Just share my experience with Hanauma Bay’s reservation system during December 2021.
Before Christmas my family were traveling with another family to Oahu, and we had to make the Hanauma Bay reservation of December 22nd. It’s almost peak season and we heard lots of stories about how hard it is. Thus on December 20th, three of us were mobilized before 7am Hawaiian Time, each with a different device(one desktop, one laptop, one phone) in different corners of our hotel. When clock struck 7, we rush as fast as we could. One minute later, I(on desktop) finished payment for the whole group, my friend(on laptop) also secured all tickets for us (had 9 minutes or so to complete payment but not needed, the tickets were later released), my wife(on phone) was still typing all details.
So based on our data points, it’s not too bad even during peak time to fight for the reservation on time. Some tips based on our experience:
- Use ethernet instead of WiFi. I used desktop in hotel’s business lounge with ethernet, also I had to type all personal and payment information, I somehow finished it first. My friend used personal laptop with browser auto-filling, but hotel WiFi probably took a toll on network speed.
- Avoid cellphone, of course it has no chance.
- If you didn’t get anything after the craze during first 1 or 2 minutes, don’t panic: wait and see if those temporarily held tickets become available later.
You may wonder why we have to make December 22’s reservation but no other options. We originally planned to get December 18’s, so on December 16th, while we were still at home, we got ready before the supposed time, waiting for it to reach 10am PST, some 15 minutes before that, while we nervously refreshing the page, to our surprise we saw 2 spots on the right date: we tried to get them but failed, and by that time we realized we got the time wrong: PDT is 3 hours ahead but PST is just 2 hours ahead Hawaiian Time. We got the impression during daylight saving time, which mislead us.
Thus final tip: get the time right, the tickets are up for sale always on 7AM Hawaiian Time.
By the way, on the visit day the parking lot closed when we got there, we circled around, and gave up, parked the car at a nearby street, hiked to the park. It was a 15 minutes walk, and when we walked there the parking lot reopened.