Lau Family Travels LOVES Volcano Bay. We have been there a few times now and every time we have such a blast. It is our FAVORITE water park! However, there are some things that I feel like they could improve on. I mean… they can’t be PERFECT right? Keep reading to find out what we love (and don’t love) about Universal’s Volcano Bay!
Volcano Bay transports you to a lush, tropical paradise!
First of all, the theme at this park is AMAZING. Every little detail was well thought out and really makes you feel like you aren’t in just some water park with water slides. However – with that being said… I wish they would have spent a little more time on making sure that it was easy to navigate. We OFTEN were going the wrong way for attractions we were trying to get to and had to turn around and go all the way back. It wasn’t very easy to find your way around. We arrived right when the park opened for resort guest early entry at 9am and it didn’t start getting busy until around 11:30am. Basically we had 2 1/2 hours of walking right on all the attractions! Make sure that if you are a resort guest that you take advantage of the early entry! It’s definitely worth it!
We didn’t get to go on everything, but here are some of our favorites:
Krakatau Aqua Coaster – WOW! This is a one of a kind water coaster. This ride is AMAZING! The whole family loved it and wanted to go on it over and over again. We ended up going on it twice because there is so much more to do… but I would have gone on it over and over if I could!
Ko’kiri Body Plunge – This is the drop slide that drops you at a 70 degree angle for 125 feet… I didn’t go on it, but my husband did. He said it was “cool” and left it at that. He didn’t go on it again. So not sure how much he REALLY loved it. I didn’t push the issue.
Ohno & Ohyah Drop Slides – These are serpentine slides that drop you off either 6 feet or 4 feet into the pool below! My husband and son thought that these were great… I wasn’t brave enough!
Volcano Bay wins in family raft rides!
There are four family raft rides that we went on other than the Krakatau Aqua Coaster and they were all great! Some were more thrilling than others. Honestly I’m a wimp and if I could handle them I think you probably could too (especially if you aren’t riding alone). Let me say though… walking the stairs up to the attraction is probably the most your heart is going to be pumping while in the park!!
Honu of the Honu ika Moana – This is the big blue family raft ride that you see all over the advertisements for Volcano Bay. Even though the ride is blue, this is actually called the Turtle. Think opposite of what you would normally think! This is their headliner ride and that first wall is INTENSE! After that it’s really pretty mild. The only downfall to this ride was all the spraying mist in your face. Basically I couldn’t see where we were going and I didn’t care for that, but it was still really fun for the most part!
ika Moana of the Honu ika Moana – This is the sister ride to the Honu and it’s the big green raft ride which is called the Whale. This ride was similar to the Honu, but not quite as intense. It also didn’t have spraying mist in your face the whole time, which made it a better experience for me! I really liked this one a lot.
Maku of the Maku Puihi – Orange family raft ride. Puihi of the Maku Puihi – Green family raft ride. On a lot of these water slides the attendants require you to take off your glasses (or hold them) unless you have some sort of strap. I don’t go to theme parks anymore without my favorite strap for my glasses… we have lovingly named it THE GEEK STRAP.
Lazy and NOT so lazy rivers…
There are also two “lazy” rivers. The TeAwa The Fearless River is NOT a lazy river. It says you need to be fearless for a reason. This river gets CRAZY! This one has big gusts of waves that come out randomly and I ended up scraping my leg against the side of the wall. It didn’t seriously injure me, but be careful with little ones in this river!!
The other river is the Kopiko Wai Winding River which is a true lazy river. My mother in law and my sister in law (who suffers from motion sickness) liked this river better. Keep that in mind!!
Places to Grab a Bite to Eat
Kohola Reef Restaurant & Social Club – This is the only location that is open for breakfast (as well as lunch and dinner). We didn’t get to eat breakfast here, but it was good to know! If you are there for early hours you might not want to wait until lunch to eat. We got the longboard pizza here and it was really delicious!
Whakawaiwai Eats – This location has longboard pizza, hot dogs, mac & cheese, etc. I liked that they had grab and go items. I tried the Island Chicken Salad since I wasn’t feeling like having something heavy that day. It was refreshing, but also filling! The Feasting Frog – This location has tacos and nachos that are DELICIOUS! Even though I really am NOT a fan of frogs, this was probably my favorite food location! We got the tacos and nachos to share between the three of us and it was perfect!
Tapu Tapu was confusing at first.
When we went to Volcano Bay we were a little confused about Tapu Tapu. The commercials made it sound like you tapped your Tapu Tapu and came back when it told you to and got right on the ride. That’s not necessarily how it works! It is NOT fast pass! When you arrive at Volcano Bay you are given your wrist band and this is how you make your Tapu Tapu reservations. You are free to ride anything that says “ride now”, but you can’t ride on any rides that have a posted wait time UNLESS you reserve it with your wrist band. Tap the kiosk outside of the ride to get your place in line. You are then free to go ride other “ride now” attractions, go in the lazy rivers, or go into the wave pools while you wait.
This is also a great time to go grab a bite to eat! Your wrist band will notify you when you can go back to the ride. However, you may still have some waiting to do. The one ride we went back to we still had to wait 20 minutes because everyone came back at the same time. The other ride we only had to wait 5-10 minutes. I’m sure there is a trick to this, but we didn’t figure it out! Honestly, I’m not a fan of the Tapu Tapu!
THE BEST LOCKERS IN THE PARK!
When you get into the park there will be lockers immediately to your left on your way into the park. Keep walking! The best lockers are farther down in the Rainforest Village area! These lockers are more central to everything and easier to go back to if you need to grab something while you are in the park. There are three different sizes (and prices)… small ($8), medium ($12), and large ($15).
Overall thoughts on Volcano Bay…
Volcano Bay is Lau Family Travels top pick for water parks! We have been to both Disney water parks and we still stand firm that Volcano Bay is our favorite one so far. They have their downsides (confusing layout and Tapu Tapu disappointments), but overall the attractions, theme, and food make it all worth it! There is just SO much to choose from at Volcano Bay! We can’t wait to go back!
If you are thinking about booking a trip to Universal you might want to check out my resort reviews!
- Cabana Bay Beach Resort – Volcano View Room
- Sapphire Falls – Our Favorite Universal Orlando Resort
- Royal Pacific Review
- Portofino Bay Review
- Despicable Me Kids’ Suite at Loews Portofino Bay