Volcano Bay, Orlando

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Volcano Bay, Orlando

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Review of "Volcano Bay, Orlando"

published 20/12/2017 | Secre
Member since : 23/04/2003
Reviews : 574
Members who trust : 240
About me :
Journalling more for myself than anything else now, so I don't expect reads or rates!
Pro Picturesque
Cons Cold, not a vast amount there, ignorant lifeguards, painful 'sand'
Is it worth visiting?
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Family Friendly

"First and Last Time at a Water Park"

Volcano Bay, Orlando

Volcano Bay, Orlando

Volcano Bay is the third park within the Universal Orlando Resort and is a themed water park, themed around a 200 foot tall man-made volcano named Kakatau. It is the most recently opened of the three parks, only opening on 25th May 2017, and can be seen from far and wide as the volcano certainly stands out. This is the first, and I have to admit probably the last, water park we have been to and out of all the parks, is the only one we did not make a return visit to.

What’s On Offer

This is the area located inside the parks signature volcano, and I have to admit, is really aimed at people who are less wimpish than us! We did do some of the rides, but just about anything that had the word ‘plunge’ in it was avoided like the plague. Krakatau Aqua Coaster is quite a cool water coaster which features linear induction motors and has you going all the way through the volcano. This is an interesting little ride, particularly as I have never done a water coaster before, but once the novelty value has been taken advantage of, that’s about it. The Punga Racers are a racing slide that uses mats and sends you down head first. We did both of these, but chickened out of the next two.

You then have the Kala and Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides which are a pair of body slides with lots of twists and turns and a 125ft drop capsule that really didn’t appeal to me. Then finally the Ko’okiri Body Plunge is the signature ride that is a near vertical 125 foot drop slide; it is the tallest drop slide in the world and I had no intention of going anywhere near it.

River Village
Kopiko Wai Winding River is a gentle lazy river that takes you through a series of caves and other effects throughout; there’s no speed to this and you can either take one of the round floatation devices or float along on your own. Honu and Ika Moana are entertaining multi-passenger rafts which I really enjoyed but my husband hated. Then Runamukka Reef is a water fortress with small slides and Tot Tiki Reef is a play area for the small ‘uns.

Rainforest Forest
Maku and Puihi are another two multi-passenger slide which once again, really didn’t go down well with my husband. Taniwha Tubes are raft slides that are quite cool, the Ohayah and Ohno Drop Slides had that magical word, drop, in them again and made me nervous, but the drop is very small in them so we did muster up the courage. Finally there is apparently a raft ride simulating white water ride which we’d have loved to go on, but couldn’t locate called TeAwa The Fearless River. Honestly, we walked around several times and struggled to keep our bearings… we certainly never located the Fearless River or indeed the Puka Uli Lagoon which is a pool intended for relaxation.

Wave Village
This is in the centre of the park and has a large beach area designed for sunbathing with loads of beds across it and then two wave pools; Waturi Beach and The Reef. The Reef is the calmer pool and we found out to our peril that the saves on Waturi Beach can get seriously heavy. I consider myself a reasonably strong swimmer and when I first went out, the waves were fairly minor. By the time I reached the deeper sections, the waves were over my head and I was in significant difficulty. The lifeguard was bloody useless, yelling at me to get into the shallows and out of the waves but not actually doing anything to control the wave machine. I was using all my energy to keep my head above water, let alone actually getting out of the deep water. My husband was the one who towed me out in the end, but he admitted that he was struggling and he’s significantly larger than me.

Food and Drink

Very poor. This backs onto the Cabana Bay hotel and I would strongly advise eating there if you get hungry; it’s a five minute walk and the food is actually tasty. The food here was barely edible and it’s a good job I gave churro’s another chance as otherwise I would likely have assumed that I just didn’t like them.
Thoughts and Musings

Firstly, having paid for your ticket to begin with, you also need to pay for a locker. This is a pile of absolute money spinning insanity; you are going to need a locker even if it’s only to lock away your money or dry clothes as you can’t keep an eye on them in the water. The least Universal could do is ensure these are free for guests. Poor showing.

Secondly, it felt really very, very cold which I think is due to poor placement of the park. This was the only park in our entire stay where staff members were in jumpers and jackets…and this is the park that has you wandering around in skimpy swimming gear. The winds were biting and I was certainly very miserable in between rides. There’s a reason water parks don’t work in the UK; temperature. If you’re in Orlando and everywhere is boiling, it surely takes significant incompetence to manage to get a brisk wind chill!

On a related note, i.e. incompetence, the sand that they use on the park and beach areas is exceptionally rough to the point of being actively painful. I’ve walked on beaches in bare feet with no issues whatsoever, but within a fairly short period of time here, both me and the husband were limping. You have no alternative as even the concrete area have a fine covering of this unbelievably abrasive material, either from everyone walking across, or deliberately.

This was by far our least favourite park in the entire holiday and was the only park we spent less than three hours or so in before giving up and going back to our hotel pool. The rides didn’t do a lot for me; whilst some of them were cool, nearly all relied on the novelty value and therefore had no point in going on more than once. Perhaps if you’re less of a wimp and are willing to try the big drop rides you may enjoy this more, but they made me too anxious for me to be risking. There’s a difference between a drop on a roller coaster that has you buckled, and a drop that expects you to be able to swim at the end of it.

It’s worth noting that this was also the most deserted of all the parks by a long way, despite us going at the weekend which is when the other Universal parks were at their most busy. There’s a deep bell that tolls every time that someone does the giant drop, but even on the one day we spent the entire day lounging by our own pool, we only heard it go a handful of times, so we are certainly not the only wimps out there.

I do think that this could have been better if it included more for the less extreme thrill seeker and was easier to navigate as it all looked the damn same. We kept finding ourselves turned around and it’s really poorly sign posted throughout which really didn’t help. We even tried following signs to the Fearless River and instead ended up at the Winding River which is in a different section of the park and says just how flummoxed the layout left us.

Prices depend very much on how many days you are going for and who you book with. Universal themselves only seem to offer up to five day tickets and they want £210 ($280) for the privilege. We booked through British Airways and got a fourteen day ticket for £250 ($327) so you can do your own maths on that one! It’s certainly worth checking around for the deals! You can buy individual park tickets but I would strongly recommend not doing this.
Do We Recommend?

If it comes with your ticket then you might as well show up to see if it is your cuppa tea. It certainly wasn’t ours and it also ensured that we had no interest in going to the Disney water park as it was significantly further out of our way and we didn’t want the trek home whilst wet and miserable. Certainly don’t base your entire holiday around it as you may well be disappointed.

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Comments on this review

  • Soho_Black published 08/01/2018
    Sounds like a huge waste of money, especially at Universal's prices!
  • 2mennycds published 21/12/2017
    I share your reservations about water rides with the word "drop" in them! Wonder where that sand came from - sounds like a sandblaster's dream product! Great read!
  • RICHADA published 21/12/2017
    Mine neither! Sounds as though, being so recently opened. they have a lot to learn - the ordeal with the wave machine sounds terrifying - but as I could never swim anyway I guess I wouldn't be going there anyway! R.
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Product Information : Volcano Bay, Orlando

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Listed on Ciao since: 09/11/2017