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The next time you’re in Orlando, add a visit to Universal’s Volcano Bay water park. It truly is the best family water park in the area.
Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Park
Volcano Bay opened in Orlando in 2017, making it one of the newest water parks in the area. The theming is, of course, built around the looming volcano at the center of the park. In fact, you can see the volcano even as you approach the water park from I-4.
The park is Hawaiian and Polynesian in nature. The colors are bright oranges, blues, and greens. Palm trees and tropical plants create lush gardens throughout the property. It’s truly a stunning tropical oasis. And while you can see the Volcano from the nearby interstate, you only see the landscaping from inside the park. Of course, if you’re climbing stairs to the taller rides, you do see the surrounding streets.
Amount of Family Rides
Have you been to a water park where you have to wait for each member of your group to get through the line, then wait for everyone at the bottom? And what about the bigger rides that the younger kids want to do, but just aren’t big enough?
What makes Volcano Bay the best family water park is the number of water rides with 4 or more places to sit. In no particular order, they are:
- Honu Ika Moana – two slides, turtle and whale, seats five.
- Krakatau Aqua Coaster – a fun coaster ride that seats four.
- Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides – two slides, seats six.
- Taniwha Tubes – two slides, double tubes
And while that last one is only meant for 2 people, you still have seven slides that you can enjoy together as a family.
Additionally, I’d count the lazy river and wave pool areas as family rides as well.
Space to Spread Out
Upon entering the water park, hundreds of lounge chairs spread out before the volcano water feature. To the right is a private lounge chair area, considered premium seating. Smaller lounge chair areas dot the rest of the park, usually near slide exit pools. These are not very crowded and give you a little more privacy.
Additionally, you can rent one of the many cabanas along the outskirts of the park.
And while there is plenty of space to spread out, I found the overall size of the park to be manageable. The park walkways are essentially one big loop around the volcano. As long as you can see it, you can orient yourself with where you’re going.
Fun for Teens and Younger Kids
Volcano Bay is the best water park for kids of all ages. Unlike some water parks that are all thrills or others that are tamer, Volcano Bay offers enough to keep every age happy. In addition to the family rides and lazy river, younger kids can play in the following:
- Tot Tiki Reef
- Puka Uli Lagoon – a relaxing pool with a lot of water features
- Waturi Beach – play in the sand along the water’s edge.
- The Reef- another poo0l that allows you to watch the body plunge slide
- Runamukka Reef – a playground full of water features.
The thrill seekers will love these:
- TeAwa Fearless River – a rapids style big wave river – lifevest required.
- Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine body slides – a trap door plunge winding down the volcano.
- Ohno & Ohyah drop slides
- Ko’okiri Body Plunge – straight shot slide.
- Punga Racers – Tobaggon style racing slides
As you can see, the variety of attractions makes this the best water park in Orlando.
Where to Stay
Staying at any of the Universal Orlando Hotels make for a quick entrance to Volcano Bay. However, the best hotel is Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort. This hotel is no more than a 10-minute walk to Volcano Bay, and often closer than that. Read my full review of Cabana Bay here. Or click here to book now.
Buy Volcano Bay Tickets
Head to Best of Orlando to get your combination Universal Orlando and Volcano Bay tickets. I recommend the 3 parks 4-day base. It gives you entry to each park and then you have an extra day to go back to your favorite. Might I suggest Volcano Bay as the best family water park??