Tips for Visiting Universal’s Volcano Bay


Volcano Bay is a tropical-themed water park at Universal Orlando Resort. If you plan a trip to Universal Florida, you must include a ticket to Volcano Bay. Before you visit Volcano Bay, take the time to plan your day. These are my tips for visiting Universal’s Volcano Bay to help you have the best day ever.

Pro Planning Tip: We recommend using Jessica Lieb with ET Family Travel to book your Universal vacation!

About Volcano Bay

Volcano Bay opened in May 2017, replacing the Universal-owned Wet-n-Wild water park. As the legend goes, Volcano Bay is home to the Waturi people. The Waturi people traveled across the ocean in pursuit of a new home. Kunuku, a mythical fish, was supposed to guide them. Their journey to find Kunuku led them to remote islands of the South Pacific. Finally, they came to the very edge of the world, and it was there that they found Kunuku playing on the shores of Volcano Bay. The Waturi knew that they had found a home.

When you visit Volcano Bay, you will be treated as part of the Waturi family. The islanders have never forgotten the kindness they encountered on their voyages across the Pacific. They convey the same goodwill to all guests visiting Volcano Bay.

Tips for Visiting Volcano Bay

Get to the Park Early

If you stay at one of the Universal Orlando Resort hotels or book tickets through Jessica Lieb an ET Family Travel agent, you will get early park entry. Early park entry allows resort guests entry to Volcano Bay an hour before the park’s official opening. You’ll want to get in line early to secure a seat. Also, Volcano Bay stops admitting guests when the park is at capacity, often during the hot summer months.

If the park fills to capacity, you may be denied entry, even if you have a valid ticket. Additionally, if you leave the park on a busy day, you may not be allowed to re-enter if the park is at capacity.

Get to Know Tapu Tapu

Tapu Tapu is a wearable wristband all visitors to Volcano Bay receive upon entrance. You can connect your Tapu Tapu to your credit card to purchase things inside the park. However, the primary purpose of Tapu Tapu is to eliminate the need to stand in line for the attractions by allowing you to select what you want to ride next and putting you in a virtual line.

At the entrance of each ride, you will find a Tapu Tapu symbol attached to a post. This symbol will tell you the current wait time for that ride. If you wish to enter the virtual line, place your Tapu Tapu against the icon. This will reserve your place in line, and your wearable will display how long you have to wait. You will receive reminders of your ride time every five minutes. When your turn comes, you will receive a notification saying, “Ride Now.” You have one hour from this notification to check in at the ride. Once you check in, you may need to wait in another line, but it will typically not be long.

While waiting for your virtual queue, enjoy one of the pools, the Kopiko Wai Winding Lazy River, or TeAwa, the Fearless River. You can also ride any ride that has a posted time of “ride now.” You cannot be in more than one virtual line, but if you change your mind, you can use your Tapu Tapu to get out of one line and join another.

If your Tapu Tapu falls off while in the park, head to one of the concierge huts with your park ticket, and they’ll replace it. 

You can also use your Tapu Tapu to activate special features throughout the park. If you see the Tapu Tapu symbol anywhere in the park, tap and see what happens. 

Set Up Cashless Payment

Setting up cashless payments will make your day at Volcano Bay more enjoyable. It’s simple: download the Universal Orlando App and connect your credit card. Your Tapu Tapu wearable wristband will be linked to your Universal Orlando app allowing you to pay for food and drinks, merchandise, locker and towel rental, and more.  

Reserve Premium Seating or a Cabana

Volcano Bay has plenty of seating, but much of it is in the full sun. If you want to sit in the shade and have a safe for your valuables, you should reserve premium seating. You can also rent a cabana for your group. A single cabana accommodates 6 people, and a family suite holds up to 16 people. Each cabana has padded lounge chairs, a refrigerator stocked with bottled water, a complimentary snack basket, a towel service, and a locker. You will also have concierge service with an exclusive food and drink menu delivered directly to the cabana.

Premium seating and cabana rentals should be made well in advance as they often sell out. We recommend booking at least two weeks in advance.

Get Your Seats and Lockers Early

If you didn’t book premium seating, you should get your seats and lockers as soon as you enter the venue. The shaded seats and larger lockers are in high demand, so it’s important to prioritize getting a spot to sit and store your belongings. Although it can be tempting to admire the stunning scenery, there will be plenty of time for that later.

Know the Height Requirements

You can view the height requirements for all the slides and attractions in the Universal Orlando app. The app is straightforward to navigate. Most of the slides have a 42-inch to 48-inch height requirement scale. Kids at least 42 inches tall can ride many slides and attractions, such as the Krakatau Water Coaster, TeAwa the Fearless River, Hona ika Moana, and more. Kids who are 48 inches or more can ride most of the attractions at Volcano Bay. Some attractions, such as the Fearless River and the wave pool, require kids under 48 inches to wear a life jacket.

View Food Menus Ahead of Your Visit

Volcano Bay offers a wide variety of food and drinks for its visitors. You can find information regarding the food and drink options available at Volcano Bay online or in the app. Six different dining locations within the park offer a good mix of exciting food options and traditional fare you would expect to see in a water park. If you wish to bring your own food and drinks to Volcano Bay, check out the Universal Policies for guidelines on what you can and cannot bring into the Universal Orlando Resort parks.

Make a Plan

Plan your day around which rides are a high priority for your group. Wait times are the shortest first thing in the morning. Based on wait times, Krakatau Water Coaster is the most popular and in demand, so consider riding that one first. Before tapping into a ride with a long wait, check out the wait times for the other rides. You may be able to ride multiple rides with shorter waits.

Bring Towels

Volcano Bay does not provide towels for guests. They have a towel service at Volcano Bay, which is $5.00. Towels are available at the concierge huts. You cannot bring towels from your resort hotel room to Volcano Bay.

Other Volcano Bay tips:

  • Water shoes are not allowed on all the water rides, but there are places to stow your shoes while on a ride.
  • Constant streams of water flow onto the pavement via jets alongside the walkways. This keeps the common walking areas nice and cool.
  • There is sand at Volcano Bay, which many kids love to play with but can get messy. Thankfully, there are ample showers available to rinse off the sand.
  • You won’t see anyone schlepping their tubes or rafts around Volcano Bay. The park employs the very latest technology. All the tubes and rafts are sent back to the top of the slide/ride via electronic means.
  • Don’t leave the park if it starts to rain. Wait it out and enjoy your day; this often means shorter lines. It rains almost every afternoon in Florida; unless there is lightning, the park will stay open.

Height Requirements for Volcano Bay

Rides for Guests at 42 inches

  • ika Moana of Honu ika Moana
  • Krakatau™ Aqua Coaster
  • Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides
  • Punga Racers
  • Taniwha Tubes
  • TeAwa The Fearless River

Rides for Guests at 48 inches

  • Honu of Honu ika Moana
  • Kala and Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides
  • Ko’okiri Body Plunge
  • Ohyah and Ohno Drop Slides
tips for visiting volcano bay

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