Volcano Bay is located at Universal Studios and is one of Orlando’s newest water parks. Easily recognizable by its towering volcano (Krakatau Volcano), this park is packed with thrilling slides, a sandy “beach,” and a play area just for the little ones. Volcano Bay has quickly become our go-to water park in Orlando and is a great way to spend some of those hot summer days. Here are a few tips that we have learned throughout our visits that will hopefully help others enjoy it just as much as we do!
1. Allow extra time to enter the park
There isn’t a parking lot at Volcano Bay, so if driving, be prepared to allow extra time for the arrival process. Similar to visiting Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure, you will park in the Universal CityWalk parking garage. When entering the parking booth, follow the specific signs for Volcano Bay parking, which will be on the lower level of the garage. From there, you go through security and board a shuttle bus which will take you to the entrance of Volcano Bay. The ride is short (about 5-7 minutes), and the buses are typically plentiful.
2. The lockers near the back of the park are FAR less crowded
Let’s face it. Universal has many great qualities, but the locker situation is not one of them (who hasn’t had a near claustrophobic meltdown in the Escape from Gringotts locker station!). However, at Volcano Bay, there are four locker stations spread throughout the park and one set outside of the entrance. The four stations inside the park offer three locker sizes at varying prices (starting at around $8.00). If you arrive at park opening, you will likely not have a problem renting a locker in your preferred size at any of the locker stations. However, if you arrive later on a busier day, the chances of renting a mini locker (the smallest and least expensive) at one of the front lockers will be slim. Save yourself the headache and head to one of the stations in the back of the park.
3. Tapu Tapu the most popular attraction as soon as you arrive
Upon entering the park, you will receive a cool Tapu Tapu bracelet – and yes, it’s included in your admission so you don’t have to pay extra for it. You will use the Tapu Tapu to reserve your spot at the most popular attractions, such as the Krakatau Aqua Coaster and Ko’okiri Body Plunge. As soon as you arrive, locate the ride that you want to ride the most and tap in. You will then see the countdown time appear on your bracelet. On busy days, you could be looking at 120 minutes for popular rides. BUT the greatest thing about the Tapu Tapu system is that you can still enjoy the park during the wait time without standing in line. You can float in the lazy river, grab a bite, or enjoy other attractions that are open with no wait time. When your wait time is up, your Tapu Tapu will vibrate, and you can return to the attraction. Note that you can only tap one attraction at a time, so after you ride the first attraction, simply tap into the next.
4. Wear flip flops or water shoes when walking around the park
Even though there is water spraying on most of the concrete, it can still get blazing hot! We highly suggest wearing flip flops or water shoes when walking around to protect your feet. For slides and attractions that require you to remove your shoes, there are shoe holders near the entrance.
5. Connect your Tapu Tapu to your Universal Studios wallet
The chances are that you will not be carrying your credit card or cash around, and luckily Universal has made it easy that you don’t have to! Save yourself the hassle of having to return to your locker and connect your Tapu Tapu to Universal Studios wallet account. Then you can tap your Tapu Tapu to pay for food, drinks, or merchandise. You will first need to set up your wallet account in the Universal Studios app. You can then either link your ticket to your account before arriving at the park (the easiest option) or visit a guest services concierge station to complete the connection process.
6. For easy and hassle-free access, stay at Cabana Bay
Cabana Bay is the closest hotel to Volcano Bay – in fact, it’s practically connected. If you are planning on staying onsite and looking for a fun staycation option, then Cabana Bay would be the most convenient option. Alternatively, all of the Universal Studios hotels are great and offer shuttle service to Volcano Bay. Plus, with some hotels, you can receive early access to the park! If early access is important to you, make sure you verify with the hotel before booking.
7. You can bring your own snacks!
Food and non-alcoholic drinks are allowed to be brought in. Skip the lines and save some money by packing snacks and bringing them from your home or hotel.
8. Bring your own towels and sunscreen
Volcano Bay does not offer free towels to guests. If you don’t bring a towel, you can rent one or purchase one in the gift shop. Also, don’t forget the sunscreen! It is available in the gift shop, but you will be paying a premium.
9. Book preferred seating or a cabana ahead of time
Although free seating is available all around the park, Volcano Bay does offer two additional upgraded seating options – Preferred Seating and Cabanas. These options are great for those who want guaranteed seating and shade. Cabanas are available in one or two stories and include padded lounge chairs, a small refrigerator stocked with bottled water, complimentary fruit and snack basket, towel and locker service, plus concierge service with an exclusive menu of food and drink delivered directly to the cabana. You should call to reserve these ahead of time (we highly suggest weeks ahead of time) or on rare occasions, and on less busy days, you may visit a concierge guest services desk to rent a cabana on the day of your visit. The prices vary but have ranged from $159.99 to over $599.99, depending on the cabana size and day of rental. Premium seating prices also depend on the particular day or season but are typically less than $100.
10. Arrive early and stay late
You can easily spend an entire day in Volcano Bay – especially on your first visit. If possible, we suggest that you arrive as early to park opening as possible to secure a seat. This is especially true during the summer and on holidays when the park is known to reach capacity. The last thing that you want is to plan a day with your family at the water park only to be turned away. In addition, why not plan on staying late. Our favorite time in the park is in the evening when most people start to depart for dinner. The temperature starts to cool down, and the wait times for rides decrease drastically. To us, lying in a chair on the sand with a drink in hand while the volcano starts to twinkle with lights is the ultimate way to end a wonderful day at Volcano Bay.