Universal’s Volcano Bay is an immersive water park experience that allows guests to enter a tropical paradise in the middle of Orlando, Florida. These Volcano Bay tips will help you make the most of your day at the Orlando water park.
Universal’s Volcano Bay is one of three theme parks at the Universal Orlando Resort. The other two parks are Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Volcano Bay is the only water park at Universal.
We were really impressed with the immersive feeling of Volcano Bay and the theme of a tropical oasis.
We suggest purchasing tickets before you arrive. If you are planning on visiting all three theme parks it is best to purchase a ticket package to save money or your trip.
Universal’s Volcano Bay Tips
1. Learn how to use Tapu-Tapu at Volcano Bay
Tapu-Tapu is a wristband guests wear during their visit to Volcano Bay water park. They are included with your admission and are given to you as you enter the park. At the end of the day you will return your band.
Before you arrive at the park create a Universal Orlando account, download the app, connect your tickets, and link a credit card. This will be connected to your Tapu-Tapu wristband.
Tapu-Tapu allows you to purchase food, reserve your spot in line, and rent towels. All purchases inside Universal’s Volcano Bay can be made using your Tapu-Tapu.
This means you can leave your wallet behind or in a locker. If you plan to order alcoholic beverages you will need your id.
You will scan Tapu-Tapu at an attraction and it will give you a return time. If it says “ride now” that means the wait time is short and you do not need to scan, you can go and ride.
Our return time on a recent visit was 75 minutes. That gave us time to explore other areas of the park and then return when our Tapu-Tapu told us to. The screen on the wristband will let you know when it is time to return.
There are places throughout the park that are interactive areas. You scan your Tapu-Tapu and it will light things up or squirt water at guests.
These are in different spots through Volcano Bay water park.
At Volcano Bay you can also use Tapu-Tapu to take photos through the park. We found a couple of the photo spots sprinkled through the park. Look for the Tapu-Tapu symbol and scan your band!
2. Research the Best Attraction at Volcano Bay
The most popular attraction is the Krakatau Aqua Coaster. Guests must be 42 inches to ride this water coaster. Krakatau typically has the longest wait times.
Once you arrive at the line you will scan your Tapu-Tapu and it will give you a return time.
During your ride wait time you can explore other areas of the Orlando water park or enjoy relaxing on Waturi Beach.
They have an amazing kids splash area Runamukka Reef that my kids loved. The height is children under 54 inches so unfortunately my daughter couldn’t go in.
We found other attractions to enjoy like the TeAwa the Fearless River. This was our favorite attraction but it is not for really little ones or people that are not strong swimmers.
Basically you are in a lazy river that is more rapids than lazy. All guests must wear a life vest, including adults, and you will be happy you did.
All of the slides were really fun and I liked that a lot of them could accommodate all 5 of us on one raft. Honu of the Honu ika Moana was one ride that we could all enjoy together.
3. Have Your Tickets Ready
Purchase your tickets online before you arrive. After you do this download the Universal App and link your tickets.
Once you do this you want to link a credit card to your account. This will allow you to make purchases inside the park using your Tapu-Tapu.
4. Pack Smart for Your Day
Only pack what you absolutely need to bring with you into the park. You will need to store your belongings in a locker or have someone sit with your things while you explore the park.
We didn’t want to split up so we put our essentials, sunscreen, etc in a small locker. I carried my phone in a waterproof case around my neck and didn’t have an issue on the attractions.
Some attractions will not let you do this so be sure to check before you wait in line.
5. Wear Smart Shoes
Wear water shoes or sandals to walk around the park. There are shoe canopies outside attractions and we left our shoes while we went on the rides.
The ground gets hot and they do a good job of spraying it to keep it cool but it was nice to have our shoes to walk around.
6. Understand the Park Layout
Review the map before you arrive to decide what attractions you want to do. I always like to visit a theme park prepared and our visit to Universal’s Volcano Bay was no different.
Do a bit of research the night before to learn more about the rides and attractions you and your family want to experience.
7. Know the Height Requirements
Also check the height requirements of the attractions to see what everyone in your family can ride.
We always do this before our visit to make sure there is something for everyone to do and no one is disappointed if they can’t ride something. Everyone knows what to expect.
8. Remember Your Towels
Towels are not provided. Your option is to rent a towel or bring your own. This is important to consider if you are traveling.
We did not pack towels but didn’t really need them. If you are planning on finding chairs for the day you may want towels. We only had a few hours at the park and decided to use a locker for extra belongings.
9. Eat at the Park but Do Your Research
Volcano Bay has a lot of great food options but do your research before you arrive. We didn’t know where or what we wanted to eat and it caused us to walk a lot more around the park.
Have a plan for where you want to eat and where you will be in the park. This will save a lot of aggravation.
A few places you may want to consider are Bambu, The Feasting Frog, and Kohola Reef Restaurant.
10. Don’t Rush Your Visit at Volcano Bay
Allow time to explore the park. There is a great walk through area that goes through the Volcano and has special Tapu-Tapu interactive spots.
Volcano Bay is an all day park if you plan to do all the slides and explore all the areas. Plan a full day and have lunch at the park.
My biggest regret is we didn’t get to do this. Volcano Bay can be a full day park if you want to explore all the amazing details. Next time I would plan on staying for the entire day and give us time to enjoy it.
11. Parking at Volcano Bay
Parking is not available at Volcano Bay. If you are an on-site hotel guest at Universal there is a bus that will provide transportation to and from Volcano Bay.
If you are an off-site guest or a local resident you will park in the main parking lot and take a bus to Volcano Bay.
If you are staying at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort you can walk to Volcano Bay.
12. Consider Getting Express Pass for Volcano Bay
Volcano Bay offers express pass for a number of the most popular attractions at the park. This is an add-on to your admission ticket and allows guests to skip the regular line for a shorter wait time.
There are 12 attractions that accept express pass at Universal. They are:
- Honu of Honu ika Moana
- ika Moana of Honu ika Moana
- Kala & TaiNui Serpentine Body Slides
- Ko’okiri Body Plunge
- Krakatau Aqua Coaster
- Maku of Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides
- Ohno of the Ohyah and Ohno Drop Slides
- Ohyah of the Ohno and Ohyah Drop Slides
- Puihi of Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides
- Punga Racer
- Raki of Taniwha Tubes
- Tonga of Taniwha Tubes
The cost of express pass starts at $19.99 per person per day. On very busy days it might be worth it to skip the lines.
13. Arrive Early
I recommend this for every theme park and Volcano Bay is no different. If you want to wait in less lines and have a more successful day it is worth arriving early for your visit.
Typically 30 minutes before park opening time.
14. Rent a Cabana Before You Arrive at the Park
If you would like to rent a cabana for your visit to Volcano Bay you can reserve it before you arrive. I suggest doing this during the planning process when you are at home. Learn more here.
I hope these Volcano Bay tips help you plan your day. Volcano Bay is not your average water park. It is a fully themed oasis and is best enjoyed by taking your time to relax and experience it all.
Leah has been traveling with her family of 5 since 2012 and sharing her expertise on planning family vacations and visiting theme parks since 2016. Leah has been featured in Visit Rochester, Undercover Tourist, and Home Publications. She has worked with brands like Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, Hersheypark, Toyota, and various Tourism boards and destinations. Leah creates family travel itineraries based on real trip experiences with her family. Her guides and tips help others plan great family vacations. Learn more about Leah and Five for the Road.