Volcano Bay is the latest park to be added to Universal Studios Resort in Orlando, Florida. Having opened in 2017, tickets to the park are often included complimentary as part of the Universal Studios Orlando package.
You should plan to spend a full day at Volcano Bay (9am until between 3pm – 6pm) if you enjoy water rides, and swimming. If you’re unfamiliar with water rides, or not comfortable in the Florida head you may want to only go for the morning (9am until 1pm) instead.
Swimming is proven to be one of the most tiring excersizes, so you’ll likely want to plan a relaxing activity for the evening whether that’s simply hitting up a restaurant or going to play a round of mini golf at the nearby City Walk.
Table of Contents
What Time To Arrive At Volcano Bay
Whether you plan to spend the whole day or just half a day at Volcano Bay the best time to arrive is in the morning as the park is opening (check the exact opening times online in advance of your visit).
This allows you to get the best parking spot (where parking is applicable) and minimises the queues upon entry into the park.
In the majority of cases, you’ll want to find a sun lounger for your party to sit at when not going on the water rides or swimming. Unsurprisingly the seats with the best view and easy access to the popular water rides nearby fill up quickly.
Arriving at the park as it opens gives you the best chance of getting the sun loungers in an area that best suits you’re party whether that be near the kids pools, lazy river or at the front near the wave pool.
Of course, the final benefit to arriving early is the lower queues on popular rides. While the queues are somewhat mitigated with the use of the new TapuTapu technology there’s the ability to walk on some of the major rides if you arrive at the park early.
In our cases, we actually managed to go on four of the biggest and most popular rides (Ko’okiri, Honu ika Moana, Krakatau and Ohyah & Ohno) within the first 90 minutes of the park opening by arriving early.
How To Get To Volcano Bay
How you get to Volcano Bay will depend on where you’re staying. If you’re staying on-site in one of the Universal Studios Orlando hotels then you’ll be able to get the bus directly from your hotel to the Volcano Bay theme park.
If you’re travelling by taxi from a nearby hotel or villa then the taxi will be able to drop you off by the entrance of Volcano Bay. From there it’s a short walk (50m) to the pedestrian entrance where you’ll purchase or scan your tickets to enter the park and be given your TapuTapu.
Finally, if you’re planning on driving to Volcano Bay then you’ll need to head to the nearby car park. This is the same car park area used for the other two Universal Studios Orlando parks and CityWalk.
However, unlike the two parks and CityWalk Volcano Bay is located around 1.5 miles away, therefore you’ll want to get the complimentary shuttle that travels back and forth between the park and the car park.
This shuttle usually begins one hour before the opening time of Volcano Bay and finishes its service one hour after the closing time of the park. Be sure to factor the additional time required to park your car and get over to Volcano Bay when planning your visit.
Things To Do At Volcano Bay
How long you choose to spend at Volcano Bay is likely to depend on what you would like to do at this unique waterpark and how long you want to spend doing it.
My parents, for example, are more than happy sitting on a sun lounger at the waterpark all day while myself and Helen go off in search of an exhilarating thrill ride. However, I appreciate not everyone can lay in the sun for that long comfortably (myself included, I get sooo bored!)
Of course, the focus of Volcano Bay is the incredible water rides. These are mainly suited to older children upwards as they are relatively intense. That’s not to say younger children can’t enjoy a trip to Volcano Bay however, it’s certainly something to keep in mind.
If you’re not one for water rides, and want to avoid sunbathing instead spend some time in the wave village by the incredible volcano. This is a picturesque spot and the perfect location to watch everything going on around the park.
Don’t forget to check out one of the nearby fast-food bars for a bite to eat. There’s plenty of seating area dotted around the park as well as snack areas – we picked up the most incredible dipping dots pot from one of the carts this was ideal as it was super hot that day.
One of our favourite things to do as a family at Volcano Bay is a ride on Kopiko Wai Winding River. This ride is suitable for everyone provided you stick together as a family, and non-swimmers wear life vests. It’s both relaxing and fun, and somewhere we spend at least an hour during every visit to Volcano Bay.
If You Rent A Cabana
Single cabanas at Volcano Bay start at $159.99 per day, and family cabanas start at $299.99 per day.
With those kinds of prices, you’ll want to be sure that you’re going to spend the full day at Volcano Bay as the cost of renting the cabana is based on an entire day.
You don’t get a refund if you leave early, so you’ll want to be 100% sure that you and your family are happy to spend the entire day at the park and that there’s plenty for everyone to do to maximise the value for money of the additional cabana rental costs.
If You’re An Annual Passholder
Universal Studios Orlando annual pass holders can add on unlimited visits to Volcano Bay throughout the year – the exact price of which varies depending on the level of the annual pass you choose (more information is available on the Universal Studios Orlando website).
Being that you can visit Universal Studio’s Volcano Bay when you want the amount of time you plan to spend at the park can be as much or as little as you like. Although you may want to factor in the cost it takes you to travel to and from the park, and the cost of parking (if applicable, some annual pass holder levels include complimentary parking).
We love the flexibility that an annual pass brings, it allows us to just spend the afternoon or the morning at Volcano Bay regularly rather than committing to buying a day ticket and wanting to spend as much of the day there as possible to get the best value for money.
Leaving & Coming Back Into Volcano Bay
You are able to leave Volcano Bay and re-enter later that day on the same ticket provided that the park hasn’t reached capacity. However, due to the isolated location of the park this is likely only going to be worthwhile if you’re staying in the adjoining Cabana Bay Beach Resort.
Cabana Bay Beach Resort has a walking path from Universal Studios Volcano Bay which takes around ten minutes. This makes leaving the park to go back to your hotel room either for lunch, a nap or to escape the midday sun easily possible.
However, this becomes more difficult if you’re staying in one of the other nearby hotels or have driven to the park as it means waiting for the bus to go to the hotel or car park and then going back again, all of which can easily take upwards of an hour.