It wasn't that long ago that Universal Orlando only had 3 on-site resorts but recently the resort options for staying on-site at Universal have exploded. They started out with Royal Pacific, Hard Rock, and Portofino Bay. These are Deluxe properties with lots of great amenities. All 3 are amazing resorts within walking distance of City Walk and come with the Unlimited Express Pass. The problem was they were not affordable for everyone. Universal realized this and began building new resorts. They added Sapphire Falls which is next to Royal Pacific and what I would call a Moderate resort. Then they added Adventura and Cabana Bay Beach Resort both of which are Value resorts. Value resort means less amenities like the Express is not included in your room cost and you could walk to City Walk but it is a long walk so buses are better choice. These 3 additions are all still very close to the Theme Parks though and Cabana Bay even has some amazing views of Volcano Bay from the guests rooms.
Universal didn't stop with just those 2 Value resorts they then added Endless Summer. The thing about this one is you might not realize it is on Universal property since it is on the other side of the large highway that runs next to Universal's parks. Do you remember Wet n Wild? It was a waterpark in the International Drive area. It closed in 2016 and that is where Universal built this new resort.
Endless Summer has a total of 750 rooms split into 2 sections - Surfside and Dockside. Surfside opened about 2 years ago and I was able to tour that property when it opened and thought it seemed like a wonderful option for families with a budget in mind. Dockside just recently opened and this time I had the opportunity to spend 2 nights at the resort which gave me a much better feel for this new resort.
Dockside has a more earth-toned chill vibe while Surfside has a brighter beachy feel. Both resorts offer the same room options - a Standard room with 2 Queen beds or a Family Suite which can sleep up to 6 guests and has a kitchenette. When you walk into the Dockside lobby you would never guess it is a Value resort. The Lobby is amazing with lots of large warm driftwood pieces that go floor to ceiling. It is a wide open lobby area with plenty of comfy places to sit. There is also a Starbucks and a Lounge serving adult beverage in the lobby area. The lobby flows into the large food court with plenty of seat areas and lots of great food choices at reasonable prices.. Both resorts have expansive pool areas - Dockside even has 2 huge pools. Don’t miss the fun Wet n’ Wild inspired cocktails you can get poolside! The resorts are next to each other so you can walk between the 2 if you wanted to check out what the other offers. Please note right now Surfside is currently closed but should be reopening soon.
Since Endless Summer is a bit further from the action so you will need to use the Universal buses to get back and forth from the Theme Parks. I will admit I was a little skeptical, ok spoiled is another good word, and I wasn't sure how I would like having to use a bus when I am used to being in walking distance. I was happily surprised to find there was almost always a bus ready and waiting and at the most I think we waited 2 minutes for a bus to arrive. Even during the Early Morning Hour benefit for Universal property guests (yes the Value resorts do include that great benefit) we were able to hop right on a bus even though there was a large crowd all waiting. Universal was still practicing social distance on the buses so they were not packing them full but to make up for that they had multiple buses waiting early each morning. The ride over to the parks was even faster than I had expected! When looking on the map I was thinking it would be a much longer bus ride but I am pretty sure we go to the park faster on the bus then we did last time we stayed at Royal Pacific and took the water taxi.
All in all Endless Summer is a wonderful resort that offers an excellent Universal property experience for larger families and those with a tighter budget. If you want to check out photos from my stay go to our Facebook page - Pop Vacations