Universal’s Volcano Bay is arguably the best water park in Central Florida. It is also a great reason for locals to purchase a three-park Universal Annual Pass. We recently experienced our first time at Volcano Bay this past weekend. Up until this day, I had little desire to visit water parks. My husband wanted to spend his birthday at Volcano Bay, so we checked into it. We have Universal Annual Passes to the theme parks, but not Volcano Bay. With our annual passes expiring in July, we decided to purchase single-day tickets at $75 each (Florida resident rate which varies by day). Then, during our renewal time, we’ll know if we want to upgrade to the three-park option that includes Volcano Bay. We also went with some friends who have annual passes to Volcano Bay. After our experience last weekend, we can’t wait to upgrade and return. We had so much fun. Here are some reasons why Volcano Bay tops our list of things to do in Orlando.
Rides, Slides, and Attractions
I was amazed at the quality of water slide attractions at this park. We felt like we did a lot and we still didn’t get to everything there was to experience. There are around 13 different water slides including body slides and raft rides. One of my favorites was the Honu slide which to me looks like sliding into a giant half-pipe filled with water. I can’t believe how high you can get in this thing. It’s both terrifying and a ton of fun. Another great option was the aqua coaster, Krakatau. It quickly propels up hills and down drops and you can feel like you are getting real air time on a water ride. I also enjoyed the Punga Racers. This is a body slide where four people race each other in different slides that intertwine. There were a bunch more great slides and each of them we tried was enjoyable. You’ll also find some kid-friendly areas families will enjoy. These include Runamukka Reef and Tot Tikki Reef, both splash and play areas.
Pools, Beach, Lazy River, and Fearless River
Aside from the water slide rides, there are pools, a beach-like area, a lazy river known as the Kopiko Wai Winding River, and a Fearless River. The Fearless River was one we really enjoyed. It’s basically a swift “lazy” river with rapids and waves. Visitors wear a life vest into the river and are free to float around. It winds throughout the park and under the volcano. The Fearless River became the source of a lot of laughing.
Virtual Line Sytem: TapuTapu
While you can pay for Express Pass at Volcano Bay for a shorter line experience for most attractions, it wasn’t necessary for us. We used the free-included TapuTapu to take advantage of the virtual line system. The TapuTapu is a wristband each guest receives as they enter the park for the day. You scan your TapuTapu at the kiosks near the rides you want to experience. It will let you know the estimated wait time. You can hold one virtual queue at a time. While you wait, you can explore, eat, enjoy the pools, river, etc. Your TapuTapu will tell you how much time is left and will buzz you when it’s your turn. Once it’s your turn, you don’t have to rush. You can head back at any time to the ride. Once you have ridden, you can get your next virtual queue. We did this throughout the day and it worked great. We rode so many things for a Saturday the week Easter occurred. This is a great system and best of all, it doesn’t cost any extra money to use.
Food & Drinks
For a water/theme park, Volcano Bay has some nice quick-service dining options as well as bars. Serving up a variety of options from long pizzas, burgers, jerk chicken, fish, sushi, tacos, and more. We found the options to be more than plentiful and decent in value and taste for quick service. I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase food here again. The other good news is that you can also pack your own food, snacks, and small soft-sided coolers. You can’t bring in alcohol, but you can bring lots of stuff to enjoy without having to pay extra.
We can’t wait to add Volcano Bay to our annual passes once we renew this summer. You can explore Universal’s Florida Pass options, prices, and block-out dates here. If you are interested in getting started on your Florida home purchase to take advantage of all Florida has to offer, our Moving to Orlando REALTORS are here to help you navigate the market. Take a moment to fill out our contact form, and someone will be in contact with you.