Volcano Bay

Universal Orlando’s Volcano Bay

Some people make fun of Universal Orlando for referring to Volcano Bay as a “theme park.” After spending the day there, though, I can see why Universal considers this their third gate (for now). Volcano Bay is definitely a step above a typical water park!

Our family stayed at Loews Cabana Bay Beach Resort which has a dedicated side entrance to Volcano Bay since it’s directly next door — that was a fun perk that offered a great way to take advantage of early entry!

Cutting right to the biggest highlight: the Krakatu Aqua Coaster with it’s magnet-based technology is a do-not-miss experience. It was mind-bending (in a fun way) to be riding in an inflated raft in a water-filled trough and be rapidly pulled UP the launch path. It’s a roller coaster / flume mashup that captures the best of both formats — just so fun! I recommend it for anyone tall enough to ride (42″ and up) and four people can ride together.

Another real stand-out attraction for me is TeAwa The Fearless River. While I do really enjoy a lazy river (and they have a nice long one), the Fearless River was an entirely new and exhilarating adventure that requires life jackets to be worn as guests float at a speedy pace around twists and turns. The sound of the drums lets you know that another wave is coming – get ready!

I found the overall atmosphere of the park to be quite comfortable. The landscaping is remarkably lush, which generates a nice amount of shade and screening from the nearby hotels and highways. It’s startling to be at the top of some of the higher slides and see how close you are to a busy road just below — they did an excellent job of setting the scene for a tropical retreat.

There are several stations with lockers for rent (though they can and do sell out on the busiest days, so arrive by 11am if you need one) and showers with changing rooms. The restaurants and bars are on par with or slightly above in quality their peers at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. I had lunch at Kohola Reef and the pulled pork sandwich was quite good; my family enjoyed their flatbread pizzas and salads as well.

Finally, the TapuTapu virtual line system does make the park experience more pleasant. All guests are given a waterproof RFID bracelet to wear upon entering (to be returned on your way out) which offers the capability to “tap into” a ride and wait elsewhere until your turn comes up to board. The TapuTapu can also be connected to a credit card and used to make in-park purchases of food and merchandise, rent a locker, and purchase photos.

TapuTapu infographic

This is of course just a small sampling of the fun at Volcano Bay (did you know that you can walk through the inside of the volcano for some fun surprises?). I can help you plan an amazing Universal Orlando Resort vacation, reach out for a customized itinerary at no additional cost when you reserve your adventure with me.