volcano bay

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • Universal Studios Florida reveals the first official details about their new Volcano Bay waterpark.
  • Universal Studios Hollywood is making room for new theme park attractions.
  • Disney’s California Adventure is now offering special packages for their Frozen show.
  • The original Soarin‘ has been officially replaced by Soarin’ Around the World.
  • New footage from Shanghai Disneyland has arrived online.

Universal Studios Florida will never dethrone Walt Disney World as the king of the central Florida tourism market, but its goal to be a continuously aggressive and ambitious runner-up continues to go…swimmingly. Pardon the pun, but Universal’s new Volcano Bay waterpark does look incredibly impressive, both in terms of delivering an exciting thematic experience and offering up a bunch of cool rides and attractions. The video above is the first official tease of the upcoming park and we can only hope that the final version is lovely as what this tease promises us. Here’s Universal’s official description of the park:

Water is Life. Life is Joy. That is the mantra by which the fabled Waturi islanders have lived on their Pacific isle for centuries. And now you can live the Waturi way at Universal’s Volcano Bay, an all-new, adventure-drenched water theme park like no other, filled with both thrills and relaxing indulgence. Here, there’s no standing in long lines. No wrestling with tubes. No waiting for the fun to begin. Which means you spend more time drifting leisurely down a winding river, plummeting down a tropical volcano, catapulting into pools of blue water, and reconnecting with your family. All just steps away from our other theme parks, Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida, five on-site themed resort hotels, and Universal CityWalk dining, shopping and entertainment.

The Universal Orlando blog offers a ton of new information, but I found the emphasis on creating a hassle-free waterpark experience to be the most interesting. After all, even world-class waterparks can be a pain in the butt to navigate and the lines are long and inner tubes can get really heavy. I’m very, very curious how Universal plans to live up to this promise:

One of our first goals was to eliminate hassles for guests so they can focus on the fun. So we found a way to get rid of long lines. We made it so you don’t have to carry your tube. We spread amenities like dining throughout the park, so you don’t have to hike up to the front of the park for a bite to eat. And we brought the mindset of designing a world-class resort to create a water paradise.

From there, the blog goes on to describe the attractions that will be featured in each of Volcano Bay’s four themed areas.

volcano bay

First up is Krakatau, the 200-foot volcano at the center of the park that will be home to four attractions, including one that is still top secret:

  • Three distinctive body slides are found at the rear of the volcano, and each starts off with surprise doors that drop out from beneath you:
    • Ko’okiri Body Plunge: A racing, 70-degree drop that will plummet 125-feet through the center of Krakatau. It will be the world’s first slide to travel through a pool filled with guests.
    • Kala and Ta Nui Serpentine Body Slides: Two intertwining slides where you’ll fall freely along 124 twisting feet.
  • Punga Racers: A high-speed race through four different enclosed slides featuring manta-shaped mats.
  • Secret Attraction: I can’t talk about this one yet, but it’ll be like nothing else in the park.

volcano bay 2

And then there’s the Wave village, which offers more relaxing and laid-back experiences:

  • Waturi Beach: A sparkling, multi-directional wave pool where you can swim, relax on the sand or indulge in private, one- or two-story cabanas.
  • The Reef: An adjacent leisure pool with calmer waters and exciting views of riders speeding through the Ko’okiri Body Plunge.

volcano bay 3

River Village will be home to attractions for children and the entire family:

  • Kopiko Wai Winding River: A gentle, winding river that passes through the volcano’s hidden caves, featuring spontaneous water effects and a journey through the cave of starlight.
  • Tot Tiki Reef: A whimsical toddler play area with spraying Maori fountains, slides and a kid-size volcano.
  • Runamukka Reef: A three-story water playground inspired by the coral reef overflowing with twisting slides, sprinklers and more.
  • Honu: An adventurous, multi-passenger raft ride that will soar across a dual wall.
  • Ika Moana: A twisting, multi-passenger raft ride that will glide across bubbling geysers.

volcano bay 4

And finally, Rainforest Village will cater to people looking for something a bit more exciting and visceral:

  • Maku: North America’s first “saucer ride”, sending multi-passenger rafts speeding around three saucer-shaped curves.
  • Puihi: A breath-taking multi-passenger raft ride that will plunge you into darkness before bursting into a funnel and launching into a zero-gravity drop.
  • Ohyah and Ohno Drop Slides: Two twisting, adrenaline-pumping slides that launch you four- or six-feet above the water at the end.
  • TeAwa The Fearless River: An action-packed, racing torrent river where you’ll have to hang tight in your inner tube amidst roaring, whitewater rapids.
  • Taniwha Tubes: Four unique Easter Island-inspired slides with rafts for single or double riders.
  • Puka Uli Lagoon: A tranquil pool where you can swim and relax.

There is no official opening date for Volcano Bay yet, but it is expected to open sometime in 2017.

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