My family just returned from a trip to UOR and hit Volcano Bay while we were there. There has been a lot of controversy and differing opinions about the park, so I thought I’d share our experiences.
We arrived on a Friday at 8:25 for a 9:00 early opening using the shuttle from RPR. We happened to catch the shuttle just as it arrived and were the only people on. After a stop at Sapphire Falls, we were dropped at VB.
We were literally the first people in the park at the 9:00 opening. Even though we had the pick of seats, we wanted to have a central place to keep our things, so we headed to Concierge and rented Preferred Seating and some towels (Allegiant charges for checked bags, so it was cheaper to rent than pack towels). The whole experience was seamless: everyone was incredibly helpful and process was simple.
Here are thoughts on the attractions we experienced:
Krakatau Aqua Coaster: Amazing! Not only my favorite VB attraction, but one of my top 10 in all of UOR. The park was so empty at open that the TM let us ride in the same boat four times in a row.
Ko’okiri Body Plunge: Intense, but over before you really know what’s going on. The platform drops, water hits your face, you rush down for a couple of seconds, and then you hit the pool.
Honu ika Moana: Honu (green) was faster, but ika Moana (blue) was a bit more intense. Both quite fun.
Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slide: I didn’t get to do these as I was replacing a Tapu Tapu I lost in the Fearless River, but our teenage boys thought they were OK. They said the worst part was the depth you plunge into the splash pool at the end.
Punga Racers: So much fun! You go down face-first on a mat, racing against three others. One of my favorites.
Kala Serpentine Slide: The most intense thing I rode in the park. Like Ko’okiri, but seemingly goes on forever. We were not able to do Tai Nui because it was down at the time.
Maku Puihi: Lots of fun. Kind of like Honu, but a bit more intense.
TeAwa Fearless River: We all loved this one. Floating with a life jacket was much more fun than riding in a tube.
Kopiko Wai Winding River: Like your typical lazy river except you go through the Volcano, which is pretty cool.
We had lunch at the Feasting Frog, which we all loved. The chicken tacos were amazing, my oldest son loved the steak tacos, and my wife was very impressed by the loaded nachos. Very reasonably priced, and the food was good enough that we all put it in our top 3 meals of the trip (over places like Leaky Cauldron, Cowfish, Hard Rock Cafe, etc.)
Because the park was so slow, we never had to use the Tapu Tapu to return to a slide: everything was Ride Now until we left around 2:00. We did have some problems using it to open the locker at our seats, but a TM was able to fix it quickly. I also lost mine in the Fearless River, but a TM took my ticket and got me a new one with no hassle. My oldest son’s also stopped working, so we had to go to Concierge to have it reset. Those issues made it a little frustrating, but not terrible.
A couple of observations:
You can’t possibly overestimate the number of stairs you will have to climb. For example, it is 209 steps to Ko’okiri, 200 to Kala, and then the same 200 again to do Tai Nui. My wife and I thought we were in decent shape, but it put that to the test!
The pavement can be pretty slippery in bare feet. I almost bit it a few times, so be careful walking around the park.
Others have said that the park can be hard to navigate, and I would agree. The slide names are hard to remember, and directional signage is present, but not always where you want it to be. Study the map before you go.
Overall, we were all incredibly impressed. All four of us agreed that a VB is an absolute necessity the next time we return. We were blessed with minimal crowds, so I can imagine how it might be a different experience if the park is packed. If you’re going during the slow season, I would whole-heartedly recommend giving it a go!!