We’ve had the pleasure of visiting Volcano Bay more than ten times since it opened back in 2017.
We’ve been as a couple, with my elderly parents and now with a baby, and have quickly learnt that while Volcano Bay is incredible, it’s not always the right choice for everyone.
Volcano Bay at Universal Studios is worth visiting if you love water parks, extreme water slides or are staying at Universal Studios Resort in Orlando or nearby.
If however, you have younger children (roughly aged 8 and under) or are staying more than 15 miles from Universal Studios Resort then Volcano Bay might not be the right choice for you.
Who Is Volcano Bay Best Suited To?
Much like Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Volcano Bay is primarily focused on teens, tweens and young adults.
Helen and I loved visiting Volcano Bay as a young couple. We were able to go on all of the rides inside the park and found them all incredibly fun and thrilling.
Depending on your preferences and who else you’re travelling with you may want to go ahead and get a sunlounger and leave your belongings there (done so at your own risk) or rent a Volcano Bay locker.
Since we often travelled with my elderly parents we’d go ahead and leave them with our belongings on the sunloungers while we went off to explore.
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Those Staying On-Site In A Universal Studios Resort Hotel
Getting from an on-site hotel at Universal Studios Resort is significantly easier when compared to those staying off-site given that there are direct buses from each hotel every ten minutes.
Meanwhile, guests staying at Cabana Bay can walk directly from the hotel to Volcano Bay in under ten minutes. As such it’s no surprise that we recommend Volcano Bay to everyone staying on-site at Universal Studios who is looking to visit a water park.
Groups Of Young Adults
Volcano Bay is a fantastic choice for young adults, college students or those out on Spring Break. Provided you’re a relatively confident swimmer you’ll be able to go on all of the rides inside the park and find them all incredibly thrilling.
If you’re travelling as a group then you may not be interested in getting a sunlounger during your visit and instead look to store your belongings in a locker so you and your friends are free to explore the park without worrying about your phone, camera or keys.
When it comes to what to bring to Volcano Bay, it really depends on who you’re travelling with. If you’re travelling as a couple or a group of adults for example, then you’ll likely need and subsequently bring significantly fewer items with you when compared to families with young children.
Families With Teens & Tweens
Families with teens and tweens will love Volcano Bay. While not all of the rides may be suitable for everyone, there are plenty of family-friendly rides that you’ll be able to enjoy together.
Just a couple of years ago we travelled to Volcano Bay with our extended family and had a great time taking our nephew Frankie (aged 10) on a number of the rides within the park.
He wasn’t able / confident enough to go on all of the rides inside the park but still had a fantastic time.
Keep in mind that every child is different not just in their swimming abilities but also in their height and confidence / fear of rides. As such while one 12-year-old may have a great time at Volcano Bay, another may not.
Who Should Avoid Volcano Bay?
There are some people and groups that based on our own experience we would not recommend Volcano Bay to.
However, do keep in mind that this is a broad generalisation based on our own preferences and experiences.
Those Travelling With Babies / Toddlers Only & Not Staying On-Site At Universal
Volcano Bay is suitable for babies and toddlers with two dedicated splash zones isolated from the rest of the waterpark; Tot Tiki Reef and Runamukka Reef.
We visited Volcano Bay with our baby Oliver when he was roughly seven months old and spent the majority of our time in the Runamukka Reef.
However, we only chose to do this since we were staying on-site at Endless Summer Dockside and therefore had a direct shuttle bus from our hotel to the water park.
This meant we could stay at Volcano Bay for just a couple of hours before heading back to our hotel room with ease.
We wouldn’t recommend making the trip from Walt Disney World or more than 15 miles from Volcano Bay if you are only travelling with babies and toddlers. If your party is also made up of teens and tweens then the journey may still be worthwhile since they’ll still get a lot of value from it.
If you are travelling with younger children to Volcano Bay make sure you arrive at the park early since there are limited sunloungers in and around the suitable splash zones.
This can otherwise result in having to walk upwards of ten minutes over to the nearest splash zone with your little ones.
If A Large Number Of People In Your Party Don’t Know How To Swim
While you do not need to know how to swim or be a confident swimmer to visit Volcano Bay there will be some limitations in place such as specific pools or slides that may not be suitable.
Signs outside each of the park’s rides and pools will provide any additional information.
If a lifeguard believes you are struggling then they may ask you to leave the ride / pool or put on a life vest for your own protection.
Life vests are complimentary at Volcano Bay and come in a range of sizes to suit small children and adults.
If You’re Looking For A Heated Pool (In Summer)
There are no specifically heated pools at Volcano Bay.
That being said, with Volcano Bay being open year-round (weather permitting) staff may choose to heat the water used within the park depending on the outside and water temperatures on that specific day.
We’ve only visited Volcano Bay during the Spring / Summer months (March to September) and have never found the water at Volcano Bay to be cold.
Does Volcano Bay Have A Wave Pool?
Alongside the incredible waterslides, a wave pool is often a key feature many people look for in a water park. Thankfully, Volcano Bay has an incredible wave pool known as Waturi Beach which is situated at the heart of the theme park just below the iconic volcano. This wave pool is longer than a football field and ranges in depths from 0 – 1.8m.
The waves are turned on at Volcano Bays wave pool roughly every 45 minutes and last 15 to 20 minutes in total. To signal that the waves are going to begin, bells will ring from the speakers and can be heard throughout the water park.
Once the bells have rung you’ll notice that the waves at the Waturi Beach wave pool begin almost immediately, these waves come in nine different styles and are multi-directional. Given this for safety guests under 48″ are required to wear a complimentary life jacket.
Is Volcano Bay Open When It Rains?
Much like the two Universal Orlando theme parks, Volcano Bay is open year-round. However, the water park will close as a result of cold temperatures.
This means that Volcano Bay remains open during Florida’s tropical storm season (June – September) and subsequently may mean that you experience rain while visiting the water park.
Rain doesn’t stop any rides at Volcano Bay or prevent the park from opening. However, if lightning or thunder is present in the area then the Universal Orlando lightning policy will be followed.
Universal Orlando Travel Planning Guide
🎟️ Where To Buy Tickets for Universal Orlando?
If you’re based in the US or Canada, I recommend Klook for your Universal Orlando tickets. Klook consistently has the most competitive prices. There’s also a range of different ticket options to suit all budgets and requirements.
Meanwhile, if you’re based in the United Kingdom. Then I recommend buying your Universal Orlando theme park tickets from AttractionTix. I personally use AttractionTix when purchasing Orlando theme park tickets. That’s because AttractionTix consistently has the most competitive prices and incredible customer service.
🏥 Should I Buy Travel Insurance for a Visit to Universal Orlando?
If you’re travelling to Universal Orlando for vacation, then travel insurance is recommended. Basic travel insurance coverage with Safety Wing averages between $5 – $10 per day and offers peace of mind.
However, if a trip to Universal Orlando isn’t part of a vacation. For example, you live locally. Then travel insurance isn’t likely to be necessary.
🚘 Do I Need to Rent a Car for a Visit to Universal Orlando?
You don’t need to rent a car to visit Universal Orlando, as the resort has Uber / Lyft pick-up and drop-off points. However, if Universal Orlando makes up the majority of your vacation, then you may want to stay on-site.
Staying onsite at the Universal Orlando Resort comes with several perks. Including complimentary transport from the hotel to the Universal Orlando theme parks. In some cases, you can even walk from your hotel straight to the theme park gates.
However, if a trip to Universal Orlando only makes up a portion of your vacation, then you may want to rent a car. I personally use Discover Cars to find the best car rental for all of my trips to Orlando.
🏨 Where to Stay When Visiting Universal Orlando?
If you’re spending the majority of your vacation at Universal Orlando, it’s a good idea to stay at a Universal Orlando hotel. Staying onsite at Universal Orlando comes with several perks, including;
- Early park admission
- Complimentary transport
- Complimentary Universal Express Passes (selected hotels only)
- Walking distance of the Universal theme parks (selected hotels only)
While staying onsite at Universal Orlando is great value for money, it can still be out of budget for many. Thankfully, there are several budget-friendly hotels close to Universal Orlando to choose from.
Meanwhile, if Universal Orlando only makes up part of your Orlando vacation, then you may want to stay elsewhere. Kissimmee, International Drive and Lake Buena Vista are all within a 40-minute drive of Universal Orlando.