Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.
The temperature and humidity in Orlando, Florida, make pool time a necessity for any summer visitor. If you're a theme park fan, you might consider a day at Universal Orlando’s Volcano Bay or Disney World’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park.
Let’s look at the differences between Volcano Bay and Typhoon Lagoon, the amenities they offer and how much they’ll cost you to visit.
» Learn more: The best travel credit cards right now
The main difference between Typhoon Lagoon and Volcano Bay
The two water parks differ in their ownership, but the major difference between Typhoon Lagoon and Volcano Bay is the attractions.
Volcano Bay, which is a Universal park, favors more thrilling attractions, with several large water slides. Typhoon Lagoon in Disney World is geared more toward a relaxing experience.
» Learn more: How much does it cost to go to Universal Studios?
Universal’s Volcano Bay opened in 2017 inside the Universal Orlando Resort. It features 19 total attractions, including 12 water slides. It also sports a lazy river, a whitewater river and gigantic swimming pools.
Volcano Bay attractions
In keeping with its more thrill-oriented atmosphere, most of Volcano Bay’s attractions have a height requirement. Within the entire park, there are just six activities without a height requirement, including the pools, the beach and the lazy river.
Meanwhile, 13 of the 19 attractions require a minimum height. Some of the height requirements are relatively low, at just 42 inches, but to get on the biggest rides you’ll need to be at least 48 inches tall.
Volcano Bay price
The price you’ll pay for a ticket to Volcano Bay will depend on a few factors, including when you visit, how many days you’re staying and whether you’re a Florida resident. A one-day ticket for non-residents starts at $80 per adult per day but can go up to $90 during busy periods.
As a Florida resident, you can save up to $10 off the ticket price on certain days, dropping your daily ticket price to $70 in the low season or $80 during busy periods. You’ll need to check the availability calendar for pricing.
Children’s tickets are slightly cheaper than adult tickets, starting at $75 per day for non-residents (or $65 if you’re able to snag a Florida resident deal).
» Learn more: How to get discounted Universal Studios tickets
Universal Express Pass
Universal sells an Express Pass that allows holders to skip the lines at certain attractions within its theme parks. Guests of Volcano Bay can purchase an Express Pass to grant them faster access to the attractions.
The price for an Express Pass at Volcano Bay will differ based on which of the two tiers you choose:
Universal Express Pass: Universal's Volcano Bay. Prices for this pass start at $19.99 per day. This pass allows you to skip the virtual lines once per ride at eight attractions.
Universal Express PLUS Pass: Universal's Volcano Bay. Prices for the PLUS pass start at $49.99 per day. This pass allows you to skip the virtual lines once per ride at 12 attractions.
» Learn more: Is Universal Express Pass worth it?
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon first opened in 1989, so it’s much older than Volcano Bay. Among its 11 attractions are a lazy river, the largest wave pool in North America, and a handful of water slides.
Typhoon Lagoon attractions
Typhoon Lagoon has lots of family-friendly activities. Seven of its 11 attractions are available to those of any height, and two are limited to children only.
Its remaining two attractions are water slides that require a minimum height of 48 inches.
Typhoon Lagoon price
Typhoon Lagoon is cheaper than Volcano Bay, and its prices don't vary based on demand. Instead, you’ll pay a flat $69 plus taxes per day as a non-resident adult visiting the water park. Children ages 3 to 9 are $63 each, and those under age 3 are free.
Disney offers quite a few discounts for those visiting Typhoon Lagoon. Annual passholders, Florida residents and eligible Disney Vacation Club members can save when visiting the water park. And Florida residents are sometimes treated to promotions offering a two-day ticket for the price of one.
» Learn more: How to save on your Disney vacation
Disney Lightning Lane
Disney's Lightning Lane is similar to Universal’s Express Pass; unfortunately, Lightning Lane is not available at Typhoon Lagoon. Guests need to wait in old-fashioned lines in order to ride the attractions.
» Learn more: How to plan a trip to Walt Disney World
Typhoon Lagoon or Volcano Bay?
Either of these water parks can be a great break between visiting other Orlando theme parks.
However, the two parks are quite different. Volcano Bay is newer and features more attractions, including bigger waterslides. It has the price to match, with tickets that’ll cost more on busy days. You’ll also have the ability to purchase a line-skipping pass, known as the Express Pass.
Meanwhile, Typhoon Lagoon may be a more attractive option for families with small children, as most of its attractions contain no height requirement. Typhoon Lagoon is also cheaper than Volcano Bay and can offer better discounts to eligible guests. That being said, it doesn’t offer a line-skipping option, which means you may spend time waiting for rides.
Whichever one you choose, you’re sure to enjoy the cool water and refreshing waves of these Central Florida water parks.
(Top photo courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort)
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card