Travel Tuesday: Volcano Bay expansion rumors even before it opens


In a few short days, Universal’s Volcano Bay opens to much fanfare. Even before the first guests swipe their Tapu Tapu, Volcano Bay expansion rumors are rampant.

Volcano Bay is Universal’s highly anticipated water park. As the volcano has taken shape along I-4, Universal fans, Orlando residents, and theme park enthusiasts have counted down days to the opening, which officially remains May 25.

But even before guests plunge down the water coasters, Volcano Bay expansion rumors are growing.

Universal has cornered the market on special immersive experiences. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Diagon Alley bring guests into the Harry Potter world. Each and every detail is authentic to the book’s vision. With the company’s expansion into a water park, everyone is expecting another impressive, immersive experience.

The new Volcano Bay has a strong storyline. Volcano Bay is a South Pacific-inspired venue with Polynesian accents. The park seems to have two stories. One is the Waturi legend and the other is the creation of Krakatau. Both stories weave together to create the total Volcano Bay experience.

Waturi family welcomes guests to a South Pacific adventure.

The water park welcomes its guests as a member of the Waturi family, the group who call Volcano Bay home. According to several reports, Volcano Bay doesn’t have traditional turnstiles or park entrance. Guests enter through a transitional area where park attendees greet them and gift them the Tapu Tapu wearable.

Similar to the technology of a “Magic Band,” the Tapu Tapu offers guests a virtual line. But it also offers interactive features throughout the park. From revealing drawings inside caves to interactive elements, this wristband is a first for Universal. Don’t become too attached to it though, because the Tapu Tapu returns when guests leave the park.

Until the doors open to Volcano Bay, guests eagerly anticipate the park’s special effects. From a volcano spurting lava to the fury of Vol, guests may need a couple visits to appreciate all the nuances. Return visits are key to the park’s success.

Could a bigger Volcano Bay already be in the works?

Believing that this park will solidify Universal’s hold on the I-4 entertainment corridor, the creative team has dropped expansion hints. In the recent CNN profile, Universal executives mentioned that potential expansion could be already planned. Like many Universal projects, the creative team seems to have a full vision in place. The available five acres could add a few more rides or some elaborate interactive experience. With Universal, the more imaginative possibilities are within their realm.

Volcano Bay looks like it will become a huge hit for Universal. While it hasn’t opened yet, many season pass holders paid an expensive upgrade to include the third theme park. Guests at property hotels have been posting photos and videos of trial runs. Crowds for the summer could be quite high.

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Obviously, given the anticipation and reception, Universal would be remiss for not considering a Volcano Bay expansion. But who would have thought expansion could happen before the grand opening?