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There is nothing better than visiting a water park to not only cool off from the balmy Florida sun, but to also unwind, relax and get your adrenaline pumping.
Orlando, which is mainly known for its amusement parks, is also home to some incredible waterparks that all have different rides, theming and experiences. You’re probably well aware of Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, but have you heard of Universal Studios’ very own water park?
Whether you’ve heard of Volcano Bay before or if you have just stumbled across it by accident after seeing it glow at night as you pass by i-drive, I’m going to delve into everything you’d need to know about visiting this water park with children of all ages. So, grab your swimsuit, lather up your suncream, and let’s get into the complete guide to visiting Volcano Bay with kids.
What Is Volcano Bay?
Volcano Bay is a volcano themed water park owned by Universal Studios. The entire park centres around a giant 200-foot tall volcano named Krakatau and a large wave pool that encompasses the base.
Volcano Bay opened in May of 2017 and is home to numerous water slides, lazy rivers and wave pools. One of the slides just so happens to be the tallest body slide in America.
The park that sits on 27 acres of land is split into four sections: Krakatau, Wave Village, River Village, and Rainforest Village. All sections have their unique themes and rides.
How to Get To Volcano Bay
Guests in all Universal Hotels can make use of the shuttle bus which runs throughout the day. However, if you are staying at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort or Universal’s Aventura Hotel, you have a private access through the parking lot when showing your Cabana Bay or Aventura room key.
If you are driving or catching an Uber or Lyft, you need to head to City Walk which is also your rides-share drop off and pick up location. All visitors can then catch the shuttle from City Walk to Volcano Bay or drive to City Walk and park to catch the shuttle. There is no individual car park for Volcano Bay.
Although the shared car park at City Walk is somewhat annoying due to having to factor in the extra transit time, it does make getting to Volcano Bay slightly easier as you can simply follow the signs to the well-known Universal Studios Parks.
Universal Studios and Universal’s Volcano Bay Address:
Universal Studios Florida, 6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819
Volcano Bay Parking
Volcano Bay doesn’t have its own car park and guests of the waterpark will need to park their cars at the Universal Studios car park and take a free shuttle bus over to Volcano Bay. Parking costs are from $27.
Volcano Bay Tickets
There are a few different ticket options for Volcano Bay including Express Passes and multi-day tickets. These tickets and prices that follow are directly from the Universal Studios Website at the time of this writing. Of course, they’re subject to change so always refer to the official website before your upcoming trip.
Park to Park tickets allow you to go from one park to another on the same day. Essentially you could visit Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure in the morning and then head over to Volcano Bay in the afternoon, and vice versa.
|One Day Volcano Bay Ticket||$80||$75|
|Three Park – Three Day Tickets (this ticket gives you access to all three parks, but you’re limited to one specific park each day)||Around $300||Around $295|
|Three Park – Two Day Park to Park Ticket (this ticket gives you access to all three parks and it also allows you to switch between them all on one given day)||Around $335||Around $325|
|Three Park Annual Pass (this pass allows you into all three of the Universal Parks including Volcano Bay for an entire one year period)||Around $905||Around $905|
These tickets are only a few of the tickets for the Universal Studios parks so as I mentioned before, it is best to head on over to their website to check the latest offers and to calculate how much your trip will cost.
Volcano Bay Express Pass
Volcano Bay also has the beloved Express Pass feature that you see in both of the amusement parks. In Volcano Bay, you have the option of the Volcano Bay Express Pass or the Volcano Bay Express Plus Pass.
The regular Express Pass allows visitors to skip the line of certain Volcano Bay Rides once. These rides include:
- Krakatau Aqua Coaster – Four person canoes slide upward through the mists and then plunge down
- Punga Racers – body slide down four lanes through underwater sea caves.
- Maku of Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides – six-person raft ride
- Puihi of Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides – six-person raft ride
- Honu of Honu ika Moana – surf the underwater currents on a five-passenger raft
- ika Moana of Honu ika Moana – glide along on a five-passenger raft.
- Tonga of Taniwha Tubes – single or double-rider
- Raki of Taniwha Tubes – single or double-rider
The Express Pass Plus works in the same way, however, there are more rides included on the line skip. With the Express Plus Pass you can skip the queue of:
- Krakatau™ Aqua Coaster
- Punga Racers
- Maku of Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides
- Puihi of Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides
- Honu of Honu ika Moana
- ika Moana of Honu ika Moana
- Tonga of Taniwha Tubes
- Raki of Taniwha Tubes
- Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides
- Ko’okiri Body Plunge
- Ohyah of Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides
- Ohno of Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides
Currently the prices for the Express Pass are $19.99 for all ages, and the Express Plus Pass $39.99 for all ages.
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Best Rides at Volcano Bay
As I introduced before, Volcano Bay is split into four sections, and each section boasts some incredible theming and rides. Although there are four areas, however, Krakatau is dedicated to the park’s centre volcano, so I left that one off of this list.
Due to the fact that Here are all the rides throughout Volcano Bay so you can get a feel for what to expect when visiting the park.
- Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides – If members of your family are brave enough, then they can race down the twin trap-door body slides that plunge down the side of the Krakatau volcano.
- Maku of the Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides – This six-person raft will zip through the volcanic gorge before spinning around a bowl and sucking you into a watery vortex.
- Ohyah of Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides and Ohno of Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides – These side by side slides are your typical enclosed water park slides, just with some added speeds and a slight drop into the water.
- Puihi of the Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides – Enter a lava tube path and test your bravery as you splash your way through a funnel and within caverns on a multi-person raft.
- Puka Uli Lagoon – Even the tiniest members of the family can play around and enjoy the waters at Volcano Bay in the Puka Uli Lagoon poolside paradise.
- Punga Racers – Choose your slide and race down one of the four single rider body slides at the Punga Racers.
- Raki of Taniwha Tubes – Head on down one of two twisting blue water slides (or go up and try both) in a two-person raft while being splashed by mischievous tiki statues.
- Tonga of Taniwha Tubes – Instead of the blue slides of the Raki or Taniwha Tubes, make your way down the green slides of the Tonga of Taniwha Tubes. But watch out; just because the slides aren’t blue doesn’t mean there aren’t playful tikis with water canons.
- TeAwa The Fearless River – Put on a life vest and ride the whitewater through the heart of the Krakatau volcano.
- Honu of the Honu ika Moana – On this attraction, you sit in a five-passenger raft and ride the waves just like the ancient Waturi People. The raft goes through an open flume and up along two massive walls.
- ika Moana of the Honu ika Moana – Similar to the Honu of the Honu ika Moana, this five-passenger raft takes you through twists and turns, just without the scaling of large walls.
- Kopiko Wai Winding River – Sit back and relax in your own personal rubber raft while you slowly drift around the Kopiko Wai Winding Lazy River.
- Krakatau Aqua Coaster – Hop into a four-person canoe and experience the twists and turns of the Krakatau volcano before plunging through the volcano’s shimmering waterfall.
- Ko’okiri Body Plunge – Brave the 70-degree and 125-foot trap door body slide to honour the volcanic god, Vol.
- The Reef – Relax in the calm waters of the reef while witnessing brave riders shoot through a clear plexi tube from the Ko’okiri Body Plunge.
- Waturi Beach – Sit back and enjoy the waters in the lagoon at Waturi Beach while taking in incredible views of Krakatau. Or, head further out in the water and experience some slightly larger waves.
Volcano Bay Height Requirements
- Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides – Suitable for children over 48” tall.
- Maku of the Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides – Suitable for children over 42” tall.
- Ohyah of Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides and Ohno of Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides – Suitable for children over 48” tall.
- Puihi of the Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides – Suitable for children over 42” tall.
- Puka Uli Lagoon – Suitable for children of all ages.
- Punga Racers – Suitable for children over 42” tall.
- Raki of Taniwha Tubes – Suitable for children over 42” tall.
- TeAwa The Fearless River – Suitable for children over 42” tall. Life jackets must be worn by everyone.
- Tonga of Taniwha Tubes – Suitable for children over 42” tall.
- Honu of the Honu ika Moana – Suitable for children over 48” tall.
- ika Moana of the Honu ika Moana – Suitable for children over 42” tall.
- Kopiko Wai Winding River – Suitable for children of all ages.
- Krakatau Aqua Coaster – Suitable for children over 42” tall.
- Ko’okiri Body Plunge – Suitable for children over 48” tall.
- The Reef – Suitable for children of all ages.
- Waturi Beach – Suitable for children of all ages.
Volcano Bay For Toddlers
The Volcano Bay kids area is brilliant for those with little ones. In fact there are two areas in River Village for little ones:
Runamukka Reef: Fun bubbling geysers, water guns, water slides and dump cups which toddlers can go on. This area is for 54 inches and smaller.
Tot Tiki Reef: A water play area within Runamukka Reef but just for toddlers. A gentle blue slope by the Tikis amongst a slightly higher slides, water fountains, bubbling geysers etc. Toddlers must be able to manage going down the slide themselves – you can help up up them steps and coax them down from the bottom. A lifeguard is at the top to monitor but it’s a really gently slope into shallow water.
Maximum height is 48 inches but we didn’t see that being actively policed during our visit – but we mostly saw little ones there.
More Fun Things to Do at Volcano Bay With Kids
Do go inside the volcano! Meet Vol the Volcano God Vol the Spirit of Krakatau. He is interactive and kids will be amazed by how he talks back to you! The fountains dance and the lights leap inside making for a fun few minutes! There is a fun Tapu Tapu interactive spot down the slope too which activates lights.
Important Information to Know Before Visiting
Life-vests are provided for free and cover all ages. They must be warn on the fast river, TeAwa The Fearless River by everyone, including adults.
Swim diapers are required for those not toile trained. They must be worn under swimming costume.
Tip: If you are staying at a Universal Resort- they do provide Swim Diapers at the pool area for free. However, if you forget, you will need to purchase them from a store at Vocano Bay.
Volcano Bay Cabana Rentals
Private cabanas are dotted throughout Volcano Bay and are available for rent to give you your own comfy area with complimentary fruit, snacks, water, and a towel. You’ll also have an on-call concierge service and access to an exclusive menu for food and drinks.
The cabanas come in a single or double-storey with single cabana units holding up to 6 people and double cabanas up to 16 people. If you have the extra money to splurge then having a private shaded area is a godsend, especially with little ones.
Volcano Bay Towel and Locker Rentals
If you forgot your towel, don’t worry! You can rent them at Volcano Bay for around $6 a day. Lockers are also available for rental in different sizes throughout Rainforest Village, River Village, and Wave Village.
Lifeguards at Volcano Bay
Lifeguards are at every attraction throughout Volcano Bay and are there to keep you and your family safe. It goes without saying, however, you should always keep a close eye on your children to prevent any emergencies from happening.
An important note is that at the Waturi Beach wave pool, lifeguards will clap and the music will change to alert all swimmers that the waves are coming and for any younger children to get back to a safer depth.
Volcano Bay Food Options
As with all theme parks and water parks, Volcano Bay isn’t short of food and drink options. Different kiosks can be found throughout the park and serve up a selection of foods.
- Whakawaiwai Eats – Pizzas, hot dogs, Mac’n’Cheese, and grab and go meals
- The Feasting Frog – Entrees of tacos, poke bowls, and nachos
- Bambu Restaurant – Burgers, sandwiches, and salads
- Kohala Reef Restaurant & Social Club – Fried chicken, sandwiches, burgers, pizzas, and grab and go meals
Don’t forget to try the Waturi fusion ice cream! A must for kids!
Volcano Bay Tapu Tapu
Tapu Tapu is a waterproof wearable wristlet that you can use to make cashless purchases throughout the park. Not only does it work for payments, but it can also hold your place in the park’s Virtual Line, open lockers, and unlock interactive surprises.
The Tapu Tapu wristlet allows you to be hands-free at all times in the park and can be set up on the Universal Studios app.
When you have tapped into to reserve a spot in a virtual line you can not tap in on another ride that has a wait time. However, if you spot other slides/rides which have “ride now” you can ride all you want whilst you are in virtual line on another ride.
If you try to tap into another ride (not a ride now), whilst waiting, the screen will ask if you want to end the first wait to join the new line on that ride.
The lazy rivers are great for spending your virtual wait times.
Tapu Tapu Play Points
These are activated by your TapuTapu bands and often activate squirting water at people down below, or spray water. However, in the Volcano itself they activate some beautiful lights in the cave!
Volcano Bay App
I highly recommend downloading the Universal Studios app for a few different reasons. The first is so you can see an interactive map of Volcano Bay and check the wait times for rides all over the park. You can also check food menus and find a restroom closest to your current location.
Secondly, you can place food and drink orders right from your phone. This eliminates wait times and allows you to simply go up and collect your meal once it’s ready.
Finally, the app also works as a virtual wallet that you can use to pay for items or to set up your Tapu Tapu.
The CityWalk outside of Universal Studios is an epicenter for shopping, souvenirs, and entertainment. Thankfully, if you forget any crucial items such as nappies, wipes, or suncream, you can purchase them at CityWalk before heading over to Volcano Bay.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is premium seating worth it at Volcano Bay?
Premium seating offers two sun loungers , a lockable box in-between the sun beds, a large shade and your own server for food & drinks. Prices are cheaper than the cabana but are also high in demand. It can take some time checking in to be escorted to your seating – which may eat into your valuable ride time. Prices fluctuate like the cabanas from $29.99 to $139.99 and above in peak times. If you are family of 4, you may just prefer to rent one lot of premium seating with the two loungers. That way you have a secure place for valuable, a base and some shade – so yes, worth it!
Is it worth getting a cabana at Volcano Bay?
Yes! Prices do fluctuate and are higher at peak times eg $825 for a lower level cabana for 6 people- but if you have a large group having your own Tapu Tapu point, a home base, shade and other perks make it very convenient. Regular Cabanas hold up to 6 Guests while Family Cabanas hold up to 16 Guests. They often sell out.
Cabana come equipped with towels, a fruit and danish plater, a locker, bottled water and your own Tapu Tapu Point
We recommend making bookings as soon as you know your travel dates; however, the cabanas may not release availability further out than 6 months. Cabanas are available in each ‘village’ of the park, which won’t be assigned until you check-in for your reservation that day. More information about the Volcano Bay Cabanas here.
What is the name of the Aqua coaster at Volcano Bay?
Krakatau Aqua Coaster. One fo the confusing things about Volcano Bay, is the names and not being entirely sure what type of ride each one. Using the app or map is highly recommended!
What is the scariest ride at Volcano Bay?
Ko’okiri is the scariest Volcano Bay drop slide. Plunge through a trap door and drop straight down!
What is the best water slide at Volcano Bay?
Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slide and Krakata
Is there a lazy river at Volcano Bay?
Yes there are two. The speedy one is TeAwa The Fearless River where everyone must wear a life-vest and the other is Kopiko Wai, a traditional lazy river with tubes. Tubes are provided for free.
I’m bringing a waterproof phone lanyard, are they allowed on the slides?
Each attraction has specific posted guidelines for loose items. Please refer to the posted warning signage prior to boarding each ride for specific requirements.
Is Volcano Bay heated in the winter?
Yes, it is heated all year round
What happens at Volcano Bay if it rains?
Rides only close during inclement weather, eg if particularly cold or if thunder or lightning.
Does Volcano Bay have showers?
Yes, showers and changing rooms are available at various points through out Volcano Bay water park
Do I need towels for Volcano Bay?
Yes, rental towels are available for $4.99 each
Can you bring coolers to Volcano Bay?
Soft sided small coolers ( 8.5″ by 6″ by 6″ or smaller) are permitted. Hard sided coolers, alcohol, and glass containers are not allowed.
Can you bring food, snacks or drinks into Volcano Bay?
Yes, with limitations. You can bring some in including:
- Bottled Water (maximum 2 liters)
- Small snacks that do not require heating
- Any food required for medical purposes and medically-indicated nutritional supplements
- Any food required for special dietary needs
- Baby food/baby formula
- Soft-sided insulated bags no larger than 8.5″ wide x 6″ high x 6″ deep
Hard sided coolers, alcohol, and glass containers are not allowed. Picnic lunches including any food that requires heating or refrigeration, bar the exceptions above, are not allowed.
Do I need swim shoes for Volcano Bay?
The walkways are sprayed with water, so it’s unlikely you’ll feet will get super hot. Some places can be a little slippery, but we had no issues with our kids running around at all. If you would like to bring some swim shoes, some rides may ask you to remove them and other loose items and store in the cubby boxes next to the ride.
Hotels Near Volcano Bay
As Volcano Bay is located in close proximity to Universal Studios, there are numerous hotels nearby for guests visiting the parks. Here are some of the best and closest hotels to Volcano Bay.
- Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort – with a great lazy river
- Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites – brilliant value resort with two bed suites
- Universal’s Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
- Universal’s Loews Royal Pacific Resort
- Universal’s Aventura Hotel
- Universal’s Hard Rock Hotel
- Rosen Inn
- Crowne Plaza Hotel Orlando-Universal
- Best Western Orlando Gateway Hotel
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