You didn’t really think Walt Disney World would let Universal Orlando get a leg up by introducing new technology at its water park that opens in time for the summer tourism season, did you?
Universal Orlando’s Volcano Bay is, of course, getting a lot of buzz because it’s the newest water park in town – and because we have been able to actually watch the construction progress from Interstate 4.
But it’s also introducing an industry first for a water park. Universal is touting its use of technology as a way to enhance guests’ experience. TapuTapu wearable bands will allow guests to enter virtual queues and avoid physical queues for the rides. Sounds a lot like Disney’s MagicBands, right? When the TapuTapu bands were announced, people wondered why Disney World was not using the technology it was the first to develop to compete at its Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon water parks.
Well, this week the Orlando Sentinel reported that Walt Disney World is, in fact, testing a virtual reservation system at its two water parks through April 7. (No word yet on when it will go into effect full-time.) The attractions that are testing the new system are the Downhill Double Dipper, Slush Gusher and Summit Plummet at Blizzard Beach and Miss Adventure Falls at Typhoon Lagoon.
The Sentinel reported that the system at Walt Disney World worked this way during the test: “The procedure resembled one of Disney’s old-school FastPass attractions. Visitors arrived at the base of the Double Dipper and were given the option of receiving a 15-minute time frame to return. The time was printed on a card with a rubber band attached for putting around guests’ wrists. At the appointed time, riders returned to the attraction to ride. The card warned that there would be a ‘moderate wait.’ The system was not connected to Disney MagicBands, and reservations could not be made digitally through the My Disney Experience app.”
The virtual reservation systems at Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando water parks are included in the regular admission prices. However, Universal also will offer Universal Express, which allows the visitor immediate front-of-the-line access for one time per ride, excluding the Krakatau Aqua Coaster. Pricing changes depending on the season and ranges from $24.99 to $49.99 per person. Guests also can purchase Universal Express Unlimited for $49.99 to $79.99 per person. It also excludes Krakatau.
Volcano Bay will open May 25. You can read more about all the attractions at the Pacific Isle-themed water park here.
Do you think the virtual reservation systems will enhance your experience at Orlando water parks? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.
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