Planning a trip to Universal Orlando Resort? Looking for a budget friendly hotel in Orlando? We have the perfect place for you!
Check out our review of Endless Summer Resort: Dockside Inn and Suites. This Universal property has the price of a budget friendly hotel, but the feel and benefits of a higher end resort.
Between the Universal theme park benefits, the two-bedroom suites, the massive pools, and so much more, you will get your money’s worth.
When booking at the Endless Summer Resort, you’re getting convenience on so many levels, and we’re going to break those down for you in this Universal Orlando hotel review.
Alrighty, no need to make y’all wait any longer. Let’s get started with the number one reason you should stay at the Universal property of Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites!
One of the best benefits of staying at an Universal Orlando Resort hotel is the early admission into the park.
This is especially beneficial when visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, as you get access an hour before all other park guests.
Now, I will say, please check ahead of time to see which of the Universal parks are offering the early hour admission, as it does change.
Once you know which park is offering the early admission, you can better plan your days at the park.
What do you get with the early admission? For one hour, the hotel guests of Universal have the option to enjoy the parks before they officially open.
Depending on which park is offering the early hour, will determine which rides are open for that early access.
An example: If Universal’s Islands of Adventure is the early admission park, you can ride Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, and others BEFORE the park actually opens.
Be sure to double check the schedule to see the dates of the early access and which rides will be open for that hour.
Another perk to getting the extra hour is being able to take photos without the crowds. There are so many incredible details around the parks.
It’s nice to get some shots of the family without thousands of people in the background. (See below. An hour later and this alley was PACKED.)
One last perk of the early admission at Universal is that you can eat at some of the sit-down restaurants without waiting in line.
(We recommend trying the traditional English breakfast at The Leaky Cauldron or Three Broomsticks.)
Free Transportation to the Universal Parks
Transportation to and from the parks from the hotel was THE best perk. It was so nice to be able to walk right outside the lobby and hop on a bus to the parks.
The buses ran every 15 minutes or so, but we rarely had a wait. As soon as one bus was leaving, it seemed another was pulling in right after it.
There are two bus lines. One for Volcano Bay and one for the other parks. We didn’t go to Volcano Bay, so I can’t speak about that bus.
However, the bus that takes you to the parks, literally drops you off right at the escalators to CityWalk. From there, you go through security, enter CityWalk, and then go to whichever park you want to visit.
When you’re ready to return to the hotel, you wait at the same place it dropped you off.
We were impressed with the timing and convenience of the bus and feel this is an amazing perk when booking a stay at Universal’s Endless Summer Resort.
There’s not a lot to say about location, but I wanted to touch on a few points. One, it’s part of the Universal Orlando Resort, so it’s minutes away from the parks.
After eating (a lot) at the CityWalk, we decided to walk back to the hotel rather than ride the bus. It was an easy mile walk.
Two, it’s a less than 30 minute ride from the airport. We took an Uber and then relied on Universal’s busses from there.
Three, and this is more of a helpful hint than anything else. There’s a Walgreens within a ten minute walk. We walked here to get bottled waters for the room and parks.
There are restaurants nearby as well, but we just ate in the hotel at the Pier 8 Market. (More on that later.)
Overall, you never have to leave the hotel, but if you want, it is walkable to places.
Now for the good stuff! The rooms at the resort. What I love about the Endless Summer Resort: Dockside Inn and Suites is that over half the rooms are two-bedroom suites!
After spending hours together at the parks, it is nice to come back to the room and have a little separation.
This is especially true when you have teenagers or adult children. Who am I kidding?! It’s true if you have kids of any age! A little break from each other isn’t a bad thing.
Anyway, back to the room. We stayed in a two-bedroom suite with a pool view, so this review will be based on that room.
Here’s a video tour of the two-bedroom suite at Endless Summer Resort – Dockside.
One of the best things I love about the rooms here is how bright and airy they are. They’re not dark and stuffy at all.
They’re very beachy, open, high ceilings, and clean. Oh! And no carpet. I love hotels who are moving to floors that can be better cleaned.
The main room has two queen beds, and the separate bedroom has a single queen bed. Each room has their own TV.
The two-bedroom suite comes with a kitchenette with a microwave, mini-fridge, and a cute picnic-style dining table.
Something I like about this room is that the bathroom sink is separate from the toilet/shower area. That way, if someone is showering, others can still use the sink and mirror to get ready. (It’s the little things…)
For the best part of the room, the view. From this room, we had a killer view of the pool. My favorite time to look down at the pool was at night.
You can also see the volcano from Volcano Bay and other attractions from the parks.
Overall, A+ for the room. We were impressed.
Endless Summer Resort Dockside Pools
Bottomline, THE best feature the pools at Endless Summer Resort offers is that they have lifeguards. We travel a good bit, and I rarely see hotel pools with lifeguards.
Endless Summer Resort – Dockside has THREE lifeguards…per pool.
Needless to say, I was so impressed by this.
There are two pools, one per tower, and they’re both massive. Another perk about these pools is that they had a ton of seating!
So many hotel pools lack on seating, so you’re left leaving your stuff in a pile somewhere. Not here. They had so many chairs.
Oh! A cool feature I almost forgot to mention is the beach area! Both pools have sections of the chairs that are situated in the sand, so you feel like you’re at a beach.
If you have little ones that you don’t want in the pool they have a cute little splash pad area where they can still get wet without having to get into the pool.
Both pools have a bar to grab non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks.
We spent time at the pool both during the day and night, and my favorite time to be there was at night. It was the perfect way to end the day.
HELPFUL HINT: No need to haul your towels from the room to the pool. They have beach towels available at the pool!
Pier 8 Market
Pier 8 Market is a cafeteria style dining hall that offers a variety of food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
They have everything from locally made ice cream, pizza, burgers, sandwiches, etc.
Their special? The $24 chicken ‘n’ waffles for four. Y’all. I LOVE me some chicken ‘n’ waffles, so I knew we had to try it. (Swipe below to see the meal.)
For $24 you get eight pieces of bone-in chicken, a whole waffle, and two sides. The mac and cheese is crazy good. We saw someone come by and order a large bowl of just mac and cheese.
I do wish you got more waffles with the meal, because the waffle is really good and a quarter of one is just a tease! I suggest ordering an extra one…you will not be disappointed.
My favorite thing in Pier 8 Market is the smoothie vending machine. I made myself a strawberry banana smoothie and it was so good! It’s also made with all-natural ingredients.
This area can get rather busy, but thankfully they incorporated a ton of seating. Plus, you can easily carry your food to the pool or your room.
Having this cafeteria is nice, because like I mentioned earlier, you never have to leave the hotel if you don’t want to.
You might be wondering why an entire section is just on the lobby, but the lobby is HUGE and offers more amenities.
First off, there’s a Starbucks located directly across the check-in counter. It’s a pretty large Starbucks and there was always a line.
It seemed to go by quickly, but morning, afternoon, and evening, there was a line.
There is also a bar that serves cocktails and beer.
Besides the drink places, there’s also a gift shop/Universal store located within the lobby.
Near the check-in counter is the Universal Orlando Vacation Planning Center.
We were able to pick up our tickets and express passes from here rather than do it at the gates the following day.
Overall, the lobby is huge, open, and inviting. There are a lot of seats throughout.
On-Site Car Rental
Yeah, this is pretty much self-explanatory, but thought I’d share incase you were on the fence about whether to rent a car or not.
If you don’t need a car for the entire stay, you can save money by renting a car for the day.
It’s easy to do when the car rental is located right inside the lobby.
When I was taking this photo, I overheard someone renting a car. They were telling the agent that they’ve never seen the ocean, so they were going to rent a car to do just that.
Price of Endless Summer Resort – Dockside
We’ve went over all the perks, benefits, and highlights of this budget- friendly Universal hotel, but we haven’t actually talked about price.
This is where everything ties in together.
After the early park admission benefit, free park transportation, the resort like pools, multiple dining options, etc., the price of staying here is unbelievably fair.
Obviously, when staying during peak times, the prices can fluctuate, but I just randomly put in a future date, three months from now, and the prices ranged from $87 (standard room) a night to $147 (two bedroom suite with pool view).
I’d say that’s an amazing deal! Definitely an incredible value!
Review of Endless Summer Resort – Dockside
Bottomline, if you want the benefits of staying at an Universal Orlando property, but don’t want to pay top dollar, look into Endless Summer Resort.
This way you get the best of both worlds. The ease of staying on property and the budget that allows you to either save money or buy more butterbeers.
We hope this Endless Summer Resort hotel review is helpful and that now you’re ready to book your own stay!
Thank you Universal Orlando Hotels for hosting our family during our visit to Universal Orlando Resort!
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