Volcano Bay has become one of the most popular water parks in Orlando.
Its iconic towering volcano has even become a wayfaring point in Orlando. But it hasn’t always been here. There was once another water park that paved the path for Volcano Bay to become the destination water park that it is.
Wet ‘n Wild opened in 1977. Wet ‘n Wild Orlando was consistently rated as one of the top waterparks in America and was honored by Aquatics International as the first true waterpark. There were a large variety of attractions found at Wet ‘n Wild Orlando ranging from a relaxing lazy river to wild, high-speed body slides.
Thrill-seekers could find some of America’s largest and most exciting water rides, like Der Stuka, a 250-foot near-vertical slide that descended six stories, and Bomb Bay, a trap door slide with a six-story plunge.
The waterpark also had six multi-person tube slides, including Disco H2O, a thrilling four-person tube ride that launched you through a world of groovy sound and dancing light, and Brain Wash, with a thrilling 53-foot descent into a domed funnel. Young children played in Blastaway Beach, a six-story castle with two pools, 15 slides, and over 160 interactive features.
The waterpark’s last new attraction was Aqua Drag Racer, the tallest, fastest ride of its kind in Florida. On this attraction, you’d start from a 65-foot high platform and go head-to-head down one of four 350-foot racing lanes. Riders ride on a foam mat, face first.
Formerly located on Orlando’s International Drive, Wet ‘n Wild was open year-round — with pools heated when necessary — and easily accessible from Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, and SeaWorld Orlando.
In 1998, it was sold to Universal. This made sense since it was very close to Universal’s theme parks. The park had been built on land with a long-term lease. In 2013, Universal was able to buy the land.
On June 17, 2015, it was confirmed that the park would close on December 31, 2016, to be replaced by a new water park, Universal’s Volcano Bay.
Universal Orlando Resort President Bill Davis reported that the 250 Wet ‘n Wild employees would be transferred to other parts of the Universal Orlando Resort.
The park permanently closed on December 31, 2016. While many folks say that Wet n Wild “turned into” Volcano Bay, Universal’s new water park actually sits on land that was not part of Wet n Wild. Wet n Wild was demolished from February 2017 to June 2017. Volcano Bay opened across the site on May 25, 2017.
The site of Wet n Wild is where Universal built its Endless Summer Resort.
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Have you visited Wet ‘n’ Wild in Orlando before it closed? Let us know in the comments below!