Now that’s an eruption: Five HOUR waits as Universal’s Volcano Bay in Orlando opens to sound of Haka from Maori dancers


The first guests arrived Thursday morning May 25 2017 at Volcano Bay, Universal’s new water park in Orlando.

The 25-acre park opened with a South Pacific dedication ceremony featuring performances by Maori water dancers and Haka war dancers.

The climax was an eruption from the 200 foot Krakatau faux volcano which serves as the park’s centre piece.

In common with recent major theme openings there were long waits for some of the rides, some of which experienced periodic breakdowns. Waits for some of the more popular rides peaked at five hours. To add to the frustration, signature rides such as the lazy river and Krakatau Aqua Coaster were closed for parts of the day and the children’s area of the water park was not open for half of the day.

Universal spokeswoman Tom Schroder said in an email, “we know there were some opening-day glitches and we’re working hard to resolve them. We are also working especially hard to take care of our guests. We are sorry for any inconvenience we’ve caused them and we are grateful for their patience with us.”

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Volcano Bay is Universal Orlando’s third theme park. The tropical-themed park has been billed as a next-generation water park, largely because of its ride reservation system, the TapuTapu wearable, included with guest admission which allows virtual queuing.

Their bands lets users reserve times on one ride at a time, and then alerts visitors when it’s time for their ride. On opening day even after the wristbands signalled it was time to ride, people still had to queue for up to half an hour to get on board.

Taylor Strickland, editor of the Universal-focused Orlando Informer blog emailed. “once they have learned how many guests they can put through a given attraction, they’ll have the foundational key to TapuTapu’s ride return time system. They will be able to accurately distribute times without the queues ever getting too long,. I expect to see continuous improvements over each operating day, with TapuTapu being far smoother with the next two weeks.”

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The wristband offers TapTu Play experiences throughout the park enabling visitors to control streams of water spurting from whales in Tot Tiki Reef, shoot water cannons at guests snaking down Kopiko Wai Winding River, and illuminate images in the volcano’s hidden caves and more.

Visitors can make purchases throughout the park with their TapuTapu wearable, use it for interactive photo opportunities and selfie-spots and photo opportunities on Volcano Bay’s attractions.

Their wearable will automatically link those photos to their account.. After renting their lockers, visitors can access them with a touch of their TapuTapu wearable.

Volcano Bay, which opened on Wednesday for a media [review, features:

  • 30 experiences and 18 attractions
  • a multi-directional wave pool with sandy beaches,
  • a winding river,
  • twisting multi-rider raft rides
  • speeding body slides from the top of the volcano into the water
  • Themed dining locations featuring 60 South Pacific-inspired dishes ranging from jerk mahi sandwiches to fresh island chicken salad to decadent chocolate pineapple upside down cake.
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In the past seven years, 25 new experiences, themed areas, attractions, restaurants, and hotels have been added across the destination.

Universal Orlando now has 5,600 rooms across its five (soon to be six) on-site hotels.

Volcano Bay was designed by Universal Creative and combines storytelling and immersive guest experiences with technology designed to enhance the visitor experience.

  • See here for more information about Universal’s Volcano Bay.
  • Watch here interview with Dave Cole of Universal




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