When I realized I’d be in Orlando last month for a blogging conference, you better believe I had amusement parks on my mind! Orlando has a variety of amusement parks that offer fun and adventure for visitors of all ages. Universal’s Volcano Bay has only been open for just a few weeks and I was excited to check out this amazing water park. I had a lot of fun exploring the variety of water slides and activities. Thinking about heading to this brand-new park to have your own adventures? Keep reading to learn more about what to expect at Universal’s Volcano Bay.
Here are some fun facts about the park — I think you’ll quickly realize why I was excited to check this place out:
- Universal’s Volcano Bay is the THIRD Universal Orlando Park
- There are 17 attractions to enjoy at this park (a variety of slides, rivers, and beaches)
- The Ko’okiri Body Plunge slide features a 70-degree drop and 125 ft plunge
- The Ko’okiri Body Plunge and the Kala and Ta Nui Serpentine Body Slides tie for the tallest water slides in the United States
Are There Activities for Everyone?
Yes! I love that this park includes activities that are suitable for everyone. There are water slides for the thrill-seekers and there are more calm rides for beginners. There’s also a wave pool and multiple river options for you to float and play in. For anyone who just wants to chill out and enjoy the sun or shade, there’s seats available (get there early to claim one!) to relax. I think this is a perfect place for the whole family to spend the day!
How Much Does it Cost to Visit?
There are various price options, depending on if you plan to spend the day only at Volcano Bay or if you want to hop between parks. If you’re looking to only spend the day at Universal’s Volcano Bay, the ticket price is $62 per child (under 10 years of age) and $67 per adult.
Be prepared for other costs as well. Most park-goers plan to spend some money on food and drinks. You can feel free to pack your own meals and bring them with you or buy snacks and drinks at the park. You should also consider other costs such as a locker rental or towel. I usually bring towels with me, but was packing ultra-light on my trip. A towel can be rented for about $4. You can also rent a locker — they had two sizes available — medium and large. A medium full-day locker rental costs $12. A large full-day locker rental costs $15.
I chose to rent a $15 large locker as I had a full backpack and purse with me and was headed to the airport after my adventure. One thing that would be nice for the future is a half day (or 3 or 4-hour rental option) for those who are only visiting part of the day, have season passes, or are planning to hop over to another park. I was told that once a full-day locker is rented out, it can’t be rented out later in the day for another guest (even after the original renter leaves!)
How Does the Tapu Tapu System Work?
If you’ve been thinking about visiting Universal’s Volcano Bay, you may have heard about their Tapu Tapu system. All visitors are given a Tapu Tapu wristband when they enter the park. This can be used to virtually hold your place in line. (I don’t know about you, but I’m not the biggest fan of waiting 2.5 hours in line!) I think this is a great system because it allows you to reserve a spot while you go and enjoy less busy activities.
All you need to do is head to the ride of your choosing and tap your Tapu Tapu on the machine to get a time. It will show you how long you have until you need to head to the ride. As soon as I entered the park (right at opening time!) I headed to the most popular Ko’okiri Body Plunge. I was given a 15 minute wait time. I was so excited and it was worth it heading there first. Only 1-2 hours later, I noticed the wait for this ride was easily at 120 minutes — WOW! If you want to be strategic, I think you should head right to your favorite ride first — especially if it’s a popular one.
One thing I noticed about the Tapu Tapu system is it really is an estimate. For one ride it gave me a 40-minute wait….and then it quickly changed to 15 minutes (well before the time had passed). Sometimes you may luck out and be able to get on the ride sooner. For another ride, I noticed the opposite. It took longer than the originally estimated 60 minutes (probably about 75-minute wait in total). Just know that it’s only an estimate and it may change.
You can only use Tapu Tapu for one ride at a time — but there’s plenty of other things to enjoy while you wait your turn!
You can also use Tapu Tapu to pay for food and drinks around the park. You will need to download the official Universal Orlando Resort app. You will need to link a credit card and set up a payment code. Once you do this, you can use your Tapu Tapu to pay for things. This can eliminate the need to carry money or a credit card around. I suggest taking care of payment information the day before you head to the park so it’s all ready to go!
What Food and Drink Options Are Available?
If you’re like me, you may think about food all the time. I was curious what kind of food I would see at Universal’s Volcano Bay. There was a good variety available. I felt the food wasn’t too over-priced, which sometimes is an issue when visiting an amusement park. You can enjoy a chicken salad sandwich for $9.99, a turkey wrap for $8.99, chicken tenders with fries for $9.99, and a jerked mahi sandwich with vegetable chips for $14.99.
Fun beachy cocktails also speak to me. Specialty cocktails (served in a souvenir glass) are priced at $11.99. Beers are also available and start at $6.99. Here’s a look at one of the menus:
Do You Have Any Tips?
GO EARLY!! Seriously, I got to the parking and guest drop off area at 7:55 on the dot. The park didn’t open until 9 am. You have to ride a (very short) bus ride to the park entrance area and then go through security and the ticket area before getting into the park. I was through security and presented my ticket right around 8:30. I then was able to get into the park and get a locker rental before the park opened. I would get there by 8 am if you plan to get a good seat, locker, or want to be able to ride your favorite ride near the beginning of the day.
You’ll have a better chance of enjoying more if you start your day early.
Is There Anything Else I Should Know?
If you’re bringing the whole gang and want to spend the whole day, you may want to consider renting out a cabana. This can make for a great hangout area and a more comfortable experience for all. The starting price for a smaller lower-level cabana for up to 6 people begins at $159.99. Upper-level units can cost up to $549.99. If you’re bringing a huge crew, there are options available that accommodate up to 16 people. These prices range from $299.99 to $599.99. Get to the park early to reserve the perfect cabana.
There is regular free seating available, but again you want to get there very early to stake out a spot. You can also upgrade to premium-level chairs ranging from $29.99 to $69.99 per day for lounger chairs.
You should also know that there are bathrooms and showers available at Universal’s Volcano Bay. I LOVED that they had showers available to use because I changed and headed straight to the airport. I didn’t have to worry about changing right next to a toilet or having to wear a wet bathing suit in the car.
Would I head back to Universal’s Volcano Bay? Absolutely! If you plan ahead of time and arrive well before opening, you can have a fun-filled day.
Disclaimer: I was invited to visit Universal’s Volcano Bay. As always, all views are my own. I had an absolute blast riding the water rides here!