5 Reasons Why Universal Studios Florida Volcano Bay Water Park Might be the Pinnacle of Water Park Science

Sep 13, 2018

Universal Studios Florida Volcano Bay Water Park | Water Park Science | Westgate Resorts
By Rich Weidman

5 Reasons Why Universal Studios Florida Volcano Bay Water Park Might be the Pinnacle of Water Park Science

“I don't know where I'm a gonna go/When the volcano blow …” – Jimmy Buffett

Billed as a “water theme park,” Volcano Bay at Universal Orlando Resort blends innovative technology with masterful storytelling and amazingly immersive guest experiences to create a fun-filled and hassle-free adventure for water park visitors. The most expensive water park of its kind (believe it or not, costing approximately $600 million), Volcano Bay opened its doors in spring 2017, becoming the third theme park at Universal Orlando behind Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and replacing Universal’s Wet ‘n Wild Orlando water park, which was located on world-famous International Drive and closed the previous year.

From its state-of-the-art rides such as the Krakatau Aqua Coaster to its pioneering TapuTapu virtual queuing system, Volcano Bay provides a revolutionary, one-of-a-kind water park experience for Orlando vacationers. Journey into the heart of wet and wild thrills as we explore the science behind Universal’s latest aquatic attractions and activities at Volcano Bay!

A Clutter-Free Layout Designed for Maximum Chill

The brainchild of Universal Creative, Volcano Bay features an immersive volcanic island atmosphere beginning as soon as visitors pass through the main entrance and enter a Polynesian tropical paradise, complete with totem poles and ukulele music playing in the background. Centered around the massive, 200-foot Krakatau volcano, the water park’s spectacular icon that features spectacular waterfalls during the day and colorful lava flows at night, Volcano Bay makes remarkable use of its 25 acres as each ride and attraction blends into the park’s South Pacific-inspired mythology. In fact, you will actually feel that you have been transported to an exotic tropical island resort (and totally forget that thousands of cars are zooming by on Interstate 4 just a short distance away!). Volcano Bay boasts four themed areas and offers something for everyone:

  • The Volcano: Featuring Krakatau Aqua Coaster (the Orlando water park’s signature ride), Ko’ okiri Body Plunge (70-degree drop speed slide), Kala and Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides and Punga Racers (four-lane racing slide).

  • Wave Village: Featuring Waturi Beach (the water park’s main wave pool), The Reef (calmer wave pool), Kohola Reef Restaurant & Social Club, Dancing Dragons Boat Bar, Waturi Marketplace and Krakatoa Katy’s.

  • River Village: Featuring Honu of Honu ika Moana (multi-passenger raft ride), Ika Moana of Honu ika Moana (multi-passenger raft slide), Kopiko Wai Winding River (lazy river), Runamukka Reef, Tot Tiki Reef and Whakawaiwai Eats.

  • Rainforest Village: Maku of Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides (multi-passenger raft ride), Puihi of Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides (multi-passenger raft ride), Ohyah of Ohyah and Ohno Drop Slides (body slides), Puka Uli Lagoon (pool area), Taniwha Tubes (raft slides), TeAwa The Fearless River (raft ride), Hammerhead Beach, Bambu, Kunuku Boat Bar and The Feasting Frog.

TapuTapu Technology that Redefines the Theme Park Experience

Let’s face it: The worst part of the entire theme park experience has to be waiting in long lines! As part of the price of Volcano Bay admission, visitors receive their own waterproof TapuTapu wristbands, a virtual queuing system that allows them to avoid waiting in line in the sweltering heat and alerts them when it’s their turn to ride. Visitors simply tap the device on a digital totem station outside the ride of their choice and then they can hit a wave pool, relax on a lazy river, grab a bite to eat, go shopping or simply lounge around until the TapuTapu lets them know it’s time to ride. In addition to virtual line access, the TapuTapu can be used for the following functions:

  • TapTu Play: Provides the opportunity to activate many fun-filled experiences throughout Volcano Bay such as shooting water cannons, illuminating images in the hidden caves of the Krakatau Volcano, activating a burping tiki and setting off erupting geysers.

  • TapTu Pay: Offers the freedom of making purchases throughout the entire water park, so guests do not need to carry around cash and credit cards.

  • TapTu Snap: Gives access to special interactive photo opportunities throughout Volcano Bay and automatically links the images to a My Universal Photo Access account.

  • Locker Access: Provides guests who rent lockers easy access to their belongings with a touch of their TapuTapu wristband without the need for keys or codes.

A First-of-its-Kind Saucer Slide Known as Maku

Sure, Volcano Bay offers the standard wave pool (Waturi Beach), lazy river (Kopiko Wai Winding River) and assorted drop slides, but it also boasts some of the most innovative water park rides and attractions that can be found anywhere in the world. For instance, Volcano Bay features Maku (full name: Maku of the Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides), North America’s first “saucer ride” – multi-passenger rafts shaped like circular tubes that spin “wildly around bowl-like formations” and then get “sucked into a watery vortex.”

Cutting-Edge Raft Lift System for Ease and Convenience

At traditional water parks, visitors lug around an inner tube or raft as they wait in a seemingly endless line until it’s their turn to ride. In contrast, Volcano Bay has initiated an innovative raft lift system that features conveyor systems that simply let you pick up your inner tube or raft at the top of the ride right before you prepare to slide down. In addition, some of the slides at Volcano Bay offer elevators for visitors with disabilities. Last but not least, Volcano Bay’s marquee attraction, the Krakatau Aqua Coaster, utilizes linear motor technology to magnetically lift the four-seat canoe upwards and downwards as it twists and turns rapidly through the volcano.

South Pacific-Inspired Cuisine

Unlike the usual dried-out burgers and stale nachos offered for sale at most water parks, Volcano Bay takes pride in its park cuisine, offering more than 60 unique menu items, all of which are inspired by the exotic flavors of the South Pacific. As a refreshing bonus, Volcano Bay employees guide diners to open tables (thus avoiding the traditional mad dash with a tray of food and beverages in a futile effort to outrun fellow guests to a scarce table). Visitors to Volcano Bay can choose from the following eateries:

  • Kohola Reef Restaurant & Social Club (“A Taste of the Tropics”): Volcano Bay’s tropical-themed eatery features a menu full of Polynesian-inspired delicacies such as Coconut Crusted Fried Chicken, Mango BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Quinoa Edamame Burgers and Guava Tapioca Pudding.

  • Bambu (“Paradise for Every Palate”): Creative island fare is on tap at Bambu, which offers a wide array of chef-crafted burgers and sandwiches.

  • The Feasting Frog (“Hop On In”): Enjoy outdoor patio seating at The Feasting Frog, where you can order a refreshing drink and appetizer such as the Taco Sampler, Poke Poke Bowl or Plantain Chips & Guacamole.

  • Whakawaiwai Eats (“Waves of Flavor”): Full of tropical favorites, Whakawaiwai Eats serves up such enticing entrees as the Island BBQ Chicken Pizza or Hawaiian Pizza, Specialty Foot-Long Hot Dog on Pretzel Bun and Jerk Mac & Cheese.

  • Dancing Dragons Boat Bar (“Sail In and Sip Up”): Unwind with your favorite tropical cocktail or frozen drink in a laid-back atmosphere at Dancing Dragons.

  • Kunuku Boat Bar (“Follow That Fish”): An open-air bar that resembles a beached outrigger canoe, Kunuku serves frozen drinks, ice-cold draft beers, specialty cocktails and fountain drinks.

Getting There For Splashy Fun

Volcano Bay is easily accessible via Interstate 4 (from I-4 eastbound, take Exit 74A; from I-4 westbound, take Exit 74B). The water park shares its parking garage with Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure (a shuttle takes Volcano Bay guests from the parking garage to the water park). So, make plans today to experience for yourself the pioneering technology that has transformed Volcano Bay into a true “water theme park” that will provide a lifetime of “waterlogged” memories for the entire family!

Looking for more water park info? Check this great info on indoor water parks, Cocoa Beach water park hotels, and Orlando water park hotels!