Universal Orlando has dramatically expanded their resort hotel lineup in last ten years. Their newest hotels are the Endless Summer Resorts. These are the two hotels, Surfside and Dockside, located on opposite sides of Universal Boulevard.
These hotels offer basically 3-star hotel quality and numerous on-site Universal Orlando benefits. Guests at the Endless Summer Resort get early park admission and free shuttle service to Universal theme parks for example. These hotels feature standard rooms starting well below $100/night. I have stayed there for $69/night on many occasions.
The value resorts (Dockside and Surfside) and the value plus resorts (Cabana Bay Beach Resort and Aventura) feature food courts. These food courts offer refillable freestyle cups that may be used at those resorts. These cups can be excellent for use when dining in the food courts. A few ground rules though before I give the bad news:
1.These will not work at freestyle machines inside the theme parks. Those require a different cup.
2.These will not work at other Universal Orlando/Loews resort hotels.
3.The food court areas are not open late at night. Sometimes, the freestyle machines are turned off during those hours. This means if you are craving a soda at 2am then the machines may not be working.
4.Just like the in park freestyle cups, there is a minimum amount of time you must wait in between refills. This varies at the resort hotels but expect a 10-minute wait in between refills. This is done to keep people from simply sharing one cup.
Now, there is bad news about these freestyle cups staying at an Endless Summer hotel. The value plus resorts offer a “length of stay” pricing. This pricing is currently $18 for four or more days. If you are staying at one of the value plus resorts for more than a week, this can be a great deal. Endless Summer hotels do not offer this.
The pricing changed at the Endless Summer hotels in February 2021. I was there during this change. I confirmed the different pricing again directly with Endless Summer staff today.
The pricing is as follows:
One day $9
Two days $12
Three days $15
Four days $18
Do you see a trend yet? So far, that pricing is reasonable for a resort refill cup. It is not great but it is not bad either. Do you notice how it is $3 more each additional day after first day? At the Endless Summer Resorts, there is no “length of stay” pricing. Each additional day, the cost is $3 more. For a two week stay, the cost will be $48.
I am not sure about you but I think that is a high price for 2 weeks of beverages, even with my diet soda addiction. Remember, this does not cover your beverages in the theme parks or area restaurants. As I said in the “Endless Summer Resort Unofficial Fan Help” Facebook group recently, that is a large amount of money when there is a Walgreens an easy walk from the Endless Summer Resorts. I am also sure you could have a lot of soft drinks delivered to your room for $48.
Is the refill freestyle cup worth it at the Endless Summer Resorts? Maybe if you are staying a short amount of time for convenience. However, if you are of the many people flying to Orlando from the UK that typically stay for at least 2 weeks, then probably not. Is it odd that this freestyle beverage policy is only at Endless Summer Resorts? YES. However, a good vacation is filled with knowledge in advance. Hopefully, this will give you some useful knowledge no matter whether we like it or not.
Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.