east coast Family Florida Hotel review travel Uncategorized Universal Universal Studios

Cabana Bay vs Dockside Inn Family Suites

Are you planning a vacation to Universal Studios Orlando and have a bigger family? Would you rather stay in one room than booking two? If this sounds like you we have you covered.

Both Cabana Bay Beach Resort and Endless Summer Dockside Inn and Suites have family suites for you to book. Each of these can sleep up to six people with plenty of room. But which one is right for you? Which resort has everything you are looking for?

Today we are going to find out. Today we are going to compare Cabana Bay vs Dockside Inn family suites. Are they the same? Is one better than the other? You are just going to have to continue reading to find out.


Below we are going to compare the two different rooms and let me tell you. The rooms couldn’t be anymore different from each other. However, that is in a good way. Both have their pros and cons. It just depends on which one is the right fit for you? Is a table important? How about a different sitting area to relax and watch TV?

Cabana Bay Beach Resort

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Cabana Bay’s family suite has two queen size beds and a pull out sofa bed. While the sofa bed isn’t the most comfortable. You can still get a good night of rest and be recharged for another fun day in the parks. The queen beds are very comfortable. They are on the firm side but that is how I personally like them.

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These rooms easily sleep 6. There is also plenty of room for you and your family to get ready for bed, full day at the theme parks, or an afternoon by the pool. Plus you have plenty of space for all your clothing.

The bathroom area of the room is also a decent size. You have one sink in the middle and another in the shower area. There is also a separate area for the toilet. You won’t have to worry about someone taking their time in the shower while you have to use the bathroom.

The water pressure was perfect in the sinks and the shower. The temperate too was very easy to control. You will easily be able to find your “goldilocks” zone.

The only issue I had was with the small room the toilet was in. It was hard to open and close the door since the space was so small. I definitely smashed by toes a couple of times opening or closing that door.

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At night the seating area doubles as a bed room. The rest of the time, you and the family can kick back and relax while watching the newest DreamWorks movie. All you need is to pop some popcorn in the microwave and chill.

Yup, the family suites at Cabana Bay come with a microwave but that’s not all. There is also a mini fridge too along with a sink. While the space isn’t that big. It offers plenty of space for a quick breakfast before you head on over to CityWalk.

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For the price of a family suite at Cabana Bay you really cannot ask for more. The starting price for a family suite starts at $172. That’s not a bad price for six people to stay at a Universal Orlando Resort. Plus you get all the perks along with your stay.

Perks like early access the Islands of Adventure or Universal Studios, pool hopping, and bus transportation to CityWalk. Oh and how could we forget the early park access includes the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Endless Summer Dockside

Universal Orlando Resort, Universal Vacation, Endless Summer Dockside, Family Suite

Endless Summer Dockside family suite comes with two separate sleeping areas. One is right when you walk in that has two queen beds. The other is a separate bedroom with a door that has another queen bed.

Universal Orlando Resort, Universal Vacation, Endless Summer Dockside, Family Suite

All the beds were very comfortable but on the firmer side of things. There were also plenty of outlets around the beds to charge what ever you wanted. Both areas also had a TV. When it comes to the sleeping areas, Dockside has Cabana Bay beat. If you are a family of two adults and three or four children. You just can’t beat having a separate, private area away from the kids.

Universal Orlando Resort, Universal Vacation, Endless Summer Dockside, Family Suite

The “kitchen” area is a decent size too. Here you will find your mini fridge, microwave, and sink. There is also a coffee pot for your standard hotel coffee. It would have been nice to see a Keurig coffee maker. At least that way the coffee would be halfway decent.

The nice thing about the kitchen area is the table. This table seats four. It was really nice to have a dedicated table to sit down at and eat.

Sadly, there is no separate area for the toilet and shower. Both are in the same room. It makes for a little more of a challenge when getting ready or coming back from the parks. However, the one area has two sinks and a large mirror.

The family suites at Endless Summer Dockside start at $136 a night. I just don’t know if you can find a better price than that for a family of six. Plus you are staying at a Universal Orlando Resort hotel and that comes with it’s own set of perks.

Not only do you get free bus transportation to CityWalk. You can use the pool at Endless Summer Dockside and across the street at Surfside. Plus you get early access to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Depending on which theme park is open an hour early. All you need to do is show your room key.

The Resorts

Cabana Bay Beach Resort

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Overall Cabana Bay Beach Resort is an amazing resort. They have one of the best pools out of all the Universal Orlando Resort pools. How many resorts at this price range can you find that have a lazy river? Not many and definitely not at Walt Disney World.

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Cabana Bay has two pool areas to choose from. One has the lazy river the other has an amazing slide. If you are staying in the family suite you will be closer to the pool with the slide.

You could easily spend one of your resort days exploring everything Cabana Bay has to offer. Not only will you find plenty to do outside. You will find some amazing offerings inside too.

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Galaxy Bowl is the bowling alley at the resort. Could you think of another resort that has it’s own bowling alley? I haven’t found one in the past three years that I have been doing this. It makes for a great escape from the Florida heat or even that famous Florida sun shower.

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Jack Lananne fitness Studio is by far the best gym at any Universal Orlando Resort. Anything you could want to do while on vacation they have. Treadmills, machines, even some barbells, you can find here. If you are looking to keeping your gym streak going. Cabana Bay’s Jack Lananne Fitness Studio has you covered.

The food court at Cabana Bay is also one of the best. You will find plenty of options to choose from for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can even just grab a premade sandwich or sushi if you don’t feel like waiting in line.

Endless Summer Dockside

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Dockside is the newest Universal Orlando Resort to open. Everything here is nice and clean. You can find two pools to enjoy. While they are nothing special. They are pretty huge.

Around the pool you can find plenty of seating. Plus you can find the Wave Maker’s Pool Bar and Oasis Beach Bar. These are great places to grab a drink.

Endless Summer Dockside also has a gym. While the gym is rather small. It does have enough equipment to get a decent workout in while you are on vacation. It just might take you a little longer if there are a couple people inside.

Pier 8 Market is Dockside’s food court. It almost feels like this was an after thought. It is rather small when you consider how many rooms are at this resort. The food too I found to be rather lacking and don’t get me started on how long you will have to wait to get chicken and waffles.

Getting to the theme parks

Endless Summer Dockside

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Chances are you that if you are staying at Endless Summer Dockside you are planning on visiting Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, or Volcano Bay. Well, you are in luck since Dockside has there own buses to take you to them.

Sadly, that is the only transportation to the parks other than you driving your own vehicle. If you drive and are not a Universal Orlando annual passholder it will cost you. Parking at CityWalk is $26. You are better off just taking the bus and saving that money for something in the parks.

Universal Orlando Resort, Universal Vacation, Universal Orlando CityWalk

You could also walk. However, the walk will take you about a half hour and there is not much shade. Just keep in mind. If you walk you will probably see 3 or 4 buses pass you that you could have been on.

Cabana Bay Beach Resort

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Cabana Bay offers the same transportation options that Endless Summer Dockside has. However, since Sapphire Falls Resort is right across the street you could also take a boat. You just have to walk to it.

Universal Orlando Resort, Universal Vacation, Universal Garden Walk

I found that walking is a little quicker than taking the bus. The start of the Garden Walk is right near the family suites. The bus pickup is located by the lobby.

From Cabana Bay it takes about 20 minutes to walk to CityWalk. The entire way is nice and shaded. Plus it is a pretty peaceful and relaxing walk. Plus like we stated above you could walk over to Sapphire Falls and hop on a boat with little effort.

So which is better

When it comes to determining which resort is better. There are a couple of things you need to figure out. Are you more interested in saving money? Does resort activities play a roll?

Do you want to walk to the parks or is taking a bus good enough? Is a private sleeping area for mom and dad important? Do you really need a table to sit at?

These are all important questions and they all play an important roll when it comes from choosing Cabana Bay or Dockside. For me it will always be Cabana Bay. While the room isn’t as nice and it cost a little more.

The fact I can easily walk to the CityWalk. Have a lazy river to relax in. Pool hop to the other Universal Orlando Resort pools. They are all major wins for me. Plus Cabana Bay has the better food court.

Cabana BayEndless Summer Dockside
Food CourtX

For me the choice is easy. Which one do you think is the better option for your family? Does the cost play a major roll in picking? Let us know in the comments below. Also have you stayed at any of the Universal Orlando Resorts? How many have you visited? We can’t wait to hear from you.

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  1. Thanks so much for this post! It helped me to confirm my decision to switch from Dockside. While I wish it had the 3 beds since we have a family of 6, I think Cabana Bay looks like so much fun and I’m excited to stay there. Now if they’d just make the perfect resort with the 3 queen beds AND a lazy river!!


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