Great Wolf Lodge great family experience! A review of Great Wolf Lodge
We brought our 8 year old son and 5 year old twin daughters to Great Wolf Lodge on Friday the 28th of March. The kids had a fantastic time on the scale of visiting a large a theme park!
The waterpark has a LOT to do: a wave pool (which creates waves about every 10 minutes), a small area suitable for toddlers, a fort with 2 small slides and lots of water toys, and a tower with 2 waterslides you ride with tubes (either singles or doubles) or with a quad-tube -- the biggest thrill ride The Howling Tornado. This ride starts out in the dark, takes a big drop, and then has a large sloped area that causes you to go back & forth up the high walls on either side. From tots to teenagers, the kids will be entertained. It's VERY loud in the waterpark, so be prepared for the need to leave periodically ...
We stayed in a "Kids Cabin" which has a small room made to look like a cabin with a day bed and bunks, as well as its own flatscreen TV. This made the trip, from the kids perspective! It's hard to believe that other family resorts don't use a similar concept. These beds are short, and not suitable for taller kids. My husband and I shared a queen, and our part of the room had a gas fireplace and a separate TV. The rooms are simple but functional -- with a dorm-sized fridge & a microwave.
The theme of the Lodge is everywhere, with wolves on the roofs of cabins in the main foyer, and log trim throughout. It gave you the feeling you'd stepped into Disney's "Bear Jamboree". Kids loved it!
The video arcade was also a bit hit. Several games gave tickets and the kids were able to bring home a small momento of their trip (rather than spending other money in the gift store).
A couple of tips:
1. The kids need water shoes, particularly in the wave pool where they lose their footing often. Two of our children came home with small cuts on their feet. The Lodge recommends this.
2. Read the fine print on when you get the room. You may THINK you get your room @ 4:00, but they'll say it's not guaranteed. This was a UNIVERSAL complaint, esp because you had to wait in a 20 minute line AGAIN later in order to get your room (and even then it might not be ready). Ours took 1.5 hours. This is a bit of a mystery, because check out time is at 11:00, so they should have the rooms available by 4:00. Perhaps as the Lodge improves its processes, this will get better. We saw a group of 5 cleaning staff taking an extraordinarily long break in one guest's room while we waited for our room.
3. Count on spending loads of money for dinner. We ate in the main buffet, and they charge $9/child! The food is decent -- the kids loved their fare (gummy bears, mini corn dogs, mac & cheese, potato smiles, and desserts), but spendy. By the time we ordered drinks, we paid over $70 for our family of 5. Next time, we'll bring a cooler filled with food for breakfast and lunch.
4. While you're waiting for your room, you can check a small bag into a locker (for $5 with a $10 deposit -- which you'll get back if you bring the key back that day). You can also stay in the waterpark after checkout time @ 11:00 so long as you don't mind changing in the bathroom before you leave.
We'll definitely go again ... maybe once or twice a year, and perhaps during the week when the room prices are less.