Volcano Bay Water Theme Park - Universal Studios Orlando
Sat May 27, 2017 10:01 am
This week, TPR was invited to join in the festivities of the Volcano Bay media day and grand opening event at Universal Studios Orlando! We have a TON of pictures to share with you and our thoughts on the park will be interspersed with the pictures throughout the trip report.
Spanning 25 fully immersive acres and featuring something for everyone – from perfected relaxation to incredible thrills – Volcano Bay is unlike any other water park in world. It offers an immersive environment filled with unbelievable detail and innovative technology to enhance fun and remove hassles. Volcano Bay features: More than 30 experiences including 18 unique attractions such as a multi-directional wave pool with sandy beaches, a peaceful winding river, twisting multi-rider raft rides, speeding body slides that drop from the top of the volcano into the waters below and more. The TapuTapu wearable – included with guest admission and specifically designed for use within Universal’s Volcano Bay. Features of TapuTapu include: Virtual Line Access: TapuTapu allows guests to virtually wait in line for rides while enjoying other areas of the park. Their wearable will simply alert them when it’s time for their ride. TapTu Play: Guests can enjoy many TapTu Play experiences throughout the park - like 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. TapTu Pay: Guests can make purchases throughout the entire park with their TapuTapu wearable, eliminating the need to carry cash, credit cards or a wallet throughout the park. TapTu Snap/My Universal Photo Access: Guests can take advantage of special interactive photo opportunities and selfie-spots throughout the park as well as photo opportunities on Volcano Bay’s attractions. Their wearable will automatically link those photos to their account so that guests can view, share and purchase them at their convenience. fluffy, fluffy bunny filled with medicine and goo Access: After renting their fluffy, fluffy bunnies filled with medicine and goo, guests will be able to access them with a touch of their TapuTapu wearable. Beautifully-themed dining locations featuring more than 60 delicious, South Pacific-inspired dishes – ranging from jerk mahi sandwiches to fresh island chicken salad to decadent chocolate pineapple upside down cake. For more information about Universal’s Volcano Bay, visit http://www.universalorlando.com.
First things first - the park is BEAUTIFUL! Lush and tropical horticulture everywhere you turn with some very unique tropical plants as well. The park also has a GREAT selection of water slides that run through the full list of what you would expect in a world class water park. The food is also phenomenal - you will see in the report how they have a better selection and quality of food than you will find in many non-Orlando theme parks!
On the flip side, they have work to do with the TapuTapu virtual wait system. Think of it like Fastpass - you can reserve ONE "basic" slide and possibly the water coaster. The basic slides have had waits in excess of 60-90 minutes and the water coaster has been in the 200-300 minute range. Here is where the downside comes in - while you are waiting for those, you can't do ANY other slide. You can experience the wave pool, lazy rivers or lounge on the beach. Then once your time comes up, you still have a wait (usually to the bottom of the slide tower - 30 minutes or so) before you can ride. That is leading to some frustration with their guests and will need to be tweaked as their operation continues. They are also having some normal grand opening jitters with efficiency and continual downtimes which hopefully will get tweaked over the coming weeks.
I'm looking forward to returning when some of these bugs are worked out and the park is a little less crowded. It is a GREAT "hang out" kind of water park. I didn't notice a shortage of chairs of beach space and the cabanas (for an upcharge) are beautiful. Express Pass is available but it doesn't bypass the line at the slide, just the virtual wait.
Anyways - on to the photos! Please feel free to ask questions about our experiences!
OMG! I *LOVE* themed USB drives. How cute is this tiki one? This really shows the care that went into branding this park.
We are checked in and ready to go!
To get to Volcano Bay you must park in the main Universal Orlando parking structure. A shuttle bus is then provided to the drop off point.
Where you walk underground?!!?!? In Florida!?! This is already starting to be an adventure!
It is time to take the tunnel! This is feeling very Indiana Jones-esque.
Hello tiki gods! Don't let this tunnel collapse!
We made it!
I really like this entrance plaza. Lots of room and a cool photo op.
And I love the fountains at the entrance signs. You can get wet before you even buy your tickets!
This big boat will be the ticket sales location if you don't buy them in advance or in the parking garage.
I AM HUNGRY TIKI GOD! GIVE ME YOUR PLANTS!
Height requirement signs for those interested!
At the entrance the Universal Team Member will scan your ticket, your fingerprint and issue you your TapuTapu.
It uses RFID technology to link it to you.
And this is the first view of the volcano.. HOLY CRAP that is beautiful!