Universal is CORRECT... Volcano Bay is a THEME PARK

January 21, 2017, 12:22 PM

Universal Orlando has been promoting Volcano Bay as the third theme park at their Central Florida resort. I agree. Additionally, I believe the assertion that both Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach are also theme parks.

Replies (14)

January 21, 2017, 4:00 PM

I could not disagree more. Those are water parks, NOT theme park. Universal has enough problems with their Harry Potter Parks (er lands). Why confuse the guest more.

We have enough problems with Six Flags calling Hurricane Harbor a theme park. Its barely a water park. Do not muddy the waters (pun not intended)

Edited: January 21, 2017, 5:35 PM

There is an extensive narrative behind all three water parks mentioned in TH's opening salvo, enough for me to consider them water THEME parks, certainly. Simply saying they are just water parks is like saying the Magic Kingdom is just an amusement park.

January 21, 2017, 7:29 PM

In my opinion, parks like Volcano Bay, Blizzard Beach, and Typhoon Lagoon are too well themed to be considered simply "water parks", but at the same time I don't think they're, for lack of a better term, "good" enough to be considered a theme park.

So can we form a compromise? How about we create a new term for these parks that are technically water parks but go above and beyond in terms of theming?

I was thinking of calling them "Aqua Theme Parks", but someone else on this site could probably come up with a better term.

January 21, 2017, 10:11 PM

Actually, Juan, that's a pretty good idea. I like that name.

January 22, 2017, 9:01 AM

Or we could just call them "theme parks." Both Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard beach have stories behind their names. They have characters, attractions, restaurants and retail outlets.

Thus: Universal orlando has three theme parks, Walt disney World has six.

January 22, 2017, 2:31 PM

Would Aulani and Great Wolf Lodge be considered Theme Park Resorts. They are obviously more than just a Hotel Resort.

January 22, 2017, 4:02 PM

The real question is whether theme park has to be an exclusive term. I would argue that it doesn't, and that it can be applied to a variety of related attractions. Amusement parks, animal theme parks, family entertainment centers, marine mammal parks, safari parks, and water parks can all qualify as theme parks if they are designed with a unifying subject in mind. As long as a park is themed heavily, why shouldn't it be considered a theme park?

That said, I do think it is unfair to compare different classes of parks to each other when discussing the experience, as each park type has a different focus and different types of attractions as a result. You can compare them in terms of the theming quality, but comparing somewhere like Disneyland to somewhere like the San Diego Safari Park is really not a valid comparison. Therefore, it's fair to say that Universal Orlando has 3 theme parks and Walt Disney World has 6, but it would be unfair to directly compare Epcot and Volcano Bay as they are completely different types of parks.

January 23, 2017, 4:23 AM

Mr. Hummel writes: "... unfair to directly compare Epcot and Volcano Bay as they are completely different types of parks."

I Respopnd: Couldn't the same be said about the Magic Kingdom and Cedar Point?

January 23, 2017, 7:48 AM

Look at TH getting all the purist all fired up here.

Lets use "alternative facts" to describe these water themed parks (my attempt at a political joke)...

January 23, 2017, 11:44 AM

HAH! I'm like the Sean Spicer of TPI. Period!

January 23, 2017, 11:47 AM

I'm more than happy to call places like Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach and Volcano Bay Theme Parks as long as they continue to raise the level of what is offered. Wet and Wild was a lot of fun, but it was essentially pools and slides in a parking lot. The back story given to the places like Blizzard Beach put them in the different class. Additionally inclusion of attractions like Crush and Gusher at Typhoon Lagoon, and the chair lift at Blizzard Beach elevate them into theme park status.

January 23, 2017, 4:15 PM

TH, if you get really technical that statement could be valid, particularly if you do not consider Cedar Point to be a theme park. However, I'd say that both parks are much closer to each other than Volcano Bay is to any park typically thought of as a theme park. For the most part, Cedar Point and Magic Kingdom both use the same types of attractions, the latter just dresses them up with elaborate theming to make the attractions appear to be something different while the former relies on pure physical sensation to provide enjoyment to riders. They both fall under the amusement park category, though one is a highly themed amusement park and the other is a bit more bare-bones (though with reasonably decent theming in sections). Still, both parks are visited by people looking to ride rides. Epcot and Volcano Bay? One is a highly themed amusement park, while the other is a highly themed water park. They're both highly themed, but you wouldn't visit Epcot to go swimming any more than you'd visit Volcano Bay to watch a movie about Polynesia.

Edited: January 23, 2017, 5:41 PM

Universal's going to be in a tough position to market Volcano Bay as their third theme park if they do end up building that much-rumored new park down the road. Theme park muggles' confusion will reach an all-time high.

Of course that could be exactly what Universal wants. I don't think Disney has a problem with the guests visiting their parks forever looking for the Harry Potter section.

January 25, 2017, 4:25 PM

New official grand opening date just announced by Universal...May 25th

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