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Our visit to Universal Orlando Resort and the Volcano Bay Orlando Water Park was one of the most memorable experiences we had in Florida.
I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan, so you can imagine how excited I was to be visiting Orlando and getting to see the entire Universal Orlando theme park.
I didn’t know much about Universal’s waterpark, Volcano Bay, until we got to Orlando. But what a surprise it turned out to be!
Volcano Bay is an epic water theme park in Orlando and one of my new favorite places to visit in Florida.
It’s a huge park and can take a couple of days to see it all, and there are some ways you can skip the queues and make the most of your experience.
To help you make the most of your visit, I’ve shared my favorite rides at Universal Volcano Bay and I’ve shared my tips for visiting!
Disclaimer: We visited Volcano Bay as guests of Universal Orlando Resort, but all thoughts, ideas and opinions are our own!
- About Volcano Bay Orlando
- How many days do you need at Universal Volcano Bay?
- The Best Volcano Bay Rides
- My Favorite Slides at Volcano Bay
- Volcano Bay Tips: How To Make The Most Of Your Visit!
- Wear the Tapu Tapu
- How to set up the Tapu Tapu
- Stay at one of the Universal Hotels
- Do the popular rides first
- Find a spot and stay there
- Hire lockers
- Stay until closing time
- Bring your own water bottle
- Bring your own food (if you have diet issues)
- Bring sun protection
- Stay at Cabana Bay Beach Resort
- Useful info for Visiting Volcano Bay Orlando
- Parking & Transportation at Volcano Bay, Orlando
- Restaurants & Dining at Universal Volcano Bay
- Final Thoughts
- Orlando Resort Video
- More Orlando Florida Travel Tips
About Volcano Bay Orlando
Volcano Bay opened in May 2017 and spans for approximately 53 acres. It’s a huge theme park that was estimated to have cost around US$600 million to build.
The idea behind Volcano Bay is a tribute to Polynesian mythology, and many of the rides and attractions have a backstory that involves the arrival of the Waturi people and their enchanting encounters with deities and heroes.
The park used to be called Wet ‘n Wild, before it was turned into Universal Orlando Resort’s premier water theme park.
I recommend this water park for all ages, even the little kids.
The good news is Volcano Bay is easy to get around and navigate since it’s divided into sections to suit different interests.
Each section is targeted at specific ages and has particular water slides to match the area.
The sections in Universal’s Volcano Bay are:
- Krakatau Volcano
- Wave Village
- River Village
- Rainforest Village
Most of the thrill-seeking rides are in the Rainforest Village, which is the largest village in the park. River Village is more relaxing with pools for toddlers and babies and a lazy river, whereas Wave Village has more dining areas and some relaxing pools.
How many days do you need at Universal Volcano Bay?
We visited Volcano Bay water park on day one of our three days at Universal Orlando Resort.
It was the day with the best weather, so make sure you check that before you plan your schedule, because you know water parks! Get your tickets here with our affiliate partner Undercover Tourist.
If you are spending a few days at Universal Studios in Orlando, I recommend you visit Volcano Bay as a day of rest in between the other parks, or on the last day so you can relax more.
Although Mum did say she thought it was good to go on the first day to gently ease into the craziness of intense theme park days.
I thought it was epic fun, not intense!
We visited all three parks Universal Studios, Volcano Bay and Island’s of Adventure with our 3 day park-to-park ticket, which allows you to visit all three parks throughout the duration of your ticket length.
I recommend you spend one full day at Volcano Bay at the least, but if you have time to spend two days there, then you’ll find plenty of things to do.
The Best Volcano Bay Rides
Pack your swimmers and a fun attitude, because there are a lot of rides to experience!
I recommend you get there as early as you can to make the most of your day.
Krakatau is the focal point of Universal Studios Volcano Bay.
Beautiful waterfalls stream down its sides (with slides hidden within and at night it lights up in a fiery glow) and the different sections of the park encircle the volcano.
It is the starting point for four different water slides – the most thrilling of this water park.
Let’s look at the rides and different areas at Universal’s Volcano Bay.
Runamukka Reef and Tot Tiki Reef
Runamukka Reef and Tot Tiki Reef is an awesome section for the little kids with slides that go on for ages, water squirters, and lots of fun.
But, if they are too scared to do the slides, they also have smaller slides which are great for babies.
I have to admit, the slides looked fun, so I tried to go on them but you have to be under 48”.
Lazy Rivers and Wave Pools
There are two rivers called: Kopiko Wai winding river, and the not so lazy TeAwa the Fearless River.
Big waves = Big fun! Get ready for the massive wave at the end!
Another fun attraction is the Waturi Beach, which is the wave pool next to the Volcano.
I recommend wearing a life vest like Savannah did or even if you’re an adult. Then you can relax while you swim to the back where the big waves are.
In Kopiko Wai winding river you go through the river village to an awesome crystal cave and there is no height restriction
So as you can see, there is a lot to see and explore. And lots of fun memories to be made!
Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides
This is a fun family-friendly ride where up to six people sit in a round raft and travel down a slide. You end up in a large pool at the bottom.
Height requirement: 42” with supervision, 48” without
My Favorite Slides at Volcano Bay
There are many different water slides at Universal’s Volcano Bay, instead of telling you about all of them, I”ll share the most epic ones.
Don’t miss these.
The other slides are fun to go on while you wait to plunge out on the big ones!
Krakatau Aqua Coaster
The Krakatau Aqua Coaster ride is AMAZING. In my opinion, it’s the BEST ride in the park.
How could it not be when it’s a rollercoaster and water slide COMBINED!!
You go down steep drops and up steep hills through the magnificent volcano. All while sitting on four-person canoes that look like an inflatable banana/hotdog shaped tube thing (the Krakatau Aqua Coaster seats four riders). It’s the ultimate raft ride.
And, wait – I won’t tell you the end part, you have to discover that for yourself.
Ohyah and Ohno drop slides
These two side by side water slides are so fun, noth have a big drop down into a deep pool.
The Ohno (purple slide) was the bigger drop at 6 feet. The Ohyah is a 4 foot drop!
Make sure you are a strong swimmer because you get pushed to the bottom of the pool. Some crazy lady went down before us who couldn’t swim. Who does that?
(height restriction: 48”)
Puka Uli Lagoon
If you have toddlers or babies, you can take them to Puka Uli Lagoon which is a splash zone for little ones.
We didn’t go here because we’re too old, but we thought it looked quite cool. It has a nice sandy beach which little kids can play on and build sandcastles.
You’ll get dizzy turning in circles! A couple different rides to choose from but they are all the same.
(height restriction: 42” between 42” and 48” to be with an adult).
TeAwa the Fearless River
Again, big waves and big fun.
As mentioned above the Fearless River is a fun one to go around and around on.
You can even relax on this one if you want, just paddle yourself to the side of the big wave.
(Height: 42” kids. Wear a life vest and be with an adult).
Ko’kiri body plunge, Kala & Tui Nui Serpentine Body Slides
I’ll let Mum tell you about this ride as she was the only one brave enough to go on it.
Not really, I was just having too much fun on the Krakatau to join her. That’s my story anyway!
Ok, mum here. I suggest you take the plunge from Florida’s highest peak. But be warned, the stairs up to the top of the 200 feet Krakatau Volcano will have you gasping for breath and your legs shaking.
Or is that just the fear?
My philosophy is to do what scares you the most first.
So while dad and the kids were lazy river floating I raced up to do Volcano Bay’s most thrilling rides. I knew if I didn’t do it first thing, it wouldn’t happen.
I was so glad I did because the rest of the day was just fun and relaxing – no thrills necessary.
I did the Kala & Tui Nui Serpentine body slides first, which starts with a big drop and then launches you into a twisting slide.
I wasn’t expecting the speed and power of it. I found it super intense, and although I liked it, I almost chickened out of the Ko’kiri body plunge.
It is hard to psych yourself up for scary rides when you have no companion for support.
But, since there were no lines, I knew I would regret it if I didn’t do it now, I trudged up those stairs again.
I’m so glad I did.
The Ko’kiri may have a scary start standing waiting for the floor beneath your feet to disappear, but once it does, you shoot on down 125 feet and torpedo out the bottom.
The ride is over in about 5 seconds. It was thrilling fun. Not as intense as the Kala and Tui Nui serpentine slide.
I’d recommend doing that one first. Eat the Frog.
Watch our Volcano Bay video for more inspiration (and subscribe to our YouTube channel):
Volcano Bay Tips: How To Make The Most Of Your Visit!
Below are some of my top tips for visiting Volcano Bay and making the most out of your day.
Wear the Tapu Tapu
What is the Tapu Tapu? The TapuTapu Wearable is an awesome waterproof watch device that you wear on your wrist like a watch and it will hold your place in line for busy rides.
This means you can go on other rides or relax while you wait – sure beats wasting the day waiting on long boring lines.
You can also use your Tap Tapu to pay for things like food and drink.
You can connect the Tapu Tapu wristband to an online account which holds your credit card details, or if you stay at the Universal Orlando Resorts, it can charge back to your room account.
This awesome device is free (and waterproof, of course because you wear it one rides and stuff), because it’s included in your ticket prices to Volcano Bay.
We were confused about this until we entered the park as very few online sites clearly stated it’s free. So yes. You will get one when you enter.
How does the Tapu Tapu work?
Each member of the family gets a Tapu Tapu.
I think this was awesome because we got to scan it on a certain ride screen and it would say come back in thirty minutes or something like that lol.
But you can only ride other rides that say ride now while you are waiting for your reserved ride. You can only book into one ride at a time.
I got to explore the park by myself with our friends while the parents relaxed too.
Also, I got to ride my FAVORITE ride (Krakatau Aqua coaster) about ten times!
And when my Tapu Tapu said “Time to ride now,” the line went down as well.
To join the virtual line all you do is walk tap your TapuTapu band on the totem located at the front of the attraction.
Your TapuTapu will then tell you how long you have to wait and it will beep to let you know when it is your turn to ride.
You may have a 5-10 minute wait once you join the line, but it’s better than a much longer one you’d experience without the virtual line.
The TapuTapu also offers extra cool experiences throughout Volcano Bay.
You can use it to illuminate images in the volcano’s hidden caves and also speak to hidden voices.
In Tot Tiki Reef you can control the spurts out of the whale sand shoot water cannons at those relaxing on the winding rivers.
You can also access hired lockers through the TapuTapu and any park photos that may be taken of you having fun on the rides.
How to set up the Tapu Tapu
To set up the Tapu Tapu, you create an account on the Official Resort App (which is super handy to have to monitor park rides across the entire Universal Orlando Resort).
You don’t need an account if you don’t want to use it as a form of payment.
You then add a credit card to your wallet and link your Volcano Bay park tickets.
I recommend creating a pin and only allowing your children a certain dollar limit on what they can spend. We actually didn’t give them permission to purchase using their TapuTapu.
I can imagine how many ice creams they may have sneaked if we did!
Don’t forget to return your TapuTapu when you leave the park. Don’t worry your information will be erased
Stay at one of the Universal Hotels
We stayed at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort. Staying at an on site hotel gives you early access to the park.
This means first dibs on lounge chairs in a GOOD spot, and you can ride all of the slides before the park gets busy (same with other parks). It’s SOOOO worth it.
Do the popular rides first
As soon as you enter the park, go to the most popular rides (Krakatau aqua coaster, Ko’okiri Body Plunge, Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides and Honu of the Honu ika Moana.
Find a spot and stay there
We planted ourselves at the pristine sandy Hammerhead Beach for the day. It was awesome.
We were right near the funnest rides in the park and it wasn’t busy (we visited in early November just after the Halloween craziness) so it felt like we had the space to ourselves.
While mum would have loved to sit down for a while and read her book, us kids had other ideas!!!
You can hire lockers for your bags to keep your valuables in if no one is going to stay and watch your things.
We didn’t. Not sure if that was wise or not but nothing went missing and I have a very trusting attitude!
Stay until closing time
Most people disappear so you can have the gorgeous Volcano Bay and Waturi Beach all to yourself.
It’s super pretty at sunset, especially with the volcano lighting up in rainbow colors.
Grab a cocktail from the Dancing Dragons Boat Bar, let the kid swim and you relax with the views.
Some of the rides will still be open which is fun for the kids to ride at night or just float long the lazy river and enjoy the gentle rapids.
Bring your own water bottle
There are places to fill them up inside Volcano Bay. Those slides are thirsty work
Bring your own food (if you have diet issues)
If you are gluten free, or have other food allergies, you can bring your own food into the park. Those allergies are so common these days!
Bring sun protection
The sun in Orlando can be incredibly hot and because you’re out splashing around in the water all day, you don’t realize it.
Make sure to reapply sunscreen regularly and wear sunglasses when you’re lounging by the pool.
Don’t take them on the rides as you’ll lose them!
Stay at Cabana Bay Beach Resort
Cabana Bay Beach Resort is a Universal property (some call it the Volcano Bay hotel). I loved the retro 50’s vibe here. It was super colorful and vibrant.
Cabana Bay is the closest Universal hotel to Volcano Bay.
Actually, it is a two minute walk to Universal Orlando Bay, so if you plan to spend a lot of time here at this water theme park on your three day pass, it’s best to stay at Cabana Bay.
It will also be the cheaper of the four on site hotels.
The facilities are great with two swimming pools and a lazy river.
They also have outdoor movies and indoor bowling lanes, Orlando Sentinel newspapers, gift shop, cafeteria and different restaurants.
The wings at the Galaxy Bowl Restaurant were delicious and reasonably priced.
Other Universal Orlando Resort Accommodation:
- Loews Royal Pacific Resort – Read reviews and what past guests loved about it here.
- Hard Rock Cafe – Read reviews and what past guests loved about it here
- Loews Sapphire Falls Resort – Read reviews and what pasts guests loved about it here.
As a reminder, if you stay on-site, you can take advantage of Early Admission, which means getting on the park’s rides and attractions an hour before the park opens.
And that’s Volcano Bay!
Useful info for Visiting Volcano Bay Orlando
- One day Universal Volcano Bay tickets start from $80 for adults and $75 for kids.
- All 3-Park Multi-Day tickets offer guest admission to Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure AND Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Theme Park. Options available from 2 to 5 days in duration Starting at $92 per day (3-day ticket) If you plan on visiting all three parks, get this pass. You’ll definitely need the three days.
- A Volcano Bay annual pass is for Florida residents.
- You can rent cabanas at Volcano Bay starting at $159 per day. There are also premium seating to rent starting at $29.99. We weren’t sitting around long enough to justify the cost. Unless you plan to do that, I think the free chairs are good enough.
- You can’t take GoPro’s or cameras on any of the water slides (apart from the lazy rivers)
- Life vests are provided for anyone who needs them.
- Don’t forget your sun protection!
- You can rent towels, but bring your own and save money.
Parking & Transportation at Volcano Bay, Orlando
Volcano Bay doesn’t have its own parking lot. Guests are invited to park at Universal City Walk parking garage.
From there you can hop on the free shuttle, which will transport you to Volcano Bay. It’s only about a 5 minute ride away.
A stay at Cabana Bay makes visiting Volcano Bay seamless as you enjoy a designated walking path that takes you right to the water park.
If you are staying at any of the other Universal Orlando Resort Hotels such as the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, the Aventura Hotel, or Universal’s Hard Rock Hotel you can enjoy complimentary shuttle bus transportation to the park.
If you are not staying on-site get to the park before it opens so that you can immediately enter and get to the fun.
Restaurants & Dining at Universal Volcano Bay
Volcano Bay Orlando has four restaurants, mostly all with a Hawaiian Pacific island vibe. They are Whakawaiwai Eats, Kohola Reef Restaurant & Social Club, Bambu, and The Feasting Frog.
There’s also two bars for mom and dad; Dancing Dragons Boat Bar and the Kunuku Boat Bar.
You can also find pizza, burgers, fried chicken, tacos, and nachos and some of your traditional fried favorites. It wasn’t too bad for a theme park.
The menus looked good, but mum was disappointed as per usual at a theme park, there is just not enough delicious options for those with gluten free.
If you have an allergy bring your own food, if you don’t then enjoy food such as poke bowls, tangy BBQ pulled park sandwiches, Coconut crusted friend chicken, and Quinoa Edamame Burgers.
There is a Universal Dining Plan which starts at $29.99 per person, which has various inclusions such as meals, snacks and unlimited coke refills.
Be sure to have an ice cream. They are epic and unique to Universal’s water park. I had the Waturi Fusion. It has Banana, Blue Raspberry, Orange and Strawberry.
And Savannah had chocolate with sprinkles.
Also you can get a topping, I got whipped cream. The Vol’s Fire Punch cocktail looked great.
Mum loved the elderberry cider. It tasted just like a snake bite!
Universal’s Volcano Bay had the perfect combination of thrills and relaxation, which makes it fun for all the family.
While us kids ran around and enjoyed all the rides and slides, mom was able to put her feet up and enjoy her book next to the calming sounds of the river.
It’s a park that appeals to all ages and tastes, whether you seek the rush of adrenaline-pumping slides or gentle winding rivers, Volcano Bay is for everyone!
I hope this guide helped you plan your visit and gave you some inspiration for what rides to go on!
Orlando Resort Video
Watch more videos from Universal Orlando Resort on our Youtube Channel:
More Orlando Florida Travel Tips
Need more inspiration for visiting Orlando, Florida and the theme parks? Here are some other helpful guides!
- Tips for Universal Orlando so you have the best time ever
- Best Florida vacation spots
- Tips for visiting Islands of Adventure and the best rides!
- Fun Things to Do in Central Florida (Besides Disney)
- Tips For Visiting Universal Studios Orlando with Kids
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Got any questions about Universal Volcano Bay? Ask us in the comments. Or have you already been to this Universal water park? Share your tips!