Dockside Inn & Suites vs Surfside Inn and Suites at Universal’s Endless Summer Resort
First, we should start out by saying that Surfside Inn and Suites and the Dockside Inn and Suites make up the first Universal Orlando Value level Resort. A stay at the Endless Summer Resort at Universal Orlando offers you two similar yet very distinct options. The Surfside Inn and Suites was the first to open on June 27, 2019, followed by the Dockside Inn and Suites on March 17th, 2021.
Let’s start with the location of the Surfside Inn and Suites and the Dockside Inn and Suites in relation to each other and to the Universal Theme Parks and Water Park.
Looking at the map, the first thing you might notice is, that Surfside and Dockside Inn and Suites are not on the same side of Interstate-4 as Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay. For most guests staying at the Endless Summer Resort, the savings alone is worth this small separation from the parks. While you might not be interested in walking from the Dockside or Surfside to the parks or City Walk, the transportation provided takes care of the distance.
Universal Dockside vs Surfside Transportation
Interstate-4 creates a separation from the other Universal Resorts. This being the case, the Endless Summer Universal Value Resort is cut off from the water taxi system provided to some of the Resorts in Universal Orlando. Universal does include free Shuttle Bus transportation from these two Value Resorts to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, City Walk, and Volcano Bay Water Park.
Overal Appearance and Design
Colors and design set the tone for any vacation and you will find a difference in the color schemes used at the Dockside and Surfside Inn and Suites Resorts. The Surfside and Dockside Inn and Suites both have a beach-vibe to them however the tones at the Surfside lean more towards the beach setting during the day and the Dockside offers additional tones that might feel like Sunrise or Sunset at the Beach. Either way, the Endless Summer Resort has a wonderful feel and is very pleasing to the eye.
Rooms and Suites
The Rooms and Suites at both the Surfside Inn & Suites and the Dockside Inn & Suites offer the same amount of space and accommodate the same number of guests.
Take for example, the Surfside Inn Standard Rooms have 313 Square Feet of space and have 2 queen beds able to sleep 4 guests.
You will find the exact same configuration at the Dockside Inn Standard Rooms. Even though the size and configuration of the rooms are identical, the theme changes depending on which resort you select.
For added space, it might be worth considering either the 2 Bedroom Suite at the Surfside Inn
or the 2 Bedroom Suite at the Dockside Inn. Both of these suites have an additional bedroom for privacy and sleep up to 6 guests. Each of the 2 Bedroom Suites also come with a small kitchenette area with picnic table, small refrigerator, sink, counter and coffee maker.
If you are vacationing with more than 4 people, it just makes sense to book one of the two-bedroom suites to meet your needs. For some, even if you have more than 2 in your family, spending a little more to have some extra privacy is well worth the difference in cost. If you think about all of the time you are spending with your family during the day, having that break each night can make a huge difference in your stay.
Which is Larger, Dockside or Surfside?
When you look at the number of rooms available, you can definitely see a difference between the Surfside and Dockside Inn at the Endless Summer Resort. The Surfside Inn and Suites offers a total of 750 rooms of which 390 are two-bedroom suites. At the Dockside Inn and Suites, however, there are a whopping 2,050 guest rooms and 1,113 of these are two-bedroom suites.
Because of the sheer size difference, the Dockside Inn has 2 resort size pools and the Surfside Inn has 1 large pool.
It might also be worth looking at the size from a different perspective. Since the Dockside Inn & Suites is so much larger, the amount of walking might increase depending on where you are staying in the resort.
If the views are important when you stay at one of the Universal Resorts, it is worth paying attention to the room view when you book your stay at the Dockside and Surfside Inn. Some will want a view of the pool while others would rather save some money and are fine with looking at the parking lot. Each of the Endless Summer Resort locations, the Surfside Inn and the Dockside Inn have Standard Rooms and Two-Bedroom Suites that overlook the luxurious pools. If you are looking for the cheapest price, taking one of the other rooms might be a less expensive option.
Amenities and Recreation
Since the Surfside Inn & Suites and the Dockside Inn & Suites are sister properties in the Universal’s Endless Summer Resort, amenities and recreation are shared between all guests. This means that staying in the Surfside Inn, you not only have access to the Surfboard Pool,
you also have full access to the two (2) huge resort pools at the Dockside Inn.
This works both ways of course.
The dining options are very similar at the Surfside Inn & Suites and the Dockside Inn & Suites. When you compare these two properties, they both have a Food-Court style layout offering many different food options throughout the day.
The Surfside Inn and Suites Dining has the Beach Break Cafe.
Pier 8 Market is the name for the Dockside Inn and Suites Dining area.
Guests looking to save money, like having this style of dining because it is easy to find something for everyone in one place. Since it is counter service, you don’t have a waiter that you have to tip. Tipping can add a lot to the bill so that is one of the main reasons for not having table service dining at Universal’s Endless Summer Resort.
You will typically find that the menu at the Dockside Inn and Surfside Inn and suites are very similar. However, the Pier 8 at the Dockside Inn is much larger and might have a few more items because of the difference in overall resort size.
Beverage Stations for Refillable Mugs
Purchasing a refillable mug when staying at a Universal Resort is a no-brainer for most guests. Especially if you will be staying for more than a couple of days. The Refillable Mugs at the Surfside Inn and Dockside Inn are generally a wise purchase.
For one price, you get a Souvenir Cup that you can refill with your favorite soda, coffee, or tea at any of the Universal Resort refill locations. All you have to do is carry your cup along and enjoy a refill at any of the Resort counter service locations or you can find a refill station near the bars at the pools. These cups have a chip inside of them and are programmed when you purchase them to be used during your stay. If you come back to Universal at a different time, you will have to purchase new refillable mugs.
Parking at the Dockside and Surfside Inn and Suites
When staying at any of the Universal Resorts in Orlando, it is a good idea to know how the Parking works. First of all, there is an additional charge for parking at either of the Endless Summer Resorts (at the time of adding this article, parking is $15 per night). When you look at the reviews, this is a frustration to many guests but it is part of the cost of staying at these resorts. Parking can also be a little tough to find during the busy season as well. This seems to be a little less of a problem at the Dockside Inn because of its size.
Having a parking garage at each of these resorts is a plus. During the summer heat in Orlando, it is nice to be able to keep your car in a shady spot.
When you stay at a hotel (or resort), you don’t normally think about the elevators. Guests staying at the Dockside Inn sometimes complain about the location of the elevators because of the distance they have to walk to their room. Also, in the morning and around times to eat, the elevators can be difficult to get on due to the number of people needing access.
Each of the Pools has a full Bar offering your favorite adult beverage while you enjoy time basking in the Florida Sun. There are a total of three (3) pool bars at the Universal Orlando Endless Summer Resort.
Overall Experience at the Dockside and Surfside Inn and Suites
Overall, staying at either the Dockside Inn and Suites or the Surfside Inn and Suites is a good experience for most guests. If you are only using your room to get some sleep at the end of the day, these value resorts might be the best option for you.
Frequently Asked Questions: What is the difference between Universal Dockside and Surfside Inn and Suites?
How does check-in work?
Check-in is done by going to the front desk when you arrive. Check-in at the Surfside Inn and Dockside Inn both start at 4pm. Check-out is at 11am.
Is parking free?
Parking is not free at either of the Endless Summer Resort properties. There is an additional fee to park your car at the Dockside and Surfside Inn.
Do you have access to both properties pools?
Yes, the pool are shared among the guests at both sections of the resorts. This gives you access to a total of three pools, one (1) at the Surfisde Inn and Suites and two (2) at the Dockside Inn and Suites.