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Mar 16, 2016
Richmond, VA
My family and I had the opportunity to visit Volcano Bay last week. The park has been utterly savaged in reviews since it opened on places like Trip Advisor for long waits, operational issues, and the ridiculous Tapu Tapu ride queueing system. Luckily for us, we happened to visit on a somewhat cool, drizzly weekday in November, and found the park to be nearly deserted, so we didn't run into any of those issues. Don't get me wrong, I believe the park still has a LOT of work to do to address the issues is is reportedly still experiencing, but we were lucky enough not to experience any of them, and this review will reflect that.

To get to Volcano Bay, you have to take a bus. You park in the normal Universal parking deck, but instead of proceeding to City Walk, you get on the Volcano Bay bus for the short trip to the park. There IS NO parking at Volcano Bay, so don't be confused and try to drive there. The buses are clean and comfortable, and run every 7-10 minutes. On the ride, a short video will tell you about the park and explain the Tapu Tapu system to you. Once you arrive, you simply go through security and ticketing like any other park.


Tapu Tapu is Volcano Bays way of making queueing for rides more tolerable. By all accounts, it is terribly flawed. It can also be linked to a credit card using the Universal Mobile App so you can use it for things like renting lockers and towels, and buying food and drinks. You have to set up a PIN to use your credit card via the wearable, so don't worry about loosing your Tapu Tapu and having someone run up your bill. Because the park was nearly empty during our visit, the only real use I had for the Tapu Tapu was to rent and access my locker, and to pay for lunch and drinks, so I can't really speak to its efficacy as a queue management tool.

The park itself is beautiful. Themed to a fictitious Polynesian culture, it's lush and tropical. The park is of course dominated by Krakatau, the 200 foot tall volcano in Volcano Bay. It's visually stunning, and even more so at night when it is illuminated to make the water look like lava.


The volcano itself houses multiple water slides as well as an aqua coaster, which was a new experience for me. This is not my video, but it gives a very good impression of what the ride is like. On busy days, there can be a multiple hour wait for this ride. We rode 3 times without ever getting off :)

There are several restaurants and two full bars on site. I had a bacon cheeseburger at one of the resturants that was quite honestly the best meal I have ever had a a theme park. It was amazingly delicious! We also sampled a couple of frozen drinks at the bars. Both are themed as boats, so if you see sails, you know you're near a spot to grab a beer or tropical drink.


In addition to a wide variety of slides, the park also has a wave pool, a relaxing non-wave pool, two lazy rivers (one calm, one less so, with a swift current and wave machines), and a fairly large kids play area, appropriately named.


All-in-all, we had a great day. I understand this is not the usual experience at Volcano Bay, but hopefully they can get the kinks worked out so that everyone who goes can have a blast. It's such a beautiful place, with truly great rides, it would be a shame if it remains a nightmare to experience.

You can see the rest of my Volcano Bay pictures here:
I'm currently in the midst of a week in Orlando, and amongst the Velocicoasters and the Hagrid's Motorbikes, Volcano day was an incredible day of respite. The atmosphere, is like escaping into another world where you're just meant to relax. I probably spend upwards of two hours in the (slow) lazy river just floating around, flirting with occassional lifeguards—and it was a high point of my entire vacation.

Krakatau is amazing, the family raft rides are super fun, and I adored chatting with Vol—the spirit that lives within the Volcano. But no part stands out more than the feeling of pure relaxation that I was able to soak in for hours.

High recommend this park.

Don't mind me, just having my Moana Moment.
Vol is wonderful and everyone should make time to go see them. I love when they tell the story of the park.
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