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Universal Orlando Resort was already amazing, but adding Universal’s Volcano Bay made it even better. It surprised me that I even wanted to go, of course. Despite my love of the water, I grew up in a family of non-swimmers. Due to my travel anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), the idea of sharing a pool at a crowded water park made me anxious. Since 2018, I’ve been working on overcoming fears, and during our trip to Volcano Bay, I pushed past my worries — and I’m so glad I did!
1. Close to Aventura Hotel and All Universal Resorts
We stayed at Universal’s Aventura Hotel and, after a couple days at both Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, we were ready for a change of pace. Dressed for an afternoon at the water park, we decided to make our way over to Universal’s Volcano Bay. We weren’t entirely sure how to get there, but a man we met in the elevator assured us it was very close by. We just couldn’t have imagined how close!
After stepping out of the elevator at the Aventura Hotel, we made our way to the pool. From there, we walked to the back entrance, walked through the door and, immediately, we were at the security check area for Volcano Bay! We don’t know how they pulled it off, but Universal really does know how to make things easy!
After a quick scan of our tickets, we were on our way. It took less than five minutes from our hotel room! We really couldn’t believe it. After walking through a short tunnel, we were at the entrance to Universal’s Volcano Bay. Instantly, we were stunned by how big it was! How was this massive water park right next to our hotel without us hearing all the noise? Again, great planning, Universal!
2. TapuTapu Saves Time in Lines
We were greeted at the gate and given our TapuTapu armbands. These waterproof devices allowed us to save our spot for a turn on a ride without having to stand in line! We were able to go on all of the other rides until our TapuTapu armbands let us know it was time to queue up. Brilliant!
All we had to do was walk up to the ride or attraction. Sometimes, we’d find a screen or sign telling us that there were no waits at all. It was so much better than having to guess! If there was a queue, it let us know how long it was and then prompted us to scan the TapuTapu.
Once it’s scanned, the screen changes to let you know how long you’ve got until it’s your turn. This allowed us to go and explore without worry. We’d just glance at the updated wait time on the device and go on about our day. While we enjoyed a lot of the attractions, there was one thing that we loved more than anything else…
3. TeAwa The Fearless River
We really adored holding hands as we leisurely made our way down the Kopi Ko Winding River. Ahhhh, so romantic! The real fun began, though, when we waded into the TeAwa the Fearless River. Wearing life vests, we navigated the choppy water filled with churning rapids and, what I call, a tsunami! Looking back, I can’t believe I got in that water despite my fear of getting sick while traveling!
The first time around the loop was crazy, and even a little scary. Once we knew what to expect, we got addicted. We would have stayed in there all day, and only left when the TapuTapu let us know it was time for something else.
Honestly, I’d go back to Volcano Bay just to spend an hour floating through the TeAwa Fearless River. We can’t wait to go back and do it all over again!
4. Krakatoa Aqua Coaster
We’ve been really focused on thrill rides this past couple years, which is why we knew we had to make our way to Volcano Bay. No, there’s nothing at the water park that appears on our roller coaster bucket list, but there is an attraction that could have qualified! When you enter the park, your eyes will be immediately drawn to the towering volcanic mountain in the middle. There, surrounded by a beach, lazy river, and a variety of slides/rides you’ll find the Krakatoa Aqua Coaster!
Heading into Universal’s Volcano Bay, we weren’t sure what to expect, but we quickly realized how much fun we could have. Before long, we were zipping through tubes and splashing in the water. The way the park is managed helped keep my OCD worries in check. I’m so grateful. That’s why we had to ride the Krakatoa Aqua Coaster. One of the fears I conquered in 2018 was riding roller coasters so, if I could do one at a water park, why not?!
The attraction is built on a magnetic track that moves a four-person canoe through the volcano, dizzying turns, and tunnels. It was the one queue that took the longest, but it was no problem with the TapuTapu! When we plunged through the misty, shimmering waterfall, it felt amazing. What a unique experience!
5. The Body Plunge!
Universal’s Volcano Bay was preparing to close for the day, but there was still time for Josh to queue up for the Ko’okiri Body Plunge. The line was pretty short, but after the long day, I doubted I’d be able to walk up the 200+ steps to get to the top. I’m totally at peace with that decision, and was happy to make it all about Josh. Standing there, I was super excited to watch him do it!
Josh said he wasn’t nervous at all — until he stepped out onto the platform. Then, before he could second-guess his decision, a trap door opened and released him into a 70-degree, 125-foot drop. He said that, while it was quick, he definitely felt completely submerged in water the whole time.
When he popped out of the tube at the bottom, all I saw were his cute little feet in the air. What a rush — even if I wasn’t on there with him! He said it was “amazing” and “exhilarating,” so I’ll have to try it when we go back.
Volcano Bay With Small Kids
This post was originally written after Josh and I went to Volcano Bay as a couple. I’m updating it now that we’ve returned with our four-year-old, Caleb. He absolutely loved seeing Volcano Bay in the distance while we were staying at the Surfside Inn and Suites, and was so excited when it was finally time to go. We brought our own Coast Guard-approved life jacket because my germaphobia didn’t want him wearing one that had been worn by a million other kids…
We’d had high hopes for what he could do. We thought he could get on some water slides, the Te’Aawa Fearless River or the water coaster. It turned out that he was slightly too short. He was sad for a few moments, but fortunately, he loved the lazy river.
Aside from that, he loved checking out the scenery and posing for pictures. What a ham! It would have been nice to so some bigger rides with him, but we’ll get there next time!
Worth the Trip
All in all, if you’re planning a trip to Universal Orlando Resort, you should make the effort to check out Universal’s Volcano Bay. It’s clean, well-organized and offers rides and attractions for the whole family. Even if you just want to sit and people watch, you’ll enjoy the tropical landscape. We highly recommend it!