Krakatau volcano at Universal Orlando erupts with fiery lava effects at night, and streaming waterfalls by day. © Universal Orlando

Originally published January/February 2017

By Tom Hess

Rising 200 feet above Florida’s tropical landscape is Krakatau, but magma didn’t form this volcano. Universal Orlando Resort built it as the centerpiece of a new 30-acre waterpark opening in early summer.

History buffs will recall that Krakatau is the name of a volcano that erupted in August 1883 with such force that the explosion could be heard 3,000 miles away.

The new Krakatau in Orlando will make its own big impression, offering a four-person Aqua Coaster ride that Universal says will feature an “immersive” experience in specially designed canoes.

In early summer 2017, visitors to Universal Orlando’s new Volcano Bay water theme park can experience the Krakatau Aqua Coaster that will take families on an unforgettable adventure through the park’s massive 200-foot Krakatau volcano. © Universal Orlando

“Linear induction motor technology … launches the canoe uphill before it immediately sends riders into a downhill plunge,” says a Universal news release. Riders will “twist, turn and plummet along dark passageways, be launched through sparkling waterfalls, and so much more.”

Also at the volcano will be Ko’okiri Body Plunge, a 70-degree fall through a drop door and 125-foot descent; and Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides, which drops two guests down clear, intertwining tubes.

To help riders navigate the long lines that will form for these and other rides, Universal will offer a wearable, TapuTapu, that with a simple tap will allow them to virtually wait in line while they play in other areas of the park. “The wearable will alert them when it’s time for them to ride so they can head to the attraction,” Universal says. The wearable will also allow guests to trigger special effects, such as “controlling streams of water spurting from whales in Tot Tiki Reef, shooting water cannons at guests snaking down Kopiko Wai Winding River and illuminating images in the volcano’s hidden caves.”

In early summer 2017, Universal Orlando’s new Volcano Bay water theme park will feature Runamukka Reef—a three-story water playground inspired by the coral reef overflowing with twisting slides, sprinklers and more. © Universal Orlando

Universal Orlando’s theme parks also include the popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Hogsmeade and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Diagon Alley. (Read the EnCompass review of Universal Orlando’s Harry Potter attractions at, or by using the AAA Mobile app on your smartphone or tablet.)

Onsite-resort hotels include Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, the Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort and the all-new Loews Sapphire Falls Resort.