I was looking for a value hotel close to everything Orlando has to offer. Universal Orlando’s newest group of hotels, the Endless Summer Resort Inn and Suites, are a new, affordable option for families looking to go on a Universal-style vacation without breaking the bank. Comprised of two different sides, the resort is split into the Dockside and Surfside Inn and Suites buildings. Although the Surfside Inn and Suites side is currently closed due to Covid-19, I was recently able to take my family on a trip to the Endless Summer Dockside Inn and Suites. In this blog, I’ll be diving into a comprehensive review of all this resort has to offer and what I thought of the experience.
This brand new resort is SUPER affordable, and you get a great value, especially with the 2-bedroom suites. I personally feel that this style of room layout should be the new standard for family suites, and it’s a necessity for families bigger than 4. The pool area is impressive and definitely worthy of spending a nice, relaxing day in between action-packed days at the parks. Overall, you get a lot of bang for your buck. If you have some Potter fans in the family, the extra early hour in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is also super helpful. I would recommend the resort for a fun family Universal Vacation!
Rooms at Universal’s Endless Summer Resort
The resort offers two-room types-a standard one-room style and a two-bedroom suite. As a family of five, we usually have trouble fitting into a standard two-bedroom hotel room, and thus opted for the two-bedroom suite. This suite offering contains a room a bit larger than what you would find from the standard room with two queen beds and a TV, along with an extra room attached with another queen bed and TV. The room layout was ideal for a larger family like mine. More than anything, though, was the ability to have this larger room space without paying premium suite rates. The suite has the perfect amount of space for larger families and is a modern room design that solves a lot of problems for larger families like mine. I hope that newer value resorts can continue to follow this approach while maintaining similar affordability.
In terms of the standard room layout, it’s a standard two queen bed size room for a value resort. It is nothing incredibly special, but it’s clean and effective in terms of using space. This room type is extremely similar to a lot of the other theme park value resorts. Both room types share very similar beach-surf-themed aesthetics.
As for other elements of the room, the bathrooms are on par with other value resorts. The two-bedroom suite has two sinks and a mirror outside of the bathroom, a nice feature for a family suite (those with larger families understand the struggle). The standard room also has one sink with a mirror located outside the bathroom. Both rooms feature nice wood floors. With the two-bedroom suite, you’re also given a large dining table and a kitchen area equipped with shelves, a refrigerator, and a microwave. Even for a family of four, the extra space in the suite is super nice and worth considering the upgrade. Some resorts’ idea of a suite is meager, and although the Endless Summer’s isn’t enormous, it’s a good size that fits the name, especially for the price.
Resort Dining at Universal’s Endless Summer Resort
Dining at this resort follows a similar value-oriented approach. The main dining area, Pier 8 Market, has decent food for reasonable prices. With a good variety of offerings, the whole family should be able to find something they like and get a quick meal in. They even offer chicken alfredo pasta, which was my favorite menu item since I love all types of pasta. It’s good food that’s reasonably priced and perhaps a step above your average quick service options. The dining room area is spacious and straightforward. I’d recommend trying it out at least once on the trip. If you’re looking for more upscale dining opportunities at your resort, the Dockside Inn and Suites may not be for you, but it does the job as a family value resort well. CityWalk is just a quick bus ride away, which has many restaurants and dining when the resort food gets old.
Perhaps my family’s favorite element of the resort was the Starbucks in the lobby, which is definitely a great asset when looking to grab some breakfast and coffee before heading to the theme parks. Unfortunately, just about everyone staying at the resort usually has that same idea, so lines can get pretty long in the morning. I would plan accordingly. Unlike some resorts that claim “Starbucks Served Here” this location is in fact a full-fledged Starbucks with all the tasty offerings, one would expect.
Finally, the resort has two bars: the Sunset Lounge just to the left of the lobby, and the Oasis Beach (pool) Bar. Both offer solid cocktails and drafts. I particularly enjoyed the Oasis Beach Bar, conveniently next to the pool, providing a great way to unwind while the kids are playing in the pool. The bar has a cool, modern wooden aesthetic with great beach chair-style seating areas. I highly recommend the Bubba Tub, an $18 tub containing any two of the menu cocktails. A great value AND a fun presentation.
Pool and Amenities at Universal’s Endless Summer Resort
In my opinion, the pool area is the highlight of the resort. The pool is huge, and beach chairs and umbrellas surround the entire area. Drinks can be ordered right to your chairs, simple and fast. Although in the heart of Orlando, the pool deck has a couple of sand areas to complete the beach feel. A splash zone is also included as an added place for kids to play. The entire area has a great atmosphere and is a great place to spend time relaxing. This is especially important to contrast the hustle and bustle of the theme parks.
The Dockside Inn and Suites fitness center is actually a nice size, which was a pleasant surprise to me. It has everything you need for a full workout while also being spacious enough to have room to work. For fitness people who want to make sure they have a hotel gym good enough to actually do something, they’ll have no problem at the Dockside Inn and Suites.
The resort also has a smaller-sized game room if the kids have any extra energy after the theme parks and pool area.
As expected, there is also a Universal gift shop in the lobby with some unique Endless Summer merchandise.
Pros of Universal’s Endless Summer Resort
These are the personal pros that I’ve picked out after my stay:
- Pricing: This is the biggest reason to stay at the resort in my opinion. The resort is a modern, clean place to stay for a great price and close proximity to the parks. Room rates are typically lower than a lot of other resorts of similar styles, especially with certain Florida Resident deals.
- Two-bedroom suites: The suite option is a necessary upgrade for families of four or more. A nice increase in space without paying a premium. For my family of five, the suite was the ideal room size.
- Early Access to Harry Potter and Volcano Bay: Universal allows all guests staying at the Endless Summer Resorts to enter both Volcano Bay and Harry Potter World an hour early. For early risers looking to maximize their time in the parks, this is ideal. It lets guests get through super popular rides with little to no wait. I recommend utilizing this bonus for at least one day of the trip.
- Transportation to the Parks: Although the Endless Summer Resorts are outside walking distance to the theme parks, Universal has reliable bus transportation to and from the parks. I was impressed with the number of buses and the speed of the entire process. Those that have stayed at the Disney Resorts know that the buses there can take 15-30 to arrive, but the bus transportation here was within 2 minutes every time, sometimes with buses lined up to bring guests to and fro during busier times. In total, the journey takes about 15-20 minutes from getting to the hotel bus stop to stepping foot in Universal and vice versa.
Cons of Universal’s Endless Summer Resort
These are some cons about the resort:
- Thin walls: The walls between the hotel rooms are extremely thin, to the point where you can almost hear people’s normal speaking voices from the rooms on either side of you. This was pretty jarring and it makes it more difficult for people that want to sleep in or want some peace and quiet.
- Bedding: You get what you pay for from value-resort bedding, and the Dockside Inn and Suites are no exception. As someone who prefers larger comforters and blankets, I was a little uncomfortable at night. The comforter is super thin and almost like a sheet. If you’re like me, I’d bring a few extra blankets.
- Building design: I know it’s a value resort, but the buildings are very cookie-cutter and pretty boring. Just a minor complaint from someone who appreciates all the little details.
At the end of the day, the Endless Summer Dockside Inn and Suites is a good choice for a value resort. That being said, it is a value resort experience. To put things into perspective, I would equate the resort to the Art of Animation in Walt Disney World, but a little more modern and mature in terms of aesthetics. For larger families that want the full Universal experience and can’t afford some of the fancier options, this resort is a perfect solution. As I said previously, the suite room size is fantastic and comfortable compared to other value resorts. The beach vibe aesthetic is executed well, and the resort overall looks nice. The decor of the whole resort is very fitting and is a step above your average non-themed resort in my opinion. My whole family had a great time, and we spent a lot of time experiencing everything the hotel had to offer. Modern, clean, and simple, the Endless Summer Resort should definitely be on your radar next time you’re looking for a hotel in Orlando.
The Endless Summer Resorts are not only right next to Universal, but also next to the Orlando Convention Center, making them great choices when looking for affordable family hotels with great theming. If you’re attending a convention and are in need of any assistance with a trade show booth, check out Everything Tradeshows! The one-stop-shop for all things trade show design and installation.
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