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Volcano Bay vs Typhoon Lagoon

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Orlando is the hub of merrymaking and hair-raising destinations. Home to some of the best water parks in the world, it’s only natural that so many visitors get flustered by the overwhelming choices of recreation in the city. There’s no need to worry yourself though, because this article has got you covered! It’s Volcano Bay vs Typhoon Lagoon. Keep reading for a quick run-through!

Picture arriving in Orlando on a hot summer’s day and having to choose between two of the best water parks in the world right there in the city. Which one is the best? Which one’s better for the kids and which one’s better for the daredevil in you? We’ve pitted the very best parts of both theme parks against each other to help you make your decision.

Volcano Bay vs Typhoon Lagoon: About the parks

If this is your first time in Orlando, the answer to the “who runs what park” question might be news to you.

Volcano Bay is owned and maintained by Hollywood’s own, Universal. With over 15 rides, some of which are sure to give you the best adrenaline rushes, the park forms part of the broader Universal Orlando Resort in Florida.

Typhoon Lagoon is run by the magical Walt Disney Company and is located inside Walt Disney World. The park has been open for more than three decades and still attracts visitors with its amazing rides.

A comparison between the two parks is in essence one aspect of the “Universal vs Disney” debate, as it is an indicator of which theme park giant offers better thrills, convenience, and relaxation. Without further ado, let’s “dive” right in.

Volcano Bay vs Typhoon Lagoon: Arriving at the park

Typhoon Lagoon tickets start at $69 for adults and $63 for kids, whereas passes for Volcano Bay are priced at $70 for grownups and $65 for children. Disney offers its Annual Passholders tickets at a discount, so remember to avail that if you can. Universal, however, does not offer pass holders any reductions for park tickets.

When it comes to accessibility, Typhoon Lagoon offers free parking outside the park, making it possible to find a spot and walk right in. Volcano Bay, on the other hand, offers paid parking at Universal Studios with discounts for pass holders.

From there you are expected to board a designated bus that takes you to the park. While this does save you the hassle of parking your car during peak hours, it also means you will have to take your tired little ones back to your car on a bus.

Volcano Bay Waturi
Volcano Bay

Volcano Bay vs Typhoon Lagoon: The Themes

Both parks feature settings that are distinctly different from each other, but you can be sure to be blown away by their well-designed infrastructure. Whether it’s at Volcano Bay or Typhoon Lagoon, you will be immersed in spectacularly set themes as soon as you enter. 

Volcano Bay is modeled on a tropical volcanic island, portraying Polynesian culture and regions. With rides and sections designed to go with these themes, the park is set around its majestic centerpiece, the Krakatau volcano. Aside from lava flows and rides that take you around, the park also boasts rafting simulators, steep slides, and cabanas to chill out in.

Typhoon Lagoon represents a tropical getaway in the aftermath of a typhoon. With wreckage and debris scattered across the park, you’ll get the chance to experience this heavily themed setting, along with its monstrous wave pool, plunging drops, and relaxing play areas for kids. Typhoon Lagoon is sprawled around its very own Mount Mayday, a prominent area of the park.

Volcano Bay vs Typhoon Lagoon: The Rides

Both parks offer their share of fun rides and experiences, but your enjoyment really depends on your idea of a perfect getaway. If an adrenaline rush is what you seek to make the best of your visit, Volcano Bay may be more to your taste. If you’re instead looking for a calm, relaxing time sunbathing next to the splash of pools, Typhoon Lagoon might be the place for you.

Ika Moana and hona Ika Moana ride at volcano Bay
Ika Moana and hona Ika Moana ride at volcano Bay

Volcano Bay Rides

Volcano Bay is known for its slides and plunges. Serpentine Slides are a favorite here. Race your family on the twin slides as you make your way down the volcano through sharp turns and swift curves.

If that’s not thrilling enough, check out one of the most popular attractions at the park, the Ko’okiri Body Plunge. A 125-foot tube at a 70-degree inclination. Hold onto yourself as you are dropped from the top of the volcano in this adrenalin-fuelled ride right into the pool down below!

For a more team-oriented experience, get your gang and try out the Krakatau Aqua Coaster as you canoe your way through the rapids in the volcano. And don’t worry, Volcano Bay is not just for the hotheaded thrillseekers.

There are also enough relaxing play areas for keeping little ones occupied as well. There are even play areas designed after reefs. Children get to play with geysers, overhead sprinkler showers, and water guns.

Typhoon Lagoon Rides

Typhoon Lagoon, in contrast, is home to a handful of slides, shaded spots to kick back and relax, and a lazy river that takes you around the park. Rapid rivers will have you rafting through caverns in Keelhaul Falls and Mayday Falls, whereas Ganghaul Falls gives you bigger rafts for more excitement and fun if you want to take your whole family.

Through ruins and misty forested sections, the Castaway Creek carries you on floats as you journey across the wrecked island. While this park may not be as exciting for the more adventurous ones in your troop, floating along the lazy river is sure to get the giggles and laughs out of the little ones.

Amid all this slow and relaxed enjoyment, the highlight of Typhoon Lagoon is its wave pool. Home to one of the largest wave pools in the world, the Surf Pool makes waves that are 6 feet tall. Designed to emulate a beach, the pool provides fun for everyone. Sporty families will even get to go surfing in the pool! 

Don’t forget to check out Ketchkakiddee Creek, a one-stop destination for all things mini. Water guns, miniature rapids, slides, sprinklers – you name it. While your kids enjoy spending hours in the play area, find a shaded spot to relax and feel the island wind through your hair.

Volcano Bay vs Typhoon Lagoon: Lounge Around

For us parents, lounging around is just as important as going on the rides at a water park! Let’s take a look at Volcano Bay vs Typhoon Lagoon when it comes to the best place to relax.

Volcano Bay

Universal offers its guests the option of premium seating as well as private cabanas for unwinding at Volcano Bay. Seating can be reserved beforehand. So, make sure you contact the park to book your lounge chairs if you know when you plan to visit. It’s the best thing to do if you want to avoid a tan, and if not, be sure to at least arrive early to stake out the best ones. 

Cabanas are a much more extravagant option for families that appreciate a little pampering. They promise state-of-the-art amenities, snackables, and other facilities. Along with privacy right on the shores of the park. Cabanas come in different sizes and rates along with different amenities in each of them. Standalone cabanas offer more privacy while a family suite can house all the members of your extended group.

Typhoon Lagoon

Typhoon Lagoon provides cozy Beachcomber shacks on park premises that are complete with towels and even a personal freezer. Choose from Standard, Premium, or Premium Plus. Depending on the number of people and the services you desire.

All the shacks come with comfortable seating, souvenirs, and cold water to recharge your tired bodies. You will also have a designated Disney Cast member to cater to your needs all day, including placing orders for food and having them served at your shacks. Shacks start at $225 but are worth the splurge for a true one-of-a-kind experience.

Don’t want to burn a hole in your wallet? The park also has Typhoon Lagoon Umbrellas that are much cheaper than a shack but also available to reserve beforehand. They come with 2 lounge chairs, an umbrella, and even a drinks table.

You’ll also find the beach area scattered with seats in the open area, so if nothing else, be sure to arrive early to get the perfect spot away from the hot Florida sun.

Volcano Bay vs Typhoon Lagoon: Queueing System

Unlike its other parks, Disney does not provide Lightning Lane services in Typhoon Lagoon. This makes for a more traditional theme park waiting experience. With waits that are usually between 5 and 15 minutes, this isn’t much of a worry at all.

Lines do tend to build up around the afternoon, however, especially in the hotter months so keep that in mind when you plan your activities for the day.

Tapu Tapu wristband
Tapu Tapu wristband system

Visiting Volcano Bay is a little different because Universal gives you a very convenient alternative to enjoy your rides: the Tapu Tapu system. In this system, visitors are given a free-to-use wristband upon entry to the park which allows them to get a scheduled slot for their ride.

All you have to do is walk up to your favorite ride and tap your bracelet on the Polynesian totem at the entrance to receive your scheduled time on your Tapu Tapu. This completely does away with having to wait in long lines in the sweltering sun. Enjoy lounging around and enjoy the less busy attractions until it’s time for your ride! 

You can also choose to wait in line the old-fashioned way if you want to keep your water park visit as conventional as possible. Do keep in mind that the Tapu Tapu is issued to all visitors, so even if you receive a scheduled slot, it may not be very soon.

Guests have been known to complain about waiting times that extend up to 3 hours so plan your visit accordingly to get the best out of the park.

Frog restaurant at Volcano Bay
Delicious food from the Frog at Volcano Bay

Volcano Bay vs Typhoon Lagoon: Where To Eat

Both Volcano Bay and Typhoon Lagoon have a great selection of eateries. Which one you go for will depend on your family’s requirements. You’ll probably want to try out more than one!

Volcano Bay

Volcano Bay offers you some of the best dining experiences that tie in well with the park’s Polynesian theme. From classic bites to local island grub, there’s something for everyone in your family.

Take your little ones to The Feasting Frog Tacos, the off-beat frog-shaped eatery, where you can try delectable tacos, Carne asadas, and other snacks along with its selection of energizing drinks.

The Bambu Restaurant, on the other hand, can help you unwind with music and a relaxed ambiance, while you enjoy some quick bites and grab-n-go salads.

Kohola Reef Restaurant at the volcano offers a splendid spread of your favorite dishes with a tropical twist. Sit back and enjoy its foot-long hotdogs and Shrimp Mac n Cheese at Whakawaiwai, overlooking the majestic river.

Typhoon Lagoon

Typhoon Lagoon offers options that are just as impressive, across multiple cuisines and courses. Head to Surf Doggies to grab a quick bite. Grab your hot dogs and sit yourself down right next to the park’s year-round bar, Let’s Go Slurpin’. It’s a must-visit if you want to try some refreshing cocktails and beers.

Seasonal spots include Typhoon Tilly’s, the Snack Shack, and Hammer Head Fred’s Dive. Soda, swirls, snacks, salads – Snack Shack lets you grab these to go or have them to dine in its dining space.

Fred’s Dive should be your go-to spot to grab a drink with your friends or a cold beer in the hot afternoon.

For the best of both, head over to Tropical Amity Outpost. It serves your favorite bites, from hot dogs to pretzels, along with your favorite cold beer. Enjoy your snacks with the view of Miss Adventure Falls and remember, if you own Magic Bands, you can use them for convenient purchases.

Volcano Bay Lockers
Volcano Bay Lockers

Volcano Bay vs Typhoon Lagoon: Locker Services

Volcano Bay offers locker services both outside and inside the premises. It is advisable to skip the lockers outside in order to avoid having to take the shuttle every time you need to pick something up. But don’t worry, lockers are available in all 3 Villages across Volcano Bay, in 3 different sizes – mini, regular, and family!

Pay for your locker at the kiosk by yourself, or ask for the help of an attendant who will help you with the payment. Remember, lockers are available with both their premium seating and cabanas and you can also forget the trouble of carrying a key or memorizing a combination. Just link your Tapu Tapu and voila, one tap is all it takes to unlock!

As for towels, it is always more affordable to carry your own instead of those provided at the park.

Typhoon Lagoon provides locker services too, in two sizes, small and large. They are more or less the same rate as the ones at Volcano Bay ($10 and $15 per day) and can be booked along with a refundable deposit.

Some rides have locker facilities next to them, making it convenient to keep your handheld possessions safe while you enjoy your ride.

Also, if you have already booked a Beachcomber shack, you get lockers inside your shacks, so that’s a bonus. When it comes to towels, the park does provide towels for rent along with lockers. These are at a rate of $2 per towel, although park and hotel residents are welcome to use them for free.

Volcano Bay vs Typhoon Lagoon: FAQs

1. Which waterpark is better in Orlando?

When looking at Volcano Bay vs Typhoon Lagoon, it all depends on your family’s idea of a good time. Although both water parks offer both thrilling and relaxing experiences, Volcano Bay is best known for its share of adrenaline-fueled rides. Whereas Typhoon Lagoon offers more of a tranquil atmosphere to wind down. 

2. Which Orlando water park is best for kids?

For the more daring teens, steep slides and tubes that pack surprise turns and twists may be a better choice. Whereas the little ones will be more than content in a play area with mini water guns. This is why Typhoon Lagoon may prove to be a better choice with its amazing infrastructure and its fabulous choice of rides for everyone.

3. What is the best water slide at Volcano Bay?

The Ko’okiri Body Plunge is an absolute banger of a ride at Volcano Bay. With a 125-foot drop into a pool of water, it doesn’t get any better than this. For a fun family experience, the Krakatau Aqua Coaster takes you and your flock around the volcano in dark twists ending in a waterfall!

4. Which park offers a better dining experience?

Both Universal and Disney offer some of the best food spots for families in Orlando. At Volcano Bay, experience the delicious island cuisine with exotic dishes like the special Mango BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich and Guava Tapioca Pudding.

Typhoon Lagoon provides you with your favorite grub – from lip-smacking burgers, cold shakes, and your choice of drinks to keep you refreshed at their wrecked island. To avoid the rush of lines, order your food from the convenience of your Beachcomber shack and have them served right to you!

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