By Lexus Yamashiro | Staff Writer

As a kid, I remember going to Kapolei about two or three times with family and other relatives to have fun at Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park. Since it changed to Wet ‘n’ Wild, I haven’t gone to the water park in years until recently over the Spring Break. I was convinced by my boyfriend to go with him along with his family and friends. After getting permission from my parents to go, there were three things that concerned me: ticket prices, the ride going to and from the park, and the water that filled the park.

For someone who has been living on an island for 19 years, I still don’t know how to swim. This made me think twice about going since the fear of drowning was haunting me in the back of my mind. However, these fears and thoughts of doubt disappeared when the day came, and I have to say it was an amazing time and nostalgic experience. Being a first timer of going to Wet ‘n’ Wild, these are some of my thoughts from my experience.

Ticket Prices:
If people don’t look on the Wet ‘n’ Wild website, they won’t be able to find out that the park has special offers for kamaʻaina in regards to ticket prices. When we arrived at the park, each pair within our group presented a Love’s Bakery Donette box and got a buy one get one free ticket deal. One ticket came out to $49.99 plus tax, and when split between two it would come out to about $25. Compared to the kamaʻaina ticket price of $36.99, doing these special offers are the better route to take to help stretch out those dollars.

The O-Hana Highway is a 3- to 4-seater ride that takes people down along walls and sharp turns. (Photo by Lexus Yamashiro)

There are also season passes for those who plan to go frequently. Taking advantage of these passes can get visitors a free refillable sports bottle and free parking. Wet ‘n’ Wild even offers coupons for half-price admission tickets. Overall, it’s best to look into the prices before heading over to the park. If not planned wisely, the more tickets that are purchased will add up and become an expensive bill.

The Rides:
Our group had arrived at the water park just around the time that it was opening, which meant short wait times for rides. I was a little disappointed and sad to hear that the Tornado and Surf Sliders were closed for the day, however, it was understandable since these particular rides were under maintenance. I got the chance to go on almost all of the rides throughout the park and couldn’t believe the adrenaline rush I was getting.

The wait times for the popular rides such as the O-Hana Highway and the Shaka for our group were around 5 to 10 minutes, which wasn’t as long as I thought it’d be. What made the wait nice, besides chatting amongst everyone, was getting to see the amazing view of Kapolei. It was nice to see a variety of rides, especially ones such as the Kapolei Kooler and Hawaiian Waters Wave Pool that allows guests to relax and catch a breath from all the adrenaline rushing rides.

The Big Kahuna lets guests race each other down two slides to choose from and plunge into a pool of water. (Photo by Lexus Yamashiro)

If I had to choose, the Waimea Whirl along with the Wai‘anae Coasters are the most exciting and physically engaging attractions that I got the chance to ride. Guests grab a two-seater at the bottom of the ride and walk up a hill and a few flights of stairs to get to the entrance of the ride. This is a great opportunity for a leg day workout, especially if you repeatedly go back to try all slides going down. There are four different slides (one that leads into the Waimea Whirl and three that are the Wai‘anae Coasters) that guests can choose to go down. One slide is longer than the others while another is a completely dark and closed slide. The sudden plunges are what makes these rides exciting, along with the screams and laughter that you get to share with your riding buddy.

The Food:
This is when the leftover money from buying tickets wisely came into play for us. The Windjammer Cafe offers a variety of American and even a few Asian meals. Depending on what you buy, the meals can add up and cost around $10 to $20 in total. The food court even offers family meals such as eight cheeseburgers for a little more than 30. Plate lunches and value meals are also a choice on the wide-ranging menu.

The Windjammer Cafe offers six value meals to choose from, one of them being chicken tenders and french fries. (Photo by Lexus Yamashiro)

I was perplexed to see that there were only two lines open out of the four or five windows that the cafe actually had, and the wait time was frustrating to deal with. I ordered the value menu #2, which consisted of chicken tenders and French fries, along with a slice of pizza and cheeseburger for my boyfriend. The total came out to around $22, which was worth it considering the portion size. Although expensive, a smile grew on my face when I noticed self-serving pump containers of ketchup, ranch, and barbecue sauce.

To save money, what I would have done — and what I highly recommend to others — was plan out with the group what we would be buying. I kind of regretted buying my chicken tender meal after seeing that the boys had bought kālua nachos, pizza fries, kālua fries, and curly fries. Because the portions were big, there was a lot leftover that all eight of us couldn’t finish that unfortunately got thrown away and wasted. Buying these items and sharing with everyone is quite filling and way cheaper than getting an actual meal and eating the nachos and fries as pupus.

The Workers:
There were lifeguards posted at every ride/area throughout the park, which showed that safety was enforced. A few workers gave me the impression that they didn’t seem to be enjoying themselves, but nonetheless, they were all attentive and careful of what was happening in the area they were assigned to. The workers at the ticket booth and cafe demonstrated excellent customer service. With the long lines that many of us had to wait in, most of the workers apologized to us for the wait and proceeded to thank us for waiting patiently.

What made the rides worth it was when there were engaging and humorous workers at these particular rides. The best lifeguard that I encountered while there was the one at the Waimea Whirl. It’s no doubt from the way that he interacted with everyone and used his humor that showed that he was a personable individual. My boyfriend and I had just gotten into the two-seater floater when my boyfriend asked the lifeguard if he could give us a boost when we take off down the slide. He said he can, to which my boyfriend proceeded jokingly with the question “Can you take us to the moon?” The lifeguard chuckled and responded with “Sure, but I don’t think I can bring you back,” which led to what felt like a spartan kick from behind, giving us the best adrenaline rush going down.

The Commute:
Since there was only one car that had to commute a group of eight, I along with my boyfriend and his friend chose to take a Lyft to the water park. As a college student who is on a budget, taking a Lyft (or Uber) is the cheaper option of getting to far places such as Kapolei. What’s nice is having the option of being able to split the fare equally between those who are riding. In total, going to and from the park came out to $99.38, which compared to a regular taxi probably would have come out to around $200 or more.

Getting the opportunity to go the water park was something that I’m glad that I got to take advantage of. It provides an enjoyable way to relax, relieve stress, and bond with others while getting away from college life for a moment. By the time this semester ends and summer rolls around, I might just go again to relive these amazing memories.