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Ultimate Guide to Volcano Bay at Universal Orlando Resort

Picture This: You’re driving down the interstate. The construction is never-ending and the traffic is forever-maddening. You’ve got 6-37 different obligations in your life that demand your attention every day and between the podcast you’re trying to focus on, the meals you’re preparing for your family in your head, and the story your daughter is telling you from the backseat — you’ve got a lot going on.

And then, like a beacon of hope, you see it. A volcano appears before you and suddenly all you can think about is relaxing on the beach with a tropical beverage in your hand, planning which raft ride you’ll adventure on next… 

I’m here to tell you this dream can be your reality at Universal’s water theme park, Volcano Bay, which is reopening February 27th!

The beauty of a visit to Volcano Bay is that you really shouldn’t feel the need to plan TOO much. This is your chance to sit back and relax as the island vibes whisk your worries away. So, consider this less a guide to planning and more a good friend taking you by the metaphorical hand and guiding you through Volcano Bay with my tried-and-true tips and recommendations.

WHERE TO STAY  |  BEFORE YOU ARRIVE  |  WHAT TO DO  |  FOOD AND DRINK  |  SHOPPING  |  HIDDEN GEMS

WHERE TO STAY

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If you are planning to include Volcano Bay in your vacation to Universal Orlando Resort, I cannot recommend enough staying at one of Universal’s hotels. You’ve got so many incredible options to choose from (and whichever you go with you’ll be avoiding sand getting in your car, which is the real dream here). Here are my thoughts to help you narrow it down a little…

  • Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort | Staying at Cabana Bay is the number one best piece of advice I can give you for a visit to Volcano Bay. First off, Cabana Bay and Volcano Bay are incredibly close to each other — you can even  book a standard room or family suite with a view of Volcano Bay. When you’re ready to get up and get going, you have access to a scenic walking-path that will lead you right from Cabana Bay to the park. Plus, your whole experience at Cabana Bay will transport you to a 1950’s beachside resort with Volcano Bay in your backyard!
  • Universal’s Aventura Hotel or Loews Sapphire Falls Resort | Both Universal’s Aventura Hotel and Loews Sapphire Falls Resort are also super close to Volcano Bay (you can even catch the volcano light up and erupt at night from Aventura’s rooftop bar, Bar 17 Bistro). They also have access to the walking path that leads right into Volcano Bay. EDITOR’S NOTE: These hotels are temporarily suspending operations. However, Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort and Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn & Suites are currently open. Details for our other hotels will be announced at a later time.

Another perk of staying at a Universal hotel is Early Park Admission into Volcano Bay, which will give you all the freedom in the world to pick the perfect beach chair, grab breakfast at Kohola Reef Restaurant & Social Club and relax, or get first dibs on your favorite ride before everyone else.

BEFORE YOU ARRIVE…

TapuTapu

TapuTapu

TapuTapu has totally changed the game of water theme park experiences! You’ll be given a wearable to use for the day upon arrival at Volcano Bay and can use it to make cashless purchases with TapTu Pay and for fun interactive experiences throughout the park.

The main way you’ll use your TapuTapu, though, is for the virtual line experience for the rides. Just head to the attraction you’re interested in, tap your TapuTapu, explore other areas of the park while you wait, and then your TapuTapu will vibrate to let you know when it’s time to return and ride.

Head here for more in-depth details on TapuTapu before you arrive.

Lockers

There are multiple sizes of lockers available for rent in five different locations throughout Volcano Bay. Each one has a kiosk that will walk you through how to pay for your locker and get it synced up with your TapuTapu for ease throughout the day. There are also private lockers when you book a private cabana or premium seating option.

Upgrades

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Securing either a private cabana or premium seating is well worth it when I think of all the perks that come along with them. I can honestly tell you that every time I visit Volcano Bay for the day, I go ahead and get premium seating — I love the ease it adds with the locker and the food attendant. 13/10 recommend.

Learn more and call ahead to add one to your visit.

Map

Keep an eye out around the park for maps of Volcano Bay and be sure to check your Official Universal Orlando Resort app for the map as well. You can even go ahead and peruse it some before you arrive, too. Volcano Bay is split into three different villages — Wave Village (where you enter into), Rainforest Village (near the back of the park), and River Village (to the right of the volcano). Plus there is the Volcano itself which has its own attractions! Each village has everything you’ll need — lockers, restrooms, beach chairs, restaurants, sunshine, etc.

Transportation

The best option if you’re looking for quick transportation to Volcano Bay is staying at Cabana Bay, Sapphire Falls, or Aventura Hotel (helloooo walking path). There are also shuttles to Volcano Bay from the other Universal Orlando hotel properties. One of my favorite things about Universal Orlando Resort is how close everything is, so when we talk about shuttle rides, those shuttle rides are quick and easy.

If you are not staying at a Universal hotel, just drive yourself to the usual Universal Orlando parking garages and follow the signage for Volcano Bay parking. From there, you’ll be led to a quick shuttle to Volcano Bay.

TIP: Stay at a Universal hotel! Not only will you get Early Park Admission to Volcano Bay, but you’ll end up saving time and money by taking a shuttle to Volcano Bay rather than parking in the garage.

What to Bring

I definitely recommend bringing a towel (there are some available to rent, but for ease I’d say bring your own), wearing a swimsuit with some sort of cover-up, and wearing shoes that can get wet. Other than that, I’d say travel light with the same necessities you’d pack for a day at the beach — refillable water-bottle, sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, etc. Just remember whatever you bring needs to easily fit into a locker or be left behind at your beach chair when you ride the rides.

And don’t forget your face-covering!

Read more here for our tips when you’re packing for a Universal Orlando Resort vacation.

Backstory

Read the backstory of Volcano Bay to fully appreciate your experience while in the park!

Coloring pages

Ask and you shall receive. Here are some fun Volcano bay coloring pages you can have the kids do in preparation of your visit!

Read through this know-before-you-go blog for the top 10 insider tips to Volcano Bay.

WHAT TO DO

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There is a lot to see and do at Volcano Bay — it’s an incredibly cool and immersive experience that provides the perfect blend of thrill and chill. I say you explore some and plan to take on all Volcano Bay has to offer!

Attractions

Honu ika Moana
Location: River Village

Honu of the Honu Ika Moana

Looking to ease into your day with a nice raft ride with your group? Jump in the Virtual Line Experience for the green slide and you’re all set. Itching for a bit more thrill? Go for the blue and enjoy the long, twisting, multi-passenger raft ride that is not at all for the faint-of heart. This option is more intense than its counterpart ika Moana, but I honestly suggest trying both! It’s good to know your threshold.

Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides
Location: Rainforest Village

Kala and Tai Nui

Climb to the top of the volcano and enter one of two clear tubes with a drop door to be plummeted down into the water below. These slides intertwined, twist, turn, and delightfully thrill. And if you’re ready to up your game and find even more thrill…

Ko’okiri Body Plunge 
Location: Wave Village

BodyPlunge

You’re in luck. In my opinion, this is the thrilliest ride in the park. It’s kind of like the body slides (climb to the top of a volcano, get into a clear tube, wait for the bottom to fall out), but about 100,000 times more terrifying. Those few seconds that you’re in the enclosure waiting for the door to open? Make your peace with Vol (the volcano spirit) then ‘cause this ride is NO joke.

Kopiko Wai Winding River
Location: River Village

windingriver

A winding river is a staple in any good water park. But at Volcano Bay, the art of the winding river is perfected as Kopiko Wai takes you through a volcano during a relaxing float through the park.

Ohno & Ohyah of the Ohyah and Ohno Drop Slides 
Location: Rainforest Village

drop slide

Slide for 20 or so seconds and then JUST LIKE THAT you’re flying through the air four to six feet above a pool of water. Definitely recommend conquering Ohyah and then leveling up to Ohno. You got this.

Krakatau Aqua Coaster 
Location: River Village

Krakatau

This coaster is a feat of technology, in my opinion. It’s powered by magnets and is a unique water coaster that you’ll scream, laugh, and get wet on. Ride it once for the initial marvel of it all (a water ride that goes down AND up??) and then again to try and figure out how it all works (but HOW?!). And then again and again and again ‘cause it’s just incredibly fun!

Tonga and Raki of Taniwha Tubes
Location: Rainforest Village

taniwha

Part tube ride, part an opportunity for mischievous tiki statues to splash you with jets of water, this attraction has several different slide and tube options for you to try out. And all of them are a twisty good time.

TeAwa The Fearless River 
Location: Rainforest Village

This is not your grandma’s lazy river. It’s fast, it’s got a few surprises, and it is overall a silly good time. Throw on a life jacket and let the choppy waves and churning rapids take you on a ride!

Maku and Puihi of Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides
Location: Rainforest Village

roundraft

I know it’s not good to play favorites, but the Maku and Puihi Round Raft Rides are tied for first for me. No spoilers, but I love the eruptive way that Maku ends and the weightless moment Puihi delivers. Just don’t ask me to pick a favorite between the two.

Punga Racers
Location: Rainforest Village

For anyone visiting Volcano Bay with siblings, Punga Racers is a MUST. This body slide will pin you against your fellow riders and give the winner bragging rights for the rest of the day.

If you already know you’re looking to hit all the thrill rides, we’ve compiled them here for you.

Pool Experiences

Waturi Beach
Location: Wave Village

VB Splash

Waturi Beach is pretty hard to miss — just head to the base of Krakatau (the volcano)! Wade into the wave pool for a dip or just enjoy the view with your toes in the sand.

Puka Uli Lagoon
Location: Rainforest Village

I love thrill rides and body slides as much as anyone, but sometimes it’s nice to just take it easy in a leisure pool. Puka Uli Lagoon gives you exactly that opportunity — and with some fun bongo drums to play, too.

The Reef
Location: Wave Village

Another leisure pool like Puka Uli Lagoon, only this one comes with its own private waterfall and the benefit to beat all benefits: From The Reef you get a front-row seat to the riders braving the Ko’okiri Body Plunge.

For the Little Ones

Runamukka Reef

Runamukka Reef
Location: River Village

If you’re visiting Volcano Bay with kiddos, take them by Runamukka Reef to explore this children’s play area! Plenty of water slides and water-spraying sea creatures for them to enjoy.

Tot Tiki Reef
Location: River Village

Tot Tiki is also a children’s play area, though it is more geared toward toddler-aged children. Plus there’s a mini-volcano and a mini-anything is worth seeing!

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Whenever you need more tips on visiting Universal Orlando Resort with young children, check out our Guide for Infants blog and Things to do With Your Kids at Universal blog.

FOOD AND DRINK

Kohola Reef Restaurant & Social Club
Location: Wave Village

mahi sandwich

Island food is my kind of food and if there’s a chance to eat coconut-encrusted anything at the foot of a volcano, I’m in. This is an airy, beach location that you can grab a bite from or if you have a private cabana or premium seating, sit back and order your tropical favorites right to you.

FAVORITES: I’m a big fan of the Coconut Curry Chicken (I’m also a sucker for sweet plantains on the side of anything) or the Jerked Mahi Sandwich.

Whakawaiwai Eats 
Location: River Village

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A perfect spot for the combination of island-atmosphere and pizza-eating. There are also plenty of healthy options here if you’re suddenly remembering you need to be in a swimsuit for the rest of the day! 

FAVORITES: Island BBQ Chicken Pizza is a top choice if you’re in the mood for pizza (it’s one of my favorite pizzas at Universal Orlando Resort!). But I’m also a sucker for a well-crafted Caesar Salad and the one at Whakawaiwai is great!

Bambu
Location: Rainforest Village

quina burger

Swing by Bambu for plenty of yummy burger, sandwich, and salad options.

FAVORITES: The Quinoa Edamame Burger is easily one of the best burgers I’ve ever had — including meat options. It is seriously delicious and typing this right now is making me crave it. Grab a Chocolate Pineapple Upside Down Cake to complete the meal.

The Feasting Frog
Location: Rainforest Village

pokebowl

I mean where else are you going to find an eatery shaped like a frog? Another great food spot and this one has TACOS.

FAVORITES: Hard for me to choose between the Chicken Tacos and the Poke Poke Bowl, so how about I order one, you order the other, and we can split?

Koka Poroka Ice Cream Kona
Location: Wave Village

Ice Cream

What’s a water theme park day without ice cream? I don’t even want to know. I just so happen to think ice cream tastes best after a warm day splashing around and soaking up the sun. And the ice cream at Koka Poroka is proving my point with its deliciousness.

FAVORITES: I mean, I gotta go with Waturi Fusion — a combination of banana, blue raspberry, orange, and strawberry. Bonus, it looks beautiful in pictures if you can wait long enough before taking a bite!

Kunuku and Dancing Dragons Boat Bars
Location: Rainforest Village (Kunuku) and Wave Village (Dancing Dragons)

Your relaxing island day wouldn’t be complete without a stop by one of Volcano Bay’s Boat Bars!

FAVORITES: I am usually wary of any specialty drinks that are fancier than vodka, ice, and a lime. But the ones at Volcano Bay are so ridiculously good that I always go for it. My favorites are the Strawberry Ginger Lift, the Haku-Puini, and the fan-favorite, Vol’s Fire Punch. 

Looking for more food and beverage details at Volcano Bay? Check out this foodie’s guide.

SHOPPING

Krakatoa Katy’s & Waturi Marketplace
Location: Wave Village

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Whether you forgot to pack a beach necessity like sunglasses or sunscreen, or you’re in the market for some Volcano Bay souvenirs, check out the two merchandise locations in Volcano Bay. Waturi Marketplace is practically a boutique for women with some of their stylish options, and a great spot for beach apparel for the kids.

HIDDEN GEMS

Waterfall Cove

If you can find this spot within the volcano, you will feel like you’ve stumbled on your own private oasis. We won’t tell anyone if you won’t.

Vol, The Spirit of Krakatau
Wander into the volcano itself to speak to Vol. Trust me, you’ve never experienced this kind of interactive magic at a water park.

TapTu Play
Keep an eye out for spots throughout the park where you can use your TapuTapu to splash other guests!

Selfie Stations
There are also plenty of spots where you can tap your TapuTapu, snap a pose, and get a unique shot of you in picturesque locations throughout Volcano Bay.

OK, now that you know everything Volcano Bay has to offer, what are you most excited to try? Or if you’re a Volcano Bay pro already, let me know in the comments below your own tips and tricks!

The post Ultimate Guide to Volcano Bay at Universal Orlando Resort appeared first on Discover Universal.

Ultimate Guide to Volcano Bay at Universal Orlando Resort was originally published on February 24, 2021 at 09:30AM by Katie Schmidt from Universal Orlando Blog. Far Beyond Infinity Travel Blog takes no responsibility for errors in syndicated content.

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