The Ultimate Guide to Volcano Bay
We love Universal Orlando Resort so when they opened their third park, Volcano Bay in May 2017, we knew it had to be amazing. Having visited the 28-acre Pacific Island-inspired park multiple times now we can unequivocally tell you, not only is it awesome; it’s the best water park in Orlando and unlike any other park you’ve ever visited before. Volcano Bay has turned the water park world on its head with the ground-breaking TapuTapu wristband technology and immersive theming that extends to the rides, attractions, design, and even food. To help you prepare for the best experience we’ve created the Ultimate Guide to Volcano Bay in an easy question and answer format. We’ve also included all the best tips and tricks for the perfect day at Volcano Bay mixed in throughout! Let’s dive in!
Disclosure – Any and all opinions expressed are that of Mom Abroad. No compensation was received for this post. However please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links. Meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase using the link.
What is Volcano Bay’s Back-Story?
The first thing to know about Volcano Bay is the rich backstory Universal created for the park. As their tale goes, an ancient group of Pacific islanders known as the “Waturi” set out on their outrigger canoes to find a new home with the mantra “Water is Life. Life is Joy.” The Waturi visited many Polynesian islands drawing elements from each culture until they came upon the legendary Kunuku. This mythical fish guided the Waturi people to Volcano Bay. Upon finding this island paradise, the Waturi made it their home—adding in all kinds of slides and experiences that used and celebrated water. It certainly does feel like a lush tropical oasis, far away from the highway that the park butts up to with thoughtful details and conveniences that transcend the typical water park experience.
How do you get to Volcano Bay?
Now that you know the story of Volcano Bay let’s talk about how to get there. Transportation to Volcano Bay can seem a little complicated. If you are driving to the park from an off-site hotel follow the signs directing to the specific Volcano Bay parking garage. From the parking garage, you will then take a bus to the water park. The ride only takes about five minutes.
VOLCANO BAY TIP #1: TAKE A PICTURE OF WHERE YOU PARKED SO YOU REMEMBER WHERE YOUR VEHICLE IS WHEN YOU GO TO LEAVE.
If you are staying off property and taking a taxi or Uber, there is NOT a guest drop off/pick up area at Volcano Bay. You will need to be dropped off at City Walk, and then take the shuttle bus to Volcano Bay. Make sure you build in this extra transit time.
From the shuttle drop off point, you will walk through an ornate underground tunnel before ascending an escalator to the park’s actual entrance.
If you are staying on-site at one of the Universal Orlando hotels, transportation is a little more straight forward. You simply need to take a shuttle bus directly to Volcano Bay from your Universal hotel. However, if you are staying at the Cabana Bay resort adjacent to Volcano Bay, you have the option to enjoy a designated walking path that takes you right to the water park.
Are there any Volcano Bay benefits for guests staying at Universal Orlando Resort Hotels?
ALL guests staying on-site at one of the official Universal Orlando Resort hotels such as the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, the Aventura Hotel, or Universal’s Hard Rock Hotel not only enjoy complimentary shuttle bus transportation to the park they also have the added benefit of early admission to Volcano Bay. That’s ONE HOUR to experience the most popular rides with the lowest waits of the day! We have done early admission several times and have ridden as many as seven slides in that first hour!
Plus it’s so fun to get a hearty “Kia’Ora” or “welcome” high five from cast members as they greet the first visitors to the park. Be sure to have your ticket and room key with you to gain early entry into Volcano Bay.
Just be sure to note that while guests staying at select Universal Orlando Resort deluxe hotels receive free Universal Express Plus Passes at Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida, this benefit does not extend to Volcano Bay. Still, no other water park in Orlando currently offers early admission to on-site guests! (hello, Disney, how about some extra magic hours at Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon?).
What are Volcano Bay’s Park Hours?
Volcano Bay hours fluctuate depending on the time of year and expected crowds. Although, the park is open during winter months hours are typically shorter. The summer usually sees the longest park hours to go along with the lengthier daylight and higher crowd levels. Volcano Bay will suspend admission if the park reaches maximum capacity. Be sure to double-check times before you go, on Universal Orlando’s website.
When should you visit Volcano Bay?
Volcano Bay is open year-round but we highly recommend a visit in the off-season! As with any major theme park, Volcano Bay gets crazy busy during holidays and when kids are off school. If your schedule allows, aim to visit when crowds are lower. Even though the TapuTapu makes waiting more manageable you’ll still find you get a lot more attractions in this way.
What is TapuTapu?
We mentioned TapuTapu a couple of times now. But what in the world is it? TapuTapu is the first-ever technologically advanced wearable device at Universal Orlando theme parks. This ground-breaking wrist-band takes the hassle out of standing in long lines, carrying cash through the parks, and even opening your locker.
The best part is that TapuTapu is included with your Volcano Bay admission. At no additional cost, each guest receives one of the “TapuTapu” wearable bracelets upon entry to Volcano Bay. This device has a screen and no buttons but it is super easy to use. You just tap it against something with a “TapuTapu” symbol to activate it.
How do you use TapuTapu to skip waiting in lines?
Your Tapu Tapu device allows you to participate in Universal’s new Virtual Line technology. To utilize the Virtual Line all you do is walk up to the totem pole located at the front of an attraction and tap your TapuTapu band to the glowing Volcano Bay icon. A sign will display the current wait time for the ride. Once you have “tapped in” and the Volcano light turns green, you have your place in line. Your wristband will display the corresponding wait time and begin the countdown. Eventually, your wristband will vibrate and “Ride Now” will appear on your visual screen indicating it’s your turn to ride the attraction.
TapuTapu functions very similar to having a “fast pass” at Disney World. Unlike fast passes though, your “Ride Now” indicator doesn’t expire so if you don’t have to rush over and ride. Just go when you are ready. However, you can not get enter another virtual line until you use or cancel your first ride.
Being able to enjoy other non-wait attractions during your countdown period is the best part of the TapuTapu system and a huge part of what makes Volcano Bay so revolutionary. No standing 5-stories high in a frozen state for over an hour waiting to ride. Instead, you have the freedom to explore the park and do other things. It doesn’t feel like “waiting in line” when you are rafting around the lazy river or bobbing in the wave pool or even sipping drinks at the bar.
What is Taptu Pay?
The TapuTapu wearable does more than just assist you with queuing. Guests also have the option to add a credit card to their TapuTapu for the ultimate, hands-free park experience. Universal calls this convenience “TapTu Pay”. It’s not required, but you can use it to pay for your locker, souvenirs or merchandise, food, and drinks. You can also set spending limits on wristbands based on individual tickets. This makes it super easy for kids to purchase food and souvenirs on their own while sticking to a budget. When you return your TapuTapu as you leave the park all personal information will be unlinked.
VOLCANO BAY TIP #2: CREATE YOUR UNIVERSAL ACCOUNT AND LINK IT TO YOUR CREDIT CARDS IF YOU ARE GOING TO USE THE TAPTU PAY FUNCTIONALITY BEFORE YOU GET TO THE PARK. YOU CAN CREATE AN ACCOUNT AT UNIVERSAL ORLANDO’S WEBSITE OR BY DOWNLOADING THE OFFICIAL UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT APP ON YOUR PHONE. YOU CAN CREATE A PIN THAT YOUR ENTIRE PARTY CAN USE WHEN THEY TAPTU PAY.
What Else Does TapuTapu Do?
TAPU TAPU TO TAKE PHOTOS
While skipping the line is the BEST feature of TapuTapu, your wearable band does so much more. You can take advantage of special interactive photo opportunities and selfie-spots throughout the park. Simply look for the Volcano icon and tap your band to activate the camera.
You can even use your band to take photos on select Volcano Bay rides and slides. Your photos will automatically link to your My Universal Photo account where you can view, choose and purchase them at your convenience.
TAPU TAPU FOR LOCKER ACCESS
Another awesome benefit of the Tapu Tapu is being able to use it to unlock lockers. No more having to remember an access code or keep track of a key. After you rent a locker, you will be able to access it with just a touch of your TapuTapu wearable. Easy peasy!
TAPU TAPU TO UNLOCK INTERACTIVE FEATURES
But wait there’s more! TapuTapu doesn’t just open lockers and secure ride times, it also unlocks some fun Easter eggs at Volcano Bay. Look for Volcano icons around the water theme park. Tapping your wearable band to these icons triggers a vast variety of special effects. You can activate spinning water windmills at the center of Puna Uli Lagoon, shoot water cannons at guests snaking down Kopiko Wai Winding River or illuminate images inside the volcano’s hidden caves. You can even hear music underwater in one of the pools. Each time we visit we find more and more of these fun surprises!
What do you do if you lose your TapuTapu bracelet?
People lose their TapuTapu all the time. The fearless river is especially notorious for coaxing TapuTapus to come loose. To better keep the device on your wrist note that it has two different hooks, one on each part of the band. Make sure both hooks are engaged and fit snuggly.
If your TapuTapu takes a swim, simply swing by any Guest Service desk for a free replacement. There is one to each side of the main beach and one in the back of the park. You will need to show them your ticket to get a new TapuTapu. If you have your ticket linked to your Universal Account, then the concierge can look up your ticket number using your email to make it even easier.
Oh and don’t worry about someone else using your TapuTapu to make purchases if you lose your bracelet. They would have to know your PIN.
How is Volcano Bay laid out?
Now that you know how TapuTapu works, it’s time to get the lay of the land. Volcano Bay is divided into four primary areas known as “villages.” Wave Village, River Village, Rainforest Village, and The Reef. Each area has a unique theme, though with such an abundance of South Seas scenery and landscaping it can be difficult to know where one area ends and another begins. The entire park pretty much forms one big loop with Krakatau Volcano sitting right in the center.
Krakatau Volcano really is the most amazing element of the park. Standing 200 feet tall, it is the largest peak in Florida (no joke!), and easily visible from any point in the park! From the front, it features beautiful waterfalls streaming down its sides and into a glistening wave pool at its base. From the back, you can see that Krakatau Volcano is also the starting point for four different waterslides.
VOLCANO BAY TIP #3: DON’T MISS OUT ON EXPLORING THE INSIDE OF KRAKATAU EVEN IF YOU DON’T PLAN TO DO ANY OF THE WATER SLIDES. THERE ARE MANY HIDDEN CAVERNS AND WALKWAYS WITH CASCADING WATERFALLS AND SPECIAL EFFECTS TRIGGERED BY YOUR TAPU TAPU. YOU MAY EVEN BE SURPRISED TO FIND A TIKI GOD WHO WILL INTERACT WITH YOU AND TELL YOU THE STORY OF THE WATURI PEOPLE IF YOU ASK.
What can we ride together at Volcano Bay?
Now that you know how the Tapu Tapu technology works and what’s up with the giant volcano, let’s get to the good stuff! Rides and slides! With 18 experiences Volcano Bay offers up an amazing variety of attractions. The first-of-its-kind aqua coaster and six other raft and tube style rides can be experienced by multiple riders at once.
KRAKATAU AQUA COASTER
Krakatau Aqua Coaster propels your four-person canoe UPHILL and racing through dark twists and turns within the volcano before plunging through a waterfall! The Krakatau Aqua Coaster is the most technical ride at Volcano Bay using linear induction motor technology (electromagnets) delivering delightful moments of air time like a real roller coaster!
VOLCANO BAY TIP #4: WHILE THE TECHNOLOGY IS INCREDIBLE, THE AQAU COSTER IS MORE PRONE TO MECHANICAL ISSUES THAN ANY OTHER RIDE. IT’S ALSO PRONE TO THE LONGEST LINES. MAKE IT A PRIORITY TO RIDE IT EARLY AND TRY BACK AGAIN IF YOU FIND THE RIDE DOWN. THIS IS ONE YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS!
HONU & IKA MOANA
Volcano Bay’s multi-person raft rides are grouped together in pairs that are attached to the same tower. Though they share stairs, each slide offers a unique experience.
The blue Honu slide will send your five-passenger raft sweeping up the side of its massive wave-shaped walls for a nearly vertical view of Volcano Bay. There are some stomach-dropping moments on this one but it’s perfect for adventuresome families that want to experience a thrill together! It is the scariest group raft ride in the park, and our pick as the best!
Ika Moana’s green slide is slightly tamer and longer. The six-passenger raft ride sends you gliding across bubbling geysers as you twist and turn your way down to the bottom.
MAKU & PUIHI
Maku means “wet” and Puihi means “wild” and that is exactly what this pair of raft rides is! Maku is North America’s first “saucer ride” sending rafts holding up to six people speeding around three bowl-like formations. Next thing you know, you’ll be hit with geyser blasts before shooting out into the pool!
Puihi, which also holds up to six riders at a time, drops guests into darkness before tossing them into a funnel and launching them into a zero-gravity drop.
Taniwha Tubes are four separate Easter Island-inspired slides with rafts for both single and double riders. The turning and twisting slides aren’t too fast or crazy but watch out for troublesome tikis spraying water at surprising moments.
The best part of raft rides at Volcano Bay is that you don’t have to carry your rafts or tubes to the top of the slide! Rafts are hauled up using nifty conveyor belts leaving you free to just focus on having fun!
VOLCANO BAY TIP #5: IF THE SIGN IN FRONT OF AN ATTRACTION DISPLAYS “RIDE NOW,” THEN THERE IS NO NEED TO “TAP IN” FOR A WAIT TIME. YOU CAN ENJOY THE ATTRACTION IMMEDIATELY. IF A RIDE’S WAIT TIME IS UNDER 30 MINUTES, YOU MAY WANT TO STICK CLOSE BY. THERE IS A CHANCE IT WILL TURN TO “RIDE NOW” AND YOU CAN JUMP ON RIGHT AWAY. TANIWHAT TUBES ARE ALMOST ALWAYS IN “RIDE NOW” MODE MAKING THEM A GREAT ATTRACTION TO ENJOY WHILE YOU WAIT FOR OTHER SLIDES.
Does Volcano Bay have body Slides?
Boy does it ever! Brace yourself for these big-thrill body slides:
KO’OKIRI BODY PLUNGE
This 70-degree angle plummet down a 125-foot slide is by far the scariest of all the Volcano Bay attractions. The thrill starts right from the get-go as a trapdoor drops you right through the center of Krakatau volcano. From there you make your way down the near-vertical drop into a clear sided pool of onlookers.
KALA AND TA NUI
There are two other distinctive body slides found at the rear of the volcano, each of which also start-off with surprise doors that drop out from beneath you. The Kala and Ta Nui Serpentine Body Slides simultaneously plunge two guests down clear, intertwining tubes before sending them joyfully splashing into the turquoise waters below.
VOLCANO BAY TIP #6: BE PREPARED FOR A HIKE TO KO’KIRI BODY PLUNGE AND TAI NUI SERPENTINE BODY SLIDES. THESE RIDES ARE AT THE VERY TOP OF KRAKATAU VOLCANO. IT IS THE HIGHEST PEAK IN FLORIDA AFTER ALL!
OHYAH AND OHNO
Near the entrance to the volcano, you will also find a pair of enclosed drop-slides cheekily named Ohyah and Ohno. These two short but intense and twisty slides launch guests from the tubes four- and six-feet above the water for an adrenaline-pumping plunge. It’s exhilarating! And, unlike any other set of slides in Orlando.
VOLCANO BAY TIP #7: POOL DEPTHS AT VOLCANO BAY VARY ACCORDING TO THE ATTRACTIONS. RIDERS SHOULD ACCESS THEIR ABILITY TO SWIM PRIOR TO BOARDING ANY SLIDE OR ATTRACTION. WARNING SIGNS WITH RIDE INFORMATION ARE POSTED AT THE ENTRANCE OF EACH ATTRACTION. STRONG SWIMMING ABILITY IS REQUIRED IF YOU PLAN TO TAKE ON THE OHYAH AND OHNO DROP SLIDES AS THEY END IN A 10-FOOT DEEP POOL.
The Punga Racers are a favorite among Waturi children of all ages. Especially as there is a bit of a competitive element to these slides. Single riders on mats shaped like manta rays race down four lanes through “underwater sea caves”. All the slides are enclosed so it’s really exciting to see who will come out ahead at the end.
VOLCANO BAY TIP #8: FOR A SWIFTER RIDE HOLD YOUR MAT OUT IN FRONT OF YOU AND JUMP FORWARD ONTO IT WHEN GIVEN THE SIGNAL. THEN AS SOON AS YOU GET UNDERWAY, PULL BACK ON THE HANDLES AS YOU SLIDE. WE HAVE BEEN HURT SEVERAL TIMES ON THIS RIDE AND CAN TELL YOU THAT TUCKING IN YOUR ELBOWS IS KEY TO NOT GETTING BRUISED.
What about non-slide attractions at Volcano Bay?
Volcano Bay has plenty to do beyond rides and slides!
This gets a little confusing as “Waturi Beach” is actually the name for both the sandy area in front of Krakatau Volcano and the sparkling, multi-directional wave pool fed by waterfalls cascading from the Volcano’s peak. The cutting-edge wave-pool is capable of cycling through different kinds of surf. Every 10 minutes music sounds indicating a shift in the seas from calm waters to multidirectional chop to powerful breaking waves.
The Reef is a calm leisure pool with exciting views of riders speeding through the clear tube of Ko’okiri Body Plunge. Look for several fun interactive experiences in this pool including the chance to hear music playing underwater.
KOPIKO WAI WINDING RIVER
What would an awesome water park be without an awesome lazy river? The picturesque Kopiko Wai Winding River passes through the volcano’s hidden caves, featuring spontaneous water effects and special nighttime lighting. This journey is all about the sights and relaxation.
TE AWA FEARLESS RIVER
You’ve heard of lazy-rivers, well our family calls this the “Crazy River” and boy do we love it! Te Awa The Fearless River is a swift-moving river that simulates what it would be like to be in whitewater rapids. Without fail, we spend most of our time “waiting” for rides enjoying Te Awa in our life vests – which are mandatory on this attraction. There are multiple places to get on and off so it can be a wonderful way to get from one end of the park to the other too.
VOLCANO BAY TIP #9: IF YOU WANT TO CATCH THE BIGGEST CURL FROM THE WAVE GENERATOR PADDLE UPSTREAM JUST AFTER YOU EXIT FROM UNDER THE VOLCANO.
PUKA ULI LAGOON
Puka Uli Lagoon is a tranquil zero-entry pool with a sandy beach. It’s the perfect spot for the younger kids to just chill out while the more fearless ones tackle Ohyah and Ohno right next to it.
What else is there for Infants and Toddlers at Volcano Bay?
There are some truly awesome areas of the park designed with young ones in mind.
TOT TIKI REEF
Tot Tiki Reef is an adorable toddler play area with spraying Maori fountains, slides and a kid-size volcano.
Runamukka Reef takes it to the next level! Literally! This three-story sprawling water playground inspired by a coral reef is overflowing with twisting slides, sprinklers and water toys galore.
The only downside to Volcano Bay’s little kid area is that every slide is for single riders only. That means that you may not ride with your toddler, and you can’t send your older child to ride with your toddler down a bigger slide. Your best bet is to wait for your youngster right at the bottom of the slides.
Are there are height or weight restrictions at Volcano Bay?
While we are talking about little ones it’s important to mention that some rides and slides do have height restrictions. Guests over 48” inches can enjoy all the attractions except the kiddie areas. Some slides require guests between 42″ and 48″ to ride with a supervising companion. Rivers, pools, and beaches have no height restrictions, but children between 42″–48″ must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life vest. This goes for everyone, of any size in the Te Awa Fearless River.
It’s also important to note that Volcano Bay has some weight restrictions. Some rides—including the multiple-rider, raft rides—have a weight limit. When you arrive at the top of the ride, a team member will have your party step into a square altogether that discreetly weighs your group.
Which Volcano Bay attraction should you experience first?
As the park’s signature ride, Krakatau Aqua Coaster will often have one of the longest wait times. Try to “tap-in” to make this your first ride of the day before the major crowds arrive. From there you will want to hit other low capacity attractions before the park fills up. These include the four body slides located inside Krakatau Volcano.
VOLCANO BAY TIP #10: THE OTHER MUST-DO AT VOLCANO BAY WE RECOMMEND TICKING OFF YOUR LIST EARLY IS A FAMILY PHOTO IN FRONT OF KRAKATAU VOLCANO. TRY TO TACKLE THIS FANTASTIC PHOTO OP DURING EARLY ADMISSION –BEFORE EVERYONE ENTERS THE WATER –OR DURING ONE OF THE BRIEF PERIODS WHEN THE WAVE POOL IS CLEARED TO TEST THE WATER. FEEL FREE TO ASK A STRANGER TO TAKE YOUR PHOTO. YOU CAN ALWAYS OFFER TO RECIPROCATE THE FAVOR.
Does Volcano Bay offer Universal Express Pass?
During busy times of year Volcano Bay guests will have the option of purchasing Universal Express Pass (good for one time at each participating ride) or Universal Express Pass Plus (ride an unlimited number of times) as add-on options to their theme park admission. This upgrade will be added on to your TapuTapu band and allow you to skip the Virtual Line at select attractions.
Rather than given a return time when “tapping in” to a slide or attraction you will be directed to proceed to the boarding area. This can be especially helpful during peak crowd times like the month of July. However, in our experience, even during Spring Break, we were able to ride everything at least once during the day just by adhering to some savvy touring strategies. Also, note that Express Pass has not been available on the Krakatau Aqua Coaster.
VOLCANO BAY TIP #11: DON’T RIDE SOLO! VOLCANO BAY DOESN’T HAVE DEDICATED SINGLE-RIDER LINES LIKE YOU SEE AT THE DRY PARKS. WHILE ANY RIDE CAN BE ENJOYED ON YOUR OWN, YOU MAY FIND THAT RIDING ALONE CAN SLOW YOU DOWN A BIT ON SOME RIDES AT VOLCANO BAY. THE 5 AND 6 PERSON RAFTS NEED AT LEAST TWO PEOPLE TO RIDE. SO IF YOU GET TO THE PARK EARLY YOU MAY FIND YOURSELF WAITING FOR SOMEONE ELSE TO RIDE WITH.
What is there to Eat at Volcano Bay?
Enjoying all those attractions will surely work up an appetite! Thankfully Volcano Bay has an amazing variety of food to offer. With an impressive menu of over 60 items, including many light and healthy options. No other water park in Orlando comes even close to that selection or can top Volcano Bay on taste. Most entrees at these quick service locations are priced between $8-$15 and serve food for both lunch and dinner:
KOHALA REEF RESTAURANT (LOCATED IN THE WAVE VILLAGE)
Kohola Reef Restaurant is located at the base of Krakatau volcano and closest to the entrance of the park. This restaurant serves fresh island favorites, including tangy Mango BBQ, Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Quinoa Edamame Burgers and crunchy Coconut Crusted Fried Chicken.
BAMBU (LOCATED IN THE RAINFOREST VILLAGE)
If you are looking for a shaded hideaway, Bambu, located on the backside of the park offers quick-and-easy eats such as chef-crafted burgers, pretzel bun hot dogs as well as chicken tenders and fresh salad.
WHAKAWAIWAI EATS (LOCATED IN THE RIVER VILLAGE)
Whakawaiwai Eats is an easy crowd-pleaser serving up tasty island-inspired pizzas and salads along with the park’s now-famous jerk shrimp mac-and-cheese. This is our go-to eatery for meals that offer nice portion sizes and are perfect for sharing.
THE FEASTING FROG
The Feasting Frog is the place to go for tacos! This quirky tropical amphibian-shaped structure specializes in carne asada and chicken tacos served with plantain chips. The limited menu also features nachos.
VOLCANO BAY TIP #12: EAT EARLY! VOLCANO BAY HAS DONE A GREAT JOB WITH MENU OPTIONS BUT JUST AS ANY OTHER THEME PARK, LINES FOR FOOD GET LONG AT LUNCHTIME AND MOVE SLOWLY. ORDER AN EARLY LUNCH BEFORE 11:00 AM OR WAIT UNTIL AFTER 3:00 PM. TO AVOID THE RUSH. JUST NOTE THAT RESTAURANTS BEGIN TO SHUTTER 2 HOURS PRIOR TO PARK CLOSING.
Koka Poroka is the place to go for an Ice Cream Kona –get it? There are several delicious flavors to choose from but why decide on one when you can have them all? The signature Waturi Fusion cone that stacks banana, blue raspberry, orange, and strawberry flavors into one glorious rainbow cone is our favorite treat in the park and one we make sure to get every time we visit.
Does Volcano Bay offer a Dining Plan?
Universal’s Quick-Service Dining Plan is available at Volcano Bay. The Quick Service dining plan includes a quick service meal (entree + drink), drink, and snack and can be purchased right at the register. There have been several occasions where we weighed what we were going to get that day and then purchased the plan if we determined it would save us money –which most of the time it does. Our kids also love that several of the meals include milkshakes – which you can get along with another fountain drink.
What about food allergies?
If you have food allergies and have questions about the food, ask in the restaurants to speak to one of the chefs. Volcano Bay chefs will direct you to the appropriate menu options and can even create special dishes that meet your needs. You can also bring your own food into the park. Just make sure that you aren’t using a large hard-sided cooler.
Does Volcano Bay serve alcohol?
In addition to the food, Volcano Bay also offers two stand-alone bars serving a variety of yummy adult beverages along with non-alcoholic concoctions that everyone can enjoy.
KUNUKU BOAT BAR
On the backside of Volcano Bay, you’ll find Kunuku Boat Bar. This canoe-shaped bar is named after the mythical fish that guided the Waturi islanders to Volcano Bay. It’s a great spot for frozen drinks, specialty cocktails, fountain sodas, and draft beers.
VOLCANO BAY TIP #13: IF YOU’RE 21+ AND PLANNING TO PURCHASE ALCOHOL YOU WILL NEED TO SHOW YOUR I.D. SO MAKE SURE TO HAVE IT WITH YOU BEFORE HEADING TO THE BAR.
DANCING DRAGONS BOAT BAR
Shaped like an ancient outrigger canoe the Dancing Dragons Boat Bar overlooks Waturi Beach and Krakatau Volcano. Serving up tropical cocktails and frozen drinks this is the perfect place to sit for a spell and take in the view.
Is there a Fountain Drink Plan at Volcano Bay?
If you are looking to save some money on drink purchases, Volcano Bay sells refillable drink mugs. For a flat rate per size, guests can refill their mug with any Coca-Cola Freestyle or ICEE flavor. Mugs can be purchased for a single day or the duration of your visit. However, mugs cannot be re-used for a future visit. The cups feature a chip in the bottom which determines when you are eligible for a refill. You have to set your cup down in the soda machine so that it will detect the chip. There is a price break for purchasing more than one refillable mug at a time.
What ticket options are available for Volcano Bay?
There are a variety of options to choose from when you book tickets for your visit to Volcano Bay. Day tickets to Volcano Bay are $80 per adult and $75 per child, which is substantially less than the dry theme parks. However, if you are also visiting Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure (and you absolutely should, especially if you are a Harry Potter fan,) it makes more sense to get a multi-day pass. Children 2 and under are always free to enter the park.
VOLCANO BAY TIP #13: CONSIDER GETTING AN ANNUAL PASS TO UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT. WHEN ASSESSED ON A COST-PER-DAY BASIS, ONE-DAY TICKETS ARE MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE THAN MULTIPLE DAYS. THE PRICE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN ANNUAL PASS AND FIVE-DAY TICKETS MADE THE PASSES A CLEAR WINNER IN OUR BOOK. WE ENDED UP GIVING ANNUAL PASSES AS OUR “EXPERIENCE GIFT” FOR OUR KIDS FOR CHRISTMAS AND IT MEANT A WHOLE YEAR OF FLORIDA TRIPS FOR US.
Are Volcano Bay tickets refundable?
Volcano Bay tickets are non-refundable, but they are valid for 364 days after the intended day of-use. Guest services will be happy to help with specific ticket questions. You can reach them at 407-224-4233.
Are there any discounts on Volcano Bay Tickets?
Discount tickets are not currently available for Volcano Bay water park by itself, but multi-day tickets and packages offer the best value. Mom Abroad recommends Undercover Tourist and Best of Orlando for discounted tickets to Universal Orlando Resort.
What should I bring to Volcano Bay?
You’ll need a comfortable swimsuit and cover-up. We also highly recommend rash guards. Especially the kind that come with long sleeves. This may seem crazy in the hot Florida sun but as soon as you get the rash guard wet they feel amazing and keep you cool and protected. You’ll also want to have sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses.
We also recommend bringing a lightweight water bottle. There are plenty of places to fill them up around the park.
If you have little ones it’s important to note that swim diapers are required for kids who are not potty trained. Many kids also enjoy having goggles to protect their eyes and allow them to see underwater.
Finally, you are going to want something to wear on your feet to save them from burning. Volcano Bay does an excellent job of cooling the sidewalk with water mist, but you will still be scurrying across some hot pavement.
Don’t worry if you forget something, Volcano Bay Stores and kiosks carry everything from bathing suits (believe it or not some people do forget these!) to feminine hygiene products and charger cables.
Can you Wear Your Shoes on the Slides at Volcano Bay?
Many people opt for a pair of flip-flops at Volcano Bay. You won’t be able to go down the water slides with them on but many (not all) of the rides have little rope hammocks to throw in your flip-flops, sunglasses, and towel before you climb up the steps to the slide.
We recommend a good set of water shoes which you will be able to wear on many of the attractions as well as when you are walking around the park. You will not be able to wear water shoes on body slides but can on the slides with tubes, the Aqua Coaster or either of the two “river” attractions.
What about Towels?
You have several towels options at Volcano Bay. You can bring your own from home or purchase a souvenir towel from one of the park’s shops or kiosks. Your other option is to rent towels from Volcano Bay for $5 per day, per towel from one of the three concierge stations in the park. If you are traveling by air and have limited space in your luggage this option may make the most sense. The rental fee doesn’t include swapping out wet towels.
Note that if you are staying at one of the Universal Orlando Resort hotels, you are prohibited from taking your hotel room towels into Volcano Bay.
VOLCANO BAY TIP #14: IF YOU CAN, BRING YOUR OWN TOWELS. NOT ONLY DOES IT SAVE MONEY (THAT YOU CAN USE ON ICE-CREAM!) YOU WON’T HAVE TO WAIT TO GET TOWELS BEFORE CLAIMING YOUR CHAIRS. IF YOU DON’T HAVE TOWELS TO USE FOR CLAIMING CHAIRS, USE AN EMPTY BAG OR EVEN A PAIR OF FLIP-FLOPS.
What do you need to know about lockers at Volcano Bay?
As we mentioned earlier, you can use your TapuTapu bracelet to easily access your locker. There are several locker pavilions scattered throughout the park making them easy to reach from anywhere in the park. The lockers in the Wave Village, closest to the park entrance are always the most crowded while the ones at River Village in the back of the park are rarely busy. There is also a bank of lockers located immediately outside the park. However, we don’t recommend using these because your TapuTapu bracelet must be returned if you exit and you forfeit any Virtual Line reservations you have.
Unlike lockers at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure where most locker rentals are free while you’re on the ride, at Volcano Bay you have do have to pay to rent one. They come in three sizes; small ($8), medium ($12) and large ($15). Larger lockers tend to sell out first. You’ll need a credit card either in-hand or linked to your TapuTapu to rent directly at the locker. See an attendant if paying by cash.
You can access your locker as many times as you need to without any additional charges. You can also authorize up to four additional people to access the locker. Simply follow the promt’s on the touch screen at the locker bay kiosk.
VOLCANO BAY TIP #15 : LOCKERS ARE AUTOMATICALLY CHOSEN FOR YOUR AND CAN BE KIND OF HIGH. IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE LOCKER YOU ARE ASSIGNED SIMPLY ASK ONE OF THE VOLCANO BAY LOCKER ATTENDANTS TO CHANGE TO A DIFFERENT ONE.
What about Restrooms? Are there showers at Volcano Bay?
Guests will find restrooms and showers scattered around the park for your convenience. They are located adjacent to each of the locker pavilions. Additionally, there are family restrooms around the park that offer more privacy, roll-in access and a shower. Yet another convenience at Volcano Bay are “People Dryers” available for $5 a cycle.
What upgrades are available at Volcano Bay?
For those of us more into shaded lounging than swimming, Volcano Bay has upgrades that offer more convenience and relaxation.
Around the park, you can choose from one- or two-story cabanas that come with padded lounge chairs, a small refrigerator stocked with bottled water, complimentary fruit and snack basket, towel and locker service. Cabana guests also enjoy concierge service with an exclusive menu of food and drink delivered directly to the cabana, and TapuTapu ride booking. Prices for single cabanas that hold up to six people start at $159.99 per day. They are available as upper-level cabanas with spectacular views, ground-level cabanas for convenience and accessibility or stand-alone cabanas that offer more privacy. Family suite cabanas, which hold up to 16 people, are available starting at $299.99 per day plus tax. These are large, private stand-alone cabanas.
Don’t quite want to lay out the cash for a Cabana but still want to be guaranteed a prime seat with an adjustable shade canopy? Premium seating comes with two padded lounge chairs and a built-in storage lockbox for an upcharge of $29.99. Like the Cabanas, Premium Seating guests can enjoy the services of an attendant who will see to your food and drink orders. Book your cabana or premium seating at least two weeks in advance by calling 1-877-489-8068.
VOLCANO BAY TIP #16: IF YOU ARE NOT PLANNING ON RENTING PREMIUM SEATING OR A CABANA, THEN JUST BE SURE TO ARRIVE EXTRA EARLY! ESPECIALLY IF YOU WANT TO SNAG A SEAT WITH SHADE. WE RECOMMEND CLAIMING YOUR SEAT EVEN BEFORE YOU FIND A LOCKER. OR, IF YOU CAN, HAVE ONE ADULT RUN TO GET SEATS FOR EVERYONE UNDER AN UMBRELLA OR THATCHED HUT WHILE THE OTHER GOES AND RESERVES A LOCKER.
Where should you claim your seat?
Now you know to get to Volcano Bay early to grab your seats. But you’re wondering where. We suggest looking over the park map and figuring out where your family will be the majority of the day.
If you have younger children, you might want to set up near the Puka Uli Lagoon pool or Runamukka Reef. For older kids or adults, you can’t go wrong with Waturi Beach. The view of the volcano is idyllic and it is very central. Another favorite spot is Hammerhead Beach towards the back of the park where entry to the Te Awa fearless river is easy.
Is Volcano Bay Handicap Accessible?
Wheelchair accessibility is available at Maku and Puihi Round Raft Rides as well as Krakatau Aqua Coaster via elevator access. Guests using wheelchairs may also transfer from their wheelchair to Kopiko Wai Winding River, TeAwa Fearless River, Puka Uli Leisure Pool, The Reef Leisure Pool, and Waturi Beach Wave Pool. Guests must meet all the requirements to ride as posted. You can find additional information on accessibility on the Universal Orlando website.
What if it rains?
Florida weather fluctuates day-to-day so try to set it up to give yourself some choices on what day you visit Volcano Bay. If rain is in the forecast don’t let that deter you. Many of our very best park days in Orlando have been when it was raining.
If it starts to rain while you are at Volcano Bay don’t immediately scurry for the exit. Keep riding and sliding. You are already wet anyway, right?! However, if lightning strikes within five miles of Volcano Bay and you do get pulled out of the pools and attractions we still recommending hanging around to wait it out. Grab a bite to eat, or shop while others flee for the park exit. Orlando showers are usually short-lived, and you’ll have attractions all to yourself once the sun returns and the all-clear is given.
We hope you’ve learned everything you need to know for the perfect day at Volcano Bay!
If you have any questions that I didn’t cover, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll follow up with you! Or if you have a great tip to share let me know below too! And be sure to check out these other awesome Universal Orlando articles:
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