What's the deal with Tapu Tapu at Volcano Bay?

September 23, 2018, 4:20 PM

We all had high hopes for the Tapu Tapu system at Volcano Bay. But apparently the program still has a few hiccups. I stumbled across this post on on oif the UO FB fan pages.

"FYI - premium seating at Volcano Bay no longer comes with very secure lockers...evidently they gave up completely on the tapu tapu system and put ghetto crappy latch locks on everything, and it only comes with ONE key. So make sure whoever is spending the most time at the loungers has it, OR never split up your party.

Or bring your own locks from home, one that has multiple keys.

Attendant verified my identity and locker but she and her management team spent 20 minutes “looking for a spare key” rather than cutting the stupid lock. I even offered to drop the issue if they’d bring me a simple Phillips screwdriver but they didn’t go for it. Super frustrated 😕

This is no longer the convenient “everyone in your party can access the lockers with tapu tapu” that used to be the case."

So people need to bring their own locks to VB? Um ... Yikes!

Replies (6)

Edited: September 23, 2018, 10:32 PM

When I was at Volcano Bay last, I had no issues with Tapu Tapu, either with my locker or with tapping into attractions.

But hey, I'm not enough of a high roller to do premium seating, so who knows what is going on over there.

September 24, 2018, 8:25 AM

We were at Volcano Bay in June, and didn't necessarily have an issue with Tapu Tapu, though I felt it was not executed in the most seamless, efficient manner. The system performed as advertised as we had no issues with the devices throughout the day, and didn't experience any glitches in the system.

However, my one complaint would be that return time estimates were not always accurate. From my observations, it appeared that they would summon quests queued into the Tapu Tapu system in groups based on the return time given when making your initial ride reservation. However, if guests being sent the "Ride Now" message on their Tapu Tapu did not show up fast enough, they would summon the next group. If still not enough people came into the line, they would summon even more, so guests that had 20 minutes until it was time to ride were being sent the "Ride Now" message after just 2 or 3 minutes of waiting. What would then happen is a line would then form from all of the guests being summoned at the same time and not being able to arrive immediately when called. That created lines at the attractions that were sometimes as long or longer than the original Tapu Tapu return time estimate. I understood what was happening - guests were figuring they had another 20 minutes until they needed to be back at the slide, so they hopped in the lazy river, wave pool, or went to grab something to eat, and weren't able to return to the attraction when called. Since no one was at the attraction to ride, operators were trying to summon more guests so the attraction would not stand idle with no one riding, so they continued to summon the next group of guests in the virtual queue until a line actually formed. The problem is that the system doesn't know who will show up if called early, so there's no way to tell whether 1 out of every 5 guests called early will show up or if they all will show up, overwhelming the line. It's a very tricky situation, and I think Universal is in a Catch-22 if they don't have a smooth flow of guests responding to "Ride Now" messages. Perhaps a way to alleviate the issue is to have a ride opp standing at the entrance letting any guest walking by (or getting ready to make a reservation to ride at a later time) a chance to go on the ride immediately if there's no one at the top of the slide.

I also don't usually pay extra for premium seating, but when we were there in June, I took note of the premium seating locations and what you got for the extra cost. It appeared that Volcano Bay was using a device called "AquaVault" for the lower level premium seating (non-cabana), which was featured on Shark Tank a few years ago. The devices have a combination lock (not a key), so I'm not sure if perhaps VB's license to use those devices had ended over the summer and they replaced the AquaVaults with some other inferior product, or simply transitioned to keyed devices as the AquaVaults reached the end of their lifespan. The safes for the cabanas were similar to the ones you would see in a hotel with a keypad.

Edited: September 24, 2018, 4:42 PM

When I went back in September of last year, the one problem we experienced was with the lock box in our premium seating area. Back then, they were unlockable via the TapuTapu - but, IIRC, even then we had to select just one person from the group whose TapuTapu would unlock the box. And it was still a complete nightmare trying to get it to work - we wasted so much time jamming the wristband against the box in different ways trying to get it to open every time we wanted to put something in or get something out. Eventually we just gave up using it. And even the staff who tried to help us had the same problem.

All of that meant that the extra price we'd paid for it felt like a bit of a con. I imagine they had lots of complaints to the same effect, to the point that they just gave up and switched systems.

TapuTapu has the potential to be a great system, but I don't envy Universal being the first to try to make it work on such a large scale.

September 25, 2018, 6:52 AM

One of the things I love most about Universal Creative is their unwavering willingness to swing for the fence. Although I may be accused of damning them with faint praise, even when one of the idea's fails, they manage impress me with their willingness to give it a try.

Edited: September 25, 2018, 7:28 AM

I really think they'd be better off using a bank of lockers for each premium seating section instead of trying to place an individual locker at each set of chairs. Each party with a chair reservation would get access to a single locker that would be accessible by fingerprint or TapuTapu (similar to the ride lockers at USF/IOA). The locker banks could be located near the entrance to the premium seating area, and would be managed by the same team member controlling access to the premium seating area. I don't really understand the benefit of having a tiny box connected to your chair. Using a standard bank of lockers would not only allow guests a little more space, but would limit access issues with a central location, proven technology, and a full time attendant monitoring access.

September 25, 2018, 12:09 PM

As an AP and regular visitor to Universal and Volcano Bay, I have had no issues with VB lockers or Tapu Tapu execution in general, including the premium lockers. Perhaps this was a temporary problem, a problem with a certain bank of lockers, or a transitional upgrade.

Most of the people on the FB "fan" pages, particularly the AP page is that it's really just a bunch of people b@$^&ing. As is the negative bias machine that is the internet, negative reviewers are most motivated to comment.

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