Destination & Tourism
Volcano Bay: A High-Tech Splash at Universal’s New ‘Water Theme Park’
Photo courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort
Universal Orlando Resort is set to unveil Volcano Bay in early 2017. On the surface, it looks like a highly themed waterpark, and you wouldn't be wrong with that line of thinking. Only, it's more than just your typical waterpark, once you dive down beneath the surface.
In fact, Universal Orlando is creating a new term for the park: A Water Theme Park. While that sounds like a new buzzword, Universal's Volcano Bay is set to change the way that world looks at water parks.
At the heart of the park is Krakatau, the namesake volcano of Volcano Bay. While many other parks would build around the volcano, or even send you through it, guests will get to travel around it, in it, under it and through it. From the death-defying drop through the center of the volcano, to the newly announced Krakatau Aqua Coaster, Universal is pushing boundaries with technology in and around the volcano.
For starters, there's the aforementioned aqua coaster, a new waterslide unlike anything else in Florida. The slide will take up to four riders in a canoe as it races through canyons, up hills and through the volcano.
Wait... up hills? On a waterslide? Yes!
The Coaster will use Linear Induction Motors to propel riders through the huge course. While other local slides use water jets to do this, Volcano Bay is the only park in Florida that will use magnetic motors one water slide. These are the same motors that Universal uses to propel their coaster, Revenge of the Mummy through the dark next door at Universal Studios.
Underneath the volcano will be a series of caves, full of light and features that come to life at your very touch using a new technology developed by Universal Orlando.
Then there's the Volcano itself. Krakatau will be mythical by nature. By day it will spout water, and by night it will shoot fire! OK, not really fire, but it will certainly look like it.
The volcano will use amazing new LED technology to bring flames to life in this water-filled volcano. Guests at the neighboring hotels are in for a spectacular view when the sun goes down.
Also new to Volcano Bay is TapuTapu. It's a mysterious force that will make the lines disappear, and the area surrounding the parks come to life. Okay, so it's not so much a mysterious force as it is a new technology that will make the park queueless and interactive. Once guests arrive in the park, they be given TapuTapu, a bracelet that looks like a tropical souvenir.
Guests will use the bracelet to “tap in” at the rides they want to ride. Once they tap in, they are free to explore the park as they wait in a virtual line. As the ride time gets closer, guests will feel TapuTapu vibrate, and a screen will display a countdown until their ride time. When it's time, guests will go to the ride and check in.
Another feature of TapuTapu — guests will be able to interact with surrounding attractions and features. From water shooting whales to cannons there will be a lot of ways to interact with the land around the park. The caves underneath the Volcano will also hold special secrets that are only activated using TapuTapu.
The park is being designed to take the hassles that most people dislike about water parks out of the equation. One more way that guests will be able to play hassle free will be with the way that mats and rafts will be taken from ride to ride. If there's an attraction that requires a mat or raft, it will be lifted up to the attraction on a conveyor or elevator. All you have to do is show up and ride!
Tickets for the new Water Theme Park will go on sale on Nov. 15. A grand opening date and more details are sure to follow.
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