Universal Expecting Big Things From Volcano Bay

Hey Thrill Seekers,

When Universal confirmed they had a big announcement back in May they weren’t blowing smoke. The introduction of a new state of the art Water Park was more than we could of hoped for. Set to open in 2017 Volcano Bay will become Universal only Water Park when Wet n’ Wild closes at the end of 2016.

volcano bay

Located east of Turkey Lake Road and south of its Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Universal look to be betting big on Volcano Bay being a huge success. Plans submitted with regards to transportation show Universal estimating crowds could hit up to 17,000 people on a good day, and it could attract 1.2 million guests a year.

Now assuming Universal have got their figures right (and they generally do) this would position the new park as the 4th most visited in North America, based on 2014 water park attendances.

2014 north america water park

Quite something for a yet to open Water Park, but you can bet your bottom dollar that 4th is there very lowest valuation and they’ll be looking to challenge Disney’s domination.

With regards to the transportation plans mentioned above, Tom Schroder, Universal’s spokesman declined to talk about it in detail stating that it was far to early to discuss parking. However the plans seem to show Universal has been looking at reserving the bottom floor of its south garage and then transporting customer to Volcano Bay using a tram large enough to fit 150 people at a time!

So one thing is for sure, if Universal are betting heavily on Volcano Bay you can bet its going to be a game changer.

Smiles included…


Orlando Attraction Tickets

Disney’s Blizzard Beach Seasonal Closure Dates

Hey Thrill Seekers,

As you’re probably aware during the winter months Disney closes one of its Water Parks  to give it some tender love and care. This year Disney’s Blizzard Beach will be the water park getting a touch up.

The popular Water Park will be closed between the 04/10/2015 and 02/01/2016. Fans of big thrills will be disappointed as Blizzard Beach boasts one of the more adrenaline inducing rides “Summit Plummet” which is rated as the number 1 thing to do by our customers.


Although this may upset some people, the other Orlando water parks will be up and running. You can discover more information about the other water parks here –

Which is your favourite Orlando water park? Mines Wet N’ Wild…

Smiles included…


Orlando Attraction Tickets

What Can We Expect From The Parks In 2016 & 2017

Hey Thrill Seekers,

The beauty of Florida theme parks is the ever changing landscape. The competitiveness between the major parks means they’re always trying to oneup each other, which is great for us visitors.

In today’s post I thought I’d take a quick look at the construction going on at each park and what we can expect in the future.


Disney are on a building spree, from a few years of concentrating on technology they’ve suddenly remembered that content is king.

At Animal Kingdom they’re busy building their much hyped Avatar Land based on James Cameron’s 2003 films about large blue aliens. Construction began on January 10, 2014, with the land expected to open in early 2017.



At Hollywood Studios Disney are perhaps building something that will see it continue its dominance over Orlando footfall. Star Wars Land for want of a better title is set to takeover at Studios. The expansion will include “a Dagobah centerpiece” where Echo Lake and Gertie the Dinosaur currently sit. Star Tours will remain, and other attractions will be added, although no details have leaked yet on those. The Jedi Training Academy will be relocating indoors to an existing building. There has also been no confirmation yet on timescale.

On top of Star Wars we’re looking at the addition of more Pixar related attractions and rumour has it something to do with Indiana Jones.

DHS-09-16165 SWW Airport Duratrans_Grievous_ETB.indd

SeaWorld Orlando

Set for a 2016 launch SeaWorld are building a Hyper Coaster called MAKO. Here’s how SeaWorld bill it;

Sink your teeth into SeaWorld’s unrivaled new coaster, Mako™. Arriving summer 2016, this 200-foot hypercoaster soars to the top of the food chain as Orlando’s tallest, longest and fastest coaster. Scream through the deep dives with unmatched speed and predator power. Fly through the air with the grace and agility of the ocean’s apex predator.

I’m delighted to see a park investing in a good old (not really old) fashioned coaster… For me it’s what I go to theme parks for!



Busch Gardens Tampa

Busch Gardens is packed full of awesome thrill rides from Falcon’s Fury to SheiKra if you want you adrenaline pumping it’s easily the park for you. So its a nice change of pace to see Busch Gardens looking at something that’s perhaps aimed more at the family experience. Set to debut in 2016 here’s what Busch Gardens say about it;

This isn’t your ordinary roller coaster. This one-of-a-kind family Spin Coaster takes riders on a whirlwind of family fun and an adventure of exciting explorations. After ascending on a vertical lift, just like an elevator, riders will come face-to-face with an 80-foot snake icon and trek over the park’s Serengeti Plain.

This family-friendly ride puts guests in the middle of a mysterious Egyptian archeological excavation that takes them on the ride of their life.


Universal Orlando

Well we know that Skull Island: Reign of Kong is set to open in 2016 at Universal’s Islands of Adventure touted as being a totally unique attraction we’re pretty sure this is going to be  a big hit. We’re expecting Universal to ramp up its marketing soon on this attraction which should helps us identify exactly what kind of ride this is. At the moment it looks to me on the same sort of lines as Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, a 3D coaster type thing.



For Universal though the construction doesn’t stop there. Not happy with just adding an attraction, Universal are as we speak building a whole new water park! Volcano Bay located just behind The Cabana Bay Hotel is set to open in 2017 and will be Universal’s first ever water park built from scratch. Although it will be replacing the very popular Wet N’ Wild park we’re hoping for great things from Universal as they come off the back of huge hits including The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

volcano bay

I for one cannot wait. 2016 & 2017 seem like they’re going to be great years to visit Florida and as always we’ve got a ticket deal to help you get as much out of the experience as possible.

Smiles included…




Universal Orlando Confirm Wet N’ Wild Will Close

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Now I’m not one to say “I told you so” but….. I told you so! Last week I wrote a piece about the fate of Wet N Wild due to the announcement of Volcano Bay. For those who didn’t get a chance to fully read it I basically state that I believe Wet N’ Wild will be closed down to make way for a new hotel…


Fast Forward and today Universal has officially announced that Wet N Wild will be closing forever on the 31st December 2016. The park which opened in 1977 was America’s first water park and was renowned for its innovation and overall awesome experience.

However with the introduction of new state of the art purpose built parks Universal have decided it’s time for a change and will be concentrating all their efforts into their new park Volcano Bay.

Universal are yet to confirm what will replace Wet N’ Wild or if any of their rides will be moved over to Volcano Bay.

This is currently a breaking story, so we’ll update the blog when we hear more…

Smiles included…



What Does Universal’s Volcano Bay Mean For Wet N’ Wild

Hey Thrill Seekers,

When Universal announced they were building a new water park the internet and our blog exploded. There’s no coincidence that our busiest ever day on attraction-tickets.info happened to be the same day we wrote about Volcano Bay. Rightly so, people are very excited about the park and its promised opening in 2017.


On that day myself and a few colleagues sat down to absorb the official press release. Here’s what the very first paragraph said;

ORLANDO, Fla. (May 28, 2015) – Universal Orlando Resort today announced a project of remarkable vision: to bring to life an entirely new water theme park experience. Called Volcano Bay at Universal Orlando Resort, it will join Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure and become the resort’s third incredibly immersive park.

Sounds awesome we all agreed… but hang on! Third incredibly immersive park?… Third!? Hang on let me just count… 1 – Universal Studios… 2 – Islands of Adventure… 3 – Wet N’ Wild …. 4 – Volcano Bay. Now I’m no Carol Vorderman but I make that 4 immersive parks not 3!? Unless… Dear God no….

Volcano Bay was announced just before the start of IPW, an international event held this year in Orlando where the cream of the theme park industry (among others) get together to chat about commercial, marketing and future projects. Universal were part of this event. Dennis Quinn, Vice President of Destination Sales for Universal (and a lovely man) was actually asked directly about what Volcano Bay meant for Wet N’ Wild. Dennis refused to be drawn into comment.

bomb bay

What was confirmed is that tickets for Wet N’ Wild would continue to be available to the UK market during 2016. Not normally something that would be commented on, it’s been pretty standard for years now, it gives this writer the impression that perhaps 2016 is a deadline!?

So… this is what we think might happen, I stress, this what we think might happen. It’s pure speculation.

Any reference to Wet N Wild will be replaced by Volcano Bay, so for example the Universal 3 park bonus ticket which usually includes Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and Wet N Wild, will still exist but the Wet N Wild part will become Volcano Bay. It makes a certain kind of sense, Wet N’ Wild has always felt a tiny bit separate from the Universal Resort.

What will happen to Wet N’ Wild? Well they might sell it on… but I don’t think that will be the case.

Recently I visited Universal and took part in what is called a Hotel Inspection, it’s not what you think, I wasn’t there to judge I was there for a guided tour of the facilities. There were quite a few head honchos who joined us and one of the main topics was demand for rooms outweighing the supply and this was literally while I was stood in Cabana Bay and a week after Universal had confirmed they were building Sapphire Falls Hotel. One of the Universal staff told me that with the rise of the UK and Brazilian market they could easily sell their inventory twice over.

Now I maybe jumping the shark a little early here (Happy Days reference), but could Universal be planning to use that prime location area to build a new hotel. The land is large enough to perhaps cater for a 600 room hotel bang in the middle of International Drive right near their other hotels and parks… The more people you can house the more people visit your parks etc!

So this is my guess; in 2017 Wet N Wild will close and make way for a new hotel. I could be totally wrong, but that of course is the nature of a guess but what I would suggest is if they look to build a new hotel, would only 3 gates (Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure & Wet N Wild) be enough… would Universal require a 3rd theme park?

One things for sure, Universal are the most exciting company in Florida at the moment.

Smiles included…







Universal’s Volcano Bay, Is The Main Ride Called Terevaka Falls?

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Recently Universal Orlando announced they would be opening a brand new water park in 2017 called Volcano Bay.

Having looked at some of the art renderings for ‘Volcano Bay‘ we started thinking about what kind of theme the park would be modeled around and maybe what some of the rides would be called.

Artist rendering of Universal's Volcano Bay

OK, obviously its a Volcano which is in a bay, but from the renderings there are a couple of hints as to the direction Universal may be taking.

At the front of the artist rendering are a couple of statues, which look suspiciously like Easter Island Statues. Not that we are hanging everything on a couple of statues you understand – there are a couple of other things that are similar. For example;

The shape of the land the water park is being built on. The land just south of Cabana Bay which is earmarked for the development is pretty much the same shape as Easter Island.

Land South of Cabana Bay versus map of Easter Island

At the center of Easter Island is a Volcano, at the center of the artist renderings of the project is also a Volcano.

When you talk about being immersive there is nothing more immersive than an Island.

In an earlier article we speculated about what types of rides we can expect at Volcano Bay. One of them was a lazy river, which, lets face it, is pretty standard at most water parks. Although there are no rivers on Easter Island there are a few fresh water lakes, one of them is Rano Raraku, which is almost at the summit of the extinct volcano Terevaka. Is it possible the Lazy River would be called something like ‘Rano River’?

The main event surely has to be the Volcano itself. We think that there will be at least 2 ride options from the Volcano – possibly more. One of them is likely to be a free fall speed slide like The Bomb Bay at Wet N’ Wild. Trust me, it makes sense; In the center of Easter Island is a Volcano called ‘Terevaka’  which coincidentally sounds a little terrifying?  – We think the volcano is screaming out to have a free fall speed slide, possibly called ‘Terevaka Falls’? The highest, fastest, multi drop slide in Florida? if your gonna do it, do it big!

Since there is likely to be 10+ rides at any water park its pretty difficult to try and second guess the entire park. But ‘if’ the water park is being modeled on Easter Island we could probably expect to see a few of the following areas on Easter Island incorporated into the rides and restaurants;

  • Hanga Roa
  • Hatu Hi
  • Vaihu
  • Oroi
  • Poike
  • Rano Kau
  • Mount Pui
  • Benepu Harbor

(These are just a selection of possible names – lots more options available)

By the way, this is all just speculation. As usual we will all have to wait and see how Universal develop this amazing looking water park.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts!

Smiles Included…


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2014 Water Park Attendance

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Yesterday we posted about the 2014 Theme Park Attendance results where Disney confirmed their dominance but Universal showed signs of closing the gap. Today, as promised, we’re going to take a look at the 2014 water park attendances, which saw worldwide attendance grow by 2.8% yoy from 26.8 million to 27.6 million (based on the top 20 water parks).

Worldwide results show 4 Orlando Water Parks making it into the top 10 with Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon leading the way.

Worldwide Water Park Attendance 2014

2014 world water park attendance



Great to see all the Orlando water parks doing well, all of them reporting an increase.

North America Water Park Attendance 2014

2014 north america water park

Florida remains quite dominant in North America with the top 4 water parks residing in Orlando. All of which have increased attendance year on year. You can see why Universal are keen to open a new water park in 2017.

I wonder if Volcano Bay can help Universal continue their challenge to grab market share from Disney… I guess only time will tell.

Smiles included…



What The Volcano Bay Rendering Tells Us

Hey Thrill Seekers,

There’s no surprise that our most popular post this week and our busiest ever day on the blog coincided with Universal’s announcement that they were building a brand new water park called Volcano Bay.

Although Universal didn’t reveal any specific details except that it would open in 2017 they did provide this artist’s rendering of how the resort will look.


So what details can we extract from the rendering? Lets take a look.

Your eyes are immediately drawn to the huge Volcano centrepiece which dominates the park. Looking at it closely there are a couple of things that stand out, firstly the waterfall part of the Volcano that seems to not only run down into the main body of water but also looks like it erupts at the top as well. You can also make out what appears to be either the start of a water ride or part of the queue experience which looks out on to the park.

The main body of water which the Volcano waterfall drops into seems to suggest a wave pool where people seems to be surfing?

To the right of the beach area you can see the ending of a multi person water ride (3 people pictured) which seems to come from the Volcano, for me this multi person ride is separate to the green tube ride you can just see roughly half way up the Volcano. This suggests to me that there will be at least two tube rides  that start from the top of the Volcano.

In the background on the righthand side you can see what looks like a lazy river which appears to run through the middle of the Volcano! There also appears to be some luxury style cabanas styled like huts in the background.

So to break it down;

  • At least 2 water rides, 1 is definitely a multiperson ride.
  • Wave Pool
  • Lazy River
  • Erupting Volcano?
  • Exclusive cabana’s

That’s pretty much all I can gleam from the photo, can you see anything I’ve missed?

Smiles included…



How Did Wet N Wild Set Off My Fear Of Heights

Hey Thrill Seekers,

I’ve got a slight fear of heights, it’s nothing major but sometimes it will kick in. I flew to Orlando last week and everything was cool, no worries at all even though I was in a huge metal bird thousands of feet above the ground.

I went to Universal Studios and rode the awesome Rip Ride Rockit which stands at a massive 167 feet and again no problem, not even a whimper. I popped over to Universal’s Islands of Adventure and rode the Hulk Coaster (110 foot tall) and Dr Doom Fear Fall (199 foot tall) and again nothing.

To be honest I was feeling pretty confident and pleased with myself then I headed to Wet N’ Wild!

The guys and girls that run Wet N’ Wild love it when UK guests visit their park, they are so humble they really can’t believe that us Brits would make all that effort (travel, money, time) to visit their (compared to Disney, Universal, SeaWorld) little park. They went well out of their way to make me and the rest of the group I was with feel really welcome and special.

On the day we visited the weather couldn’t have been more perfect, beautiful sun beating down on us and we all had a spring in our step. The park itself was busy but not crowded, we had to queue for rides but at a maximum it was 5-10 mins. We rode everything including Wet N’ Wilds newest attraction Aqua Drag Racer, a 4 laned racing ride designed to make you competitive, oh and it got competitive!

aqua drag racer

Here’s a little OAT tip, the two outside lanes are the quickest so make sure you get one of them. You fly down the slide using a mat but before this you have to wait for the light to go green… As soon as it hits green you’re off. Trust me this ride is really quick.

I won my race quite to the disgust of my competitors, shouts of cheat were thrown at me, unnecessarily in my opinion I was just simply quicker… perhaps even a aqua drag racer natural. I rocked in with an impressive 10 sec’s time, my nearest opponent was a whooping 7 seconds slower…

Things were going great, I was top of the world and then… some bright spark suggested we move on to Bomb Bay. Situated right next to Aqua Drag Racer it seemed the logical call. For those of you unfamiliar with Bomb Bay its a 76 foot drop slide with a difference, instead of pushing yourself off at the top you stand in a box shaped like a bomb. Then at a time decided by the operator the floor drops away and you drop at nearly 90 degrees! Yeah this is where my fear of heights decided to kick in.

bomb bay

Out of the entire group only 3 of us were brave enough to do it. As we began the slow walk up the ramps to get to the top I started to notice I could see the tops of buildings and then beyond and we still hadn’t even reached the top. I started to feel a little hot and not because of the beautiful weather… As we continued to climb I realised there was a  queue behind us and knew I couldn’t pull out.

When we reached the top we had to queue for a short while as the attendant told each rider about the safety instructions. While we waited a small boy, probably about 12 and I think perhaps sent by the devil decided to stand by me and describe how terrifying the ride was and how you had to be crazy to do it…. thanks for that mate!

Somehow I had got to the front of the queue and was the first of my group to drop. The attendant told me to get inside the bomb, cross my arms and legs. I got in, I crossed my arms and legs and waited… and waited… perhaps I had done something wrong, I turned to ask the attendant and at that exact time he opened the hatch below and I dropped the 76 feet.

As I fell I remember thinking, I’ve been falling for ages…I came to a sudden stop at the bottom gathered myself and stepped off the slide. Something I hadn’t know was that a Wet n’ Wild have a small camera inside the Bomb which shows your face on a TV screen at the bottom of the slide… all the other members of the group had watched me and were now in stitches!!! But I’d survived and I was a hero… to myself!

I loved my time at Wet N’ Wild and would recommend it to everyone. You can include Wet N Wild as part of your Universal Holiday by purchasing the Universal 3 Park Bonus Ticket

Smiles included…



Wet N’ Wilds Aqua Drag Racer Opens Today

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Diagon Alley isn’t the only new addition to the Universal family opening in Orlando. Today Wet N’ Wild officially opened Aqua Drag Racer, billed as the fastest mat racer attraction in Florida, riders start at a whooping 65ft up before racing each other through 4 individual lanes to determine who’s the quickest.

aqua drag racer

The opening comes a month after SeaWorld’s Aquatica opened Ihu’s Breakaway Falls its multi person drop ride.

Michael Black, senior vice president and general manager of Wet ‘n Wild Orlando told the Orlando Sentinel

Drag Racer features “single riders going down four individual lanes, but it’s very competitive. You’ll have families that are racing against one another and have friends racing against one another.

We dispatch them all at the same time, and it’s a race to see who makes it to the bottom first. It really is a multi-passenger ride.

Black is said to have agreed to build the new attraction when he spoke to a GM of a different park he was visiting who stated that the ride got a great customer response. Manufacturer’s stated that the riders travel at up to 15 feet per second.

I can wait to challenge my friends on this one. You can purchase tickets for Wet N’ Wild at Orlando Attraction Tickets for as little as £28 per person.