Two months ago, when the park first opened we went and shared our thoughts. Now, two months later we will update our review to reflect the changes that have been made to the park.
I think Volcano Bay is the most fun water park in Orlando. The amazing Volcano, the awesome slides and the great food all factor into this. Is it the best water park in the world? No. Is is the best themed water park in Orlando? That’s debatable. Does it have the best slides in Orlando? Hands down. Does it have one of the best icons in all of Orlando? Yes, the Krakatau Volcano is AMAZING.
Volcano Bay creates an immersive environment that makes you feel as if you’re in a tropical paradise. The park is an extravagantly themed WATER park, but it is not nearly as detailed as an Orlando THEME park. Universal marketed this as a WATER theme park, I do not think the park fits that name, it is simply an amazingly themed WATER park. The park lacks details outside of a few specific areas. Throughout the park, you will find lots of tiki heads and lots of tropical landscaping. There are not many details like in a theme park, except for the details that you will find inside of the Krakatau Volcano, and in the various shops and restaurants throughout the park. The park does have some of the best water park theming in Orlando, though. The iconic Volcano is amazing, and the rock work around the park is fantastic.
I can’t ignore the fact that the back of the Volcano being open looks really bad when you’re in the park. The front looks so spectacular, and then you walk around the park and see behind it. On top of that, they also added Christmas style string lights to the stair case up to the top of the Volcano, and this does not look very good.
The Tapu Tapu System
So what about Tapu Tapu? Does it work? Is the park really “queue- less?”
Yes! It works! and it really does reduce major queues in the park. You might find a “buffer” wait time after you tap your tapu tapu into the slide, but that should not be longer than 15 minutes long. Tapu Tapu does a good job at getting people out of long lines.
- The locker system with the Tapu Tapus works great. You can link multiple bands to a locker simply tap to open throughout the day.
- Tapping for slides and entrances is super easy and I love the sound effects too!
- The cute little Waturi cartoon guy on the Tapu Tapu while you ride the slide ?
- No time displayed on the Tapu Tapu. If you don’t own a water-proof watch, you’re out of luck. Would be a nice addition.
- The band itself is bulky and they fall off easily. They did add a small rubber band looking attachment to keep them secure better.
You can reserve one slide at a time. Once you reserve you cannot ride anything else until your reservation time is up and you ride that slide. The only exception is if a slide displays RIDE NOW. If that is displayed, you can ride it even with a reserved time for another attraction.
This is great in the beginning of the day since crowds are light and several slides may have RIDE NOW on display. However, once the crowds hit, you can forget about that option. All slide times go up significantly, and the RIDE NOW option quickly goes away.
So what does this leave you? It leaves you the opportunity to ride only one slide per reserve time. During your waiting time you check out the winding/fearless rivers, some of the smaller pools, or the wave pool. Or, you could dine or have some drinks at several different venues scattered throughout the park. You can also go inside of the Volcano and interact with Vol, the character who lives inside of the Volcano. FYI – I think that’s what Universal Orlando wants you to do – spend money ?
The food was quite good at the park. I had the Reka Burger and a Volcano Blossom (their speciality beer). The burger had great flavor and seasoning and the beer was very refreshing. I also tried the tasty Waturi Fusion ice cream later in the day. Doesn’t quite rival the Butterbeer ice cream, but it’s a close second for me at the resort.
The Slides & Attractions
All of the slides at the park are good, some are fantastic. The park has the best lineup of slides in Orlando. My absolute favorites were the Krakatau Aqua Coaster and Honu. Both were super thrilling! I won’t get into all the details, but most of the slides were really fun. Some designs I have never done before.
The slides are not really themed, so to speak. They all have really nice entrances, but but beyond that, nothing at all. One of the better queues is for the Ohyah and Ohno drop slides, as it has a cool bridge and is surrounded by rock work. I wish they built more themed queues like that one.
I really liked the weighing system for the slides. It was not intrusive and worked well for loads. Depending on the amount in your party, you walk onto a scale laid in the floor and the Team Member rotates people as needed to even out the weight.
The park has two lazy rivers, the winding and the fearless. The winding river is quite boring, but I enjoyed taking a lap around the Fearless one. The winding river is your typical lazy river, it doesn’t have anything exciting to look at though. It goes through a cave, which looks nothing like the concept art and only features some disco lights and blue dots on the ceiling. The Fearless river is awesome. It has some cool wave effects, and it moves quite fast at points.
The kids reef area is MASSIVE. It is a very large kids area which has some of the coolest details in the park hidden in the back of it. This place is kids paradise. Lots of slides for them to ride.
I give kudos to Universal Orlando for their stellar customer service in the park! It is seriously the best of the resort. Every Team Member I encountered was friendly, informative, and smiling (well, most). Tons of staff are onsite, even additional ones that you can tell worked somewhere else and were just “helping out.” I think they amped up their customer service to distract from the less then appealing sights in the park? Everyone was so eager to help and answer questions, without hesitation, throughout the day.
Overall, Volcano Bay has improved very much since it first opened. They’ve worked out kinks, added theming, finished most construction and added some awesome details. The new Vol experience under the Volcano is amazing for a water park. The park still has room to improve before it will reach 5 stars, but that will happen over time. Volcano Bay is my personal favorite water park in Orlando, and it is definitely worth a visit.