A Teen’s Guide to Universal’s Volcano Bay
Grab your swimsuit and suntan lotion! Universal Orlando’s new water theme park, Volcano Bay, has an abundance of thrills and spills. From relaxing and roaring rivers to the heart-pounding Krakatau Aqua Coaster, there’s something for every teen.
Get cozy, grab a snack, and keep reading for a Teen’s Guide to Volcano Bay, covering attractions, food and atmosphere.
There are 18 fun-filled attractions to cross off your bucket list. When you first walk into Volcano Bay, you’ll be greeted by Krakatau: a spectacular, 200-foot-tall volcano at the center of the park. The volcano not only showcases fantastical views of Orlando, but also offers four different rides that travel through the volcano. These include Krakatau Aqua Coaster, Ko’okiri Body Plunge, and Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides.
One ride you can’t miss is Honu, one of the two waterslides at the Honu Ika Moana attraction. Honu is a multi-passenger waterslide on the more exciting side and is perfect for experiencing alongside friends or family members. My sister and I enjoyed the long, twisting journey to the bottom, and our screams could be heard from miles away!
Although I love stomach-dropping thrills, sometimes it’s nice to sit back and de-stress when you’re on vacation. Kopiko Wai Winding River was a perfect break from the fun, intense waterslides and aqua coaster. The river leads you on a scenic float through River Village and gave me a much-needed rest from the exhilarating plunges and splashes at Volcano Bay.
If you’re looking for something a little more thrilling, TeAwa the Fearless River might be a better match for you. With periodic choppy waves flowing through the not-so-lazy river, it adds a little adventure to the chillaxing float.
I gained a deeper appreciation for Volcano Bay’s attractions after speaking with Dale Mason, Universal Creative’s vice president and executive art director. I learned more about the dedication that went into the attractions, and I discovered Volcano Bay was in design and development for six years before opening to the public this past May.
This makes sense, because Volcano Bay isn’t a typical waterpark. Mason refers to it as a “water theme park” as Volcano Bay takes up almost 30 acres. Mason explained that the Universal Creative team “traveled all over the world” in order to learn more about water attractions.
“We went to Spain, the Middle East, Japan, and all over the United States to look at what was good and what was not. We asked a lot of questions, and that research is what we used as the basis for how we would set up the design for this park,” Mason said of the development process.
When it comes to dining, there’s no shortage of options. There’s everything from food carts and quick-service stands for when you’re in a hurry, to fast and casual restaurants for when you have a little extra time to sit back and enjoy your meal with leisure.
I had the opportunity to chat with Universal’s executive chef, Steve Jayson, who created the menu. Our conversation gave me a greater appreciation for the food he passionately crafts. When I asked what inspired him in the menu’s creation, he smiled and waved his arm at the beauty surrounding us. “Volcano Bay did! This isn’t just a water park.”
He recommended the Jerked Mahi Sandwich for seafood aficionados, “If you’re a fish lover, you can’t go wrong with that.” Chef Jayson also recommended the Coconut Crusted Fried Chicken and said it was one of his personal favorites. As for beverages, Jayson said that POG is obligatory. “If you come to Volcano Bay, you’ve got to try POG,” he told me, as he passed a cup. “Passion fruit, orange, and guava – all together in a frozen drink. It’s very refreshing!” I agree; it was absolutely delicious and was the perfect cool-down on a sunny Orlando day.
And of course, you can’t forget dessert! Get ready to indulge yourself… after all, calories don’t count on vacation! Waturi Fusion, or as I affectionately call it “the rainbow ice cream”, was the most colorful, creative dessert I’ve ever had! It also seems to be taking Instagram by storm. I’m not afraid to admit that I took at least 15 selfies with this sweet treat.
You’re transported into a tropical paradise as soon as you enter the park! I started off my day at Waturi Beach, a lush oasis in front of the famous volcano. As I sat with my feet in the sand, listening to the dancing waterfalls, I knew I could spend days here at Volcano Bay. There’s a perfect balance between relaxation and adventure.
The atmosphere was also enhanced by the Volcano Bay staff. Every single Team Member I encountered was friendly and extremely knowledgeable. I was greeted at the entrance of every ride and whenever I had a question or needed directions, they were enthusiastic to help.
Staying on-property in a Universal Orlando on-site hotel made my experience at Volcano Bay even better. Hotel guests are able to enter the park one hour earlier than the general public, which definitely helps beat the crowds. I had a speedy entry into the park because I was staying at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort. As a teen with an ambitious agenda for the day, having the early access was super helpful.
When you stay at a Universal Orlando on-site hotel, another way you can save time is by taking Universal’s transportation to and from Volcano Bay.
Pro tip: Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort is located right next to Volcano Bay. There is a walking path dedicated to Cabana Bay guests. If you’re debating on which hotel to stay at, this might help you with your decision!
When it comes to theme parks, long lines always seem to be the culprit of fun. At Volcano Bay, TapuTapu comes to the rescue! TapuTapu is a waterproof, wearable device that has a plethora of features, such as exclusive photo ops, cash-free purchases (simply connect a credit card online), and most importantly: lines. Instead of standing hours in a long line, you can choose which attractions you would like to ride for the day.
You simply check-in to the attraction you wish to go on, and the TapuTapu wristband will notify you when it’s your ride time. One of the rides I had to get on was Maku of the Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides, but I was reluctant because of the wait time.
With TapuTapu, that problem was solved. I was able to grab a snack, take a dip in the Waturi Beach wave pool, and venture into other areas of the park. The time passed quickly, and I was able to keep the fun going. As a teen, I love the creative innovation and modernization that Universal Orlando incorporates into their parks. My generation loves having technology at our fingertips!
I had an amazing visit to Volcano Bay and ended my day with a big splash. Now, do your chores this week, be as sweet as you can be, and tell your parents you need to plan a vacation to Universal’s Volcano Bay! I hope to see you there.