According to the latest TEA/AECOM report, US theme park attendance returned to the leisure scene with a bang in 2021. In the US, visitor numbers increased by 72% more than global figures.
If you’re one of the millions of theme-park-loving Americans planning a return to Universal Orlando this year, you’ll find no shortage of accommodation options available near this popular place.
The Endless Summer Resort stands out for its good value and family-friendly vibe. If you opt for a stay here, you’ve also got a choice between Dockside Inn and Suites and Surfside Inn and Suites.
Keep reading to discover the subtle differences between these popular options.
About Endless Summer Resort
Dockside Inn and Suites and its sister hotel Surfside Inn and Suites are part of the Endless Summer Resort in Orlando, the first Universal Orlando resort classified as a value offering.
Universal opened the Surfside Inn and Suites hotel on June 27, 2019, and followed up with the Dockside Inn and Suites on December 15, 2020, after an eight-month delay.
Surfside and Dockside Inn and Suites Location
Both these resorts are across the I-4 from the Universal Orlando Resort. They aren’t within easy walking distance of the theme parks.
Most guests at Surfside and Dockside Inn and Suites visit the nearby theme parks using the shuttle service. Universal also offers a free shuttle service from these hotels to the following places:
- Universal Studios
- Islands of Adventure
- City Walk
- Volcano Bay Water Park
Universal Shuttle Busses arrive every 15 minutes to transport guests from designated stops outside the hotels to the guest drop-off point outside the Universal parking garages. These shuttles run from an hour before early park admission starts until 2 am daily.
There is a direct shuttle to Volcano Bay from Endless Summer resort, and Universal runs a connector shuttle to Aquatica and SeaWorld Orlando twice daily.
The lines for these services can get long at peak times, so keep this in mind when planning your day. You must book your ride on the connector shuttle with a Vacation Planning Center.
Rooms at Dockside Inn and Surfside Inn
The Dockside and Surfside Inns offer similar room types with only a few minor differences, apart from being in different buildings.
Surfside Inn and Suites has 750 rooms in total, of which 390 are 6 -sleepers, while Dockside Inn and Suites has 2050 rooms, with 1113 two-bedroom suites.
Both resorts offer the following room types:
Standard rooms are 313 square feet in size and have a studio configuration. They have two queen beds and a bathroom with a stand-alone vanity.
A flat-screen TV, mini refrigerator, and Wi-Fi complete the amenities on offer in these rooms.
You can book adjacent rooms and access them via an interleading door if preferred.
The 440-square-foot two-bedroom suites can accommodate up to 6 guests, with two queen-size beds in one room, and one queen-size bed in the other.
Apart from two bedrooms, they have a two-compartment bathroom with a vanity area, a kitchenette, and a dining area. The suites feature two TVs, a mini fridge, and basic kitchen utensils.
When you book your standard room accommodation, you can choose a pool-view room. The suites offer an additional water-view option.
The rooms at Surfside and Dockside Inn are identical in all aspects apart from their interior design. Surfside Inn and Suites has a beachy, bright color scheme, while Dockside Inn and Suites features subdued, calming colors.
Overall, Dockside Inn and Suites has a sunset and sandy-colored theme, using warm, natural colors and driftwood accents.
At Surfside Inn and Suites, you will enjoy bright blues and white décor, with many strategically-placed surfboards. The bubble-shaped chandeliers are a charming highlight of the lobby.
Surfside vs Dockside Inn and Suites Prices
Room prices at Endless Summer Resort are the same according to their room type. At both resorts, a stay in the standard rooms will cost you $48 less than overnighting in the suites.
When choosing your room, it pays to remember the mini-kitchen does provide options for self-catering some of your meals, so you save on dining costs during your stay.
Amenities at Endless Summer Resort
While the main aim of your Surfside or Dockside Inn and Suites vacation is undoubtedly visiting the theme parks, both hotels offer some attractive amenities to enhance the comfort of your stay.
You will enjoy the following at Dockside Inn and Suites:
Dockside Inn and Suites offers quick, light meals for busy travelers and attractive refreshment options for lazy days relaxing alongside the pool.
- Pier 8 Market quick service cafeteria
- Wave Maker’s Pool Bar
- Oasis Beach Bar
- Sunset Lounge Lobby Bar
As Dockside Inn and Suites caters to more guests, it offers a few more amenities than Surfside does. This is what’s on offer when you stay at this resort:
- 2 Swimming pools
- Children’s splash pad and play area
- Fitness center
- Games room
Surfside Inn and Suites offers the following:
Surfside Inn and Suites offers fewer dining options than its sister hotel, but you’ll still find plenty to fuel your adventures here. These are the refreshment options available:
- Beach Break Café quick service food court
- Sand Bar poolside bar
If you decide to take a day off from theme park hopping, you can relax in comfort at Surfside Inn and Suites. Guests have access to the following amenities at this resort:
- 1 Surfboard-shaped swimming pool
- Games room
- Fitness center
Neither of these hotels offers free breakfast or table-service dining, but you can look forward to poolside fun and games at both of them. Hula-hoop contests and bingo are two of the most popular family activities offered.
The quick-service restaurants serve favorites like salads, pizzas, burgers, waffles, sandwiches, and chicken, while the pool bars serve smoothies, soft drinks, cocktails, and limited alcoholic drinks. The Sunset Lounge has a wide variety of alcoholic beverages.
Guests can’t use the amenities at other Universal resorts, but they can ‘hop’ between these sister resorts when it comes to recreation and dining options.
Both resorts offer covered parking facilities for guests, but you will have to pay per night for this service. They also feature Universal Studios Stores, laundry rooms, and Universal Vacation Planning Centers.
A General Overview of Dockside vs Surfside Inn and Suites
The size of these hotels is the most significant difference between the two. Those who prefer a quieter vibe with fewer crowds gravitate toward the smaller Surfside Inn and Suites.
Some guests find it harder to make their way around the larger resort, and you’ll need to walk a little further to get to the shared amenities from your room. Naturally, the queues for food are longer with more guests in attendance, too.
Dockside’s lobby and food court are much larger than Surfside’s, but it can still feel a little cramped during busy check-in.
Both of these hotels have a proportionately large number of six-sleeper rooms, so they accommodate more people in a smaller space. For this reason, you might encounter bigger crowds than you’re used to in a hotel environment.
Thanks to this, both hotels have a reputation for crowded elevators. Of the two, Surfside Inn and Suites offer a little more breathing room.
If you are traveling with small children, Dockside Inn and Suites children’s pool area is a huge drawcard, and most guests enjoy having an extra pool to laze around.
When it comes to dining, Pier 8 Market offers a few extra options when compared to the Beach Break Café, but it’s also a little more expensive.
Thanks to its location in the International Drive area, Endless Summer resort is within walking distance of many shops, restaurants, and Walgreens. Most guests find it a little easier to access these conveniences from Surfside Inn and Suites.
When you stay at one of these hotels, you don’t receive Express Pass benefits, but you do get the following Universal perks:
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Early Park Admission
- Complimentary transportation
- Room Charging Facility
- Merchandise Delivery to your hotel
Overall, both these value hotels offer a comfortable stay with none of the extravagances on offer at other Orlando resorts. That makes them ideal for theme park enthusiasts who will spend most of their time enjoying what this exciting area has to offer.
Make the Most of Your Stay in Orlando
As this Surfside versus Dockside Inn and Suites review reveals, there are only slight variations between these two value hotels.
While both Dockside Inn and Suites have an edge in different areas, both offer excellent access to the fun available at Universal Orlando.
Whichever you choose for your Orlando vacation, we can help you make the most of your trip. Browse our website and sign up for our newsletter to stay informed about tips and information to help you plan your vacation.