You can check out our Orlando experience live and in living color on our YouTube Channel! Warning the first three minutes is good for a laugh at our anniversary misfortune! Link directly to the video right here!
We’re absolutely certain that if you looked at the title of this post laid out next to everything else on our site you’d be very confused. One thing is not like the others, that’s for sure.
Theme parks in all their variations are not really our scene. To be entirely honest with you, we have a hard imagining what draws hundreds of thousands of people every summer to miles of roasting asphalt covered ground, to eat cheap food, wait in lines, and listen to children scream. But we also believe in full earnest in the old adage, “don’t knock it till you try it”. So this year for our 12th wedding anniversary we thought we’d give it a try! And in truth, it wasn’t all that bad.
For our “Orlando” experience we chose to visit Universal’s newest theme/ waterpark Volcano Bay. It was a two part decision, 1) since this was the last stop on a 3 day whirlwind trip that also included Ginnie Springs, and Devils Den, we were short on time and didn’t want to spend tons of money 2) It was summer, summer is hot, waterparks are cool.
On a scale of 1-10 we’re agreed that our experience at Volcano Bay was a solid 7.
Here’s how we came to that decision:
Cost: For a day pass it cost us BLANK per person. We asked about discounts and were told that because the park was so new ( only a month old when we went) that there were no discounts available. For the value and the experience we both felt, that while we had a blast that perhaps this park would have been a better add on to a park hopping pass for the cost rather than buying solo tickets to Volcano Bay.
Our total costs for our visit (excluding lodging) was $175 here’s the breakdown:
- Tickets:$67 (per person)
- Parking: $20 for the day (included the bus ride to the park)
- Food: $13 (for some really not great tacos)
- Locker ( we opted for the smallest size): $8
The Experience: One of Volcano Bay’s huge selling points is their, “no waiting in line approach” when you come into the park you are immediately handed an iwatch looking device they call a “Tapu Tapu” the idea is pretty simple, outside of each ride there are kiosks where you can “check-in” to your ride, you just swipe your Tapu Tapu over the scanner and are given a wait time for the ride that shows up on the screen on your wrist. Pretty neat, unless the wait time says 410 minutes (yep). We started our day when the park opened so there were plenty of ride that were labeled, “ride now”- no swiping, no waiting just head on up, we managed to get most of the rides in this way before the park got really crowded. But the big surprise, is you still have to wait in lines, shorter lines yes but on average after waiting however many minutes to get the, “Ride now” message on our Tapu’s we still had to wait an average of 15-30 minutes in line to actually ride the rides.
Our Favorite Ride: Hands down, no arguing we are 100% agreed on the Aqua Coaster. Dj says it defies the laws of Gravity, whatever that means! All I know is we couldn’t stop our ridiculous giggling throughout the entire ride, because it was so much fun. Apparently everyone else liked it too because when we tried to ride it again the wait time was pushing 500 minutes!
The Food: The park’s website makes it abundantly clear that there is a strict “no coolers” rule in place, little did we know that didn’t mean you can’t bring in your own food. So we opted to just buy food in the park. There’s no shortage of dining options in the park from the basics ( hot dogs, chicken fingers and snow cones) to the fancier options ( poke bowls, tacos, and several bars). I wish we had just stuck to the regular old crappy theme park food, but we were totally seduced by the giant sign that said “tacos”, and like the suckers we are we opted to split their 3 taco combo. Another thing we both agreed on immediately, theses were probably the worst tacos we’ve ever eaten. Do yourself a favor if you go, eat a hot dog!
Was it at the end of the day still just a theme park, yes.
But we had a ton of fun, and have zero regrets about giving it a try. In fact after talking to a very nice family while waiting in line for the aqua coaster that we’re going to go back in the fall/ winter and try one of the bigger parks. Harry Potter World, anyone?
Do you do Disney? We have it on good authority that if we try more of the bigger parks we’ll be pleasantly surprised by our experiences there. Tell us what you think! Also if you’ve got any tips for getting more out of our experiences in Orlando LET US KNOW!
Happy Travels Venture Crew!!