Hotels Universal's Volcano Bay inspired by tales of the South Pacific By Jamie Biesiada / March 16, 2017 Share 1 The Honu raft ride will be one of Volcano Bay's attractions. -- The concept that is about to become Volcano Bay Water Theme Park, Universal Orlando Resort's newest attraction, was germinated six years ago as an idea set out on four pages of paper.According to Dale Mason, vice president and executive art director of Universal Creative, those pieces of paper outlined the tale of the Waturi people, travelers in the South Pacific and Polynesia searching in their outrigger canoes for a new home, and the creation story of the place where they would eventually settle."We sort of put that on the shelf for a couple of years," Mason said last week. "We thought, 'This will be great to do one day.' And then one day happened."Volcano Bay, the culmination of years of work, will open to the public in May, heavily driven by the stories developed early on in the process of creating the concept."Because we had that great road map at the beginning, it informs every little detail of the design," Mason said. "We think back to that story, or make sure that it fits within our story framework."He said the Waturi believed they could find their new home only with the help of a golden fish, Kunuku. They traveled near and far in search of him, exploring many countries and cultures along the way, from Tahiti to Bali to Hawaii to New Zealand and even as far as Easter Island. Eventually, they found Kunuku and within a day discovered Volcano Bay with the Krakatau volcano at its center.The backstory of Volcano Bay heavily informs its design, according to Mason. For instance, the structures and designs in the park draw heavily from the countries the Waturi visited while searching for their home."All of our buildings are these collisions of different architectural styles from many different cultures," Mason said.He said that there are even deeper stories reflected in the park, such as the creation of the volcano.Before the Waturi settled in what would become Volcano Bay, there was a fiery god, Krakatau, who had a daughter Tai Nui, the apple of his eye. One day, she fell in love with an island youth named Kala, but she was afraid to tell her father. When he found out, he was so angry he threw Kala into the sky, where the boy became the moon. A devastated Tai Nui's tears became the sea.One day on the beach, the tears of his daughter washing around his feet, Krakatau realized what he had done. He reached into the earth and pulled it, stretching it from sea to sky, once again connecting Tai Nui and Kala, and creating the heart of the park: the volcano Krakatau.That story connects with two slides in the park: the Kala and Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides. Mason said they are "trapdoor slides." Riders on each can see each other until the bottoms drop out, launching them into the waters below.Inside the caves of the volcano itself, park visitors can meet a spirit called Vol, who, Mason said, will play tricks on them and tell the stories of Volcano Bay.Connecting the park to its backstory elevates the guest experience and also acts as a way to fully immerse guests, Mason said.Volcano Bay is also using technology to elevate guest experiences in the form of the TapuTapu wearable devices, which enable guests to receive a notification when they can ride a particular attraction rather than waiting on line. The devices also activate special effects throughout the park. For example, a Tapu-Tapu can prompt stone heads to shoot water at guests, direct nozzles and water fountains or illuminate images in the volcano's cave, Mason said."We hope that it doesn't appear as technology," he said. "We hope that it appears as part of this mythical, magical space. "The opening day for Volcano Bay is May 25, and Mason is helping put the final touches on the park."The journey is always the fun part, so the experience of building it has been amazing," he said. "But I also think that the experience of opening it and seeing this first wave of guests come through and experience it for the first time will be a really amazing thing to see."