This could also be a great way so that you can “dip your toes” again into journey.
There’s nothing extra I’d love than to jet off to a tropical island proper now, however till the world (and worldwide journey) returns to regular, I’ll be sticking nearer to house. Luckily, I discovered the subsequent smartest thing at Universal Orlando’s Volcano Bay water park. My household and I spent a day there throughout a current Florida go to and its sandy seashores, South Seas theming, and fruity treats had been simply the escape we would have liked. Due to COVID, our “escape” additionally included masks, social distancing, and plenty of hand sanitizer. Here’s what it’s like visiting a water park proper now.
Volcano Bay reopened final June together with the remainder of Universal Orlando (minus a common seasonal closure from November 2 via February 27). Like Universal’s land-based parks, Volcano Bay reopened with new health and safety protocols, which got here into play earlier than we even entered the park.
After parking in Universal’s primary parking storage, we queued up for the buses headed to Volcano Bay. We every had our temperature checked as we handed via safety and got assigned seats on the bus to maintain area between teams.
1. We had been bussed to the waterpark.Tarah Chieffi 2. Social distancing reminders had been locations all through the park. 3. New, COVID-19 cleansing protocols.
Masks aren’t allowed on any of the points of interest or within the wave pool, however we had been required to put on masks on the bus, whereas getting into and exiting the park, and in any eating places or buying areas. All workers, together with lifeguards, wore masks, as properly. Mask compliance was corresponding to some other place I’ve visited in the course of the pandemic—most individuals fortunately adopted the principles, however there have been at all times a few individuals who didn’t put their masks on earlier than ordering a drink on the bar or strolling to the restroom.
Signage all through the park reminded us to maintain six toes between ourselves and different company and to clean our fingers typically. There had been additionally useful ground markings wherever a line may type, like whereas ready for slides or at visitor companies.
We visited on an overcast and funky (by Florida requirements, not less than) day so it’s laborious to say if the crowds had been low due to the climate or as a result of Universal is limiting capability in any respect of their theme parks proper now. There have been days the place Volcano Bay reached its restricted attendance, however that didn’t occur on the day we visited.
Even earlier than the pandemic, Volcano Bay was completely ready for contactless cost and digital queues with its TapuTapu wearable wristband. All of the rides at Volcano Bay use a digital line the place you faucet in on the attraction and your TapuTapu will warn you when it’s your flip to journey. To offer you an concept of how useless it was the day we visited, not one of the points of interest had been even utilizing the digital strains. We by no means had greater than 4 or 5 teams forward of us for any slide we had been courageous sufficient to tackle.
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I already had a bank card arrange within the Universal Orlando app so I was capable of hyperlink that to my TapuTapu for contactless meals and merchandise funds all through the day. A useful Team Member even instructed me I can set spending limits for every wristband in case my youngsters snuck off to order 20 cheeseburgers or one thing.
Possibly my favourite function of the TapuTapu is the on-ride images and automatic picture spots arrange across the park. With our wristbands on, it mechanically linked our images from the waterslides and there have been picture spots across the park the place we may faucet our band and take a group picture. At the top of the day, we purchased the digital bundle that acquired us entry to all of our images from the day, however you should purchase particular person images, too.
1. TapuTapu sinageTarah Chieffi; 2. TapuTapu
Another add-on we sprung for was the premium seating. For simply over $100, we had a reserved spot on the seashore with two lounge chairs, a sunshade, a lockbox for valuables, and a devoted server who took our foods and drinks orders for the day. To hold issues secure and sanitized, our server introduced us with a disposable drink menu and a small container with napkins, plastic cutlery, and condiments after we arrived.
Even although I spent about an hour and a half on maintain to order our spot, the luxurious of getting a little personal area for the day was price it. I’m extraordinarily understanding of lengthy wait occasions and different trip-planning hiccups with the state of the world proper now. Just be ready for a wait if you wish to reserve premium seating or a cabana as a result of these can solely be booked over the telephone.
I ordered sushi and a margarita for lunch and I was greater than happy to be at a theme park consuming one thing aside from a burger or pizza (however they’ve these, too). Having meals magically present up at our seats was superior, however even with out the premium seating, many of the eating places supply cell ordering the place you’ll be able to order and pay in your meal out of your telephone.
1. Cabana2. Slide at Volcano BayTarah Chieffi 3. Volcano Bay Margarita
So, what did it really feel like being at a water park and maskless for almost all of the day? In as few phrases as potential, nice! Groups had been good about staying distant—evidenced by the spaced-out “pods” of individuals within the wave pool—and folks typically appeared to be following the principles.
I’ve visited a few theme parks previous to this outing and with every go to, my discomfort with the world has eased simply a bit extra. That’s to not say I’m extra lax with the principles, however that the principles present me with some degree of consolation for reentering the world. If you haven’t spent a lot time outdoors of the home but, you won’t be fairly able to see so many unmasked faces. It’s positively one thing that’s going to be completely different for everyone.
Because I’m already fairly comfy with touring—particularly out of doors adventures—I had a enjoyable, stress-free day. In truth, I’d have a laborious time going again to Universal Orlando and never spending a day at Volcano Bay. I solely conquered about half the slides and two drinks off the cocktail menu earlier than the top of the day so I nonetheless have a lot of labor to do.