With the first official weekend of Universal Orlando’s Volcano Bay in full swing, it’s no surprise that the brand new park was closed due to capacity on Saturday. The new water theme park has opened to rave reviews, and was expecting to bring in massive crowds due to the holiday weekend. As expected, the park was shut down to incoming guests, because there were just too many already in. It’s a holiday weekend, and a brand new park, not just a new land. It was only a matter a time before Volcano Bay hit capacity crowds, and we suspect that with the busy Memorial Day weekend, we’ll see it happen a few more times.
As opening day came and went, many on hand noted how the park’s Tapu Tapu system was being put to the limits. Guests were facing long lines for signature attractions like the Krakatau Water Coaster, with some attractions hitting upwards of six hour waits. While that’s typical for a new and innovative attraction, it’s definitely a bit frustrating for a park that boasted zero wait times. As it was discovered earlier this year with Jimmy Fallon’s Race Through New York, some guests just don’t grasp the concept of not waiting in line. Tapu Tapu takes that idea, and implements it throughout the entire park, which might throw off those who are used to waiting in line.
Tapu Tapu is a great idea, and one that could change the way theme parks operate in the future. However, this weekend is the first time the technology and system was put to the test. If you’re not familiar with the system, Tapu Tapu is a wristband based system that allows you to book ride times, among other things. To book your ride times, you simply go to the Tapu Tapu kiosk at each ride, and book your time. Then, you come back to the attraction when your Tapu Tapu alerts you.
The big problem that has been happening is that some rides in the park pushed six hours. You are only allowed one Tapu Tapu reservation at a time. If you are waiting on one ride, with a six hour wait…you’ve just spent the majority of your day waiting on one ride. It’s a problem that Universal is going to have to address sooner, rather than later. Granted, there are plenty of things to do in the park while waiting, which is the whole point of Tapu Tapu, but try telling that to most tourists who want to ride NOW.
We really can’t judge how Tapu Tapu will work out, as we had zero lines when we went during the media preview. Still, issues aside, the concept and idea is brilliant. You book a time, you check out food, wave pool or some other areas that don’t have lines while you wait, and then ride at your designated times. It opens up your day for more fun, food and other options. There just needs to be a little more give on the attraction limits, and maybe even a centralized area that allows you to book times for Tapu Tapu without trekking all over the park.
However, if you want to do just that, book your times without trekking the park, there is an option. Guests in the Cabanas can book Tapu Tapu times via a kiosk in their Cabanas. You simply tap your Tapu Tapu and book your times as you leisurely lounge around. It takes the entire experience up a few notches.
If you want to get a glimpse of Volcano Bay without fighting crowds this weekend, we have you covered! Check out our video walkthrough below, and stay tuned for more from Volcano Bay all weekend!
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