Universal Park Accused of Being a “Scam” and “Nightmare”

in Universal Orlando

Guests sit in a raft on Honu of the Honu ika Moana at Volcano Bay

Credit: Universal

A Universal Orlando Resort Guest has accused Volcano Bay of being a “scam” and “nightmare” after a recent visit.

Ever since the opening of Universal Studios Florida in 1990, Universal Orlando Resort has become as important a fixture on the theme park since as its neighboring rival Walt Disney World Resort. Today, the Resort spans three parks – Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, and the water park Volcano Bay – with a fourth, Epic Universe, on the way in 2025.

Universal Orlando offers three theme parks, Universal Studios Florida, Universal's Islands of Adventure, and Universal's Volcano Bay
Credit: Universal

Over the past few years, the Resort has invested a lot into its themed offerings. The last decade has seen Universal Orlando introduce a second area to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – not to mention the award-winning Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure – as well as the Jurassic Park (1994) inspired roller coaster VelociCoaster, Skull Island: Reign of Kong, Fast & Furious: Supercharged, and, most recently, Illumination’s Villain-Con Minion Blast.

Universal Studios Florida is also set to welcome a brand-new DreamWorks land in 2024, featuring immersive attractions themed to the likes of Shrek (2001), Kung Fu Panda (2008), and Trolls (2016).

All this investment has definitely paid off. According to the 2021 theme park attendance report, Universal Orlando beat out three of the four Walt Disney World Resort theme parks and, unlike its rival, has managed to (mostly) avoid headlines about lower visitation this summer.

Universal Studios Florida at Universal Orlando Resort
Credit: Universal

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But one Guest still isn’t satisfied with the Resort’s current offerings. After a recent visit to Universal’s Volcano Bay – the Resort’s tropical-themed water park – one Guest took to Reddit to share his “nightmare” experience, which he puts down to “absurd” long lines.

“Volcano Bay feels like a scam,” wrote user NoMoreHalfMeasure. “The wait times for the main rides are absolutely absurd. Over 4 hours for the Aqua Coaster. 3 hours for the body plunge. I’ve been at this park since an hour after open and I have only ridden 2 slides. What the hell is this nightmare?”

An overhead shot of Volcano Bay
Credit: Universal

They later added that they “really do enjoy the park itself, unfortunately the rain just now closed the ride [they] had been waiting 200 minutes for,” and that they “just wish they’d have standby lines for some of the smaller attractions.”

As other users pointed out in response, the Guest was visiting the Park in July – AKA peak water park season – so couldn’t be too shocked by the crowds. PhillySports6 noted that tourists are “realizing how hot Florida actually is in the middle of July,” which subsequently means “everyone wants to cool off at a water park,” while Peppeperoni questioned, “You’re going in July and confused? Would you be confused going to Disney and Universal during Christmas week? Lol.”

Three girls at Universal Volcano Bay, two jump in the air while a younger one smiles at the camera
Credit: Universal

Another user criticized their decision to get there an hour after opening. “You screwed up by not getting there early enough, for one,” said RichGullible. We went a month ago and did everything we wanted by 1 pm.”

However, some users agreed that Volcano Bay has a serious crowds problem – one that’s only exacerbated by its use of virtual queues. “This was the problem I first thought of when I heard it only had VQ,” said Couuurtneeey. “Its great that you don’t have to physically stand in line for that long of a time but with really no one actually inline there more people in the rivers and wave pool.”

Guests go down the slide at Volcano Bay
Credit: Universal

Related: Mother Leaves Universal In Tears After Being Rejected From Water Slides

User Cheekylilspaff noted that the issue extends to May, not just the peak summer months. “We felt this way when we went in May a couple of years ago,” they said. “I mostly blame the Tapu Tapu. It’s a shame since it’s a beautiful waterpark!”

Volcano Bay previously experimented with ditching its virtual queue system earlier this year, operating Krakatau with just a standby line. Whether or not this will lead to a major overhaul of the Park’s queueing system remains to be seen, but hopefully it can figure out a solution in the near future.

What’s your opinion on Volcano Bay? Would it be better off without virtual queue? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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