Universal Orlando released a teaser for their new state-of-the-art water park, Volcano Bay, of which construction is well under way. There is no hard opening date at this time, but it is expected to be open to visitors in 2017 (some speculating June 2017). Once Volcano Bay opens, Universal will truly be a force to be reckoned with when it concerns Orlando Parks. The theme park has been refurbishing its attractions since the opening of Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Their brilliant immersive design for the concessions and attractions has carried over into Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios with the new and improved Incredible Hulk Coaster reopening this summer as well as the much anticipated King Kong Skull Island.
Prior to the release of the Volcano Bay renderings, water parks have been considered a dime a dozen, to most people. If you’ve been to one, you’ve been to them all. The same style, the same slides, the same atmosphere. Typhoon Lagoon, part of the Disney World parks, has nice theming but nothing quite to the level of sophistication as Volcano Bay. This park changes everything you know or expect from a water park. There will be slides. There will be water. There will be lazy rivers. But nothing quite in this fashion. Nothing that could ever come this close to transporting you to a different time and a different place.
The most breathtaking feature will be the iconic Volcano which will host various slides and will come alive throughout the day as water erupts 100 feet into the air. Universal will be using new technology as it features the advanced linear induction motor hydro-magnetic style slides as opposed to the more outdated, less effective water jets to push rafts up inclines. There will be lazy rivers and more intense rivers. There will be a lush kiddie area that keeps with the theme. Additionally, you can rent cabanas if you are one that prefers lavish relaxation instead of thrills.
What we have not received confirmation for is the possibility or likelihood of “dark” rides with advanced 3D and sensory technology, as many theme park enthusiasts are crying out for. More will be announced in the coming months as construction progresses, as shown below courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel.
Universal is surely giving Disney a run for their money. With the opening of Avatar next year, the renderings of Star Wars Land, and Toy Story Land, Universal knew they had to keep pushing the limit with immersive experiences. They also needed to create a solid new park to lure long-term visitors as opposed to only day visitors. They’re preparing for an influx in resort guests with the opening of the luxurious Loews Saphire Falls Resort and general affordability of their value resorts, like Cabana Bay. Although, you likely would not be booking a 7+ day visit at Universal Orlando, guests will soon realize that they will need more than two days to see all that the theme park has to offer.
Keep pushing farther, Universal! Competition is what Disney desperately needs at at time while prices are hiked and long-term construction and closures loom in anticipation of Star Wars Land.