Voted Best Family Attraction in Honolulu Magazine, and ranked as one of the top 10 Amusement and Waterparks in the nation by the Travel Chanel, Wet’n’Wild Hawaii is the place to ride a wave without having to catch it. And, Hawaii’s first and only waterpark has caught a wave of their own – a wave of visitation.
According to Eddie Galdones, director of marketing and sales at the park and Tiffany Foyle, the park’s account supervisor at Pang Communications, the number of park visitors annually is way up.
Since last December, the park is now home to the highest rated island luau, Chief’s, produced by Chief Sielu Avea, the original world champion fire-knife dancer. “With the addition of Chief's Luau, the park is poised to end annual visitation at 450,000 guests for 2018. That’s an upswing of 100,000 more from the previous year. Park attendance is comprised primarily of the local market at 70% residents and 30% visitors,” Foyle states. “Our peak season is from Memorial Day through Labor Day where 60% of the park business is generated. With the addition of Chief's Luau, the tourist visitation mix boosted the Westbound Market -- everything from mainland US, Canada, Australia, Europe and South America -- by 10% up at 40%.” Foyle notes that the Japanese market still dominates tourist visitation at the park at 60%, and she feels that the emerging Asian market of Chinese and Korean tourists will boost the Eastbound market in the near future. She adds “The park also has the highest season-pass penetration rate against all other attractions on Oahu.”
The park’s buy a day, get a year free promotion is $49.99; the Gold Pass is $74.99 or $64.99 if bought for a group of four of more. The Gold Pass includes free parking, a refillable sport bottle and $1.25 refills all year, a free ticket for a friend pre-loaded onto the card, $10 off cabana rentals, discounted bring-a-friend offers, and free admission to the very popular Twilight & Dive ‘n’ Movie Nights. Guests with single day tickets, available for $44.99 to $49.99, can also attend the movie nights. And, on Kama’aina Wednesday, Hawaii residents and U.S. military with proof of residency receive a general admission ticket every Wednesday between May 30 and August 29, 2018 for an online-purchase price of $25.
“October 2018 marks the selling period of our 2019 Season Pass. Guests are able to buy 2019 passes at a significantly discounted rate, plus they have an added bonus of an upgrade to a higher pass category,” Foyle says.
Galdones notes that most popular ride is the park’s family raft ride, O-Hana Highway. “It’s named after family in Hawaiian, and it allows a family or group of four to ride down a giant round raft, sliding down over 600 feet along the walls, around sharp turns, and over steep drops, providing a memorable experience for the all share. Our second most popular ride is the newest one, Waimea Whirl.”
The park added the popular Waimea Whirl in 2004, on the park’s 16th birthday. “Guests climb aboard a two-person inner-tube, then drop 30 feet into the bowl at a high speed and stay glued to its wall as they circle the perimeter multiple times. As soon as the tube loses speed, riders move to the center of the bowl and are quickly flushed out into a slide, down another 20 feet, into a splash pool shared by Waianae Coaster,” Galdones says.
Other popular attractions include the vertical plunge slide Shaka, that creates the sensation of zero-gravity; and Tornado, which sends visitors into a 45-foot funnel and into the eye of a storm, and beyond it into peaceful water. Hawaiian Waters, a 400,000-gallon wave pool, allows visitors to body board on machine-generated waves designed to be similar to the surf in Waikiki.
For guests seeking a resort-like experience, private cabanas or shaded thatched-roof umbrellas can be rented along with lounges and deck chairs.
Galdones explains “We are not like any other waterpark in the mainland U.S. We offer something for everyone, from families looking to relax and cool off in warm tropical waters to thrill seekers searching for an adrenaline boost.”
The park is promoted in a variety of ways. According to Foyle, “We use traditional advertising, print, TV and radio. We began using digital two years ago, and this will be the direction the park will head toward in addition to our traditional media.” Foyle remarks that “Our e-commerce sales have grown significantly, 15% over budget, with the addition of social media and digital advertising. Social platforms - 18,500+ Facebook and 3,500+ Instagram - are managed internally and continue to grow our influence.”
Foyle says “Conventional media targets local and tour markets. The local market is geared more towards advertising of season pass promotion, whereas tourist advertising focuses on comprehensive packages.”
Dining is another fun aspect of the park. Foyle relates why: “We like to theme drinks and food with our Dive’n’Movie nights when possible. So, depending on what movie we are showing, there will be food and drink specials themed with the characters or storyline.” Dining spots include the Windjammer Café, a variety of food carts throughout the park, and the Sweet Spot Flow Bar, where craft cocktails and cold beers are the order of the day
Foyle notes that the park has attracted over 5 million locals and 8 million total guests to the Kapolei area over the last 19 years, and employ 30 full time and 120 seasonal workers.
Not to mention, Foyle says “This is the only place in Hawaii where you can regularly swim with mermaids.”