Universal Orlando Resort Volcano Bay: A Tropical Oasis with Thrills and Chills
By Lauren Tjaden
Dominated by a towering volcano resplendent with waterfalls, Universal Orlando Resort Volcano Bay invites you into a tropical, watery theme park that offers epic thrills as well as chilled-out relaxation.
You can splash into high adventure with mind-bending rides like the Ko’okiri Body Plunge, where you’ll plummet through a drop door for a staggering fall through 125 feet of white-water; go with the flow on a tranquil float down Kopiko Wai Winding River; or soak up some rays with your toes in the sand amid a lush paradise at picturesque Waturi Beach.
Here's where to discover everything you need to know about Volcano Bay’s pools, rides and slides, as well as dining, shopping, special features and tips to help you plan your trip...
Volcano Bay Rides
With hang-on-to-your-swimsuit free falls and yell-out loud slides to peaceful floating trips and kids’ play areas, Volcano Bay delivers opportunities for everyone in your posse to wade, splatter and spray into Florida fun. Check out some favorites.
When Volcano Bay says the Krakatau Aqua Coaster ‘is a drencher,’ no one can deny it’s truth in advertising. Climb aboard a four-person canoe to glide upward amid the fog and murky twists inside the volcano before surfacing with a tumble through a glittering waterfall.
It’s a round-trip in tranquility when you take a mellow ride on the Kopiko Wai Winding River through the vibrant scenery of Universal’s Volcano Bay. Relax, laugh when a spray of water tickles you, and gasp at the enchanted night sky when the river meanders underneath the lava rocks into Stargazer’s Cavern.
Get your brave on to experience a drop that feels like it will never stop on these spine-tingling slides. Your adventure begins with a climb to traverse a gaping chasm, followed by a trip across a rope bridge. Your reward is a plunge down a twisting waterway that stops six feet short of the pool. Remember the tradition of screaming “Ohno” as you fly out into the great beyond before gleefully splashing into the emerald-hued waters at the seat of Krakatau.
Bubbling geysers! Water guns! Gentle slides! Dump cups! Adorned with whimsical bamboo sea creatures and undulating seaweed, it’s no wonder Runamukka Reef makes a big splash with kids.
Picture a lazy river’s evil twin, and you’ll have TeAwa about right. You’ll find this lane of roaring rapids on Hammerhead Beach, where you can snag a life vest for a white-knuckle whitewater ride.
The shallow waters of Tot Tiki Reef extend a wet welcome to the tiniest Waturi, beckoning families with splashy slides, a toddler-sized water volcano and friendly tikis with squirting fountains. Don’t miss the lovable whales that spray and sing on command as your little minnows raise and lower their hands.
The surf is always great at Waturi Beach, a lagoon where rhythmic waves play against the sand close to beautiful Wave Village. The titanic volcano, Krakatau, with its dramatic waterfalls tumbling into the shimmering lagoon, provides a surreal backdrop as you swim or unwind on the shores.
And There’s More!
Here are all of Volcano Bay’s rides.
Volcano Bay Food and Dining
Volcano Bay gives a wave to foodies with more than 60 different dishes inspired by the flavors of the South Pacific, from the delectable, generous Longboard Pizza, overflowing with BBQ chicken, pepperoni or veggies; to the Kohola Burger Platter, a concoction of crispy fried onions, pickled jalapenos, fresh cabbage, mango basil slaw and avocado mayo on a toasted Hawaiian style bun.
Here are some popular temptations.
You’ll find this kicked-back restaurant nestled by Volcano Bay’s shimmering, meandering river. Its specialty foot-long hot dogs on pretzel buns and mac and cheese will be a hit with your little Waturi, while healthy eaters will soak up the pleasures of the South Pacific Glazed Meatball Rice Bowl, a blend of coconut rice, caramelized pineapple, and crisp scallions. Big appetites will be washed away with the Longboard Pizzas, offered in varieties that include the ever-trendy Hawaiian, the traditional pepperoni, and the must-try Island BBQ Chicken.
Sited in Volcano Bay’s Wave Village, Dancing Dragons welcomes adults to ‘Sail in and Sip Up’ under the canopy of its hip canteen, fashioned to resemble an archaic outrigger canoe. Sporting the vividly painted sails of a Chinese junk ship, it promises an enchanting escape where you can relax with toes-in-the-sand specialty cocktails and frozen drinks. Keeping in step with the tropical vibe, draft beers include Volcano Blossom, Reef Donkey and Kona Big Wave; cocktails include Vol's Fire Punch, which features Mt. Gay Rum skipping a tasty tune with fresh pineapple juice, falernum, agave, Sprite and grenadine; and Ko'okiri Plunge, a potent blend of Corazon Blanco Tequila, fresh tamarind juice and lime juice.
Rainforest Village encompasses this trendy, shaded retreat fashioned from gorgeous stalks of bamboo, a something-for-everyone eatery that boasts quick, easy eats like chef-crafted burgers, fish and chicken sandwiches, chicken tenders and fresh salads.
And There’s More!
Here are all of Volcano Bay’s eateries.
Volcano Bay Shopping
Forgot your sunglasses, running low on sunscreen, or yearning for a new pair of sandals? No problem! These stores have you covered.
Sited on the soft sands of Waturi Beach in scenic Wave Village, this outpost invites you to pick up everything you need for a date with the sunshine, from souvenirs to sundries and beach towels to bikinis.
This handy shopping area offers two stores, a women’s boutique brimming with beachwear, jewelry, and gifts; and a men’s shop, where you can find sundries, toys, footwear and apparel for men and kids.
Volcano Bay Tips, Apps and Maps
Find Your Path
Volcano Bay encompasses three villages: Wave Village, River Village and Rainforest Village, each with its own restaurants, showers, lockers and restrooms. Download the map to help plan your day before you arrive.
Here’s where you can check out parking, directions, and addresses for Universal’s Theme Parks, Resort Hotels.
The Far Side is the Smart Side
When you get to Volcano Bay, head to the back of the volcano, where it’s not as busy.
The TapuTapu: Leave the Lines Behind
When you enter Volcano Bay, you’ll get a ‘TapuTapu,’ which will rapidly become your new best friend. This waterproof wearable will hold your place in a virtual line for one attraction at a time. You enter the queue for whichever attraction you want to ride by tapping your wristband against a totem outside the ride. When it’s time to step on, your wristband will vibrate to notify you.
This little piece of magic also can open your locker, and, if you set it up beforehand on the Universal App, even pay for your meals and merchandise.
You can even use your TapuTapu to trigger cameras at special locations in the park and to get photos taken automatically on select attractions. Your photos will be available to purchase in the park, so you can forever memorialize your gang’s grins and grimaces.
Keep your eyes peeled for slides with signs that say ‘Ride Now.’ That means you can enjoy those rides right away, and without losing your place in the Virtual Line for another attraction.
There’s an App for That
Here’s where you can get the Official Universal Orlando Resort App. It lets you buy and redeem select theme park tickets and Universal Express passes, see the latest wait times and access maps. Free WiFi throughout the parks and Universal CityWalk makes it simple to stay connected.
Help is on the Way: Concierge Huts Around the Park
Look for these huts to rent towels, find wait times, ask questions and purchase premium seating.
And There’s More!
Here’s where you can download ‘5 Steps to an Amazing Day at Universal’s Volcano Bay.’
Check out more vacation tips from Universal.
Volcano Bay Tickets, Passes
Buy tickets and check out these add-ons to make your getaway even more special.
Cabana rentals take being spoiled to a new level—and you deserve it. These private, one and two-story retreats are located throughout Volcano Bay in several sizes. Each boasts super-comfy seating, towel and locker service, concierge service with an exclusive menu of food and drink delivered directly to the cabana, and a small refrigerator stocked with bottled water, complimentary fruit and snack basket.
Take a Pass
Skip the Virtual Lines at select or all participating rides and attractions at Universal’s Volcano Bay with a 1-Park Universal Express Pass or a 1-Park Universal Express PLUS Pass. You get one use per participating attraction.
Rise and Shine
The early bird gets the best rides and seats, something you can enjoy with Early Park Admission to Universal's Volcano Bay, which allows you to access the park up to one hour before it opens.
Stay the Night
Astonishing surroundings, striking themes, customer-dedicated service and exclusive theme park benefits make Universal Resort Orlando Hotels the perfect place to pull up the covers after a long-day of theme-park adventures. Here are some options.
Universal's Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites
With an easy, surfer-vibe and super-affordable rates, this resort boasts sunny, beach-inspired rooms and generous, two-bedroom suites that sleep six.
Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
For a glorious splurge and memorable escape, stay in this premier resort, a tribute to the seaside enclave of Portofino, Italy. Expect decadent rooms and suites, fabulous views, alluring pools and remarkable restaurants.
Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort
This retro-style retreat pays tribute to iconic Florida beach resorts of the 1950s and 60s, offering affordable rooms and suites. Two enormous pools, a meandering lazy river and a bowling alley will keep your whole gang smiling.
And there’s more!
Here are all of Universal Orlando Resort Hotels.
If you prefer to bring your accommodations with you, area RV parks abound.
For a Universal Orlando getaway, you can’t beat the location of this hidden gem, only 23 minutes from the resort. Set on 69 acres, it’s pet friendly and packed with amenities that include a pool, a café, shuffleboard, bocce ball, horseshoes, live entertainment, social events, and an on-site laundry. It also offers vacation cottages.
Sited 38 minutes from Universal, this 355-acre park offers camping, kayaking, a concession, picnic pavilions and a playground. But the undeniable star of the show is its free-flowing, deliciously cool natural spring, the perfect remedy for a scorching summer day. Even your little ones can wade, swim, or tube in the crystalline waters as they flow into Rock Springs Run. It offers only 26 campsites at an affordable $23 a night. Each site is spacious, private, and shaded, with a picnic table, fire ring with a grill and water and electric access. Pets aren’t allowed, with the exception of service animals.