Since its official announcement last June, there has been tons of speculation and excitement surrounding Universal’s new attraction. With only one more week until the long awaited grand opening of Volcano Bay, here’s everything you need to know about the brand new water theme park.
Upon arrival, every guest will receive a free TapuTapu wristband. The waterproof, hypoallergenic band allows you to hold your place in the virtual line for the various water rides while you explore the park’s other attractions. When you find a ride you’d like to try, simply tap your wristband on the totem located at the attraction’s entry to secure your spot in line and find out your ride time. The wristband vibrates to notify you when it’s time to return to the ride but for even faster ride access, Universal’s Express and Express Unlimited passes are available for purchase at Volcano Bay as well. The TapuTapu technology also interacts with the Volcano Bay villages with Taptu play, which allows guests to set off water jets, activate special lighting effects, and other interactive features. Another bonus: you don’t have to lug your bulky inner tube through the line, it will already be waiting for you at your designated ride time! Perhaps the most appealing feature is TaptuPay, which allows you to use the wristband as your payment method for the day. You can input your credit card information, set spending limits, and monitor the transactions each person with access to your card is making throughout the day. Taptu Snap syncs any photos you take at the park’s selfie spots, interactive photo spots, and ride photos to your My Universal photo account so you can view, share, and download your images whenever you’d like.
The 30-acre park consists of four distinct areas, all designed to make guests feel like they’ve transported to the South Pacific islands that inspired the legend of Volcano Bay’s Waturi islanders. Krakatau, the 200 foot Fire & Water volcano is the constant focal point among the surrounding villages: Wave Village, River Village, and Rainforest Village.
The first area you’ll see upon entry is Wave Village, where you guests set up camp for the day on Waturi Beach, overlooking The Reef at the base of Krakatau. If you’re interested in premium seating, you can upgrade to private beach seating or rent a cabana. Private beach seating includes two padded lounge chairs, adjustable shade canopies, a storage lock box, and access to an area attendant who will take food and drink orders throughout the day. Cabana options include one or two-story private cabanas with padded lounge chairs, a small refrigerator, towel and locker access, as well as an exclusive delivery menu and concierge service. If you’re considering renting one of these luxury accomodations for the day, it’s a good idea to make your reservation prior to arriving at the park; they will likely get booked up quickly.
Inside the park’s centerpiece volcano lies three separate attractions. The one-of-a-kind Krakatau Aqua Coaster is a unique canoe raft ride that seats four riders at a time. Brave riders can take a 125 foot long drop at 70 degrees on the park’s most daring attraction, the Ko’okiri Body Plunge or try the Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body slides, which have twin doors that drop riders into clear, intertwining tube slides. The Punga Racers provide a milder option for guests of all ages, where single riders race to the finish line down four lanes on manta ray mats. The fastest racer wins a watery salute from Punga himself!
In River Village you’ll find the Kopiko Wai Winding River, which runs throughout the entire park with access to each attraction, helping guests avoid walking from ride to ride on the hot sidewalks. During your leisurely float along the river you’ll find Stargazer’s Cavern, where you can witness the magical night sky underneath the lava rocks. This village is the perfect place to play for the park’s tiniest visitors. The Tot Tiki and Runamukka Reefs are full of small slides, spraying fountains, bubbling geysers and tons of other fun features perfect for little ones.
Rainforest Village is home to some of the park’s most thrilling attractions like TeAwa the Fearless River, a much more exhilirating stream than the Kopiko Wai. Grab an inner tube to splash through the choppy waves and roaring whitewater rapids on this river ride. Other exciting slides include the Ohya and Ohno drop slides. The Ohya drops riders out four feet above the landing pool, and across the rope bridge the Ohno slide drops riders six feet into the pool below. This village also has some family friendly raft rides including the Maku & Puihi slides and the Puka Uli Lagoon, where guests of all ages can play. “Maku & Puihi” means “Wet & Wild” in Maori, the native language of the Waturi islands, named as a nod to the closed water park.
In addition to the 18 attractions at Volcano Bay, guests can also find more than 60 food options in the park’s five dining locations. Each restaurant serves grab and go meals and desserts inspired by the South Pacific, including specialty pizzas, sushi, salads, fish, and tons more. Adult guests can indulge in the park’s six specialty cocktails, ranging from fruity mixed drinks like Vol’s Fire Punch to Volcano Blossom Beer, which is specially brewed for Volcano Bay by Orange Blossom. There is a quick service dining plan available for purchase similar to the plans available at Universal’s other parks.