One Week in Waikiki with a Toddler

Touching a bay turtle at Sea Life Park
Touching a bay turtle at Sea Life Park
Myself, my husband, and our two (almost three) year-old boy (Joe) spent the week before Christmas on Oahu in Waikiki. We flew over from the Big Island, so our flight took only 40 minutes. We were still ultra-prepared, however, for travel with a two-year-old: we had snacks, drinks, a diaper bag full of toys, and the portable DVD player. We never did need to whip out the DVD player, but I almost always have it with me since we were once stuck in the Dallas airport for 14 hours when Joe was 16 months old.

Upon arriving at the Honolulu airport we picked up our bags and caught a shuttle bus (free) to the Hertz rental area. We were pleased at the time with Hertz because they had a computer which would generate a map for you from almost anywhere on Oahu to anywhere else. We created a map from the airport to Daiei, a grocery store in Honolulu, and then one from Daiei to our hotel. I am not so thrilled with Hertz right now, because we had gotten a room and car package and paid what we thought was a decent price at the time but now we found out that the room and car package does not cover a multitude of things like the carseat ($45.00), a concession fee recovery – whatever that is ($25.09), taxes ($14.21) and a vehicle license fee ($20.52)! Big bucks to find out about after the fact! But I guess it would have been like that with any rental company.

Anyway, we went straight to the grocery store and bought $200 worth of groceries. We had specifically booked a hotel that had a kitchen so we could save money and eat relatively healthy foods while on vacation – I was especially worried about getting enough fiber into Joe. $200 sounds like a lot but we also bought sunblock, and swim diapers and things of that nature. The prices at the Daiei were better than what we can find on the Big Island but would probably be more than what most people coming from the mainland US would pay. For example I paid a dollar a pound for a honeydew melon ($2.09 on the big Island) and I paid four dollars for a gallon of milk when that would have run me at least a dollar more on the Big Island. While at the store, I was kind of wishing we had gone to the hotel first because I didn’t know if the refrigerator would already be stocked with stuff like ketchup like it has been at some vacation rentals I’ve stayed at. I needn’t have worried – the refrigerator at the hotel was completely bare.

The view from our room
The view from our room
After the grocery store we checked in at the Resortquest at the Waikiki Banyan. They had a parking garage which was seven dollars a day or $40 for a week. This is actually a great deal in Waikiki. Check-in was easy and the room was adequate – clean, large enough, with a nice view. We did not pay for a view of the ocean but we got a partial one. They also gave us a bucket of sand toys for Joe and a ‘kids play and eat free card’ with a booklet show weighing where your kids could get in free. We used it only once at the waterpark.

We quickly figured out all sorts of stuff we had forgotten to bring like beach towels, tupperware (there are were sufficient pot and pans and plates and glasses but no tupperware). We also forgot tea, coffee, creamer and travel mugs. My husband and I both would have liked to have taken coffee with us but we had forgotten our travel mugs. Oh, and fingernail clippers.

One more thing we should have brought was the umbrella stroller. I don’t like to strap my son in the stroller and he rarely is in one at home. Normally I carry him or he walks and holds my hand if need be. At home he is usually controllable this way. However the entire vacation he was whiny, grabby, and prone to run. He was so bad we bought another umbrella stroller to use on the trip it helped a lot.

We had an itinerary of things to do so we would usually set out in the morning and come back for Joe’s nap and then hang out or walk around Waikiki in the evenings. We did Sea Life Park, Hawaiian waters Adventure Park, the Dole pineapple plantation (fun, short train ride for train fanatics), Waikiki Beach, and Waikiki aquarium. I would recommend all of them. Joe’s favorites were the Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park and Waikiki Beach. We did not do the Honolulu Zoo because he’s been there before and it’s not worth doing twice, or even once if you’ve been to any decent zoo ever.

We had planned to go to the IMAX in Waikiki but it apparently has closed, replaced by Cirque Waikiki. Walking around Waikiki and shopping may be fun for adults but not for kids. There were a view street performers that Joe enjoyed but other than that he was just antsy and wanted to run and grab everything. He did like the aquarium at the DFS Galleria but that was it.

Mele Kalikimaka - a display at the Honolulu City Lights
Mele Kalikimaka – a display at the Honolulu City Lights
The biggest hits for him at night were staying at the hotel and barbecuing (the Waikiki Banyan has a nice playground, a pool, a hot tub, a putting green, coin-operated electric barbeques, and a tennis court all on the roof of one of the floors outside) and going to Chuck E. Cheese in Aina Haina.

The trip was fun and well worth it, despite the I’m-off-my-routine-tantrums. My husband and I, although we didn’t get to do any grown-up stuff, enjoyed ourselves. Maybe we’ll make it on annual thing.


For more Hawaii Information, visit the author’s Hawaii Travel Site.