As a professional travel writer, galavanting around the world in search of picture perfect beaches and mysterious volcanoes is kind of my thing. But can I let you in on a little secret? Sometimes I like to get that breezy South Pacific feeling without the accompanying jet lag!
That’s why I was counting the days until Universal’s Volcano Bay opened—I mean, who wouldn’t want to spend a day at a far-flung paradise that’s actually really easy to get to? I recruited my sister as exploration partner, threw some SPF in a beach bag and set out to experience Universal Orlando’s new water theme park for the very first time.
The most convenient (and effortless) way to live that Volcano Bay life is to stay at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort. It’s right next door, so you can wander over first thing in the morning for Early Park Admission (no ground transportation or parking needed!) and you’ll have your pick of where to set up for the day.
We had everything we needed for our girls’ day on the island: sunscreen, sunglasses, cute cover-ups—but we forgot our sassy hats and beach towels. Whoops! We found some super cute hat options just inside the park entrance at Waturi Marketplace, and we rented towels too. Easy as can be, even if you’re forgetful!
We wanted to be in the midst of the island experience, so we chose seats on Waturi Beach, facing the towering Krakatau Volcano. It’s probably the most central spot in the park with easy access to the wave pool, attractions and restaurants — plus it’s one epic photo backdrop, am I right?
How did water parks work before TapuTapu? Trust me, once you use your waterproof wearable, you’ll ask yourself the same thing. We set up our accounts before arrival and connected a credit card so we wouldn’t have to carry any money during the day. Trust me, it’s hard to find a safe place to store cash in a bikini!
We also rented a locker for everything we didn’t want to leave at our seats while lazing about on the Kopiko Wai Winding River or frolicking in the wave pool. I loved the convenience of not having to haul around our belongings during the day, not to mention, TapuTapu opens your locker too! Every time we wanted to eat (MUST TRY: Pulled Pork Sliders with Pineapple), snack (MUST TRY: Waturi Fusion ice cream) or drink (MUST TRY: Toasted Coconut Pineapple), we just tapped our TapuTapu and that was it. So, so easy. (Must show valid Photo ID to purchase alcoholic beverages.)
Take note, if your little sister/traveling companion is a big spender like mine, you can set spending limits on your TapuTapu.
Now that the TapuTapu has changed the game, I can’t imagine ever standing in a long line for a slide, carrying cash or hauling a tube up 10 flights of stairs ever again!
Now if the TapuTapu just worked at the DMV…
Exploring tropical islands can make a girl thirsty, so after baking in the sun and cruising around on the TeAwa Fearless River for a bit, we dipped into Dancing Dragons to try a few signature drinks. They were super refreshing and light—not too syrupy sweet—and they come in a pretty souvenir glass you can take home.
Confession time: once we’d ordered our colorful drinks and settled into our chairs on the soft sand of Waturi Beach, island time washed over us. We were content to sip our drinks while mist from the waterfalls kept us cool. We’ve saved Volcano Bay’s wildest thrills for our next visit.
Mighty Krakatau, we’re coming for you!
Ready to plan your Volcano Bay vacation? Everything you need is right here.
Must be 21 years and older with valid identification to purchase or drink alcoholic beverages.