Universal Just Unveiled the Best Water Slide in America
Universal Orlando Resort's new Volcano Bay water theme park may issue large-scale thrills across its eighteen waterslides, but there's only one you'll come home raving about all summer long. It's not easy to outshine the park's emblematic 200-foot Krakatau Volcano — a stunning sight that explodes with waterfalls into a massive wave pool — but Krakatau Aqua Coaster does just that.
Its plentiful drops provide some serious airtime, but it's the process of speedily propelling riders back upwards that sets it apart from the competition, truly mimicking the motion of a regular roller coaster on land. After boarding Krakatau's four-seat canoes, passengers zoom throughout the expansive volcano, which pulsates with water by day and hosts colorful lava effects at night, twisting deep within the fiery mountain longer and faster than water park aficionados would have believed possible.
It'll feel like theme park magic — this is, after all, the same company behind The Wizarding World of Harry Potter — but it's made possible by linear induction technology. The attraction relies on magnets to push the canoe up and through Krakatau volcano until it culminates in a final drop so fast and steep, you won't believe you didn't need a seatbelt.
The experience may sound familiar; after all, water coasters have been star attractions at popular parks like Noah's Ark in Wisconsin, Typhoon Lagoon in Florida and Schlitterbahn in Texas and Kansas for some years now, but Volcano Bay's aqua coaster is astonishingly different. Unlike its counterparts, which require a sky-high starting point as they careen slightly up and down throughout their gravitational descent, Krakatau boards just above ground level, utilizing only the induction magnets, not water jets, to push riders further and further up as the excitement builds.
This thoughtful and easy boarding process is just part of Universal Orlando's dedication to creating the ideal water park experience, one completely without rafts to carry or even queues to stand around in. Volcano Bay's virtual line system eliminates the need to get in line entirely; instead, guests scan a digital wristband to reserve their place in line for nearly all park attractions including Krakatau Aqua Coaster. There have been growing pains with the system since it debuted at the park's late May opening, but as the transition towards a line-free park continues, it could prove to be revolutionary in the long run. (Volcano Bay has, after all, begun reaching capacity since it opened.)
Curious what one does while waiting for their turn without actually waiting? In addition to child-friendly water play areas, guests can hit the Wave Village pools at the base of Krakatau or partake in either of Volcano Bay's two lazy rivers: the serene Kopiko Wai Winding River or TeAwa The Fearless River, which has a rapids-like current. You could, too, stop for a meal, selecting from the varied and vast menus of island-inspired cuisine and Instagram-friendly temptations sold throughout the park.
The technological wonder of Krakatau Aqua Coaster may stand out among Volcano Bay's other slides for being both exciting and family-friendly, but there are plenty other noteworthy attractions worth holding a virtual spot for. The 125-foot drop and submerged dive of Ko'okiri Body Plunge and rapid Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides should delight thrillseekers (if the dizzying walk to the volcano's top doesn't terrify them first) and the six-passenger Maku Puihi and five-seat Honu raft slides are also twists on their formats, incorporating bowls and walls into slides for extra height and zero-gravity fright. Krakatau Aqua Coaster is still the best one we've ever seen — and will definitely be changing the water slide game for years to come — but rest assured knowing there's plenty to see and do at this water park utopia worthy of a visit.
This Story Originally Appeared On Travel + Leisure