Dockside Inn and Suites Review
If you’re reading this Dockside Inn and Suites Review, you likely want to know if this inexpensive Universal hotel is worth it. The answer? Maybe! Dockside Inn and Suites is half of Universal’s Endless Summer Resort. The other half is Surfside, which has a few differences but is pretty similar overall.
In this review, I will share room photos, amenities information, and the pros and cons of Dockside Inn and Suites. I should start by saying that we have stayed in all of the Universal hotels, and which Universal hotel is best entirely depends on you!
The biggest takeaway of Dockside Inn and Suites is that it’s genuinely a value resort. At Disney, even “value” resorts can be pricey, but at Universal, Endless Summer Dockside and Surfside start at less than $100/night!
If you have a family of 5 or 6, Endless Summer is the best value because the 2-bedroom suites are very affordable.
You’ll definitely need a rental car if you’re flying into Orlando. I recommend renting a car from Discount USA Car Rental. Whenever I need to rent a car, I use Discount USA Car Rental, whether I fly into MCO, SFB, or even Tampa. They have the best prices, and you don’t have to pay until you pick it up!
Let’s start with some common questions about Dockside Inn and Suites.
How much does it cost to stay at Dockside Inn and Suites?
Pricing at Endless Summer Dockside starts at just $79/per night. Pricing for the 2-bedroom suites begins at just $89/per night. Of course, you will pay more depending on when you visit, but Endless Summer is by far Universal’s cheapest hotel. Universal has four hotel categories: value, prime value, moderate, and premier.
Value: Endless Summer: Dockside Inn and Suites and Surfside Inn and Suites are value resorts. No frills, but great prices.
Prime Value: Aventura Hotel and Cabana Bay Beach Resort are prime value resorts. While they are still affordable, they offer more amenities than Endless Summer. Check out Cabana Bay vs Aventura Resort to learn more.
Moderate: Loews Sapphire Falls is Universal’s only “moderate” resort. Sapphire Falls has more amenities, a nicer restaurant, access to the water taxi system, and closer proximity to the park. What sets it apart from premier resorts? Express Passes.
Premier: Universal Premier resorts, Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Portofino Bay, and Loews Royal Pacific offer the best of the best with nicer restaurants (and more of them), more amenities, larger rooms, more comfortable beds, and even include free Express Passes for your entire party.
Is Dockside Inn and Suites walking distance from Universal?
Although you can technically walk from Endless Summer Dockside to Universal, you probably won’t, especially if you have kids! Unlike the other Universal resorts, Endless Summer is not easily accessible from the parks.
Of course, the Universal bus system runs all day. I found that sometimes you had to wait, but it typically wasn’t for too long since there are always more buses on the way. This is one of the most significant downsides as I really prefer to walk to/from the resorts or take a water taxi.
Want to learn more about Universal hotels? Check out A Guide to Universal Orlando Hotels for everything you need to know and more!
Do you get early park admission when staying at Dockside?
Yes! You get early park admission when staying at any Universal Orlando hotel, including Dockside Inn and Suites. Early Park Admission is great if you want to check out the Wizarding World of Harry Potter before the crowds. Make sure to check out First Timer Tips for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for even more tips.
Do you get an Express Pass when staying at Dockside?
Unfortunately, no. Express Passes are only available when staying at:
You can purchase Express Passes separately, but it almost always ends up being a better deal to stay at a Premier resort where Express Passes are included. If you’re traveling during a busy time (holidays, summer, spring break), an Express Pass could be a must, so make sure to consider that when choosing a hotel.
The pools at Endless Summer Dockside
For our family, the biggest downside to Endless Summer are the pools. Universal has some fantastic pools. We particularly love Hard Rock, Loews Portofino Bay, and Loews Sapphire Falls. Cabana Bay also has incredible pools, but they’re always very busy. However, if you’re on a tight budget, Cabana Bay is only slightly more than Dockside and offers a lot more.
The pools at Dockside Inn and Suites are not impressive. We have stayed on both sides of the resorts and swam in both pools. They are basic with no extras such as slides, water features, or anything extra. At some of the mid-range-premier hotels, you’ll also find pool activities that you will not find at Dockside.
They are large pools with zero-entry, sand, and plenty of chairs, so they are certainly not bad pools, just not as unique as some of the other Universal hotel pools.
I also noticed that the service at Dockside is pretty lacking compared to the other resorts. If you want anything from the bar, you’re probably going to have to walk over and get it yourself. At most of the other resorts, you’ll have someone coming to check on you frequently. There is also no food service at Dockside.
**Universal says that Dockside has pool activities, but I didn’t see any either time I was there, and we were at the pool mid-day both times. At the other resorts, this is when the activities happen. I’m not sure they may exist but be less frequent than the other hotels.
The size of Endless Summer Dockside Inn and Suites
Dockside Inn and Suites is a huge hotel. I have the same complaint that I have regarding Cabana Bay; you can spend a lot of time walking! If you want to avoid this, request a room closer to the lobby. Just keep in mind that it might be louder.
If you’re about to get the same room at Surfside for the same price, Surfside is smaller, and while it only has one pool, everything is a bit less of a walk.
The rooms at Endless Summer Dockside Inn and Suites
I have not stayed in a standard room at Endless Summer Dockside Inn and Suites, and I wouldn’t. Dockside has 2050 rooms, and 1059 are 2-bedroom family suites. So if you’re going to stay here, you might as well stay in a family suite! That is what we’ve done – twice—the first time, I was invited on a FAM to visit the resort as a Travel Agent.
Here is a video from that trip. Although I didn’t love it and said I wouldn’t come back, I did come back a year later to try it again.
2-bedroom suite at Endless Summer Dockside
Here are some photos from our recent visit to Endless Summer Dockside. As you can see, there are two bedrooms but that is really it. There is no living/seating area unlike what you’ll find in the family suites at Cabana Bay, so that can be a downside depending on how much time you plan to spend in the room.
The biggest plus to this 2-bedroom suite is, of course, 3 beds which comfortably sleep 6. When you walk into the room you will immediately see two double beds.
One positive, at least for me, is the theming. I love a beach/surf theme so the theme of these rooms is right up my alley. The beds are not as comfortable as the beds at the more expensive resorts but they are decent. This room also has a large TV.
The drawers are great for storage. I was traveling by myself with three kids, so I had each kid pick a drawer to put their stuff in. I also love the art about the drawers.
There is also a surfboard and full-length mirror just to the left after you walk in. Sorry I didn’t get a photo but you can see both in the video.
To your right, you’ll see the “kitchen” dining area. The refrigerators at Universal are not truly refrigerators but “beverage coolers.” This is okay for us because we will run to the local Sprouts daily for snacks but keep in mind if you need to store anything long term.
There is also a microwave which you’ll only find in these rooms, and Cabana Bay family suites. They are available at Premier resorts but subject to availability and a $15/day fee.
The sink is a nice touch and the shelving above is a great place to store water (the water in Orlando is disgusting) and dry snacks.
Here is a better look at the table, which seats 5-6. Keep in mind that this is your only seating in the room as there is no living/seating area. Regardless, it’s nice to have a table for the kids to eat if you choose to have any meals in room. We always have breakfast and occasionally dinner in the room.
The sink area is outside of the bathroom itself, but has two sinks and plenty of storage underneath.
If a bathtub is important to you, you’ll love that the 2-bedroom family suite does have a bathtub/shower combo.
The separate bedroom is also a double, however, it has its own closet (shown in the video above) as well as a TV and a door that shuts. If you want to watch TV after the kids go to bed, this is a nice bonus!
In my opinion, the second, separate bedroom is really the biggest benefit of staying at Dockside other than the price. In any of the other resorts, you’ll have to pay a lot more for a second bedroom! For example, Loews Sapphire Falls has a kid suite with a separate bedroom but it costs a lot more! That said, it’s a king bed and more comfortable.
Amenities at Endless Summer Dockside
Now that we have discussed the rooms at Endless Summer Dockside, let’s talk about the amenities of the hotel. You already know that you get the perks of staying at a Universal hotel (early park admssion, free transporatnion) but what else do you get?
Endless Summer Resort Dockside offers a Starbucks in the lobby, there is also a food court and lobby bar. You’ll also find a game room, fitness center, and of course, the two pools. I have already mentioned that the pool is nothing special, but it’s worth mentioning again because Universal really has some incredible pools.
As with all of the other Universal hotels, Endless Summer: Dockside has luggage services, a place to buy/pick up tickets, and a Universal gift shop.
If you’d like to see a tour of Endless Summer Dockside, check out my YouTube video resort tour.
Pros and cons of Endless Summer Dockside
- Price, you just can’t beat it.
- A large number of 2-bedroom suites are available. If you need space, you can get it here.
- You still get early park admission at Universal Orlando Resort
- The resort is large and not particularly easy to get around
- You’ll have to take the bus. The wait times can get long.
- I would prefer a sleeper sofa, like the Family Suites at Cabana Bay, vs (3) double beds
- The pool is nothing special
Dockside Inn and Suites Review
Thank you for checking out this Dockside Inn and Suites Review! I hope it helped.
So, do I recommend Dockside Inn and Suites? Only if you’re on a very strict budget. If you need more space, the family suites at Cabana Bay also sleep 6 and are not that much more expensive.
I think you can stay at Dockside Inn and Suites and have a good experience, I just think you’ll have a better experience at one of the other Universal hotels!
I hope this Endless Summer Dockside Inn and Suites review helps you figure out if this hotel is right for you. Let me know in the comments which Universal hotel you’d like to stay at! I’ve stayed in all of the Universal hotels and I love Hard Rock Hotel, Sapphire Falls, and Aventura all for different reasons.
If you’re still planning your Universal Orlando vacation, I highly recommend buying your tickets through Undercover Tourist! There are many scammy sites, so make sure you’re booking through an approved partner (like Undercover Tourist.)
Check out the links below for the prices of all of the Universal hotels during your dates:
- Hard Rock Hotel
- Loews Portofino Bay
- Loews Royal Pacific
- Aventura Hotel
- Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
- Cabana Bay Beach Resort
- Universal Endless Summer Resorts – Dockside Inn and Suites and Surfside Inn and Suites.
We also have a post about Marriott Cypress Harbour Villas Review near Universal and Disney if your family needs a larger place to stay. I also have tours for every single Universal resort on YouTube.
Planning an Orlando vacation?
If you’re planning an Orlando vacation, make sure to check out more theme park tips and tricks:
- 25 Free Things at Disney World
- 15 Amazing Volcano Bay Tips
- How to eat vegan at Universal Orlando
- The 20 Best Beaches near Orlando for Families
- Star Wars Land vs. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- Where to find Dole Whip at Disney World
- 7 things to know about the Disney Skyliner
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