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Inside Universal's Endless Summer Resort — Dockside Inn and Suites, the newest and most affordable hotel at Universal Orlando

Oct. 13, 2023
13 min read
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  • Universal's Endless Summer Resort — Dockside Inn and Suites is the newest hotel at Universal Orlando, having opened in 2020.
  • While it is the farthest away from the theme park's front gates, it is also the most affordable.
  • Two-bedroom suites that can sleep up to six guests start under $200 per night and include bus transportation to the parks and early entry every day.

If you wanted to book a two-bedroom hotel suite at an Orlando theme park like Disney World, you typically wouldn't be wrong to assume it is usually a pretty expensive type of lodging. But while it certainly shares many commonalities with its mouse-themed rival, Universal Orlando Resort is also distinctly different from Disney in many important ways.

Like Disney, Universal Orlando's resort hotels are generally categorized by budget, with tiered amenities and materials to match. However, unlike at Disney, the most affordable tier of resorts at Universal Orlando has some real advantages over the more expensive tiers, especially regarding a wider variety of budget-friendly room layout options.

A few years ago, I stayed in the family suite at Universal's Aventura Hotel, but this time, I needed a two-bedroom suite with three real beds while sticking to a pretty tight budget. If you're only used to Disney resort prices, you're aware that what I just described is next to impossible to find. That's not the case with Universal Orlando, though.

Believe it or not, I was able to book a two-bedroom suite at Universal's Endless Summer Resort — Dockside Inn and Suites for a busy September weekend during Halloween Horror Nights for just $237 per night. And that was a pricier night — on less busy nights, rates often fall below $200 a night.

What is Universal's Endless Summer Resort — Dockside Inn and Suites?


The name is admittedly a mouthful, but as long as you remember the Dockside part, you'll be in good shape.

That's because Universal Orlando is also home to Universal's Endless Summer Resort — Surfside Inn and Suites, and the two hotels are very similar in price, theme and amenities while being distinctly separate properties.

Universal's Endless Summer Resort — Dockside Inn and Suites is technically the newer of the two resorts, having opened in late 2020. This makes it the newest hotel at Universal Orlando.

The Dockside property is in Universal Orlando's value tier of resorts, which is the least expensive of the four tiers.

All of the resort's hotels share some similar perks and amenities, such as accessing a Univeral Orlando theme park an hour early each day, which can be a huge benefit, especially if you aren't getting an Express Pass or want to ride an attraction unavailable with Express Pass. However, only the premier hotels come with an included Express Pass, which is important to factor in if you plan to splurge on that add-on.

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Like several other Universal Orlando properties, this hotel falls under the Loews umbrella of hotels. It's a sizable hotel, with 2,050 guest rooms spread across two towers that each have a pool and sit on either side of the lobby. Notably, over half of the guest rooms are two-bedroom suites that can sleep up to six guests.

Related: These are the best hotels at Universal Orlando

Standout features

  • Price is the major draw, with two-bedroom suites bookable for less than $200 a night on off-peak dates, something that's unheard of at nearby Disney World.
  • You get one-hour early access to one of the Universal theme parks each day, meaning you can visit the popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter area before most visitors.
  • This newer resort isn't the most luxurious at Universal, but it is well appointed for modern life; families can charge all devices overnight without battling over limited outlets.
  • The resort is designed for easy, affordable fun, with a large quick-service food market that is simple to get in and out of and stays open much of the day, plus frequent bus service to the parks and two large pools.

How much does Universal's Endless Summer Resort — Dockside Inn and Suites cost?


In addition to offering a range of suites that sleep up to six guests, the price is the headline of this value resort.

While price naturally varies by date, a standard room at Universal's Endless Summer Resort — Dockside Inn and Suites starts at around $120 per night, and a two-bedroom suite costs as little as about $180 per night. Even when prices head north of $300 a night during peak travel times, it will almost always be the least expensive hotel at Universal Orlando. This is the case even when you factor in extra fees of $15 per adult for having more than two adults in a room and $15 per day for self-parking.

If you book a stay at the Dockside property and don't want to spend cash, know that you can reserve your room via travel portals like the one from Chase Ultimate Rewards. By booking your stay through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, you'll get a value of up to 1.5 cents per point if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve as I do. You'll also likely find the property — and other Universal Orlando hotels — bookable using points from Bilt Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards and many other credit card points programs.

Related: The best credit cards for Universal vacations

Inside the 2-bedroom suite at Universal's Endless Summer Resort — Dockside Inn and Suites


For our stay at Dockside, we were assigned a 440-square-foot, two-bedroom suite on the eighth floor of Tower 1. We arrived a bit late in the evening, well after the 3 p.m. check-in time, so there was no line or delay in getting our room. However, in the mid-morning and around the check-in time, we did see a significantly longer line.

When you check in, you'll receive a personalized key for each guest in your group with their name on it. These keys make it easy to charge items to your room. They're also your way of gaining early entry to Universal's parks.

Should you reserve a two-bedroom suite like we did, you'll notice a main living and sleeping space when you first enter. This is where you will find the picnic-style table with two chairs and a bench, plus a minifridge, a microwave, two queen-size beds and a bathroom. There are also a TV and some drawers for your things, along with numerous thoughtful hooks throughout for storing items off the ground.

The compact bathroom has a bathtub and a toilet, and there is a double vanity located in the main area of the suite. While there are some towel hooks, there are no shelves or places to store items other than on the toilet tank (or the floor). Adding one small shelf and a few more hooks above the toilet would go a long way in making this space more usable.

Next to the bathroom's vanity area is the second sleeping area, which has a door to separate it from the rest of the space.

Inside the second room, you'll find another queen-size bed and an additional TV. It's admittedly a cozy space, but it could easily be considered the best sleeping space in the suite, as it is truly private.


As a value resort, it shouldn't be too surprising to learn that the materials, fabrics and amenities in the rooms are basic. The towels are not plush, and the bed linens are standard sheets with one top layer that is a little thicker than the fitted sheet, but not by much. The pillows are also thin, making them less than ideal for those who prefer fluffy pillows.

On the plus side, the air conditioning worked well during our stay, though we refrained from cranking it down too much due to the lack of thick bedding.


Overall, my sister, my 13-year-old and I found the room to be perfectly laid out for our needs for the weekend. While the room did feel a bit basic and lacked adequate soundproofing from noise in the hallway, it was totally sufficient for sleeping, bathing, recharging our devices and getting back to the theme parks. You get what you pay for, which I didn't mind since I was eager to spend as little as possible during our visit.

Related: The 10 best Orlando hotels for large families

Universal's Endless Summer Resort — Dockside Inn and Suites pools and amenities


There are two large pools at the Dockside hotel. Each tower has its own pool, but you're welcome to use either option, regardless of which tower you stay in.

Both pools open at 9 a.m. every day and look nearly identical, though we only spent time at the one near our tower.

The pool at Tower 1 is large and has plenty of chairs, including some sitting in sand. There are a splash pad and a poolside bar that can also whip up smoothies. While lifeguards and life jackets are available, there isn't a lazy river like you'll find at Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort, nor is there a waterslide or fire pits like those at Lowes Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando.

In addition to the two pools at Dockside, you'll find a modern arcade (credits are purchased at a machine) that opens at 8 a.m. and is home to what the hotel claims is the world's largest Pac-Man machine.

Dockside also has a decent on-site fitness center, a Universal Orlando gift shop and a Universal ticket planning desk, along with complimentary bus transportation to the parks that picks up and drops off right in front of the hotel.

Related: Splash into fun: The 14 best hotel pools in Orlando

Universal's Endless Summer Resort — Dockside Inn and Suites restaurants


As a value resort, Universal's Endless Summer Resort — Dockside Inn and Suites doesn't have any full-service restaurants on-site. If you prefer a traditional sit-down experience, you'll need to stay at one of Universal's higher-tier hotels, such as Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando or Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando.

Should you wish to stick to on-site options, you can grab a bite to eat at Dockside's Pier 8 Market, a food court-style venue that serves a wide variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner options. It opens at 7 a.m. and stays open until as late as 2 a.m. on weekends.

Every morning, you'll find options such as a made-to-order bowl where you can choose your meats and veggies and relay how you want your eggs cooked, plus chicken and waffles, biscuits and gravy, breakfast quesadillas and various pastries. I went for fried eggs with onions and bell peppers and it was quite good, so I'd certainly order it again next time. No matter what you choose, you can expect to pay $8 to $12 per entree.

Later in the day, the menu in Pier 8 shifts to feature options such as hamburgers, pizza, tacos, a salad bar, sandwiches and more. There are both hot items and grab-and-go sections, including one that only stocks gluten-free items.

Additionally, there's a Starbucks in the lobby (though without mobile ordering, so the lines get long). This area is also home to the Sunset Lounge, where there's a $7 cocktail of the day that rotates throughout the week. You'll find classic libations like margaritas, palomas and rum punch as well.


You can also order pizza and some other Pier 8 items via room service, which is a fantastic option when your kids are sleeping or you are beyond done for the day.

Related: Best restaurants at Universal Orlando Resort

Why Universal's Endless Summer Resort — Dockside Inn and Suites may not be right for you

  • This is a value resort, not only in terms of price but in terms of quality of amenities and materials. There's only bar soap, the bedding is thin, there's no sit-down restaurant or waterslides and lines for checking in can be long. I certainly feel like we got our money's worth, but come in with value-level expectations or book your stay elsewhere if you want a more elevated experience.
  • Dockside is a big, busy resort. It has more than 2,000 rooms, and over half of those can hold up to six people, so the lobby was almost always bustling from early in the morning until late at night. It's full of excited, busy families and friend groups ready for theme park fun, so don't come here expecting peace and solitude.
  • Of all the Universal Orlando hotels, this one is the farthest from the parks, so while we found the free bus transportation to be quite efficient, if you want to be within walking distance of (or a short boat ride away from) the theme parks, pick a different resort.



Universal's Endless Summer Resort — Dockside Inn and Suites makes clearly labeled hearing- and mobility-accessible rooms available for booking online. Each of these rooms has features such as a handheld shower wand, a toilet with grab bars, doors with 32-inch-wide openings and beds that are 24 inches off the ground.

Additionally, the pools have lifts, and most of the amenities are all on the ground level, which is predominantly flat without any steps or even ramps required.

Checking out


If an affordable two-bedroom suite that's close to all the fun is important for your next Orlando-area theme park trip, then Universal's Endless Summer Resort — Dockside Inn and Suites is a refreshing choice. It's not fancy by any means, and there were admittedly times when I wished a few of the things in the room were of slightly higher quality, but for the reasonable per-night price of $237, I was perfectly content with my choice.

When I want a thoughtful lodging choice at Universal Orlando that won't break the bank, there's no doubt that I will return here again.

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Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.