Volcano Bay is Universal Studios Resorts’ only water park and in our opinion the best water park in Orlando.
We’ve had the pleasure of visiting this park more than ten times since it opened back in 2017. We’ve been as a couple, with a baby and with elderly parents and realise that what you do here – and subsequently how long you stay, will vary depending on this.
If you’re a fan of swimming and waterslides then we recommend spending a full day (from 9am until roughly 3pm) or two half days at Volcano Bay. If you’re travelling with younger children (under 10) and / or aren’t interested in water slides then half a day (9am until 1pm) will likely suit you best.
While planning a day at Volcano Bay is significantly easier than Universal’s other two parks in Orlando, we still recommend doing your research on the park to avoid disappointment.
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Volcano Bay Opening Hours
Volcano Bay is open year-round (weather dependent) and while the exact opening hours for the park can vary they generally fall between 10am and 7pm in the summer and 10am and 5pm in the winter.
Universal Studios provides the exact opening hours for each of it’s parks two months in advance. As such it’s recommended you set a reminder to check the specific opening times for the park during your visit two months prior.
What Time To Arrive At Volcano Bay
Much like Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, we recommend arriving at Volcano Bay prior to the park opening.
In the height of summer and over Spring Break, we recommend arriving at the park gates 30 minutes before the park opens.
Meanwhile, in the quieter months over winter, we recommend arriving at the park gates 10 minutes before the park opens.
If you are staying on-site in one of Universal Studios Resort hotels then they’ll be a direct shuttle bus from your hotel to Volcano Bay.
Buses run every ten minutes, and the queues are generally shorter than those to CityWalk for Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure.
If you're staying at Cabana Bay then there is a direct walking path from your hotel to Volcano Bay which takes less than ten minutes. Guests staying at Aventura and Loews Sapphire Falls Resort can also benefit from this walkway by crossing over Adventure Way using the bridge adjacent to Sapphire Falls.
As such you’ll want to go ahead and factor in waiting for the bus, and the bus journey to Volcano Bay and aim to be at the bus stop roughly an hour prior to the park opening.
If however, you are staying off-site elsewhere in Orlando then you’ll need to head to CityWalk to park your vehicle before heading down to board a bus to Volcano Bay.
This is a significantly longer process when compared to staying on-site since everyone visiting Universal Studios Resort looking to park a vehicle will all be heading to the same car park.
This combined with the fact that then everyone heading from the car park to Volcano Bay is set to be using the shuttle means you’ll want to arrive at Universal Studios Resort at least one hour before Volcano Bay opens.
From there you’ll want to work backwards accounting for how long it’ll take you to travel from your accommodation while in Orlando to the Universal Studios Resort to get the time in which you’ll need to leave by.
Benefits Of Arriving At Volcano Bay Early
Arriving at Volcano Bay before the park opens comes with multiple benefits.
The first and perhaps the most obvious is that you’ll be able to head straight to the park’s most popular rides without having to wait in line.
This is a huge benefit for those who enjoy water slides, especially if you’re visiting during the height of summer or over Spring Break.
However, another benefit to arriving at Volcano Bay early is that it provides you with a chance to find the best sun lounger location.
Finding a good sunlounger location is essential if you're travelling with teens and tweens or the elderly since you/they'll still have a great view of the water slides and into the swimming pool.
For this reason, we also recommend looking over a map of the Volcano Bay theme park to get an idea as to what area of the park you think will be best suited to your party and then pick a sun lounger location based on that.
Another benefit to arriving at Volcano Bay early is that you’ll benefit from cooler temperatures and less heat intensity, especially in summer.
This is a huge benefit when travelling with young children who may not cope well with the Florida sunshine during its peak hours.
Leaving & Coming Back Into Volcano Bay
In some cases, you may want to leave Volcano Bay during the day and then head back to the park later on.
Leaving Volcano Bay and re-entering later that day on the same ticket is permitted provided that the park hasn’t reached capacity.
That being said, given the isolated location of Volcano Bay, this is only likely to be worthwhile if you’re staying in the adjoining Cabana Bay Beach Resort and looking to head back to your room.