One of the consistent challenges of vacation planning for large families is finding a resort that can — both comfortably and affordably — accommodate a family of six in one room, while also offering unique theme park benefits. Those options have been somewhat limited and few and far between. Until now. We are sharing five reasons to stay at Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites.
This challenge is no more for families today with our newest hotel Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites. This hotel (and its sister property, Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites) is the perfect value option for families of all sizes and comes packed with benefits for everyone. Having already stayed at Surfside Inn and Suites, I can personally tell you the Endless Summer Resort product exceeded all my family’s expectations. The quality of the food, rooms, service, and amenities were impressive and made our staycation so enjoyable.
Here’s everything you need to know about Dockside Inn and Suites:
Dockside Inn and Suites has two towers painted with colors reminiscent of a sunset. These towers will be equipped with over 2,000 rooms, with over half of those rooms being spacious 2-Bedroom Suites that can accommodate up to six people, meaning families on a budget can pay for one suite for the whole family.
Let’s deep-dive into those suites a bit more. The 2-Bedroom Suite is honestly a game-changer; they mean families like the one I grew up in don’t have to buy multiple rooms to accomodate the whole crew.
There’s privacy between the bedrooms, a sizable kitchenette area with a mini-fridge, microwave, and coffee maker, a perfect picnic table for meals and hanging out, and a bathroom with separate bath and vanity areas so multiple people can get ready at once. These suites also feature three queen-sized beds, two TVs, and free WiFi. Sign me up for all of this.
The Price is Right
While the size is pretty incredible, here comes one of the best parts about Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites — the price. During our value season, rates begin as low as $79 per night for Standard Rooms and $120 per night for the 2-Bedroom suites, based on a four-night stay. My question for you is: how can you beat that? And I haven’t even mentioned…
The Theme Park Benefits
By staying at Dockside Inn and Suites, you have access to so many great perks throughout Universal Orlando…Early Park Admission (you’ll feel like you have the park practically to yourself!); complimentary transportation (five minute ride from my hotel to everything the Universal Orlando theme parks have to offer? I’m in!); and a room key that does so much more than open doors (purchases throughout the destination, complimentary club-to-club access in CityWalk, and a future keepsake from your vacation). Check out all the details here.
When I am on a vacation at a theme park resort, convenience during my hotel stay is a big factor for my family and me. In order to maximize our time at the parks, we need a hotel that has food and drink options for the entire family at a reasonable price. Dockside Inn and Suites strikes the perfect balance for this need.
Pier 8 Market is the casual dining food court and market that is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Pier 8 Market menu is super affordable, with most dishes priced under $12 (see what I mean by “reasonable price”?)! The hotel has an amazing lobby bar, the Sunset Lounge, that serves specialty cocktails and has its own craft beer, and a large pool bar, the Oasis Beach Bar.
The Vibes – Kick Back and Relax
TWO Pools (Pool Number Two Coming in 2021!)
Universal Studios Store
Universal Orlando Vacation Planning Center
Car Rental Desk
Game Room (Coming in 2021)
Self-service guest laundry
This hotel was designed by the same creative minds that brought you everything you love about our theme parks, giving you an immersive experience only available at our destination. It’s exactly what my large family was looking for when I was growing up and now it’s here!
10 Reasons to Celebrate the Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort
The holidays are an extra special time to visit the theme parks. One of my favorite things to do this time of year is visit the theme parks. You may ask, what happens at Universal Orlando during the holidays? You can enjoy gorgeous weather, roller coasters, incredibly fun holiday festivities and so much more during holidays at Universal Orlando Resort. Although things do look a bit different this year than in past years (as expected), you can still get in the spirit and celebrate the holidays at Universal Orlando Resort.
When Christmas time comes to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the land embraces the holiday season with spellbinding decorations, holiday entertainment, and the can’t-miss hot Butterbeer.
Twinkling lights and enchanting strands of garland and wreaths adorn the eaves and shop windows throughout Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. Make sure to take a close look as each shop’s decorations are uniquely themed (even Knockturn Alley gets festive with a wreath).
You can’t celebrate properly without tuning in to hear Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees perform their holiday hits like “My Baby Gave Me a Hippogriff for Christmas” (my personal favorite) in Diagon Alley. Over in Hogsmeade, the Hogwarts Frog Choir is taking the stage with their classic carols like “Christmas at Hogwarts”.
Take home a piece of the wizarding world with marvelous merchandise like Hogwarts house ornaments, stockings, and sweaters.
Hot Butterbeer: This seasonal drink has the same creamy flavor reminiscent of shortbread and butterscotch you know and love. It’s perfect for warming you up when the weather gets chilly.
See the New Universal’s Holiday Experience Featuring Macy’s Balloons
Although Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s won’t be making its way through the streets of Universal Studios Florida this year, you can see the balloons and floats up close like never before in this new walkthrough experience. See the larger-than-life Macy’s balloons and floats depicting holiday moments inspired by favorite films like Illumination’s Despicable Me, and DreamWorks’ Shrek and Madagascar. And say goodbye to waiting in long lines at the mall — Santa Claus is coming to Universal Studios. Dress in your holiday best and come get a (socially distanced) photo with Santa during this holiday experience.
Universal’s Holiday Tour: Get front of the line access and walking tour to the balloon experience with this add-on experience. You also get a private meet and greet with the Grinch while enjoying a hot cocoa bar, an exclusive viewing of The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle, and a tour of the Tribute Store.
Meet Your Favorite Characters
After meeting the holly, jolly man in the red suit, head over to Universal’s Islands of Adventure to meet the mean, green one himself, the Grinch. You can find him and the Whos spreading holiday cheer — or grumpiness in the Grinch’s case — throughout Seuss Landing.
You can also join other holiday characters for some dancing, singing, and photos in the streets of Universal Studios. Join in on the merry and mayhem with characters like the Minions and other beloved characters from Illumination’s Despicable Me, and DreamWorks favorites like the family of Shrek and King Julien and crew from Madagascar.
Don’t worry, Universal’s other famous characters aren’t taking off for the holidays. You can still meet the towering Transformers robots in Universal Studios and encounter Jurassic World’s Blue at Raptor Encounter in Islands of Adventure.
Enjoy Holiday Decor and Festivities at Universal’s Hotels
Make your holiday vacay at Universal Orlando complete with a stay at one of the resort hotels (don’t worry, you can reassure the kiddos that Santa can still find you). Besides being a short walk, Water Taxi, or shuttle ride to the theme parks, the hotels get in on the holiday festivities, too.
Do the hotels decorate? You betcha. Each hotel has a uniquely themed tree in the lobby and hundreds of lights, garland, and wreaths throughout. Just walking in to check in at the front desk will immediately put you in good spirits with the warm ambiance and holiday tunes filling your ears.
Nothing screams winter snuggles like cuddling up in front of a fire. The hotels have fire pits they light nightly, which is the perfect way to wind down after a day in the parks.
OK, so pools aren’t exactly a “holiday” activity, however, in Florida they might as well be. The fact you can lounge by the hotel pool in the middle of winter with an umbrella drink is the best gift you could give in my opinion.
Come Do Your Holiday Shopping
Another great perk about coming to celebrate at Universal? You can do your shopping at the same time, too. We’ve got a ton of unique themed gift shops throughout our entire resort destination. You can find popular finds, including some of my favorites like a classic Jurassic Park T-shirt, an interactive wand to cast spells in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and basically any piece of merch with the Grinch’s face on it.
And if you really want to amp the shopping up 10 levels on the festive scale, then you have to check out these new experiences:
For the first time ever, the Holiday Tribute Store is opening its door in Universal Studios with four rooms decked from wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling, and shelf-to-shelf with holiday goodness. Enjoy traditional goodies in the Bavarian Holiday Festival room; whimsical finds you can only find in the Grinch-inspired room; magical gifts and decor in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter inspired room; and holiday snacks and treats from Earl the Squirrel’s Tree Farm.
As you’re on the hunt for the perfect gift in the parks, why not make it a scavenger hunt as well? Purchase a brochure for the Holiday Tree Hunt and discover 16 themed trees throughout Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Universal CityWalk. Collect all 16 stamps and you’ll get an exclusive holiday ornament prize.
Indulge in Holiday Feasts and Treats
My favorite part about the holidays, as my waistband can attest to, is the food. With elaborate feasts, endless amounts of sugary treats, and the excuse to have as much hot cocoa as I want, I live for the holiday food and drinks.
New this year is the Holiday Treat Trail. Grab a trail brochure, gather your treat stamps, and enjoy favorites like the holiday ornament doughnuts at Voodoo Doughnut. Once you finish, you get a special completion treat on us!
Stop by the Holiday Tribute Store to try holiday treats and snacks you can only get from Earl the Squirrel’s Tree Farm.
Universal CityWalk is the place to get whimsical holiday goodies like eggnog cocktails, Peppermint Beignet Sundae from Pat O’ Brien’s, the savory Caribbean dish of Brown Stew Chicken from Bob Marley – A Tribute to Freedom, and more.
As I mentioned above, if you’re looking for a full holiday feast, look no further than Universal Orlando’s hotels.
Instead of having to worry about wearing extra layers of clothing, all you have to worry about is an extra layer of sunscreen. Florida “winter” is the perfect time of the year to get outside and enjoy cooler temperatures while soaking in that gorgeous sunshine. Nothing beats being able to lay out by the hotel pool in the dead of winter. Plus, less clothes packed also means more room for shopping goodies! If you’re really craving a brisk winter wind with a bite, I suppose you can ride Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit first thing in the morning…
Need Packing Help? Check here for recommendations on what to pack for the parks and hotels yearn round, as well as a handy checklist to keep you organized.
The holiday season is all about creating lasting memories with your family and friends. I mean, it’s the one time of the year where families still send an actual card with photos wishing everyone “seasons greetings”. Universal has the perfect backdrops for all your holiday photo needs. Ditch the traditional fireplace and snap a pic in front of a fire breathing dragon instead. Make it whimsical with the colorful twists and turns of Seuss Landing, complete with festive decorations. And you can’t beat a matching family PJs pic in front of the Universal Globe.
Oh, Christmas Tree! Holiday card photos are typically in front of the tree, but how often do you see a photo with an 80 ft. tree? The tree in Universal Studios is the perfect spot for a family pic. Add a fun twist by getting a photo of your reflection in one of the giant ornaments.
Ditch the Holiday Stress
This year, more than ever, we all need to escape the reality of the day to day and find what joy we can this holiday season. Which means we also deserve to ditch the stress we typically feel around this time with the shopping, the decorating, the cleaning up for visitors, the cooking, the calories, school winter break, working, and all 50 of the different family activities you have to navigate… Let Universal Orlando take that stress off your shoulders and be your home away from home for the holidays.
You’ll be pampered at our hotels with comfy beds you don’t have to make every day. No need to drive when you’re here with Water Taxis and shuttles that get your around. There is an endless number of fun toys, trinkets, and apparel you could ever want for your Christmas list all in one place. There are dozens of restaurants with all varieties of cuisine for you to enjoy a meal at and not have to wash dishes after. Also, calories don’t count on vacation so… Universal has the decorations, the tree, the eggnog, and the songs. All you have to do is let loose and have fun, safely.
Are you ready to celebrate the holidays at Universal Orlando Resort?
Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort are happening now through Jan. 3, 2021, with hot Butterbeer and beautiful weather staying even longer! Now pack your bags, the kids, presents, whatever you need for your holiday vacay, and get ready for some festive fun. Don’t forget to spread the holiday cheer on Twitter and Instagram with #UniversalHolidays when you get here.
By now, you’re probably aware that Universal Orlando’s new water theme park, Universal’s Volcano Bay, is officially open. I bet you’re ready to take on the thrills, soak up the sun and experience everything Volcano Bay has to offer.
Your destination is set. But have you thought about where you’re going to stay?
Here are five reasons why we recommend that you stay on-site at Universal while enjoying Volcano Bay to maximize your visit:
(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)
1. Get In Before Everyone Else
By staying on-site at Universal Orlando Resort, you receive Early Park Admission to Volcano Bay. That means you can enter the park one hour before the scheduled opening and check out the rides before everyone else.
(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)
2. Walk or Ride and Save Time
Forget hopping in the car and driving to the parks. When you stay on-site, you just need to roll out of bed and make your way over.
No getting the car wet. No getting up early to drive. No parking. Enjoy Volcano Bay the hassle-free way!
(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)
3. Make Purchases with Your TapuTapu
When you visit Volcano Bay, TapuTapu becomes your currency. You can make purchases throughout Volcano Bay using TapTu Pay. All you have to do is set up an account through the Official Universal Orlando Resort App or online, link your party’s Volcano Bay tickets, add your credit card information and create a pin number. Click here to set up your account and learn more about TapuTapu before your visit.
(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)
4. Experience Shopping without the Baggage
Interested in purchasing gifts but don’t want to carry it around? When you stay on-site, you have the option of having your merchandise delivered back to your hotel for free. All you need to do is tell the Team Member at the gift shop you’d like to have your purchases delivered to your hotel.
Guests staying at Cabana Bay Beach Resort will have their purchases delivered to Luggage Services in the hotel lobby for pick up. Guests staying at the other on-site hotels will have their merchandise delivered to their hotel rooms.
(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)
5. Enjoy Views Beyond Belief
Nothing beats waking up in the morning, looking out the window and seeing a 200-foot volcano.
When you stay in a Volcano Side Room at Cabana Bay Beach Resort, you’ll enjoy stunning views of Volcano Bay all day long.
Make the most of your Volcano Bay visit and stay on-site at Universal Orlando Resort. You’re just a hop, skip and a jump away from the fun!
Siera is a travel agent with Destinations in Florida, Universal Studios Travel Agency of the Year 2010, 2011, & 2012. She would love to help you plan your next Universal Orlando vacation at no cost to you. Contact Siera today at email@example.com or at 734-771-1290 for more information or your free, no obligation quote.