If you were to tell me five-months ago (circa July 2020), that I would eventually visit Wet ‘n’ Wild Hawaii not once but twice before the pandemic was over, I would have called you crazy. Not to knock Wet ‘n’ Wild Hawaii, but I just didn’t see how a water park, which by its very nature invited you to not wear a mask, could be safe. The day Wet ‘n’ Wild Hawaii opened I thought to myself, “who would do that?” Well, apparently I would. And it turned out to be a place that I felt much safer at than many other places I’ve visited around the island.
What changed my mind?
Timing, timing, timing. Our first visit came at the end of August. Hawaii was still mostly locked down to tourism given the 14-day quarantine rule that was in effect. It was also locked down to any social gatherings due to rising cases. That meant my daughter and I couldn’t go to my dad’s house to swim in his pool while no one else was around, but I could take her to the public water park. Go figure. I hemmed and hawed over my decision to visit Wet ‘n’ Wild Hawaii. However, in the end, I decided that the risks would be very low on the day we planned to go. It was a Friday and most schools were back in session for the fall (albeit on zoom). My daughter’s school was one of the last to start up after the summer.
We had such a great time during our August visit and I felt totally safe there. I was sad there wouldn’t be another chance to visit again while the majority of the state was at work/school. Fast forward to December, Hawaii’s COVID numbers were doing much better, lockdown had ended months ago and the state had even reopened transpacific travel for those willing to take a pre-travel COVID test. My daughter had also been back to on-campus learning for a couple of months. Long enough for the school to decide that the kids were going to need a break from it all. In a move that shocked most parents, they announced that they would provide extra vacation days this year. Given an opportunity to visit Wet ‘n’ Wild Hawaii again while every other school was still in session, I jumped at the chance.
What does it all cost?
Tickets have been heavily discounted ever since Wet ‘n’ Wild Hawaii reopened amidst the pandemic. If you take anything away from this post, let it be this: buy your tickets online ahead of time to take advantage of huge discounts. On both days that we visited the park, Kama’aina (Hawaii resident) tickets were being offered at 60% off as long as you purchased it at least 24-hours in advance. This brought my bill of $100 (for 2 people) down to $40.
It’s a place designed for playing in pools… How do masks work?
The official rules are as follows: “We kindly request that masks are worn at all times when not enjoying our slides, rides, and pools. All guests must wear masks at all times except when stationary consuming food and drinks.”
This means that you wear your mask through the check-in gate and to the lockers. If you are ready to swim, you leave your mask in your locker. Keep it on if you are going to the bathroom or if you are going to get food. As it relates to food, you can take it off once you are sitting down and eating.
The Lockers at Wet ‘n’ Wild Hawaii
There are several “Best Lockers” machines at the front of the locker aisles. Select the size preference of your locker and swipe your card. It will have you select a 4 digit passcode that you will use for the rest of the day.
I will advise that the smallest locker option can fit a surprising amount of things inside if you really try.
Food Options at Wet ‘n’ Wild Hawaii
The Windjammer Café in the middle of the park is where you can get all your food needs. I checked pictures of the menu out on Yelp before we visited. While the menu seemed much more limited these days, there was still a good assortment of theme park-esque food.
Note: You aren’t allowed to bring in outside food or drinks other than water, and they are actually sticklers about it. Your bag is checked specifically for food on the way in. They do provide you with in/out privileges if you want to bring food and picnic in the parking lot. Alternatively, I’ve definitely stood in line to enter the water park and watched a family trying to shove about 10 spam musubis in various parts of their clothing to avoid detection. It helped that the husband had pretty baggy clothes.
Time to gasp because it’s a rare occasion when I’ll make a complaint about Disney or Pumpkin-flavored anything… But I was a little sad that Aulani swapped out the original pineapple dole whip for a holiday pumpkin version when we stayed there. However, at Wet n’ Wild Hawaii, the pineapple dole whip is alive and well.
What sections of the water park were open?
Both the water world kids playground (pictured above) and keiki kove (pictured below) were open.
The water park’s website states that the Kapolei Kooler (i.e. the lazy river) is open for limited hour but it was closed all day on both occasions that we were there. Surf Sliders (i.e. non-tube slides next to the playground) were also closed on both days. However, the Hawaiian Waters Wave Pool, a huge family draw, was open for the entire time the park was (although it took a little time for the waves to start after the park first opened).
The Main Slides
The Waimea Whirl and the three Waianae Coasters switched off throughout the day with The Big Kahuna. Our favorite slides by far was the Waimea Whirl or the “toilet bowl” as I have lovingly started to refer to it. The Waimea Whirl starts by dropping you into a huge bowl and you circle round and round until you finally get flushed down the drain. We rode it again and again until we had the less than brilliant idea to go down the slide backwards. We were done (and slightly sick) after that.
The O-hana highway located near the lazy river and Volcano Express was open on both days as well.
The Scary Rides
The Tornado, Shaka and the Flowrider (i.e. wave surfing machine) were open in August but closed when we went in December. This isn’t to say that they aren’t open on specific days throughout December, just note that it might not be everyday.
The Flowrider costs extra but is free on select days to the public. It is free on even more days if you are an annual Kahuna pass holder.
How was the overall risk to visiting Wet ‘n’ Wild Hawaii?
I think the park has done everything in its power to make guests safe. While they don’t complete a temperature check themselves, they do warn people against entering if they have a fever. The missing temperature check doesn’t actually bother me because I’ve noticed that on occasions when I’ve had a low-grade fever, it doesn’t seem to register on the forehead thermometer scans.
Both times we visited, the attitude of ~95% of the guests at the park was courteous. Everyone followed the mask rules and socially distanced to the best of their abilities. The 5% that didn’t were very easy to stay away from since the park was so empty. However, I’d be concerned about going on a much busier day, which might not allow for as much distancing.
In closing, I’ll add that I had such a good time that I bought season passes for the whole family for next year. My daughter’s school just announced a couple more mental health days off of school in 2021. Wet ‘n’ Wild Hawaii seems like the perfect place to spend those days.