Krakatau Aqua Coaster: Four-person canoes slide upward through the mists and into the dark twists and turns within the volcano before emerging with a plunge through a shimmering waterfall. I tried to ride, but it kept having difficulties, oh well guess I have to go back.
Universal Orlando Volcano Bay is NOW OPEN! This is the third park to open at Universal Orlando Resort, and it lives up to the name-water theme park. I was able to attend the opening celebration as a guest of Universal Orlando last week, and I am dying to share everything! From the stunning scenery, to the thrilling rides and outstanding dining–this is where you want to be. Take a look with me, and learn everything you need to know about Volcano Bay.
My family loves water parks. During the dog days of summer day it’s the perfect way to stay cool, however it can be downright exhausting. Gone are the days of waiting in two-hour lines, dragging your tubes up eight flights of stairs and fighting crowds for a space by the wave pool.
Volcano Bay turns your trip to a water park into a relaxing one of a kind experience. From the stunning Waturi Beach to thrilling water slides and one of a kind kids play area, there is truly something for everyone. I am cautious to use the word water park because Universal Orlando calls Volcano Bay a water theme park. And it is exactly that! The theme is immersive and you are transported to an island paradise.
Universal Orlando Volcano Bay: The Complete Guide
I was able to spend three days at Volcano Bay, and I covered every inch of the park from the slides, to dining and even merchandise. This is the complete guide to Universal Orlando, Volcano Bay.
Welcome to Volcano Bay
Volcano Bay can only be accessed by shuttle or walking, there is no parking lot at the park. You simply take a shuttle direct from your Universal resort, if you are a guest at Cabana Bay you can walk. If you are not staying at Universal Orlando Resort you will park in the garage at City Walk and then make your way to the Volcano Bay shuttle stop. I used both the Cabana Bay walkway and the shuttles, they were seamless and I was at the entrance in less than ten minutes.
When you arrive at the turnstiles you are given your Tapu Tapu. This is your wearable band that will hold access to pretty much everything you need. To save time set up an account in the Universal Orlando App. This allows you to link a credit card for charges, set spending limits and assign a pin number for your Tapu Tapu. You can also make sure the kids don’t have charging privileges, as each guest will link their park tickets to the Tapu Tapu.
Tip: Universal on site guests have Early Park Admission to Volcano Bay. I suggest utilizing this extra time to stake out the perfect spot for the day. That extra hour makes a HUGE difference with crowds.
Do you hate waiting in long lines at the water parks? We all do, because our time is valuable. Universal heard our cries and the Waturi people have blessed us with the Tapu Tapu. This magical wearable is given to you when you enter the park. It is a little cumbersome at first, but you get used to it pretty quickly. So what does it do?
- Virtual Line Access- You can virtually hold your place in line for popular attractions, and you are alerted when it’s time to ride. No more waiting two hours holding rafts, go play and come back when it’s your turn. Simply visit the attraction you want to ride, click your Tapu and reserve your spot.
- TapTu Play: You can can take part in play experiences throughout the park. Such as controlling streams of water spurting from whales in Tot Tiki Reef, shooting water cannons at guests snaking down Kopiko Wai Winding River, illuminating images in the volcano’s hidden caves and more. It really is a magical bracelet.
- TapTu Pay: No need to keep going to the locker for money, pay with the Tapu for food, drinks and merchandise! You can link your credit card in the Universal Orlando app.
- Photo Access: Find fun and interactive photo opportunities along with selfie spots throughout the park as well as attraction photos. Your Tapu Tapu will automatically link those photos and you can view them at your leisure.
- Locker Access: After renting your locker ($15/full day) you can access it all day with the touch of your TapuTapu.
You MUST return your Tapu Tapu at the end of your visit, this isn’t a souvenir and they will know if you try to sneak one out. So don’t try it. The Waturi Gods won’t be happy if you take their magical wearable.
Tip: You can reserve the Krakatau Aqua Coaster PLUS one other attraction at a time. This allows you a spot in line for the main attraction at the park, as well as another at the same time. You can only reserve one attraction at a time for the other attractions.
Cabana Rentals, Towels And More…
Volcano Bay is home to a myriad of rental options, some you can reserve before your visit-others the day of.
- Towels can be rented for $4.99 per day, and must be returned upon departure. They are nothing fancy, so you won’t want to keep it anyway. I say save the money and bring your own towels.
- Premium Seating is available for $29.99 per day plus tax. This includes a pair of padded loungers with an adjustable shade canopy and a built-in storage locker. Plus, you can enjoy the services of an area attendant who’ll see to your food and drink orders.
- Single Family Cabanas will accommodate up to six people. Choose from upper level cabanas for spectacular views, ground level cabanas for convenience and accessibility, or stand-alone cabanas that offer a bit more privacy. At $159.99 per day plus tax this is a fantastic deal.
- Family Suite Cabanas are the Big Kahuna and can accommodate up to 16 people! For $299.99 per day plus tax you can split this among friends and have the ultimate in relaxation.
- Life-jackets are free for use all day, from kids to adult sizes you can feel safe if you aren’t the best swimmer.
Each cabana offers padded lounge chairs, a small refrigerator stocked with bottled water, complimentary fruit and snack basket, towel and locker service, plus concierge service with an exclusive menu of food and drink delivered directly to the cabana. One-story and two-story retreats are located throughout the park.
Tip: The cabanas do sell out well in advance. Be sure to call (877) 489-8068 to reserve yours before your visit.
Dining For The Foodie In You
If you are looking for hum-drum burgers and dogs you have come to the wrong theme park. The dining options at Volcano Bay are unlike any I have found in a theme park, let alone a water theme park. From a taco stand, to sushi you can literally eat your way around Volcano Bay. The group of girls I was with decided that we should do a food crawl to sample everything in the parks, who was I to disagree. With 60, yes 60 unique dining offerings you are sure to enjoy a few things.
Kohola Reef Restaurant & Social Club is close to Waturi Beach and has the most dining options in the park. This airy escape at the base of the Krakatau volcano, and delights diners with fresh island flavors. If you want something on the lighter side both the Cobb Salad and Arugula were refreshing and offered large portions. Looking for a meal to share-try the coconut crusted fried chicken, served with fresh slaw, plantains and potatoes. You can thank me later.
Whakawaiwai Eats is towards the back side of the park near the kids area. Here you will savor Island BBQ Chicken Pizza, Tropical Baby Greens salad, Hawaiian Pizza and so much more. We were so full from our first stop, we didn’t try anything. But I am going back for the Jerk Shrimp Mac and Cheese!
The Feasting Frog is a taco hut and I could eat here three times a day! I am a taco girl to begin with, so this was totally my spot. We shared the sampler platter, which has a Carne Asada Taco, Chipotle Firecracker Shrimp Taco and a Pulled Chicken Mole Taco. I can’t pick a favorite so don’t make me. They were fresh and came with a side of plantain chips and fresh salsa. We also enjoyed the Poke Poke Bowl, which is simple and delicious Ahi Tuna Tossed in soy honey viniagrette.
Bambu has been crafted by island builders, and offers a shady escape when it’s time to eat. Choose from creative island fare such as the Reka Burger, Pretzel Dog or the Tropical Fruit Salad. I suggest the Bambu Burger with cheddar cheese, fresh slaw, fried onion crisps and avocado mayo on a Hawaiian style bun.
If you are looking for snacks during the day you can find churros, pretzels, ice cream and more at various kiosks throughout the park. You surely will not go hungry at Volcano Bay-that is certain.
Tip: You can purchase a Volcano Bay Coke Freestyle mug and refill it all day with coke products, water and the exclusive Kronku punch. Machines can be found on the porch of each dining locale.
It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere
Guys, seriously the cocktail scene at Volcano Bay is great! I can sit on Waturi Beach all day with a tropical drink in hand. On Waturi Beach there are area attendants that will get beverages for you, should you want to cast your cares away completely.
If you need a place to sit your weary bones after a morning of play, head to the Dancing Dragons Boat Bar or the Kunuku Boat Bar. Both offer great views and cool drinks. If you are a beer drinker I highly suggest the Volcano Blossom, exclusive brew. It is a light beer with a hint of honey and fresh fruit. I couldn’t place the flavors completely, all I know is I don’t drink beer and I had two of these.
Tip: The drinks are STRONG, be sure to pace yourself and drink responsibly out in the sun. There really needs to be a “Don’t drink and slide” t-shirt, because you get a little fearless after a few cocktails–I speak from experience! Water is FREE so drink up in between!
Attractions For Everyone
Volcano Bay is made up of four highly immersive areas, and there truly is something for everyone. From experiencing attractions as a family, to letting the little ones play in Runamuka Reef you will never run out of fun and will close the park down!
Did I mention the not carrying rafts around the park? I think I did, but it’s worth mentioning twice because that my friends is a game changer. Even the single tubes and small mats go up on a conveyor belt. The struggle of getting your kids to help carry a two person tube is now over–it will meet you at the top!
Ko’okiri Body Plunge: Features a 70-degree fall through a drop door and 125 feet to the bottom in SEVEN seconds. I don’t care how many Volcano Blossoms I drink, this one is not on my must ride list.
Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides: Twin drop doors simultaneously plunge you down clear, intertwining tubes before splashing into the pool below.
Punga Racers: Punga Racers send single riders on manta ray mats sliding down four lanes through underwater sea caves. I raced another family and it was a blast–you can certainly have lots of family competition on these.
The Reef: A gorgeous pool meant for relaxing just over the lagoon.
Runamukka Reef: Is home to bubbling geysers, water guns, slides and dump cups.
Kopiko Wai Winding River: Take a slow ride on the Kopiko Wai Winding River through the tropical landscape of Volcano Bay, a land full of surprises. Sprays of water surprise along the way, and beneath the lava rocks, Stargazer’s Cavern reveals the magical night sky above.
4. Rainforest Village
Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides: This six-person rafting adventure isn’t for the faint of heart. Choose one of two lava-tube paths or try them both. Maku slides through a deep volcanic gorge before spinning wildly around bowl-like formations. Then, test your bravery on Puihi, where you’ll feel the stomach-flipping thrill of a zero-gravity hang time before splashing your way to safety at the bottom.
Puka Uli Lagoon: Another great pool, it features elements for kids like bongo drums and spraying water.
TeAwa The Fearless River: Race along a roaring, watery stream of churning rapids and choppy waves while hanging tight to your inner tube on this thrilling whitewater ride. Everyone must wear a life-jacket on this attraction.
Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slide: Ascend the side of a cliff before plummeting down the twisting waters of the Ohyah Slide and dropping out four feet above the pool below. Then, brave the rope bridge and take the plunge down the Ohno Slide, a serpentine adventure that ends six feet above the awaiting pool. If you are not a strong swimmer this may not be best for you, you drop into a 10 foot pool below with a strong current.
Don’t Forget Your Souvenir
After an amazing day on the sandy beaches at Volcano Bay you certainly want something to remember it by. Stop by Krakatoa Katy’s for all of your Volcano Bay merchandise. From hats, to t-shirts and beach towels you will find many things to take home. If you need a new bathing suit you can find that along with cute resort casual wear at Waturi Marketplace.
Well there you have it, everything you need to know about Universal’s Volcano Bay, water theme park. From amazing attractions, dining options to help find your inner foodie, to tropical drinks and exclusive beers at the bar, we covered it all.
Water is Life. Life is Joy. That is the mantra by which the fabled Waturi islanders have lived on their Pacific isle for centuries. Discover the legends of the Waturi and share their joy and carefree lifestyle at Universal’s Volcano Bay.
Disclosure: I was invited to attend an all-inclusive Volcano Bay media event. Travel and accommodations were provided, all opinions are my own.