Volcano Bay: What to know about parking, tickets, crowds

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Volcano Bay at Universal Studios opens Thursday, and crews are hard at work to make sure everything is ready.

Channel 9's Sarahbeth Ackerman found out a few things to know before visiting the park.


It will cost $20 to park at Universal and then be bused over to the water park.

"It's going to be sort of a bummer to say I gotta get on a bus, in a fiberglass seat, after I've been getting on slides and getting wet,” said Rick Munarriz, with The Motley Fool.

Parking will shared with Universal, Islands of Adventure and Volcano Bay.


The water park will be crowded, especially as curious locals and tourists jam in for the summer. But when it comes to drawing truly large crowds, water parks in general don't pull in the really big numbers.

Disney's Magic Kingdom pulls in about 21 million people a year.

Typhoon Lagoon sees about 2.3 million visitors.

"There's seasonality to this. Obviously no one, at least not locally, wants to go to a water park in December or January or February. But there's also limited appeal to a water park experience,” Munarriz said.


Volcano Bay's Tapu Tapu wristbands are what will set the park apart from its competitors, Munarriz said.

The waterproof bands, which are handed out upon entry, notify visitors when it's their turn to ride rides. They also send alerts when there are weather delays.

"The idea is really freedom, so you don't have to stand in a queue and sort of wait your turn," said Chris Crayner, the park's chief digital officer. "You can explore the property, and it will tell you when it's your time to come back."

Visitors can also link their credit cards to an account associated with the wristbands so they can buy meals and beverages without having to carry a wallet or retrieve one from lockers.

The information can be saved for future visits, Crayner said.

Volcano Bay is expected to remain open until 10 p.m.

The park is also catering to a more adult palate for food and drinks. It will have more than 60 meal options designed to appeal more to grownup audiences.