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Visiting Universal's Volcano Bay with Toddlers and Preschoolers

What to do at Universal's Volcano bay water park if you have little kids (toddlers or preschoolers) who aren't tall enough for the 42 inch height requirement.  Great info on the attractions and rides they CAN ride and the secrets behind the park to be on the lookout for. This summer we took a fabulous trip down to Universal Orlando Resort, which included an excursion to the recently opened Volcano Bay Water Park. The park was amazing and my older kids had so much fun.  The water coasters and slides were thrilling and they couldn't ride them enough.   But those rides were too big for my preschooler.
01 Universal s Volcano Bay Waturi Beach and Krakatau Volcano Low Res tcm70 62503
Before the trip, I had been reading though the information about the park and I was nervous about how much there would be for my 4 year old to do. Most of the reviews and information I found talked about the big headliner slides and rides which all had 42 inch height requirements, but he was only 40 inches.

Universal’s own website doesn’t even list a single “Kids Play Area” for Volcano Bay.  It didn’t sound very promising.04 Ohyah and Ohno Drop Slides Low Res tcm70 62513 Fortunately, when we actually visited, we found out there was PLENTY for a preschooler to do, and he was easily entertained the entire day.  So for anyone traveling with littles and are curious about how exactly to plan for a trip to Volcano Bay, I thought I would share our experiences.
14 Volcano Bay Entrance Low Res tcm70 62527

What can little kids (under 42 inches) do at Universal’s Volcano Bay? 

Under 48 requires lifevest Volcano BayThere are quite a few attractions geared specifically towards little kids in the park.  None of these required swimming skills or even a life jacket.

Tot Tiki Reef and Runnamukka Reef: These parts of the park actually have a restriction for MAXIMUM height (kids could not be higher than 48 inches) which meant it wasn’t open to adults or older kids.  You could take your child to the top of the ride, but you would have to climb back down to meet them at the bottom.
Kids area at Volcano bay
These areas feature tot sized slides, spray features, a shallow wading area, and fountains.  This is pretty much where the little ones could run free and stay out of trouble.  Lifeguards are stationed throughout the area so you have an extra set of eyes on your kids at all times.

TapuTapu Interactives:
Throughout the park there are interactive kiosks where you can use your TapuTapu bands to trigger different experiences.  My 4 year old's favorite was standing above the lazy river and squirting the passers by.  Each time he held his band to the kiosk, the spray would trigger.  He spent quite a while figuring out the timing and laughing at his surprised victims below.
TapuTapu Water Sprayer
There are other interactive TapuTapu experiences throughout the park, and we spent a good part of the morning, exploring in order to find them all.

Secret Coves:
Similar to the TapuTapu interactives, there are also some reactive splash pads and hidden areas throughout the park which are perfect for little kids.  Make sure to check inside the Krakatau volcano where you will find a hidden grotto featuring a responsive Tiki God.  While we were there a spontaneous dance party erupted along with a lights and water show you could be in the middle of.

Interactive waterpark universal volcano bay

Areas that require a life jacket and adult** supervision:

If your child is a little braver and you are willing to accompany them onto the ride, the following attractions were open to kids under 42 inches BUT do require all kids under 48 inches to wear a life preserver. ParkThe waterpark provides free life preservers in all sizes (for both children and adults) or you are welcome to bring your own. Additionally, all of these rides are monitored closely by life guards and Volcano Bay staff.
Volcano Bay Life VestsWaturi Beach:  The jewel of the resort, this huge wade-in area is great for little kids.  It is a shallow wave pool which sinks to 6 feet deep at its deepest part.  The incline is so moderate that it is exactly like being at an ocean beach.  You do need to be aware of the waves, but we found that typically by the time they hit the very shallow part of the water, they were a non-issue.
Universals Volcano Bay Waturi Beach Sunrise 1440x900
Kopiko Wai Winding River:
This is your typical lazy river type ride, where you float along slowly in a tube through shaded areas, caverns and waterfalls.   This was my husband’s favorite ride, since once you got on you could just ride forever.  The tubes were big enough to easily share with a four year old or you could each have your own and you would just need to hold on to each other.    The water is only 3 feet deep at its deepest, but there is a mild current.
Volcano bay lazy river
The Reef and Puka Uli Lagoon:
These smaller pools get no deeper than 3-4 feet and are separate from the larger beach so they don't have any waves or current.  They feature spray jets and bongo drums which can be activated by your TapuTapu bands.   Because they are slightly smaller than the Waturi beach, it is easier to keep track of little ones.
Kid friendly volcano bay
My my preschooler thought this area was fabulous, and I didn't get bored since this is also the part of the park where the body sliders splash down.  Watching people get off a ride that drops 125 feet in 6 seconds kept me amused all day long.  I've never seen so many thrilled yet terrified people in all my life.

So there you have it! If you were nervous your little ones would be left out of the fun at Volcano Bay, you don't have to worry.  Of course, if you are more of a thrill seeker or have bigger kids that are, there is plenty for them to do too!  I haven't even touched on the dozens of rides for anyone OVER 42 inches.. which is what Volcano Bay is really known for.

**An “adult” is defined as a  companion over 48 inches and at least 14 years old.  

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What to do at Universal's Volcano bay water park if you have little kids (toddlers or preschoolers) who aren't tall enough for the 42 inch height requirement.  Great info on the attractions and rides they CAN ride and the secrets behind the park to be on the lookout for.
All unwatermarked images used with permission of Universal Orlando Resorts.

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