The Krakatau volcano at Universal Orlando Resort’s Volcano Bay rises 200 feet above the tropical landscape. // © 2017 Universal Orlando Resort
Feature image (above): Guests can activate interactive surprises with the waterproof TapuTapu wearable. // © 2017 Universal Orlando Resort
Universal Orlando Resort has made a commitment to creating immersive experiences revolving around a detailed storyline. So, after traveling around the South Pacific to find inspiration for its new Volcano Bay waterpark, Universal Creative — the same team that brought groundbreaking experiences to Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure — has created a tropical paradise with an intricate backstory.
According to the legend developed by the creative team, Waturi islanders discovered Volcano Bay with the help of a mythical golden fish; the team says the park was “formed by myth and discovered by legend.”
“Universal’s Volcano Bay is so detailed and immersive that we had to create a whole new term for it,” said Thierry Coup, senior vice president of Universal Creative. “We call it a ‘water theme park.’”
As Universal Orlando Resort’s third theme park, the 30-acre Volcano Bay offers 18 water-based attractions, including a multidirectional wave pool with sandy beaches, specially designed kids’ water play areas, multi-rider raft rides and, for the truly daring, a body slide that drops guests from the top of the park’s iconic 200-foot Krakatau volcano into the water below.
“When we created The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, we delivered a whole new level of immersion, of storytelling and of details and technology that completely redefined the term ‘immersion’ in a theme park experience,” Coup said. “And now, the award-winning team behind The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has pushed the envelope of creativity even further to redefine the waterpark experience.”
The Waturi legend that the park is based upon is “Water is Life. Life is Joy.” This theme permeates every experience at Volcano Bay, from attractions and food offerings to interactive experiences that guests can unlock with waterproof TapuTapu wearables. TapTu Pay also allows guests to make cash-free purchases throughout the park with a tap of their wearable.
In addition, there’s no waiting in long lines at Volcano Bay, because guests can touch their TapuTapu at a ride entry totem to check in to a virtual line, then enjoy other experiences until their designated return time. Another big plus of the park is that slides have “raft elevators,” so riders meet their rafts at the top of ride towers rather than having to carry them. Additionally, to make Orlando’s high summer temperatures more bearable, walkways will be sprayed with cool water to protect bare feet from hot pavement.
For guests who don’t like wild raft rides or plunging from a 200-foot volcano, the park offers a peaceful winding river and many quiet spots to relax in the sun or shade, including private one- and two-story cabanas that can be rented for the day. These retreats have comfortable padded lounge chairs; complimentary water and snacks; towel, locker and concierge services; and even an exclusive menu of food and drinks that can be delivered directly to the cabana.
Agents should note that, while all five on-site Universal Orlando Resort hotels offer complimentary shuttles to Volcano Bay, guests at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort have direct access to the park via a walking path from the hotel’s Americana building.
“We know what our guests want,” said Dale Mason, vice president and executive art director for Universal Creative. “They want the thrill and excitement of our theme parks, but they also want a place where they can feel pampered. Exhilaration, excitement and relaxation — that’s what you’re going to get at Volcano Bay.”