We were so excited to head to the beautiful and tropical Universal Volcano Bay in Orlando, Florida with our 4 kids. We love Universal Orlando Resort so we figured the new Volcano Bay had to be amazing. We weren’t disappointed! The park gives you an overall vacation vibe with the scenery and all the sand. You wouldn’t believe you are right smack in the middle of a city.
There were a few things that gave us problems that we want to highlight right away so you can avoid them and enjoy your time at Volcano Bay. Then we will jump into all the coolness and some tricks we learned from spending the day there with 4 kids, one who doesn’t like scary rides, two that are up for almost anything and one that was only 5, so wasn’t to sure about the bigger rides.
Table of Contents
- Things To Be Aware Of
- On To All The Cool Things
Things To Be Aware Of
Yup, we started the day arguing since we tried to follow the directions on our phone instead of following the signs. The address is:
6000 Universal Boulevard
Orlando, FL 32819.
If you follow this in Google Maps it will take you to the wrong place. Instead when you get close, look for the signs and follow those for Volcano Bay or Cabana Bay (the hotel attached to Volcano Bay).
Then once you turn onto the street you will see signs for where to go for Volcano Bay. You will have to make a turn so drive slow and look for the signs. Don’t follow your map on your phone – darn Google Maps!
Parking is in a parking structure and then you will have to take a bus to get to Volcano Bay. A hassle, yes, but they do a pretty good job with the setup. Parking at the time was $20 for regular parking. They do have RV parking for $22 and Prime Parking for $30. Don’t forget to take a picture of where you parked so you remember when you leave.
If you have to pick up tickets at will call or are planning to buy them that day the best place to do this is at the parking structure. Instead of going straight to the bus, head over to the ticket booth and get your tickets there. We didn’t wait in line at all and the lady was super helpful.
I am not sure what the official rule is, but we brought in food and only bought a snack for the kids. We didn’t bring in a big cooler or anything, but instead had a bag in our backpack with a cooler pack and put the food in there.
With 4 kids it just makes sense to bring in your own food. Plus they are all pretty picky so hate to spend money on food they won’t eat. In any case they inspected our bag and no one said anything.
We kept the backpack with us at all times and just discreetly ate when the kids were hungry sitting by our lawn chairs. No one seemed to care.
When To Go
I have heard lots of reviews about people waiting in line and only getting on a couple rides all days. I would have expected that when they first opened – and wouldn’t have gone then. Same thing for major school holidays. No thanks.
Like with any amusement park they are going to be busy in prime time. Want to enjoy yourself more? Go in the off season. Yes I am saying take your kids out of school and go. The memories are more important than missing a few days of school.
Plus the lines are way better and everyone will have a much better time.
We went in the middle of November. We had 3 days to pick from and purposely picked the day that was in the mid 80’s. Had it been in the 70’s and cloudy it would not have been as an enjoyable. I recommend sunny and 80’s if possible.
Florida weather fluctuates day to day so try to set it up to give yourself some choices on what day you go when you get to Orlando. Or if you can handle being cold, go on a cooler day and I bet the crowds would be even better!
What To Do With Your Things
I was totally stressed about this . . . We brought towels, a swim bag and a backpack. Just like any waterpark you go to, they have lockers. But I hate having to go back and forth and I wanted my phone for pictures and videos.
What we did was find a spot to claim as ours. Basically grabbed a view lawn chairs by the rapids lazy river (I will get to what that is). We put our bags down and our towels and reserved these seats for the day. We were there with our friends from yTravelBlog so between all of us, someone was normally by the stuff or close to it.
Did we take a risk leaving our stuff sitting out? Yes we did. Before you go you can set your credit card up on the TapuTapu wristband (more on this later) you get when you go in. So technically we could have done that and put our wallet into a locker. Probably woud have been smart, but we still would have had our phone and camera.
In any case that is what we did. It was nice to have a “spot” as a home base that we kept meeting at as people went off and did their own thing.
Alright now that we have those things out of the way lets get into all the fun there is to have here! And there is a lot. Seriously when we went to Universal the next day I wanted to just leave and head back to Volcano Bay. We LOVE Universal, but Volcano Bay was so relaxing and fun!!
Like I mentioned above you park in the parking structure, take a bus for about a 5-minute ride then walk into the park. It is all a pretty simple and quick process and they keep things moving.
If you stay at Cabana Bay you can walk right over to Volcano Bay. Yes, I was jealous of people that could do this. Plus, they got in an hour early to the park. Something to keep in mind for next time.
If you are thinking you could park there and walk over don’t do it. A friend of ours tried and she was denied since you need to show your room key to get into Volcano Bay.
If your pet travels with you, they do have a kennel by the parking structure. We didn’t look into it but thought it was worth noting especially if you travel with a pet in your RV.
When you give your ticket to get into the park they give you a TapuTapu wristband. The wristband is connected to your ticket. You can then use your ticket number to setup your TapuTapu account on the Universal App so you can add your credit card.
I was able to do this for all 6 of us in the time it took us to get on the bus and into the park. If you have your tickets ahead of time you can set this up then.
You can set limits on your wristband based on the ticket. So for the kids I set it that they had $15 each to spend. In order to access it they needed to remember a code.
The TapuTapu is also what you use to reserve your spot in line for the rides where there is a line. You walk up to the ride scan your wristband and it give you a time – 30 minutes, 90 minutes, 100 minutes. It then counts down for you and eveutally says Ride Now.
When it says Ride Now, you head over to the ride to get in line. In our case we waited about 15 – 20 minutes in line once we got the Ride Now notification. The Ride Now doesn’t expire so if you are doing something else you don’t have to rush over. Just go when you are ready.
If you buzz in for one ride and get a time set you can’t add any more rides until you use that one or delete it. So basically for 100 minutes or whatever the time is you have to find other things to do. But don’t worry there are plenty of things to do.
We lost 3 TapuTapus during the day we were there. Yup 3 . . . I lost one off of my wrist in the rapids lazy river and then 2 kids lost theirs at some point. Probably at the same place.
I was a little worried about the whole credit card thing being attached to the lost wristband. Then was reminded about the code needed to use it. So it was all good. We walked over to a customer service desk and they asked for our name and then gave us a new wristband. Good to go!
On To All The Cool Things
By far the coolest looking thing in the park is the Volcano. It is massive and is the center piece of the whole park. It really is quite the sight and sets the ambiance right away for being at Volcano Bay.
The wave pool is located right below the Volcano and there are a couple of rides inside of the volcano. We didn’t get a chance to try any of them this time . . . umm yeah that is why we didn’t do them . . . I wasn’t scared, I swear . . .
Ok I was a little scared. These rides are the ones you go into a tube and they drop you straight down the Volcano it is called the Ko Okiri Body Plunge. Sound fun to you?! If it does then go for it and leave a note in the comments about how it was. Maybe I will try it next time. . . .
There is a walk you can take through the Volcano and there are a variety of buttons for kids to push from shooting water out at the wave pool to pushing a button and seeing a lights display appear on the wall. A fun thing to do while you are waiting for a ride or just looking for something else to do.
Where We Spent A Lot Of Our Time
This is the ride we spent most of our time on: TeAwa The Fearless River™
It is a lazy river with rapids and quick moving water. So, no, it isn’t lazy – yet you can just sit in your tube and go with the flow. It was a lot of fun and everyone in our party enjoyed it.
We went around the river multiple times and multiple times throughtout the day. The entrance to the river is where we grabbed our chairs for the day so some of the time the kids just hung out in the water out of the current and other times we all headed into the current to go on a ride around the river!
My Daughters Favorite Ride
This was Melia’s favorite ride. It was also the one with the longest line. But even with 100 minute waits she went on it about 4 times while we were there. The ride times fluctuated throughtout the day.
The Krakatau™ Aqua Coaster. This water roller coaster goes into the volcano and out and splashes down a big drop! She loved it. The rest of us – minus the 5 year old liked it too.
A Fun One
We learned a trick on this ride. We walked over, because in all honesty, I thought I could get a good picture to use on Instagram of the kids coming out of the slide . . .
We got there and it said a 20 minute wait. We already had rides saved on our wrist band so we didn’t want to scan them. Then all of a sudden the ride display popped onto RIDE NOW.
That meant we could get right in line. Sweet!! We jumped in and everyone went down and I did get some great pictures and video.
Not everyone was with us when we went so we went back to get the others who hadn’t gone on. When we came back the time was back at 25 minutes. What I noticed is there weren’t a lot of people going into the ride . . . hmm does that mean it will change to Ride Now again??
We stood there and waited for about 5 minutes and no one was really coming to go onto the ride and guess what it turned to Ride Now – score!
Tip: If a ride is under 30 minutes, stand there and keep an eye on it if it doesn’t seem busy there is a chance it will turn to Ride Now and you can jump on right away.
Just be aware it will only say Ride Now for a little bit so don’t go run off to find someone because by the time you come back it probably won’t say Ride Now anymore.
Rides Our 5 Year Old Liked
Our 5 year old really enjoyed the Taniwha Tubes. They weren’t to fast or crazy and you go on with someone. There are 4 slides to pick from. It was the perfect ride for him.
We went on this one multiple times as it normally was in Ride Now mode.
There are rides with large circle tubes like the Puihi of the Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides™ located at the back of the park. The Punga Racers were you go down with a mat. And the Honu of the Honu ika Moana™ that takes you flying up the side of the slide.
Fun “Ride” at night rides
The kids loved going on the Kopiko Wai Winding River™ at night when everything was lit up. They had fun running/swimming and sometimes floating on a tube around the river. This was not a rapids river, but more a traditional lazy river.
The Waturi Beach is where we ended our day and it was perfect. As it started to get dark out the Volcano lit up and the kids played in the sand and heading out into the wave pool.
Beware, they do close down the wave pool to check the chemical levels multiple times a day. So if you want to do the wave pool, don’t save it for the last thing in case it is closed.
Where To Get A Drink
While the kids were at the Waturi Beach we headed over to the Dancing Dragons Boat Bar to get a beer and specialty drink. It was such a fun tiki bar and overlooked the beach and the volcano. We felt like we were on vacation at a tropical island!
Where To Get The Kids A Treat
We had heard about the delicious ice cream so we headed to Koka Poroka to get the kids an Ice Cream Kona. You can pick whatever flavor you would like but if you are looking for the signature colorful one go with the Waturi Fusion – a mixture of banana, blue raspberry, orange and strawberry.
When 7pm rolled around we were not ready to leave. We really enjoyed our time at Volcano Bay and would highly recommend that you add it to your list of places to visit in Orlando. Dare I say skip Disney World and head here instead. Yup I said it. You can thank me when you are drinking your cocktail watching your kids play in the sand and water at the end of the day at Waturi Beach.
One of the other things that made our day so much fun was meeting up with our friends from YTravel Blog and spending the day with them! The kids had a blast going on the rides together and hanging out in the lazy river and wave pool. Check out their 10 years olds view on Volcano Bay!
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