, the atmosphere felt different; relaxed and welcoming. We joined the short check-in line, and when it was our turn, we were greeted with a friendly smile and pleasant attitude from a guest relations attendant. This set the tone for the remainder of our visit.
This resort offers guests a unique experience. You’ll never have to leave the resort (unless you want to) to have fun. Since the resort is located right next to the Universal Studios theme park, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore everything this amazing theme park has to offer. So come on down and enjoy a vacation you wish would last forever!
The lobby of Dockside Inn and Suites is the hub of the resort, and a tower flanks each side. The lobby can be rather chaotic with people checking in and checking out, but there is a fun vibe.
Universal’s Endless Summer Resort
When visiting Endless Summer Resort, it is important to note there are two hotels on the property. The Surfside Inn and Suites and the Dockside Inn and Suites. We stayed in Tower Two at Dockside Inn and Suites on our visit to Universal’s Mardi Gras celebration and it was fabulous!
Differences between Surfside Inn and Suites and Dockside Inn and Suites
Both Dockside Inn and Suites and Surfside Inn and Suites are in the value hotel category. This is the lowest tier you can book within Universal Orlando Resorts. The biggest difference is their size; Surfside Inn and Suites is smaller and easier to get around.
- Dockside Inn and Suites has two pools compared to Surfside, which has one swimming pool
- Dockside offers a larger lobby, which means during peak check in/check out times, the lobby can be loud and chaotic with lots of families
- Surfside has a smaller food court and fewer dining options than Dockside
- Both Surfside Inn and Suites and Dockside Inn and Suites offer similar amenities
- Surfside and Dockside are prime choices for families who want a lot of value for their money
- Both the Dockside Inn and Suites and the Surfside Inn and Suites offer vacation package bundles
- Both offer early early park admission allowing you to arrive at Universal Orlando an hour before the general public
- All hotel guests have access to complimentary transportation to Universal
Dockside Inn and Suites Highlights
There are no resort fees when staying at Dockside Inn and Suites. There is a $15 self-parking fee per night.
The lobby is bright and airy with a fun vibe and bright colors. There is lots of seating in the lobby, so it is ground zero for meeting family and friends.
For those like me who need a jolt of good old caffeine in the morning, I love that Starbucks is located right in the lobby, opening at 6 am giving us plenty of time to get fueled up for an exciting day at Universal Studios!
Right off the lobby, heading to Tower One, you’ll find the Sunset Lounge, a nice spot to unwind and relax with a cocktail or glass of wine while the kids hit the game room.
Don’t miss a stop at Universal’s Studio Store, located in the lobby of Dockside. They carry a wide variety of branded apparel, towels, tees and more. And if you forget something at home, the Universal Studio store will most likely be able to help.
Deposits and Cancellation Policies
When you make your hotel booking, your credit card will be charged for the cost of the first night’s room fee and tax. Should you have to cancel your reservation, you can receive a full refund if you cancel at least six days prior to your arrival date; if you cancel later than six days prior you will be charged a fee of one night plus tax. If you check out of the hotel prior to your departure date, the resort will not refund your deposit.
What Works for Families
- Large comfortable suites
- Two outdoor pools, splash pad play area for kids
- Game room
- Vacation experts are on hand to help plan your next visit to Universal’s Endless Summer Resort
- Fitness Center
- Complimentary shuttle buses to Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Universal’s Volcano Bay and Universal CityWalk
- Free wifi throughout the property
- Several on-site dining options and nearby restaurants
- Attentive and friendly staff and service
- Cribs are available for no charge. See the front desk for information
What Doesn’t Work for Families
- The property is large and can be confusing to navigate
- During high traffic times, it can be chaotic and loud
- Pier 8 Market can be crowded, and you have to wait a super long time for food
Dockside Inn and Suites offer 2,050 guest rooms and 2-bedroom suites. The rooms are not elaborate or as luxurious as some other choices in Orlando, but the resort is fun and well-appointed.
The standard room is 313 square feet with two queen beds and a separate bathroom with vanity. The rooms feature a 43” flat screen TV with On Demand movies (fee applies) and HD channels, a mini-fridge, a tub shower combo with a retractable clothesline or a roll-in shower, wall-mounted hairdryer, iron and ironing board, an in-room safe and alarm clock.
My pet peeve when staying in a hotel is the lack of USB ports for charging our electronics. I was overjoyed to see that Dockside offered plenty of USB ports and wall outlets.
The rooms are bright and cheery with a coastal vibe featuring beachy teals, turqoise and coral colors. The standard room is great for a family of three or four or a couple.
We loved our stay in the 2-bedroom suite at Dockside Inn and Suites. The beds were so comfy! At the end of a long day exploring Universal Studios and Universal CityWalk we were ready to collapse and snuggle into the comfortable king-size bed and watch television.
The suites are 440 square feet, and they are equipped with a good size bathroom. The suites have either a tub shower combo or a roll-in shower. Ours had a tub-shower combo and I loved sinking into the warm water and relaxing.
The vanity area has two sinks and plenty of counter space and is located just outside of the bathroom.
The toiletries were nice, but are not brand name. They are individual size, an unexpected touch for a value hotel in the Loews brand.
There are two bedrooms in the suite. The main bedroom has one king bed and the second bedroom has two queen beds. The suites will sleep six guests.
When booking your suites stay at Universal’s Endless Summer Resort, you have the option for a pool view suite. We highly suggest the pool view suites – the views are amazing, as you look down at the pool area, and in the distance you can see Icon Park (see below for more info). At night the view is surreal, with the lights piercing the darkness, and the pool glowing with a soft blue light.
The suites have a small kitchenette, mini-fridge, sink and coffee maker. I loved the turquoise picnic table in the room – perfect for a late-night pizza!
Dining at Dockside Inn and Suites
Pier 8 Market is essentially a food court offering five food stations and a salad bar (self-serve). The wait was extremely long and very noisy the evening we chose to check it out. But the prices are affordable and it is an economical choice for families to dine on the property and not break the vacation bank.
For those who love to dine in their rooms after a full day at the theme parks, you have the availability of ordering pizza. The hours are limited for pizza delivery and can take up to an hour.
The resort offers two poolside bars, The Wave Bar and the Oasis Beach Bar. Each pool bar offers signature cocktails, wine, beer and smoothies. Grab a cocktail and relax for a bit by the pool as the kids hit the water.
The Sunset Lounge is located in the lobby of the Orlando hotel. Though it is off to the side of the lobby, tucked behind Starbucks, it can still get rather loud. On Fridays and Saturdays, the lounge comes alive with music performances.
Things To Do When Visiting Universal’s Endless Summer Resort
The resort, located at 7125 Universal Blvd, is in a prime location to explore all that Orlando and Universal offer! So let’s check out all the fun options for a visit to Universal Orlando!
Universal Florida’s Theme Parks
When you are planning your Universal vacation, why settle for just one theme park when you can hit all three of Universal’s theme parks! The three Universal Florida theme parks are Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal’s Volcano Bay.
We’ve done the research for you, making it easy to decide which Universal theme park admission ticket is best for you and your family. All of Universal’s theme park admission tickets are now date based, so you must choose start and end dates for your tickets.
The Universal Base Ticket
The Universal Base Ticket gives you the option of choosing either Universal Studios Florida OR Universal’s Islands of Adventure parks for each day of your ticket. You cannot visit multiple parks the same day with this ticket option.
The Universal Base Ticket Add-on
If you buy a multi-day base ticket you have the option of adding on Universal’s Volcano Bay. This ticket option allows you to visit all three parks – Universal Studios, Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal’s Volcano Bay. The catch is that each park has to be visited on separate days. You cannot visit multiple parks in one day with this ticket option.
The Universal Park-to-Park Ticket
This ticket is for guests who want to have the flexibility of going multiple parks on the same day. It includes Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
Want to hit all three parks – Universal Studios, Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal’s Volcano Bay and you plan to stay at least three days at one of Universal’s resorts? Purchase the Universal 3-Day to Park Ticket. This gives you all three parks – Universal Studios, Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal’s Volcano Bay.
And don’t forget that complimentary transportation is available to all Universal resort guests to any of the three Universal theme parks.
Visit Disney World
If you want to visit Disney World on your trip, there are two transportation options: drive in your own car or a rental or take an Uber, Lyft or taxi. Disney makes a nice addition to your Orlando theme park visit.
Do plan a stop at Disney Springs, a similar venue to Universal CityWalk. However, in comparing both CityWalk and Disney Springs, we like CityWalk a bit better. We enjoyed strolling through City Walk, popping into the stores and restaurants. The main reason we enjoy CityWalk however is the feeling of not being crowded. When we’ve visited Disney Springs it just felt overcrowded to us, and we like the dining options at CityWalk a bit more.
SeaWorld is great for adrenaline junkies. To get the full experience of everything SeaWorld Orlando has, you want to build in two days to visit. The park offers animal experiences and thrill rides and attractions. It’s home to some of the best roller coasters we’ve experienced.
Discovery Cove is SeaWorld’s gem and is perfect for just chilling out, relaxing on the beach, snorkeling the tropical reef or getting up close and personal with amazing sea creatures.
International Drive, or I-Drive, has even more fun in store for you. From Icon Park to the Chocolate Kingdom Factory Adventure there is something for everyone on I-Drive.
Things to Do on I-Drive
- Icon Park – ICON Park is an entertainment venue and has more than 50 attractions including an aquarium and Madame Tussaud’s, a wax museum.
- Andretti Indoor Karting & Games is another entertainment venue with games including bowling, laser tag, indoor go-karts, and an arcade.
- WonderWorks is an amusement park for the mind that combines education and entertainment with more than 100 hands-on exhibits that challenge the mind and spark the imagination.
- Fun Spot America is an amusement park with rides and more.
- iFly Orlando is for all those who dream of skydiving…indoors!
- Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! is a collection of unique and unusual exhibits and hands-on interactive fun.
- Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf is a pirate-themed mini-golf park that offers non-stop fun for all.
- Top Golf Orlando is the place where everyone can play golf, even if no one plays golf.
Where To Eat On I-Drive
- Ole Red – located in Icon Park, and inspired by Blake Shelton’s song of the same title, serving sandwiches, burgers and BBQ.
- Tapa Toro Tapas Bar & Paella Pit is contemporary, Spanish cuisine coupled with a vibrant atmosphere.
- Tin Roof is an elevated burger joint that has something for every type of taste.
- Yard House is one of those restaurants that is just easy because they always offer everyone’s favorite. They have an eclectic selection of apps, burgers, sandwiches and entrees.
How to Get to Universal’s Endless Summer Resort
The resort is 16 miles from Orlando International Airport and 37 miles from Orlando/Sanford Airport. I suggest renting a car so you’ll have the flexibility to visit other area attractions.
However, an alternate form of transportation is Universal’s SuperStar Shuttle, which runs between the Orlando International Airport and the resort. There is a fee associated with the SuperStar Shuttle. For round trips, tickets are $39 for adults and $29 for children ages 3-9. One-way tickets are $23 for adults and $18 for children ages 3-9.
When you travel, it’s not just where you plan to visit, but where you stay. And Universal’s Endless Resort Dockside Inn and Suites is a great choice when you are planning your next visit to Orlando and Universal’s theme parks!