I briefly discussion volcano bay in my daily vlog which you can see here but I felt like this required a whole post of its own.
I love water parks (ironic really as I don’t really like water!) and I was beyond excited when I realised that Volcano Bay at Universal Studios Florida would be open in time for our honeymoon.
Firstly, the décor, facilites and theming – this could not be more perfect. The amount of effort and attention to detail really cannot be faulted. I absolutely loved it and it fitted in perfectly with the recent release of Moana. Everything felt very well thought out, very fluid and exceptionally clean.
The facilities were excellent. There are a lot of lockers, adequate toilets and changing rooms. There were lots of beds on the ‘beach’ as well as you being able to book ‘premier’ beds (these had canopies above them and a lockbox, I believe they are around $30) and also Cabanas (although I’m unsure on price of these, I’ve read online about them ranging from $150-300 for the day). There were a lot of lockers on site, which ranged from $12 to $18 for the day. As a party of two we opted for one of the smaller lockers and found it to be perfectly adequate for our needs.
There were also plenty of options for food and drink – the food of which we were surprised to see was quite reasonable. We opted for a drink, some chips and pizza which came to just under $20. You also have the option of purchasing a Coca Cola unlimIted mug, which allows for unlimited refills all day. These start from $15, reducing slightly in cost if you are to purchase more than one. If you have already purchased a mug at another Universal site then you are able to ‘reactivate’ it for around $8.50. (there is no way to get around this as far as I’m aware as the mugs have chips in them which expire daily).
Secondly – the size. I personally felt that the size of the park was definitely adequate to the amount of people they allowed in. There was plenty of room for you to walk around without feeling crowded (despite the day being sold out!), and whilst there were a lot of “standard” sunbeds on the beach, people ‘reserving’ them with a hat or towel did make it a bit difficult to get a seat.
Thirdly – the rides themselves. The slides (especially Honu and Moana) are amazing. They are definitely ”thrill’ rides and may not be for the faint hearted but I really enjoyed myself and would happily have spent all day going on these rides. There were a number of slower rides and the obligatory lazy river for those who don’t like the bigger rides. However, there were several rides we did not get to ride at all, and I’ll get to that now.
The TapuTapu system is the main reason I wanted to write this post. When I saw the promotional videos, I was so excited and impressed with the idea of the TapuTapu that I couldn’t wait to try it out. For those who do know what the TapuTapu is, it is a wrist band which allows you to ‘tap to pay’ meaning you do not need to carry cash or card around with you, and also allow you to use the ‘virtual line experience’
Firstly and foremost, they’re huge (and make a terrible mark if you happen to get a sunburn like I did…) but they also do not work with cards which are registered to anywhere outside of the US. I downloaded the app and put in all our details only for our payment to be declined when we tried to purchase dinner which was not only very inconvenient but embarrassing until the cashier explained that they do not work with non US cards. This meant that the ‘tap to pay ‘ element was not possible for us (and no doubt a number of other visitors to the park!).
The ‘virtue line’ experience is a great idea, except you can only be in a queue for one ride at a time. Some of the rides had a ride time of up to FOUR hours, which meant that when you were in the queue for that ride, you couldn’t go on any other rides. If you are in a line for 90 minutes, and another ride line is 30 minutes, why you can’t go on both is beyond me? This meant that we weren’t able to do all the rides we had hoped to.
In one instance, our line time also dropped from 45 minutes to ride now, meaning that we were half way through our lunch, half way around the park. It just isn’t consistent and ruined our experience as a whole.
Overall, I think it is safe to say that we were both thoroughly disappointed with Volcano Bay. It had so much potential but the issues with the virtual lines meant that you are missing out on so much time. There were several rides I wanted to go on but with a line length of four hours? I don’t think so! We did more walking than riding.
3/6 – so much potential but so much to work on…
I vlogged as much of our day as we could (we weren’t able to use the go pro) which you can see below!