Attractions, Guides and Tips

Guide to Our Favorite Water Rides at Universal Orlando Resort

July 3, 2023
A view of a full raft floating on Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges. Surrounding the raft, made to look like it was made of wood, which has netting between each pair of seats, a plastic circular center, and turquoise linings, are crashing waves. Behind a gate, made to look like logs of wood, is a pipe, spouting water onto the guests in the raft. The front of a boat can be seen on the far left of the photo. A wall made of blue rocks stands in the background. It appears to be sunny outside, where the photo was taken.

If you’ve visited Universal Orlando Resort before, particularly in the summer, then you know all too well the importance of sprinkling some water rides throughout your day to beat the Florida heat. Luckily, from raging rapids to lazy rivers, there is no shortage of rides and experiences at the resort that are sure to make a big splash on your vacation. So grab your poncho (or not — it is Florida after all!) and let’s dive into my favorite wet and wild attractions at Universal Orlando Resort.

ISLANDS OF ADVENTURE

Universal Islands of Adventure is known for its iconic water rides in Toon Lagoon and Jurassic Park, but I prefer a little bit of a warm up before I charge straight into the soak zone. I like to start my day in Marvel Super Hero Island, swinging through the city on The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man. But beware, Hydro-Man is not to be underestimated — he won’t hold back as he blasts you with water while facing off against our favorite web-slinger.

A blond kid standing in front of the exit gate for One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. There is an empty red fish vehicle on the other side of the gate, made to look like it's smiling with its eyes closed. The background is otherwise blurry.

If I’m still not quite ready to get soaked but want to cool off, I like to take a spin on One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish over in Seuss Landing. Glide through the fountains as jets of water spray in time to the music. Since you control how high your fish flies, you can choose exactly how wet you’d like to get on this ride, so it’s perfect for any kind of Florida weather.

A yellow raft from Jurassic River Adventure full of guests, surrounded by a massive splash of water. The raft has black lining, a red number nine with a white border, and text "Jurassic Park" in white against a black rectangle with a white border, which sits on top of a red circle with a white border and a black dinosaur silhouette in the center.

I don’t know about you, but I think it’s time to ramp up our water ride action. Get ready for some T.rex-treme fun on Jurassic Park River Adventure! From the moment you step onto the raft to the final splashdown, this ride is sure to leave you soaked, thrilled, and ready for more.

PRO TIP: To beat the crowds and make the most of your adventure, try and fit this ride into your morning or evening.

Four people stand while wringing out their shirts in front of a shack shop near Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges. They are all wearing sunglasses. From left to right: a woman in a gray GAP shirt with Snoopy on it, black shorts, and red flip flops; a woman in a white shirt with a red Mario Kart logo and racetrack design, black leggings, and tan flip flops; a woman in a plan black shirt, black leggings with a star pattern, and tan flip flops. a man in a red-and-white baseball cap, black shirt, red shorts, and black-and-red flip flops. The shack behind them is made to look like it's wooden, and sells various pieces of Popeye and Universal merchandise. There is the backside of a sign, with seaweed, a crab, and a starfish on it.  There are trees visible in the background, in front of a blue sky with a few clouds. The ground is seemingly made of concrete, and wet footsteps can be seen leading up to the group in the photo. A yellow backpack with black adjustable bands is partially visible on the bottom right.
@danidemarco

Our next stop: Toon Lagoon, home to two top-tier water rides, Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls and Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges (try saying those names five times fast!). No matter which one you choose to ride first, both are sure to get you soaked!

A red-and-yellow log-style boat full of guests after going down the hill on Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls. There is a massive splash of water on either side of the vehicle. From front to back in the log, there is a woman in a purple button-up shirt, a woman in a yellow shirt, a man in a green polo, and a man in a blue shirt. All four have their mouths open, smiling. Behind them is the hill they just came down, surrounded by the attraction's building. There are two waterfalls, surrounded by a cartoon-style house, with various signs, and mountain-like structures. The sky is blue, with a few clouds.

Board your log for a rip-roaring adventure on Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls, where you become a Volunteer Mountie on a quest to rescue Nell Fenwick from the dastardly villain Snidely Whiplash. On my last visit to the lagoon, I visited my friend who works at the ride, and she shared one of her favorite insider secrets: pay close attention as you approach the end of the ride, because every log that plummets down the 75-foot Final Drop sets off a unique combination of audio and visual effects at the TNT Shack, perfect for riding over and over again!

The watery fun doesn’t stop there! As I explore the comic-lined streets, I love stopping by all of the cute photo spots so I can capture the evidence that you really do get SOAKED on the Toon Lagoon attractions. Keeping an eye out for Popeye and Olive Oyl roaming the land to maybe snap a few pics with the power couple, it’s time to head over to our next destination, the water ride that doesn’t hold back: Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges. As you make your way through the queue, be sure to keep an eye out for all kinds of fun hidden details and heed the signs that warn you to “be prepared”… you WILL get soaked, as seen with these before and after shots of me and some other Universal interns.

A collage of two photos of the same three people. From left to right in both photos: A woman in a Jaws T-shirt, a woman with sunglasses on her head, a flower earring in her visible left ear, a shell necklace, and a blue tank top, and a woman in a dark-blue-light-pink-and-white jacket, wearing a football T-shirt, holding her left hand up in a thumbs up. In the top photo, they are dry and smiling in front of a sign made of a boat reading "Bilge-Rat Barges" in yellow. A figure of a cartoon character in red sits on top of a warning sign, fishing. On the character's fishing line is a sign made to look wooden that reads "Wait Time: 0 1 5 Minutes," though the first two letters of "minutes" are cut off. The entrance sign with a clock sits behind the character. There is a barn-like shack behind the entrance, and a shack selling merchandise with  a wooden sign on its roof to the trio's left. There is a blue sign on top of the wooden sign, with white text that is too hard to fully determine. The sky is clear, with only a couple clouds. The bottom photo shoes the same three women at the ride's exit, this time drenched with water. They are all smiling still, but with more shocked expressions than before. The woman on the right gives another thumbs up. In this photo, the white polka dots on the shirt of the woman in the center are more clear than above, and she is no longer wearing the sunglasses on her head. Behind them is a silver staircase behind a gate with a piped border reading "exit only," and the bottom of a building. The narrow exit from the ride, which is lit up from the ceiling, is also visible.

As you board your barge to take on the rapids, you can feel the anticipation in the air. Suddenly, you’re hurtling down the river, twisting and turning through caves and under waterfalls. No one is spared from the crashing waves splashing us from all directions. By the time you disembarked, it will probably look like you had been swimming in the lagoon instead of sailing through it. This is definitely one that you’ll want to wear sandals and easy-drying clothes for. But if you do find yourself wanting to dry off quicker, family dryer machines are located near the exit of the attraction.

Even once you’ve been on all of the water rides, there’s still more aquatic fun to discover. One of my favorite hidden gems to beat the heat on a day in Islands of Adventure is a trek through Camp Jurassic. Explore the prehistoric playground, traveling through dark caves and scaling dinosaur capture nets. Keep an eye out for water-shooting geysers and surprise sprays from Dilophosaurus water-blasters. One of my favorite Universal memories is the all-out water fight my friends and I had in Camp Jurassic on a late summer night! We were drenched to the bone but we didn’t mind at all as we let loose and felt like kids at heart.

Click here to listen to our Guide to Water Rides at Universal Island of Adventure episode on the Discover Universal Podcast!

VOLCANO BAY

Of course, any ride at our water theme park is perfect for beating the heat, but these highlights can’t be missed!

A group of four inside of a purple raft with yellow borders, going down a green water slide. From front to back in the raft: a woman in a pink, long-sleeve top, with her mouth open mid-scream, not wearing shoes; a woman with clothes blocked by the woman in front, leaning forward; a boy wearing purple swim trunks, screaming; and a man with clothes blocked by the boy in front, with his mouth open. The slide begins as a tube, before opening up to a standard slide structure. To its left is a palm tree, and in the background are various tubes, and staircases.

The Krakatau Aqua Coaster is the crown jewel of the volcano, with promising twists, turns, and LOTS of water. Rightfully so, this is one of the most popular rides at Volcano Bay, so be sure to reserve your place in the Virtual Line with your complimentary TapuTapu band as soon as you arrive at the park. Then, I love to relax in the Kopiko Wai Winding River or brave the waves at Waturi Beach while I wait.

A woman and girl hugging while laying inside of an inflated tube in a pool, with splashes of water surrounding them. The pair each have a smile on their faces. The girl is wearing what is seemingly a patterned bathing suit. The woman's clothes are covered up by the girl. They are both wearing turquoise TapuTapu bands. The woman has an earring in her visible left ear. The inflatable tube has a yellow pattern on it. Behind the pair, over the pool they are in, is a brown bridge with a gate on the side, and a person walking across it. In front of it are two sticks of bamboo, seemingly connected by a wire, with a light in seemingly a net hanging off of one of them. Surrounding the pool are various plants and palm trees. The sky is blue and sunny, with a hint of a single cloud.

While I love the relaxing vibes that Volcano Bay brings, one of my personal must-dos is a voyage (or two… or three) through the churning rapids of TeAwa The Fearless River. Imagine a lazy river, but up the thrill factor about 100 notches. I love weightlessly floating through the heart of the volcano, bobbing along on the choppy waves with the help of the required life vest. Tucked away in Rainforest Village, you won’t be able to miss the laughter and cries of excitement from the other intrepid voyagers gliding down the river.

A man in brown, floral swim trunks sliding out of a purple water slide, with his hands raised in a letter V shape over his head. Under him is what looks like a waterfall, flowing out of the slide, into a pool below. The blue pool has a wall of mossy rocks behind it. At the bottom of the rocks is a tile pool wall, with a sign reading "10 f.t. 0 i.n." a hexagon shape, with text too blurry to decipher, and text "3 point 0 M." There is a striped strip across the pool wall at the bottom, under the white tiles with text.
@kevinabe13

And of course, Volcano Bay has no shortage of spiraling and spinning water slide adventures! Whether you want to feel like you’re surfing sea turtles and whales on Honu of the Honu ika Moana, or seeking the heart pounding thrills of the Ko’okiri Body Plunge, the vast variety of slides will have you screaming and laughing in delight! If you’re looking for a little competition to spice up your day, check out the Punga Racers, where you can race your friends through winding tunnels. And of course, you can’t miss taking a plunge on Ohno and Ohyah, which drop you up to six feet above the refreshing pool below. With over 21 different slides and attractions, you can choose your ultimate water ride adventure at Volcano Bay, making it perfect for both thrill-seekers and families of all ages.

UNIVERSAL’S CABANA BAY BEACH RESORT

Three people, all in various bathing suits covered by their tubes or each other, lounging and smiling in inflatable tubes in a pool. From front to back, the tubes are green-and-white, pink, and blue-and-green. Water splashes around the trio, the outer two of whom are men and the center of whom is a woman. There is a wall of rocks to the trio's left, with two visible rows of blue tiles, with yellow and red riles sprinkled across it. Water is falling from the top of the rocks. To the right of the rocks are various plants and palm trees. Behind the plants is a white building with mostly light turquoise curtained windows, with a few reds, yellows, whites, and blues sprinkled throughout. Silver text on the top of the building, above the windows, reads "The" in blocky font and "Americana" in a cursive-like font. The sky is blue with a few clouds.

The fun doesn’t have to dry up when you leave the theme parks! A relaxing outing to The Lazy River Courtyard, featuring a sparkling swimming pool, a waterslide, winding lazy river, and sandy beach, is a must-do for guests staying at Cabana Bay Beach Resort. While Cabana Bay is the only Universal resort hotel with a lazy river, you’ll find resort-style pools at all the UOR hotels, perfect for beating the heat whether you’re taking a quick dip before hitting the parks or relaxing after a long day of adventure.

So grab your sunscreen and sandals — we’ll leave the choice to bring a poncho up to you — and set sail on your water ride adventure!

What’s your favorite way to beat the heat at Universal Orlando Resort? Tell us in the comments below or social media.

Epic in your Inbox

Never miss a thrill. Subscribe now to get email updates from Universal Parks & Resorts.

Share
Facebook Share on Facebook X Share on X / Twitter Pinterest Share on Pinterest

You Might Also Like


No Comments

Leave a Reply