Universal Orlando has seen major projects open virtually every year ever since the completion of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure in 2010. These projects include the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem attraction, the Diagon Alley addition, Skull Island: Reign of Kong, and new hotels. But the streak of new developments has not yet stopped. In fact, Universal still has intentions of expanding the property, and they have already announced all-new developments that will either open this year or in the coming years, like a water theme park called Universal’s Volcano Bay, a Jimmy Fallon ride, a Fast & Furious themed attraction, a Nintendo area, an expansion to Cabana Bay, and an additional hotel. Though all of these are exciting additions, two of these projects—Volcano Bay and Nintendo—are likely to blow your mind away.
Universal’s Volcano Bay is branded as a “water theme park,” Universal Orlando’s third theme park, but just how much will the park live up to its hype? Well, that’s, unfortunately, a question that cannot yet be answered but based on concept art it definitely looks promising.
Volcano Bay will feature about 12 attractions in four themed areas: Krakatau, Wave Village, River Village, and Rainforest Village. The park’s highlight attraction, Krakatau Aqua Coaster, will propel guests downwards and upwards and through the towering volcano’s interior peaks, valleys, dark passageways, and sparkling waterfall (it’s nothing short of amazing!). In addition to this, the park will use a virtual waiting system called TapuTapu wearable to eliminate long lines, however, that’s not all the wristband does; it also allows guests to illuminate hidden images in the volcano’s hidden caves, control water streams, and shoot water cannons.
Volcano Bay isn’t your ordinary water park. It’s actually far from it. Universal took the experiences of an ordinary water park and enhanced them, improved them, and evolved them. Serving as the park’s landmark, the 200-foot volcano called Krakatau will feature a cascading waterfall by day and illuminate with blazing lava by night. Yes, you read that right. Volcano Bay will remain open after dusk (the park’s hours may change depending on the time of year)—something that’s typically unusual with major water parks. But the volcano doesn’t just serve as a visual icon, you can actually enter it. The Krakatau volcano is without a doubt amazing, and it won’t be hard to spot as you approach Universal even if you’re off-property. And, as already outlined, you won’t have to stand in line (unusual for most water parks). Overall, this water theme park completely redefines what a water park is because of its innovation and ability to immerse guests into its tropical oasis paradise. If Volcano Bay’s highly themed environments and advanced experiences hold true, it should be successful.
As previously discussed on our blog, the two companies—Nintendo and Universal—operate entirely different businesses (Nintendo is a gaming company. Universal is in the theme park, movie, and television business.). The partnership will allow the two to combine their expertise in an approach that will create a never-before-seen experience with brand new ride technology and immersive atmospheres.
As seen in the concept rendering for Universal Studios Japan’s Nintendo themed area (pictured at the top of this post), it appears to be an original concept with a classic Nintendo feel. As for the area’s rides, we’ll just have to wait, but Universal’s past few granted patents show that the company is taking a new approach to theme park rides. They’re taking an approach that makes guests the center of attention. They’re taking an approach that provides guests with a personal, up-close, interactive experience. Though it is not clear as to whether or not these patents will be employed into Orlando’s Nintendo themed area, it shows Universal’s possible strategy in future attractions. What patents am I referring to? I’m referring to the patents titled “Video game ride,” “Special effects techniques,” and “Vehicle transportation room system and method.” Because of the great detail in these patents, rather than re-explaining them, I have linked them if you wish to learn more about them. To view these patents, you can simply click on their name.