Wet ‘n Wild’s end is slowly approaching. Owned by Universal since 1998, Universal is planning to close this waterpark for good the end of this year. Wet ‘n Wild has had a remarkable run since first opening in 1977, when it was literally just about the only really big spot on International Drive, and I-Drive south of Sand Lake was a totally undeveloped two-lane road. Wet ‘n Wild has always been a busy spot, and continues to be a busy spot. It’s not like the crowds have dropped off; go there on any day and the parking lot is full and the park is full of people waiting to slip and slide down its various water rides.
Universal is currently building a new water park, Volcano Bay, next to it’s Cabana hotel (seen in the background) on Turkey Lake and Wallace Road. That’s at the Sand Lake exit on I-4, two exits west of the Wet ‘n Wild exit on I-4 and Kirkman. The claim is that Volcano Bay will open early 2017, which, if true, would have it open in the Spring. I have no idea how big it will be compared to Wet ‘n Wild. When it does open, and if it is as big an attraction as Wet ‘n Wild currently is, then the traffic coming through Turkey Lake, especially from the Sand Lake/Turkey Lake intersection will be horrific. Which is something like long-time residents such as myself aren’t happy to see; traffic is bad enough already.
Why Universal chose this layout is a mystery, at least to me. Wet n’ Wild is directly across from Universal Studios on I-4. They could have just as easily rebuilt Wet ‘n Wild and added a special bridge to link the main park with Wet ‘n Wild. Universal owns over 50 acres in that are that include Wet ‘n Wild, so I guess we’ll get to see what Universal has in store for the park once it’s close for good.