- Waturi Fusion Waffle Cone，6.49 美元
- Burgers, prices vary
- Tiki Punch, $13.99
- Coconut Fried Chicken Platter, $14.99
- Asshole Shrimp Macaroni and Cheese Combo, $19.49
I've been visiting Universal Orlando Resort regularly since it opened in 1990. On a recent visit, I was looking forward to finding some much-needed refuge from the rising temperatures in Florida and ditched the roller coaster for their on-site water park, Volcano Bay. Ever the theme park foodie, I couldn't wait to sample the food and drinks, as well as beat the heat, at the South Pacific themed water park.
Surrounded by lush vegetation, this waterpark is unlike any waterpark I've ever experienced - its sandy beaches and winding trails almost feel like a resort. With stunning tropical nature and a 200-foot volcano at its core, I completely forgot I was within earshot of I-4, the busiest interstate in Central Florida.
A surprising and unexpected culinary hotbed was found in this complete oasis, serving South Pacific-inspired tapas and cocktails. From the in-house smoked ribs to the fresh tuna poke bowls, the culinary attention to detail is due in large part to Jason Glus, executive chef at Universal Orlando.
When he joined the company 20 years ago, the menu was filled with theme park staples like fries and chicken tenders - but he began to change his mind about what theme park food could and should be. Yes, there will always be turkey legs and hot dogs, but for the discerning or adventurous palate, there's more.
Glus shared with Yahoo Life that over the past four years, Universal Orlando Resort has shifted to becoming more sustainable by using locally sourced ingredients - meaning that across the Orlando resort's properties, their menu changes seasonally as they try to use the freshest available ingredients ingredients .
At one of the country's best water parks, you can easily choose from dozens of creative options for the absolute best food and drink at Universal's Volcano Bay.
Waturi Fusion Waffle Cone，6.49 美元
Location：Koka Poroka Ice Cream Kona
This delicious explosion of colorful soft serve may be what Volcano Bay is best known for when it comes to food, but it definitely deserves a big shout out. Waturi Fusion is an Insta-worthy creation that can be found at quick-serve ice cream shack Koka Poroka Ice Cream Kona. The layered soft serve balls are a cascading rainbow combination of banana, blue raspberry, orange and strawberry flavored swirls. Served in a cup or my favorite waffle cone, it's an absolute treat on a hot day and shockingly subtle in its sweetness.
Burgers, prices vary
Location: Kohola Reef Restaurant and Social Club and Bambu
You can't go wrong with any of the burgers served at both the Bambu and Kohola Reef restaurants and social clubs. Volcano Bay uses fresh Angus beef patties that are hand-packed and served daily on homemade burger buns. The patties themselves are juicy, full of flavor and prepared to perfection - a feat for any theme park.
My favorites are the Reka Burger with pepper jack cheese, caramelized onions and rich mango BBQ sauce, and the Kohola Burger, topped with crispy fried onions and pickled jalapeños. Vegetarians aren't left out either, as they can enjoy the Quinoa Hairy Bean Burger topped with delicious grilled shiitake mushrooms.
Tiki Punch, $13.99
Location: Dragon Boat Dance Bar
There are many places to enjoy a refreshing drink in Volcano Bay, but the Dancing Dragon Boat Bar is the best. The large bar shaped like a canoe resembles a beachfront watering hole that leads to the white sandy beach of the lagoon, with a perfect view of the superb volcano in the water park. Aside from the view, thirsty guests will be happy to know that the drinks are great and the Tiki Punch is a knockout.
The cocktail is a combination of spirits made with light rum, raspberry rum, dragonberry rum, lemon rum and cranberry juice. Like a distant relative of the Long Island Iced Tea, it is heavy on the pour and smooth at the same time. It's also great for people like me who want a tropical drink that isn't overly sweet.
Coconut Fried Chicken Platter, $14.99
Location: Cojola Reef Restaurant and Social Club
Located at the base of Krakatoa with views of the expansive lagoon-style pool, Kohola Reef Restaurant and Social Club is home to one of the most satisfying dishes found in Volcano Bay, coconut fried chicken. It's almost shocking to find such great fried chicken in a water park, but alas, here we are. The juicy chicken was very succulent with an addictive crispy exterior and just the right amount of sweetness from the coconut to break through its salty flavor. The mango salad and fries were great sides, but the chicken was the star.
Asshole Shrimp Macaroni and Cheese Combo, $19.49
Location: Whakawaiai eat
Huaca Waiai Eats offers plenty of flair in its tropical decor and some much-needed shaded seating. Skip the pancakes and hot dogs on the menu and enjoy their shrimp macaroni and cheese. Not exactly a traditional water park snack, this dish combines grilled prawns, decadent macaroni and cheese made with pasta shells and an addictive, creamy white cheddar sauce. Thankfully, this quick service counter performs perfectly cooked shrimp.
The combo comes with Icee, perfect for cooling off while lounging in the sun.