Should You Choose Universal’s Volcano Bay Over the Disney World Water Parks?

Well, it’s getting hot out — and you know what that means!

Typhoon Lagoon at DIsney World

It means it’s time to pull out the swimsuits and water gear and go do something to cool off. So what if you’re in Orlando and need to have some fun while you’re cooling off — well, you’ve got a few choices, including heading to Disney World’s or Universal Orlando’s water parks. But which one do you choose?

Even if you’re a diehard Disney World fan, should you skip Disney World’s water parks for Universal’s Volcano Bay? We’re breaking down the pros and cons of each to help you decide!

So let’s do a battle royale between Disney World’s Typhoon Lagoon (which is the only Disney World water park currently open) and Volcano Bay


The first thing to consider when it comes to both water parks is pricing. A ticket for Typhoon Lagoon is $69 for adults and $63 for kids. However, Annual Passholders can get a ticket for just $49 per day. Disney World guests can also combine a water park visit with the Park Hopper Plus Ticket option. Typhoon Lagoon gets bonus points for offering free parking, too!

Parking at Typhoon Lagoon

Meanwhile, Volcano Bay is slightly pricier — you’ll pay $70 for adults and $65 for kids. There are no discounts for passholders, although guests can bundle park tickets. However, parking is $26 (although passholders park for free).

Volcano Bay Parking

Winner: Typhoon Lagoon


So what about attractions? Typhoon Lagoon has twelve attractions, including three rafting rides, a lazy river, and a kids’ water play area.

However, Volcano Bay has a total of 17 attractions,  including a lazy river AND a rapids river. When it comes to slides, Volcano Bay wins hands down, especially because it has more attractions that appeal to everyone, regardless of how much thrill they’re looking for.

Raft Slides at Volcano Bay

Winner: Volcano Bay


It’s all about contactless ordering and paying now, and Disney World’s Typhoon Lagoon has mobile ordering available at many locations through the My Disney Experience app. That means you can order your food early, set a time to pick it up, and it’s ready when you’re ready.

Lottawatta Lodge Mobile Order at Typhoon Lagoon

Universal offers Taptu Pay through its app to use around Volcano Bay, which is linked to your Tapu Tapu (more on that in a bit). Mobile ordering is also available at many locations.

Taptu Pay Sign

Winner: Tie


So how available are the attractions at each water park? Well, if you’re going to Typhoon Lagoon on a busy day, you might just have to wait in a long line for attractions. It’s standby only here. 

Guests do have to wait in lines for attractions at Typhoon Lagoon

However, over at Volcano Bay, guests get access to a virtual queue called Tapu Tapu and it’s 100% free with your Volcano Bay ticket. It’s like a MagicBand (you even wear it on your wrist) and you just scan it into kiosks at the attractions you want to ride and come back when it notifies you to. Only one attraction can be booked at any given time, but did we mention that it’s FREE?

Tapu Tapu

Winner: Volcano Bay


Okay, so we do love all the little Imagineering details at Typhoon Lagoon (be sure to look for those Society of Explorers and Adventures Easter eggs), BUT it still feels like a water park.

Theming at Typhoon Lagoon

However, Volcano Bay goes ALL in on theming, and rather than feeling like you’re in a water park, you feel like you’re in a theme park, and that really does make all the difference.

It feels like a theme park!

Winner: Volcano Bay


Okay, so what are both parks like when it comes to food? Well, Typhoon Lagoon clearly has way more dining spots, including five quick-service restaurants, eight kiosks, and two bars. However, the food tends to have less variety than what you might find in Disney World’s theme parks. 

At least you can get Dole Whip at Typhoon Lagoon

Volcano Bay only has four Quick Service restaurants, two kiosks, and two bars, but we have personally loved the food choices that you can find at Volcano Bay, and found that you get more variety than you’ll find at Typhoon Lagoon. 

Coconut Fried Chicken at Volcano Bay

Winner: Volcano Bay

So, while ultimately there are several factors to decide between when it comes to choosing your Orlando water park, there’s a strong case to be made for visiting Volcano Bay at Universal. With fantastic theming, the ease of using Taptu Pay, and some fun dining options, you can easily spend the full day at this massive water park.

We’ll keep you updated on everything at Disney World AND Universal Orlando, so stay tuned for more!

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What do you think? Which water park would you choose? Let us know in the comments!


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3 Replies to “Should You Choose Universal’s Volcano Bay Over the Disney World Water Parks?”

  1. Also should be considered that Typhoon Lagoon was the first true themed water park in the Orlando area (sorry Wet n Wild, not theming) and opened in 1989 while Volcano Bay opened in 2017. Considering the advances in just about every aspect of what goes into building a water park and lessons learned over those 28 years, it is not surprising that Volcano Bay is the “winner”.