Universal Orlando is set to open the third park in its Florida resort (the other two being Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure). Volcano Bay, an exciting new water park filled with attractions, dining and relaxation, will officially open in June, 2017.
Unlike the other Universal properties, which feature attractions themed around movies, comics, superheros and the like, Volcano Bay is an original concept and, as its name suggest, at the heart of it all is the massive 200-foot-tall “Krakatau” volcano, through which a number of attractions will weave and interact.
Let’s start with those attractions. The Ko’okiri Body Plunge and Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides promise high speed thrills as they’ll drop guests in free falls through tubes that snake through the mountain. A water coaster (propelled by jets of water to achieve momentum and then carried by gravity through drops and turns), Krakatau Aqua Coaster will give riders another thrilling way to tour the volcano before they plunge through a waterfall to the beach below.
Those looking for something a little more tame will have plenty to do at Volcano Bay, too. Waturi Beach will be a coastal oasis at the base of the volcano, perfect for a swim or just a relaxing spot. For those who like to roll with the tides, Kopiko Wai Winding River offers the traditional lazy river experience but with a tour through caverns from Krakatau.
Raft rides, slides, and even a whitewater adventure also await guests, but Universal’s Volcano Bay is promising to really make it a relaxing experience by eliminating lines via its “TapuTapu” technology, wearable bands similar to Disney’s wearable Magic Bands but with the benefit, Universal Orlando claims, of holding rider’s place in lines. Hypothetically, that means a reduction in time spent standing around (and no hauling around rafts, either, says Universal!), and more time spent enjoying the attractions.
The TapuTapu bands also promise some magical fun around the park via “tap to play” functionality. Wave your band along special walls inside Krakatau’s caves to reveal illuminated images, control water streams, or even use it to activate a water cannon and spray unsuspecting guests as they float by on the Kopiko Wai lazy river attraction.
It will be very interesting to watch details emerge on the TapuTapu bands, as Universal has currently only made its virtual lines and tap to play functionality apparent. For instance, Disney Magic Bands are optional and available for an extra fee. Will Universal make its TapuTapu system available to every guest as part of their ticket price or, like Disney, will this system be an add-on? And, will the virtual queue system pan out and truly reduce (if not completely eliminate) lines from the park? If it does, its model could become a benchmark for the entire amusement park industry.
These questions aside, Volcano Bay truly does look like it’ll be a fantastic third park at Universal Orlando Resort. Tickets go on sale November 15, and the park is slated to open on June 1, 2017 More details are available at Universal Orlando Resort’s website, and check out the video below for a rendition of the park, which is currently under construction.