Volcano Bay Express Pass - worth it?

We are going to Volcano Bay on Sat April 8, day before Easter. Crowd levels forecasts are 10 and 9 for Univ and IOA respectively. We have never been to VB so have no idea what to expect in terms of crowds, so are seriously considering buying Express Pass Plus, but they are ridiculously expensive - $140 pp, almost twice the cost of park admission at $80. Will we find the Express Pass worth it, or would we be able to get on most attractions without it on a busy day? Also, can we wait and buy the Express Pass as an add on in the park once we see crowd levels?

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Express Pass at VB is VITAL on busy days. I rarely buy UXP for the other parks, but it’s a must there.

If you’ve never been or used the Tapu Tapu system it’s great, but on very busy days it can’t handle the crowds. Buying UXP eliminates that.

If you have questions, I’ll elaborate later!

VB is my favorite water park in America!

The price of the pass will go up as the date approaches!! It is based on demand. I’ve had the price go up $50 each after waiting only 2 days!

A $200+ cost is not uncommon on busy dates


How does Express Pass work with Tapu Tapu? Can I use Tapu Tapu early in the day when lines are short on popular rides like Krakatau and Moana and save the EP for later in the day for a 2nd ride?

Hi! I saw your question,been super busy today!! Will try to get to it in the morning!!

It’s a long answer!!

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Good morning!!!

Yes! Even if you buy a VB UXP before you visit through the Universal App it’s not “automatically” applied to your Tapu Tapu device. You have to take ALL your Tapu Tapu devices and all your purchased VB UXP passes to one of the Concierge desks at the front of the park to have the UXP turned on.

I would even recommend waiting to activate them until you’ve been there a bit because a lot of people are going to rush to those desks. It’s where you rent cabanas, towels & etc… A lot of people want to do all that before starting their day. I recommend go have fun for an hour or so and then come back with less wait.

So… when you arrive go find your chair spots, get your lockers, put on sunblock & etc…then go hit up Krakatau first. The wait on that will never go down only insanely higher!!!

Try to get a couple rides on slides with Ride Now or 10 minute waits before activating the pass.

One more thing… there are two different UXP available for VB… Do not buy the cheap one!!! It doesn’t not include the most popular slides

I’m going to copy & paste the section of my August trip report where I talk about VB and the UXP.

Volcano Bay

Tapu Tapu is still a great idea!! However, frequently, the rides in the park when it’s busy are 75 - 240+ minutes.

Then when it’s your turn to go you get in line with like 0 - 6 other people. I had multiple times we were the only people in the queue when we entered. I get that it’s supposed to make your wait easy when you return, but how can there be a 150 minute wait and no one in the queue? (Actual example)

Maybe it’s because they don’t require you to return until you are ready? Meaning there are 150 minutes worth of passes issued?? If so, they need to adjust it. (valid for up to one hour after your return time??)

OMG am I glad we bought the Express Pass!! I paid $99 / person for the one that included ALL the attractions once. If you are getting the pass, just upgrade!! You will regret not getting the aqua coaster with the cheaper pass. It’s usually about $30 more / person

TIP - Do not link your Express Pass to your Tapu Tapu when you enter!! The reason is you start using your one ride per attraction Express Pass on the first ride. If you go to Early Park Admission you will be able to ride Krakatu Aqua Coaster at least once along with The “trap door” slides in the volcano and Oh Yea! / Oh No! slides.

Do all your Early Park Admission with low / no wait slides and then go to the any of the Concierge Desks to activate your Tapu Tapu to being using your Express Pass (UXP)

oing this allowed DD & I to ride Krakatu 3 times that day. (1 at start of EPA, 45 min. wait immediately afterwards, UXP) The attraction posted “Ride Full” around 2pm for a park closing at 7pm.

It was her favorite! We both agree though that it’s not worth a 100+ minute wait to sacrifice riding anything else other than lazy/fearless river and wave pool

Express Pass Set-Up

I’ve had issues so far this year buying add passes / add-ons for other people. The tickets link fine. However, it always requires each member of your party be present and have their app / ID ready. I had my phone, but she had left hers back at our lockbox. (Still using it w/ no issues!)
So, she didn’t have either ID or App…

I’m glad they are being careful about issuing the pass, but I’m the guy who paid. I have my ID, the credit card, my app showing it all linked. :roll_eyes: :man_shrugging:

This happened when I wanted to convert my HHN dated tickets to Rush of Fear Passes. I was on hold with Guest Services for an hour because we had to keep going back & forth.

We got it done, but it took getting a more experienced person and removing her “purchasing privileges” from Tapu Tapu. (We were together all day and I was buying everything anyway it didn’t matter. It could be an issue for someone else)

Volcano Bay is so pretty, but a maze!! This is was my third trip and I still only “kinda” know where most things are. I had to ask directions all day. There are no park maps / display boards with “You’re Here” on them or paper maps. There are some signs that will get you in the right direction, but some ride entrances are tucked back a bit.

I have gone barefoot on my previous trips earlier in the year. I didn’t account for the heat and concrete. VB sprays the grounds all day, but it only helps. When it’s mid-90’s you will find it awful to walk through, I’ll be buying water shoes for my next visits. (even though it’s going to be slightly cooler, I don’t want to risk it again!) You can store the shoes at the bottom of the slides in like nets / baskets.

VB Pros

I only drink on vacation. The cocktails at VB are the strongest and consistently well made. I have had multiple drinks in the other parks and the never feel like they have much alcohol. At $15 + tip per drink I want to get a little buzzed. I love all the drinks here

Don’t miss out on Vol inside the Volcano! Always a special treat that they “don’t have” to do!

I highly recommend going, but unless you genuinely only want to ride 4 slides you need to plan a full day here!

Here’s a link to more detail about activating the passes:


Thank you so much for providing this info. A great public service :slightly_smiling_face:

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Hi. Yes this is really helpful information. I was wondering about this, as we will be going to Volcano bay in August and thinking of getting this express pass. Thanks!

There was one other question about volcano bay express pass that I was hoping someone could answer.

Do you know if an express pass allows you to ride (i) both raft rides (ii) both mona rides and (iii) both Taniwha Tube rides? Or do you just get to ride one of the raft rides, one mona ride and one Taniwha tube?

We would be getting the cheaper express pass (as the children wouldn’t be brave enough for the body/ drop slides). If you can ride both of the raft, mona and Taniwha rides it means the pass gets you on 8 rides. However if you can only go the raft, Mona and Taniwha once, it means you only get 5 rides with the pass (which isn’t the best value!).

Hope that makes sense?

Many thanks


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You can ride each slide once, including both sides of each of the rides you mentioned. They are listed separately in the fine print. I think it’s a great value for those who don’t mind missing out on the “scary” slides!

From UOR’s website:

The 1-Park Universal Express PLUS Pass entitles one (1) guest one (1) time express ride access at ALL participating rides and attractions within Universal’s Volcano Bay.

Regular Express Pass:

Skip the Virtual Lines at SELECT participating rides and attractions at Universal’s Volcano Bay. One use per participating attraction. The Volcano Bay Express Pass is valid for one person per calendar day and is not valid for admission to Volcano Bay.


  • Krakatau Aqua Coaster
  • Punga Racers
  • Maku of Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides
  • Puihi of Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides
  • Honu of Honu ika Moana
  • ika Moana of Honu ika Moana
  • Tonga of Taniwha Tubes
  • Raki of Taniwha Tubes


  • Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides
  • Ko’okiri Body Plunge
  • Ohyah of Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides
  • Ohno of Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides

Just wanted to point out that the Krakatau aqua coaster IS included with the cheaper pass. It’s the drop slides and serpentine body slides that are not included.


@darkmite2 @bebe80 @Tall_Paul1 I just called to inquire about Premium Seating for VB and it was $212+ just for one set of two loungers! Yikes. I think it was more like $80 last time I was there in 2021 (prices are date-specific but it was the same time of year and day of week. The pandemic is over from a tourism perspective).

Anyway, so where is there free shaded / covered seating? Are any of the chairs loungers, or are they all upright beach chairs? TIA!

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I can show you where the free “Shade Structures” are.

(Not totally sure about the beach chairs, but I think most of them are loungers, which of course some small percentage {spread out} have umbrellas).

There are 3 of them at Waturi Beach:

3 at Hammerhead Beach and 2 right near the volcano:

copied, pasted, & edited from another post


Thanks! Looks like most of the chairs are loungers except the rows right next to the beach.

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I grab a spot at the first set @bebe80 pictured - near Waturi Baech

Easiest way to find it is to enter the park and go left. Once you go past the first set of gift shops, the next right is where you turn to go to the section of beach you want. It will be all the way to the left, but you should be able to see it easily.

There is a way that is "faster, but not by much and using the gift shop as a landmark will help you better. (If you see the lockers & bathrooms on your left you may have gone past your entry point. It’s still in that general area though, so either back track or look for your next way on your right to get to the beach)

Personally, I prefer the section of covered seating to the farthest to the left. (It’s the easiest access point IME) The one in the middle has a speaker that plays great relaxing music, but it’s too loud in that area to nap or stay too long.


That’s a nice change! It wasn’t included last August when I bought it…


That’s weird - I’m pretty sure it was included in May 2021. :thinking: I wonder if they removed it temporarily?

I could be wrong, but I swear I upgraded to make sure that DD got to go on it… :man_shrugging:

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As you can see those free shaded structures are awesome. I’m a water-loving sun-phobic redhead so I have an expert eye on shade.

We preferred the ones (Hammerhead?) at the entrance to the fast river because daughter adored it and could ride round and round and round. So, us parents could rest while she did that. Since it is in the back of the park, it wasn’t open for early entry which meant we could ride the Krata. coaster several times with our stuff dumped a random place, then got the primo chairs.