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The Ultimate Guide to Volcano Bay for Toddlers

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Waterparks like Volcano Bay may not seem like the best place for toddlers. But actually, there are plenty of attractions designed for little ones, making the waterpark a great day out for families who are visiting Orlando. 

The Ultimate Guide to Volcano Bay for Toddlers

Volcano Bay is Universal Studios Florida waterpark, which features 13 slides, two winding rivers, three lagoon pools, and two splash pads alongside its incredible island theming and its 200-foot-tall Volcano centrepiece, Krakatau.

The park is has awesome rides for older children, teens and adults, but there are still various splash areas and pools for toddlers to enjoy, which I’m going to get into throughout this article.

If you’re planning on visiting Volcano Bay with toddlers, then here is everything you need to know in order to make your day at the park run as smoothly as possible. 

For families with slightly older children and more general tips, check out my Volcano Bay Guide for Kids.

The Best Rides and Attractions for Toddlers at Volcano Bay

Most Volcano Bay slides require children to be at least 42” tall. Therefore, your toddlers will be limited to the park’s pools, winding rivers, and splash pads. But hey, what toddler doesn’t love splashing about in shallow waters? 

Tot Tiki Splash area at Volcano Bay

Tot Tiki Reef

Tot Tiki Reef is a splash area that Volcano Bay designed specifically for toddlers with water fountains, bubbling geysers, and even a little sloping water slide. Your toddler must be able to slide down the slide by themselves. But it is a very gentle slope into shallow waters, so it’s nothing that they shouldn’t be able to handle. 

One of my top tips is to get to Volcano Bay early and head straight to the Tot Tiki Reef to snag a lounge chair right by the water. That way, you don’t have to keep walking back and forth, and you can take breaks whenever you need. 

Runamukka Reef play area at Volcano Bay
Say the name Runamukka Reef..

Runamukka Reef

Runamukka Reef is a slightly larger splash area that is geared more toward preschoolers with gentle sloping tubes. However, toddlers can still have fun playing with the water guns, dump cans, and bubbling geysers. 

Maximum height is 48 inches but we didn’t see that being actively policed during our visit – but we mostly saw little ones there.

If you do head over to Runamukka Reef, be sure to keep a close eye on your little one as there are older children running around.

Puka Uli Lagoon

The Puka Uli Lagoon is a leisure pool in Volcano Bay with tropical bongo drums, spraying water jets, and views of the nearby Ohyah and Ohno Body Slides, which provide excellent entertainment. 

Children under 48” are required to wear a life jacket (I’ll get more into Volcano Bay’s life jackets later). But the pool is a great space for little ones to splash around. 

The Reef

The Reef is another leisure pool that has views of the Krakatau waterfall. Plus, at just 5.5 feet deep, you can watch those who were brave enough to ride the Ko’okiri Body Plunge shoot through a clear plexi tube that runs straight through the pool. 

Again, children under 48” will need to wear a life jacket. But the Reef offers a more quiet setting, which is ideal for toddlers. 

Waturi Beach, Volcano Bay's Wave Pool
Waturi Beach

Waturi Beach

Waturi Beach is Volcano Bay’s wave pool, and although the waves do get extremely big, families with toddlers can relax at the edge of the pool on the sand, experiencing only tiny splashes from the waves. 

Even if you are at the edge of the pool, your toddler will need to be in a life vest at all times. 

People in the Lazy River at Volcano Bay Resort

Kopiko Wai Winding River

I personally love a lazy river, and the Kopiko Way Winding River is no exception. Like any lazy river, you’ll gently float in a tube around the park, winding your way under waterfalls, through caves, and past Volcano Bay’s tiki gods.

If you are taking your toddler on the Kopiko Wai Winding River, they will need to be in a life jacket, even if they’re in a tube.

Kopiko Wai Winding River, Volcano Bay
volcano god Krakatau Volcano Bay Resort
Volcano god Vol

Head inside the Volcano and meet the Volcano God

The playful volcano god Vol – he will interact with you, shine colours on the water fountains and may surprise you with an unexpected flow of water! Use your Tapu Tapu to light up the cave along the way.o go inside the volcano! Meet Vol the Volcano God Vol the Spirit of Krakatau.

Where to Stay Cool at Volcano Bay with Toddlers

Shade is somewhat hard to come by at Volcano Bay Universal Orlando unless you’re able to secure seating. If you arrive at the park early enough, you should have no trouble finding a spot somewhere in the park.

If you’d prefer guaranteed shade for your toddler, then there are a couple of different pre-booked seating options you can choose from. 

Cabanas at Volcano Bay Resort

Cabanas

The first shade option is to book a cabana, which secures you a private area with comfortable seating, concierge service, and even a small refrigerator to ensure your drinks and snacks are kept cold at all times. 

The cabanas are a great option for families with toddlers—especially if your little one is going to need a nap—and are available in a single cabana unit (up to six people) or a family suite unit (up to 16 people.) 

Prices of the cabanas do vary and can cost you anywhere from $200 to $800 a day, depending on the availability and how far in advance you book them. I suggest if you are interested in booking a cabana that you do it as soon as possible in order to get a better deal. 

I’ve put together an entire article on Volcano Bay’s cabanas, which you can check out here.

Premium Seating at Volcano Bay Resort

Premium Seating

A slightly cheaper option is premium seating that comes with a shaded lounger and the option to have food and drink delivered to you. Similar to cabanas, the price of premium seating can range from $40 all the way up to $130 a day for two loungers. So again, it’s best to book in advance. 

seating at Volcano Bay Resort

Lounge chairs

And the final shade option is Volcano Bay’s lounge chairs, which are completely free to use. You will need to get to the park as early as possible in order to secure a chair.

My top tip is to head straight to River Village as soon as you arrive and secure a chair near Tot Tiki Reef. 

Most people will reserve chairs at Waturi Beach, as it’s right by the entrance. So, by walking toward the back of the park, you will improve your chances of getting seating. 

How to Beat the Lines at Volcano Bay with Toddlers

The only way to really beat the lines in Volcano Bay Universal Orlando is to purchase a Universal Express Pass. A Universal Express Pass will allow you to skip the virtual line at some or all of Volcano Bay’s participating rides, depending on which pass you get. 

life vest at volcano Bay
Life vests are provided for free at Volcano Bay and come in varying sizes

The rides that the Universal Express Pass includes are as follows: 

  • 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
Honu ride time sign at Volcano Bay Resort

Volcano Bay’s Child Swap Program

One thing I love about both Universal and Disney is their child swap programs that allow one parent to wait in a designated area with the child while the other parent rides. Then, once parent A is off the ride, they can trade places with parent B, who gets to ride the ride immediately. 

As toddlers aren’t allowed on any rides at Volcano Bay, this child swap program means both parents can experience the attractions without having to wait in line twice.

Runamukka and Tot Tiki Reefs Swim Diapers sign at Volcano Bay Resort
Complimentary Swim diapers/nappies can be provided for free at Volcano Bay

Must-Have Items for Toddlers at Volcano Bay

Being prepared for a day at Volcano Bay, Orlando, Florida, with toddlers can make all the difference. So here are some must-have items that will benefit both you and your little one: 

  • Sand toys
  • Swimming diapers
  • Waterproof suncream
  • Hat
  • UV swimsuit (long-sleeved if possible)
  • Towel
  • Stroller (There are no stroller rentals in Volcano Bay, so bring your own.)
  • Waterproof Phone Pouch
  • Change of Clothes
  • Snacks
  • Water bottle
Tapu Tapu watch at Volcano Bay
Tapu Tapu Watch which will let you know when it is time to ride, and also opens your locker. You can pay for th e locker at a station and then sync this to your Tapu Tapu.

Lifejacket t Volcano Bay

Life vests are available for free at Volcano Bay. You’ll find life vest stations at various points around the park. You can also take your own life vest if you prefer. 

Height requirement sign at Volcano Bay Resort
Check height requirements

The Best Time of Year to Visit Volcano Bay with Toddlers

It’s no secret that Orlando is hot. And being out in the sun for too long isn’t ideal with toddlers in tow.

For that reason, the best time of year to visit Volcano Bay with toddlers is January and February, as you’ll experience highs of 22 – 24°C. January and February are also Volcano Bay’s low season, so you even get the benefit of smaller crowds.

Budget-Friendly Tips for Visiting Volcano Bay with Toddlers

As with any waterpark or theme park, visiting Volcano Bay can be expensive—especially as prices are always on the rise. So, to help keep costs to a minimum, here are two budget-friendly tips for visiting Volcano Bay with toddlers. 

Bring Your Own Drinks and Snacks

It’s a common misconception that you can’t bring your own drinks and snacks into parks like Volcano Bay. But Volcano Bay actually allows cold food and drinks, as long as they aren’t in glass jars or containers. You can take glass jarred baby food and medication, however. 

Packing a picnic and bottles of water can save you a great deal in the park, as an average Volcano Bay meal costs anywhere from $15 to $24. Be sure to pack your picnic in a soft-sided insulated bag, no larger than 8.5″ wide x 6″ high x 6″ deep

Bring Your Own Towels

Another way to save money is to bring your own towel, as Universal Orlando Volcano Bay charges $5 per towel rental. 

Other Things to Know When Visiting Volcano Bay with Toddlers

You can find family restrooms at the entrance of Volcano Bay as well as in the Rainforest Village area of the park. The restrooms both have diaper changing stations, with a first aid station and private nursing facilities available at the toilets at the park’s entrance.

Volcano Bay with Toddlers: A Day-by-Day Plan

As you are visiting Volcano Bay with toddlers, for the most part, you can take your day easy. But what I do suggest is getting there half an hour before the park officially opens.

When the park is open, you will then be one of the first in and can secure seating if you haven’t already pre-booked some. 

After entering the park, head straight up to River Village by following the path to the right. Grab a couple of the chairs closest to the kid’s areas. And have one parent go off and secure a locker if you need one. 

When the sun is at its hottest (around the midday mark), retreat to the shade, hydrate, and grab some lunch, and, if you can, put your little one down for a nap.

I personally find a few hours in a water park with toddlers is more than enough. So you may even want to leave the park around mid-day and head back to your hotel – Cabana Bay is an excellent choice of hotel for this as you can walk straight to Volcano Bay.

If you do stay in the park, be sure to top up on sunscreen at regular intervals and have water on hand to keep your toddler hydrated. 

Some great hotel options near Universal Studios and Volcano Bay can be found over at Hotels Within Walking Distance of Universal Studios.

Volcano Bay with Toddlers: Frequently Asked Questions

Are There Rides and Attractions for Toddlers at Volcano Bay?

The best rides at Volcano Bay for toddlers aren’t actually rides at all, as children under 42” are limited to the park’s pools, lazy rivers, and splash areas. The best areas for toddlers are Tot Tiki Reef, Runamukka Reef, Puka Uli Lagoon, The Reef, Waturi Beach, and Kopiko Wai Winding River. 

What Are Volcano Bay’s Policies on Swim Diapers? 

Children who are of diaper-wearing age are required to wear a swim diaper in Volcano Bay that is covered by their swimsuit. 

Can You Do Child Swap at Volcano Bay?

Yes, Volcano Bay offers child swaps so one parent can queue for a ride while the other waits with the child. Then, once parent A has exited the ride, parent B can take their place and ride without waiting. 

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