Discussion in 'Volcano Bay Water Park' started by Joe, May 24, 2017.
I swear, the more 'rock work' I look at (all around the park), the more 'faces/totems/Easter Island thingies I think I see
Great pics! Thanks for sharing.
I thought I had slipped into HHN territory when the daughter and I stopped by Volcano Bay for the last 40 minutes of the evening the day we checked into CBBR:
ok, Vol. By or is that the nightly bye?
here is the backside of the volcano from inside the park (as my camera saw it):
You can see from this pic that they've started to paint the exposed steel and crossbeams a purple color similar to the steel on the front of the volcano under the front platform. Whoohooo!
Minus the steel and the weird lights I'm totally ok with the open backside
That picture from that perspective makes it look lovely! Great pic, Frank!
Take away those palms, though....
Shout out to @Skold for the advice on how to attack VB. I took your advice and my family and I conquered the park yesterday!
I've been to all of the water parks in Orlando including Adventure Island in Tampa. VB, in my opinion, is the best water park that I've ever been to. KEEP THIS IN MIND THOUGH. When I say that, it means that I was able to do everything in the park and not have to deal with the craziness that is Volcano Bay and when I say that, it means that I didn't deal with the craziness TOO MUCH... that is... Volcano Bay . Yes, multiple slides broke down, even several times during the day. Yes, the park is still being worked on. There are a few things that I can nitpick and say that it should be done better, but all in all, the park is TREMENDOUS. I still prefer TL's theme over VB, but the rides at VB are top notch.
The biggest con of the day was the Kohola Restaurant & Social Club. We went during rush hour, so we knew what to expect, but wowwwww was the service slow. Just the entire process of ordering and picking up your food was poor if we are trying to be nice. I do not recommend the burgers because I didn't feel like there was much flavor to the one I had, but the chicken curry was tremendous.
Work out the kinks Universal and you'll have yourself one of the best water parks in the world.
How crowded was it? Did you feel rushed in trying to do all the slides?
What work is still left to be done on the park? What construction did you notice?
Still curious about these aspects as updates have become all but nonexistent sans Dave and Tim.
No problem - glad it worked!
i'm curious to hear the sequence you hit everything, and when you had to start Tap'ing!
It was slammed this past Monday and yes, we felt rushed trying to do everything. Keep in mind that we had early park access from staying at Cabana Bay so that definitely helped us hit the main things for the hour and a half that we had.
From what I noticed, it still looked like they were working on the area under the volcano by TeAwa. Construction equipment was left there.
From what I noticed, it still looked like they were working on the area under the volcano by TeAwa. Construction equipment was left there.
EDIT: Sorry for double posting.
We got in at 7:30 due to staying at Cabana Bay. The aqua coaster was a ride now so we hopped on that. We did Honu after that and actually had to tap into it for a 20 minute wait. My family did Ohyea with another wait time similar to Honu. After that, we did the drop slide followed by the body plunge, each with a 30-45 minute wait. The rest of the slides were cake. Biggest issue of the day was the occasional slide breaking down and the lunch line taking us FOREVER.
Went with friends and open/closed this park this past week. While crowded, we never had to wait to go into any of the rivers and the wait times were incredibly manageable. The only attraction we weren't able to experience was Punga Racers, cause it went into some downtime, but a quick trip to the concierge desk and they were able to switch out the ride reservation to Honu and even gave it to us as a "ride now", which was great, considering it had a muuuuuch longer line than Punga.
For those who say the food lines are outrageous, we only noticed long waits at Kohola Reef and that's mostly cause it's right at the entrance of the park. All the other locations had a less than five minute wait. We decided to eat at Bambu instead and it was no wait at all. I think most guests tend not to look at park maps to see what else is available. Same goes for the concierge desks, the one right at the entrance is usually busy all day, while the ones around the rest of the park usually just have one or two people waiting to be helped.
Big props to the Team Members working at the park. Everyone we saw was working as efficiently as possible and the customer service was off the charts for us all day. (strong drinks at Dancing Dragons totally helps too!)
Sorry this review is ridiculously late....
We visited Universal May 31 - June 4. We checked into Cabana Bay at night after volcano bay was closed already. I booked the volcano room in the new tower and was absolutely stunned when I opened the curtain and looked out the window. Wow!!! What a gorgeous park. The volcano was glowing different colors! My girlfriend was very impressed and she has mild interest in theme parks(without me she would probably never go).
We got up and arrived around 11am, got our tapu tapus and a host brought us to our reserved seating (not a cabana). The view coming around that corner when the volcano appeared was absolutely amazing as I have followed the construction for 2 years! It pretty much brought tears to my eyes!
The one and only complaint I have about this entire park is that the lockbox in the reserved seating is very temperamental in unlocking and locking. I assume they have fixed this by now.
We immediately went to krakatau and got a return time for 60 minutes so we decided to get in the action river. This was by far the BEST lazy river I have ever been in!!!! I've heard it's even better now as we were there only a week after opening. We probably went through it like 6 times before we got out and decided to go to the bar and grab a drink. I love the volcano beer!!! The tapu pay works great and was awesome not having to carry a wallet around.
We finished the drinks and started walking around the park as we still had 20 minutes left for krakatau. We were walking by the tube slides(can't remember the name) and it was a ride now so we walked in and waited 10 minutes. We chose one of the blue ones and it was the best tube slides I have ever been on!! I actually felt gforces.... Crazy!! Never had that on a waterslide!
We immediately headed to krakatau as it was at 5 minutes and even though it didn't say ride now yet they let us in. The ride op said they let anyone in under 10 minutes. We waited about 20 minutes due to a break down... It was actually due to someone losing there sunglasses in the ride. I watched a miantanance guy climb in the slide and fetch the glasses. We finally got on and it was amazing!!! I've been on 3 other water coasters and this was by far the best!
We decided to grab a bite to eat. We shared a specialty pizza and it was great!! Oh and of course another beer was in order! Love that volcano beer!
After eating we got a return time for honu. It was up to 80 minutes but that was fine as we got another drink at one of the bars and it turned into multiple drinks... Lol.
Feeling a pretty good buzz at this we decided it would be a great idea to get back into the action river. We had so much fun!! Every time around we started stopping at the big wave machine... We had so much fun I think we hit it 3 times... The 4th time the lifeguard yelled at us and said we couldn't wait there. Oh well we had a blast.
Now we only have 10 minutes for honu! We headed over there and got in line. My girlfriend is afraid of heights and was having a little anxiety on the staircase up but made it. We got on in about 5 Minutes. This was probably the best overall slide we went on! Probably the best I have ever ridden! Absolutely amazing!
At this point she wasn't Ed to celebrate her accomplishment and it was time for a victory drink at the bar!!
After having our victory shots and of course another volcano beer we went over to ohno as I was very excited to try this one. We got our return time which was 40 minutes. She looked at it and said this looks puny! I explained the 6ft drop ending but it wasn't clicking in her brain. We went back to the bar... Yes we like to have our drinks and I just love that volcano beer.
After another 30 minutes at the bar we headed to ohno and I must say this was awesome!! That drop at the end hits you!! I loved it. I waited for her to come down. She came out of the end and even though I warned her to plug her nose she ended up yelling a couple of, shall I say, inappropriate words as she came out of the tube.... Lol I couldnt stop laughing! Her suit was coming off and when she finally made it out of the pool she said "ok I will take your advice next time!!"
After this the day is a bit of blur as we had more drinks...... I know we went on making and of course the lazy river again! Not sure after that. Pretty sure we went on the tubes a couple more times.
All in all this is by far the best water park I have ever been to and can't wait to get back. We bought annual passes that include volcano bay so as soon as we can get back we will be there! BTW we had an amazing time at the theme parks too! I am absolutely in love with Universal Orlando and am so excited for the future of this resort. Especially with Comcast's deep pockets and the desire they have to compete with disney!!
Here are a few pictures from our trip!!!
The first picture is from our room!!
This sounds just like a UK Trigg trip. You guys need to meet him & Samantha.
First of all, thank you to this forum for much of the information I was armed with while visiting Volcano Bay with my family on Thursday, August 17. I wanted to make sure to leave a review. Apologies if I forgot any details as our 2.5 days at Universal was followed by a week at WDW. Got home tired last night. But this review has been bouncing around in my head so here we go.
Cast of characters: Myself, my wife, my three daughters (12, 10, 7). We live on the West Coast so Orlando is a once-every-3-or-so-years trip for us.
My 12 year is old is a Harry Potter fanatic so we booked 2 nights at Portofino before our normal stay at the Beach Club Villas (DVC) at WDW. I'll leave the Portofino, Universal, and IOA feedback to another review thread...let's focus on VB. OK, one small note...my Harry Potter-crazy daughter road Forbidden Journey at Universal Hollywood 6x last April, rode it 4x this trip, and rode Gringotts 3x. I was shocked to hear her say last night that her favorite ride of all is Flight of Passage. Very surprising! Anyway, back to the volcano...
Got out to the Portofino bus stop around 6:50am. We must have just missed the bus as we were the only ones out there. We were at the main gate by 7:22am (looking at the timestamp from my photo). I remembered a tip here about using the lines that snake around the planter but my wife had the kids over in the far right line. Not being able to wave them over I jumped over with them. As soon as the gates opened that tip proved right as our line hardly moved and all the lines behind the planter started to feed quickly. We jumped over and got into the park.
One of my biggest questions was how the cabana was going to work. I got to the concierge hut and stood in line...about 5-7 people in front of me. It looked like there was confusion in the hut...people milling about...not much happening. After 3-5 minutes of not moving a TM came out and started talking to some people behind me in the line. My wife jumped over and asked if we were in the right place. He asked to see our reservation and then said "Oh, your cabana is in the Rainforest. You don't have to wait in line. Just follow this path to the next hut." Great...5 minutes wasted!
I took off speed walking to the next hut leaving my wife and kids walking slower behind. Got to the next hut and I was the only one there. They took my info then a TM came out to walk us to our cabana. It was over near the landing pool for Ohyeah and Ohno. Got to the hut, was told food service starts later (I asked where our fruit basket was), we dropped our stuff and I went to the Tapu Tapu kiosk to find...Krakatau is closed. Argh.
So I regroup and we hoof it all the way across the park to Honu. At this point I'm a bit frustrated as the whole cabana thing took some time, Krakatau was closed, and I just drug my whole family virtually as far as possible across the park to get to Honu (they were asking why we couldn't just ride the slides right there). OK, time to ride.
Not so fast. I have a GoPro Session which I have on a hand/wrist mount. No way for it to come off and I can still hold onto the handles. I've used this on virtually every ride (water or dry) at WDW and my local Great Wolf Lodge. Having seen videos of riders on Honu I thought I was fine...nope. I was told I couldn't ride with it. Argh. I'm not walking back. I'm told to leave it on the shoe rack. Obviously not doing that. Thankfully my board shorts had zippers and I convinced the greeter that this would be acceptable. He agreed but told me "don't let the loading guy see it." I was happy to not have to go back to the cabana but for the rest of the day I never took out the camera on a slide. I was too nervous they'd send me back.
Honu was ride now and we had a short wait. Good ride...not as good as I was expecting from the hype. Mist wasn't on (saw it on later in the day). Was disappointed that they split up our family of 5. They must really have the weight limit set low.
Got off and rode Ika Moana. Nothing special about this one. At this point we saw people waiting for Krakatau so off we went. Got in line (Ride Now) which stopped under the bridge. Got sent to the left side of the steps since we were an odd numbered party. Thought this was interesting and confirmed even/odd right/left with a TM later in the day. This seems really strange to me since at the top of the stairs they seem to be treated as equal lines. Anyone know why they do this? The even line seemed to generally move faster but my party of 5 was always in the odd line.
We get up to where the sprayer is right before the final right turn is in the queue and the ride goes down. Three rafts to evacuate. I don't know how long this took (my wife kept asking why in the world the Tapu Tapu couldn't show the current time) but it felt like 15-20 minutes. We had already waited 10-15 minutes to get to that point in line.
The ride starts cycling and they load some rafts. Bam. Goes down again. This time we were the NEXT group to ride. Two rafts to evacuate. This downtime was a bit shorter since there was one less raft to evac and maintenance was already there. My kids were done and wanted to move on but we were next!!!
Ride starts cycling and before they load anyone it goes down again. It's never good when you see Maintenance taking a picture of the operator ride console with his smartphone. At this point there are about 5 maintenance guys and they have the bottom of the operator console open. Then one guy goes over to where the boat goes down the first drop and pulls up the walkway and goes down into a hole to look at the mechanics. It's at this point that the TMs finally come over and tell us we should get out of line. Total time spent at this point was easily over 40 minutes of precious early entry time. They told us "just go to another slide and tell them you were stuck up here and they'll let you on." Uh, ok. Would love something a bit more formal but let's go with that.
It's now after 9am and I have to make a call. Our cabana is too far away to see wait times so I make a call to just go over to Puihi. Of course we get there and it's Ride Now so no use in using the Krakatau excuse. We ride...got to all ride together. Fun ride. It was at this point that my kids started asking why the preview video of the park touted no lines yet on all these "Ride Now" slides we had to wait on the steps.
While at the top of Puihi we noticed Krakatau was running again so we skipped Maku and headed back over. It was chaos. I quickly had the whole family tap into the ride which was at 40 minutes and rising rapidly. The line to check back in was wrapped around the corner to the bridge and the entire queue past the check-in point was full. My wife went up to the TM and mentioned we were next when it went down but we were told to get in the back of the check-in line (around the corner at the bridge)...we knew this would be a hefty wait. We decided to just rely on our 40 min check-ins on the Tapu Tapu and head back to the cabana (we hadn't sun screened yet).
To be continued...
We got back to the cabana at 10:15am. After being at the park since 7:30 total ride count was Honu, Moana, and Puihi. I know "things happen" but I was disappointed that all our efforts to get up at the crack of dawn (it was dark as we were walking to Starbucks at Portofino) resulted in 3 rides in the first 2 hours and 45 minutes.
We enjoyed our fruit basked, put on sunscreen, and then watched as our Krakatau return times started GROWING instead of counting down. The 40 minutes grew to over 60. The backup they had over there was obviously starting to mess things up!
We headed off and hit the Fearless River and Taniwha tubes. Finally our Krakatau time came and the chaos at the entrance had subsided. The end of the line was at the elevator. We rode...smash hit. Whole family loved it. My wife who generally is quite fine with one (or no) rides on any given ride asked to go again. This slide is a winner (they should have built 3 more).
We hit Punga racers which was nice as the time was 30 minutes but it only took about 15 minutes (another lap or two in the Fearless River during this time). At this point everyone was hungry. We went back to the cabana and made some important decisions...
Me and my oldest daughter tapped in for Kala and Tai at 30 min. My wife and two youngest tapped into Krakatau at 70 min. We ordered lunch and were told it would take 30 min but could take 40 just to be safe.
At about 20 min our Kala and Tai time was up so my oldest and I went to ride. My wife took the youngest two to just play in the splash pool by our cabana. Green slide was awesome. Crazy intense. Got back to the cabana right when my wife did (it was about 40 min since we ordered) and started arranging the table for lunch. My oldest daughter and I tapped into Krakatau...my wife and younger two were 70 minutes ahead of us. Our server walked by a few times and said food was coming. Nothing. I took the girls out to the wave pool and had my phone for my wife to text me. Nothing. She asked him and he said they were running low on runners and everything was taking extra long. He said he'd go check himself and the kitchen was on the other side of the park.
Our food finally came 1 hour and 25 minutes after we ordered. Unacceptable. Food was OK. Nothing as transcendent as I've heard about. It was now 2pm. Way later than we wanted to eat. Plus we knew it would really screw up dinner.
During lunch our Krakatau times started to converge. That 70 minute gap between us shrunk to only 20 minutes. Great news! We started walking over to Krakatau and my oldest daughter and I watched as our times went from 25 minutes (my wife and younger two were ride now) back up to 70 minutes. ARGH. Frustrating. We get to the entrance and my wife and younger two tap in. I stand there with my oldest and say "well, now we have another 70 minutes so I guess we'll see you later." The TM let us in. We thanked her profusely and mention how we got stuck earlier in the day. She said they were having all sorts of issues today. Rode again and everyone loved it.
Kids wanted to see the big play area and were bummed that they literally weren't allowed to ride any of the slides. At our local Great Wolf even adults can climb the play structure and ride the short body slides. Here they make sure no one over 48" rides. So even my 7 year old was denied. This seems a little crazy. With so few "walk up and ride" slides in the park you'd think they'd let kids of all ages ride these.
At this point it was almost 4pm and the kids were whooped and they wanted to ride some rides in the parks that night. So we went back to the Cabana and asked to cash out. Our server was returning with an ice pack. That ice pack was for his credit card machine which "overheats every day." He tries to run my card. Nope. Won't work. He then asks if we're leaving (yes) and tells me he'll walk to the front of the park and cash me out.
While walking he's on his radio asking his manager to meet him in a specific spot. We reach that spot...and he can't find the manager (despite her saying she's there on the radio). He takes my credit card and takes off into the restaurant. Another 5 minutes or so goes by and he finally comes back with a credit card slip to sign. Unbelievable. My wife was really done at this point. We left.
Whew. Now to boil all that down:
Cabanas: I can't say it was worth it. We landed up using the Tapu Tapu there only twice. It took extra time to get it. Food service took ridiculously long. Had to walk with server to check out. Oh, forgot to mention, we realized our waters were warm. The fridge wasn't on. For my family I wouldn't pay $299 for that again. No way did we get that value.
Slides: Krakatau was fantastic. Body drop slide (green) was great. Rest of the slides garnered a bit of a "meh" from the family. All good and fun, but certainly not transcendent. Due to waits we never got to do the drop slide nor Ohyeah or Ohno. Speaking of waits...
TapuTapu: I get the concept. We understand the concept. But it just wasn't doing it for us in a waterpark given its current implementation. Added stress and inconvenience. Got there at 7:30am and left at 4pm. Total slide count was Honu, Ika Moana, Krakatau x2, Puihi, Kala (is that the green one?), Taniwha Tubes x1, and Punga Racers x1. Couldn't fit in anything else. Kids were bummed to not get to ride Ohyeah/no but the wait times for those were ridiculous for what they are. While Krakatau's down time had a lot to do with that, it just felt like so much less than what my family has accomplished at more traditional water parks. Also regarding the bands...two of the 5 of us had ours fall out in the fearless river (caught them in time). And please have the screens show the time!
My wife: NOT a water/theme park nut like me. She gave the following feedback after our day:
- Good waterpark, but didn't live up to the preview videos I showed her
- LOVED Krakatau
- Frustrated by Tapu Tapu (when something counts UP she dismisses it)
- Very frustrated by cabana service
- Was surprised to see a lot of wear already...lots of railings chipped/worn
- Closing statement: "Still doesn't seem like they are ready to be open."
Did we have fun? Yes. But I came away disappointed. Looking at the marketing hype from 3,000 miles away I really wanted my family to have an awesome time on our one day to visit (hence the cabana) a water park that would be nothing like we've ever seen before. I was disappointed by the service, I was disappointed with the number of slides we experienced given a 8.5 hour day, and I certainly didn't find it to be a whole new level of water park. It was a very good water park, but UO way over-hyped it.
Side note: We went to Typhoon Lagoon a few days later. A few notes:
- My 12 year old, while waiting for the Crush N Gusher, says "Dad, Universal could really learn from Disney on how to correctly theme a water park." She's not a theme park nut...very innocent comment.
- While I still love the theming and architecture of TL (e.g. the water coming down from Miss Tilly right into the slides) the slides themselves are really starting to show their age. Outside of the CnG and Miss Adventure, the slides are really lacking. Short/slow...the industry has advanced quickly and the core mountain slides seem quaint.
- On the flip side, my kids could stay in the wave pool all day long. Still the best wave pool ever built. I didn't mention it above but they were very disappointed in the VB wave pool.
Whew...need to go to bed. Still jet-lagged. Any questions?
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