Universal Orlando’s Volcano Bay….The New “Themed” Water Park

May 25th, 2017, Universal Orlando opened its new “themed” Water Park, Volcano Bay. Did the Park live up to the hype stirred by social media? Let’s dive in.

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Check out my amazing video from inside the park with footage courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort.  At the very bottom of the post is the grand opening moment from earlier today, May 25th.

Let’s begin first by thanking Universal Orlando for hosting us and allowing us to experience Volcano Bay prior to its official opening. In order to get to the new park, guests can park in the normal parking garages and be shuttled to the park via a special roadway and buses. If you are staying at one of the fabulous on-site hotels, there are shuttle buses from the hotels to take you to the park. Cabana Bay Resort guests receive a private entrance into the park.

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As you get off your shuttle bus you walk through an underground tunnel, which is your gateway into Volcano Bay. The setup is incredible and really brings into a fully immersive environment. This immersive environment is quickly dispersed inside the park when you see breathtaking views of the Volcano and surrounding areas along with Interstate 4 and Turkey Lake Road which are literally on the perimeter of the park.

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As you enter the park you receive your Tapu Tapu around your arm, which allows guests to: make purchases from their Universal account, interact with different elements, and reserve ride times. Tapu Tapu is about twice the size of Walt Disney World’s MagicBands and we found them to fall off easily on these water rides.

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Lockers are an essential component to Water Parks (in my opinion), as guests will need to store important items while they ride the slides instead of leaving it on a chair unattended. The lockers are accessible via your Tapu Tapu, and range from $9-$15 (if I remember correctly) depending on the size. Locker Stations are located throughout the park which is great instead of one centralized location.

I want to begin this next section by stating that the park was not complete when we visited. The park was packed with construction crews still working to get as much done prior to the opening the next day, many rides were down and interactive elements were not running, and many landscaping was not complete.

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We only went on a few slides and tried TeAwa The Fearless River™. The signature ride, the Krakatau™ Aqua Coaster, features linear induction motors in order to propel guests through the Volcano. This ride was sadly not open when we went by several times, however other members of the media said they rode and it was fantastic! The TeAwa The Fearless River™ was an intense “lazy river” featuring white water rapid simulations. Interestingly Team Members required us to wear life jackets, which didn’t seem necessary even with the intense nature of the experience. The family raft slides that we went on were fun and intense. Honu ika Moana™ was a scary experience as guests in the raft straddle the sides of the slide as you glide through the ride. The Waturi Beach is also a massive pool featuring waves at the foot of the mighty Krakatau™ Volcano.

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The quick service restaurants throughout the park each offer unique food items. We ended up experiencing Kohola Reef Restaurant & Social Club™ which offered great taste in burgers, flatbreads, and ribs. The Chocolate Lava cake is delicious and will sure to be a guest favorite. The bars around Volcano Bay offered unique drink selections, including my personal favorite, Toasted Coconut Pineapple. This drink includes Siesta Key Toasted Coconut Rum, Pineapple Juice, and Sour Mix. There are definitely some great drink selections available and I cannot wait to go back and experience some more of the offerings.

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The Merchandise  at the park were exceptional in offerings. We found different items with the amazing Volcano Bay logo, amazing Hawaiian themed clothing, and ceramic Tiki sculptures.

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Overall, Volcano Bay is a breathtaking new Water Park. Stunning, beautiful, amazing, and wow is all I kept saying walking through this park. I hope to experience this park once again when everything is complete and not featuring construction workers. I also hope that Universal decides to add more background music throughout the park and block views and sound from the nearby highways and Interstate. Volcano Bay will truly be a welcome addition to the parks of Central Florida and will be enjoyed for years to come.

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About Matt Dobrovolsky

Matt is an avid theme park lover and has been going to Disney World since the age of three. Matt was known as the "Disney Geek" all throughout school and in 2013 he moved to Orlando, Florida to finish his Hospitality Management degree at University of Central Florida- Rosen College of Hospitality Mgmt. During his time at Rosen, Matt got the opportunity to work for Disney Legend Ron Logan who is now a professor at UCF. Matt has been working for Disney since 2010 at the Disney Store in Paramus, NJ and was a participant of the Disney College Program in Spring 2011. In 2014, he began his career with The Walt Disney World Resort on the Fastpass+ Team at Magic Kingdom and since then has worked at many attractions including Mission Space, Test Track and was part of the opening team for Star Wars Launch Bay at Hollywood Studios. Matt currently works at Star Tours at Hollywood Studios and runs a YouTube channel: DarthVader92 showcasing the latest from the Theme Parks in Central Florida and the attractions themselves.