Great Wolf Lodge-Plan Your Trip!

There are so many great places to take your children and create memories. Our family just got back from Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound, Washington, and I wanted to give you all the details. You can book your family a trip with full knowledge of what you are getting into by reading this. 

Locations

Great Wolf Lodge has several locations.

Northeast
  • Boston, MA; 
  • Poccono Mtns, PA; 
  • and one coming soon to Baltimore, MD. 
Midwest:
  •  Chicago, IL; 
  • Cincinnati, OH; 
  • Kansas City, KS, 
  • Minneapolis, MN;
  •  Sandusky, OH;
  •  Traverse City, MI. 
South: 
  • Atlanta, GA; 
  • Charlotte, NC; 
  • Grapevine, TX; and 
  • Williamsburg, VA.
 West: 
  • Anaheim, CA; 
  • Colorado Springs, CO;
  •  Grand Mound, WA;
  •  San Franscisco, CA; and 
  • Scottsdale, AZ.

In several of these locations, there is plenty to do. Near Great Wolf Lodge in Chicago they also have a Six Flags Theme Park and plenty of museums in Chicago to educate your children! One of these museums is the Chicago Children’s Museum. You can check that out here. In Sandusky Ohio, you can go to a place that holds many childhood memories for me: Cedar Point! In Williamsburg, VA, you can turn it into a partial educational trip by visiting Colonial Williamsburg. The children can get a first hand experience of what colonial life was like with that interactive experience. Of course, if you visit the one in Anaheim, how could you skip Disneyland? In Grand Mound, WA, you are about an hour away from Seattle. You could visit museums, the Space Needle, or even catch a Seattle Mariner’s game, like we did on Mother’s Day!

Booking

Booking the vacation was simple. Head over to Greatwolf.com and choose your location. The very first thing I encourage you to do is to go over to the DEALS section of the website. They often have deals that offer between 30%-50% off your stay. I have noticed that staying midweek is cheaper (and a tad quieter) than Friday and Saturday. A discount that my husband takes advantage of is using the code HEROES for military discounts. However, this time, they had a discount TRIPLEFUN which gave us a 30% discount. 

Room Options

There are plenty of options when it comes to booking rooms. Not to worry, all of the rooms are non-smoking. All of them have mini-fridges and microwaves. Please check your chosen GWL because room options may be different.

Standard Suites

Their basic option is a family suite. This is the most affordable option. This room does come with a mini fridge and a microwave. This room has 2 queen beds, a half wall partition and a pull out couch,full bath, and a table and chairs. 

The king suite has a king size bed, a couch, table and chairs, full bath, sleeper sofa, and living area. 

Accessible Suites

There is also an accessible queen sofa suite. It includes a queen bed, a sleeper sofa, accessible shower, table and chairs. There is another queen daybed suite with accessibility options. It offers a queen bed, a day bed, an accessible bath, living area, and a table and chairs. 

Themed Suites

The themed suites are super cute and offer parents a bit of privacy at the end of a long kid filled day at the pool. The first offering is a kid cabin suite. It features a cabin themed sleeping area with three twin beds, a queen bed, and a sleeper sofa. There is also a table and chairs to share family meals.

The wolf den suite is the room we got this time. The kids absolutely adored the sleeping arrangements. It features a bunk bed inside of a cave themed area. There are such cute little wolf paintings on the walls and even a little window for them. For theadults, there is a queen bed! There is a pull out sofa and living area as well.

The kid kamp is equally cute as the wolf den. It is a tent themed sleeping area for the kiddos! It has cute little bear cub paintings inside. This also has a bunk bed! For the adults, there is a queen bed. I must mention, these kid kamp suites do have separate areas for the kids but they are NOT separate rooms and do not have doors that you can close. If that is what you are looking for, you will want to upgrade your stay to the Premium Suites. 

Premium Suites

The Grizzly Bear Suite features a king bed in the master bedroom and two queen beds in another bedroom, a living area, and a gas fireplace. The Grizzly Bear Queen Suite offers two bedrooms, but instead all the bedrooms have queen beds. It has a living area with a pull out sofa bed. This room also has a gas fireplace. The Majestic Bear Suite features one king bed in one bedroom, two queen beds in another bedroom, and a cool little breakfast bar to eat at! The Grand Bear Suite features a king bed in a master bedroom as well as two queens and a sleeper sofa in the main area. It has an electric fireplace, which is pretty cool! We stayed in a Grand Bear Suite before and really enjoyed the luxury of it. The Royal Bear Suite is the final offering and features a king bed in one room, a queen bed in another. This one offers an accessible shower for those with that need. 

Optional Packages

The Pup Pass is designed for the littlest wolf pups. It includes a build a bear stuffed animal, one Great Wolf Lodge Candy Cup, a single scoop of ice cream (its a big ol’ scoop) at Bear Paw, and a 20 point arcade card. This package is currently priced at $39.99

The Paw Pass includes one MagiQuest game, choice of wand or topper, one Great Wolf Lodge candy cup, one scoop of Bear Paw Ice Cream, a 20 point arcade card, and a pair of swim goggles. Right now, this package is priced at $59.99. Speaking of Wolf Lodge candy cups—check out the candy store. My kids were in awe.

The Wolf Pass is the final offering, and the one that we chose. It is the most inclusive pass, and is $79.99 per child. It includes one game of Magiquest, a wand or topper, a 20 point arcade card, a Great Wolf Lodge candy cup, a scoop of ice cream from Bear Paw ice cream, one mining bag from Oliver’s Mining Company, one Moonstone Mine Experience, one round of Howl At The Moon mini-golf, and a pair of goggles.

There are also dining deals to be had at Great Wolf Lodge. The dining options available to you depend on the location you choose. The Platinum dining deal offers you a $200 dining credit for $170. The gold deal offers $170 worth of credit for $150. The silver deal offers $100 of food credits for $95. (If you do not bring your own food and have a family of 4, I would suggest using the gold or platinum package for your trip,one package per day. ) There is a special offering just for an all you can eat breakfast for 16.99 per person per day that you can also purchase ahead of time. I cannot say what the price is at the buffet if you do not pre-pay as I am not sure. 

Check In

Check in is at 4 PM. I have found that 4 PM in the lobby is very chaotic and the line to check in is rather long, especially these days when many companies are short staffed. While in line, there were several parents frustrated with the large line and three young people working the desk. So, be prepared, patient, and kind. It will get you much further. If the idea of the line is too much to handle with your little ones, that is okay, I totally get it, and so does Great Wolf Lodge. They offer early check in for a fee. You must do this when you book so you are guaranteed a room. When you check in, the adults are given purple NFC bracelets and the children are given orange ones without the NFC capability. 

NFC Bracelets

I have to say, the bracelets the adults are given are awesome. It makes so many things a lot easier while staying at the resort. It opens your hotel room, gets you into the attractions, and also acts as a charge card to your room! Honestly, I was surprised at how well they work. I half expected them to act like the card you have to stick in your hotel door at just the right speed to get it to unlock! Much better than that!

Water Park

The water park is a lot of fun. The attractions inside vary from park to park. The website will share the details for your particular location. Yes, the park is indoors. So the weather does not have to be a factor. Every location offers free life jackets, so you don’t have to worry about packing them. One amazing thing about this place is that there are lifeguards EVERYWHERE! They are very attentive to the children’s safety. My daughter fell and scraped her foot. It wasn’t even bad but the lifeguard took her to the first aid station, applied ointment and a bandaid. If you feel comfortable with your children’s listening skills (telling them what they can and cannot do) you can enjoy the hot tub while 

Fort McKenzie is a great water playground to run around in. The kids really enjoyed themselves and made all sorts of new little friends! It’s basically a 4 story treehouse with water features and two slides. My 5 year old conquered his fear of the big slides and went down! (insert image)

Slap Tail Pond is your basic wave pool-lots of fun with some Beaver and Canoe decorations around. 

River Canyon Run is a family waterslide with twists and turns galore! We put our whole family of four on a large inner tube and went for it! It was so much fun! Even my 5 year old enjoyed the heck out of it. He was just tall enough! 

Alberta Falls is a tandem 2 person slide that goes 4 stories down! 

Whooping Hollow is a great place for the toddlers and little ones. There are plenty of life guards over here to supervise the children. There are a plethora of small slides, a play house, and cute little water features for them to enjoy. 

Other Attractions

Quests

MagiQuest, ShadowQuest, and CompassQuest are great activities to wear the kids out. I would recommend the child be 5 or older. To be honest, my 5 year old needed a lot of assistance to find the right things for the quest and help him read the instructions. The children start out at a tree with a screen. From there, they can pick a quest. (There are several to choose from.) It is basically a scavenger hunt across several floors of the hotel. The wands they get will bring the items from the scavenger hunt to life. The older kids (ages 10-14) seemed to do fine with the quest on their own, and they also enjoyed it!

Evelyn enjoying finding clues in her MagiQuest game with her very own wand!
Arcade

The arcade is a great time, but can get very expensive, very quickly. (More about that in things to note.)

Great Wolf Arcade
Oliver’s Mining Company

Oliver’s Mining Co is a great little attraction. The experience includes a mirror maze mine. It makes me giggle to write about this attraction because my son crashed into a mirror with a loud thud. The goal is to do some interactive exhibits throughout the maze and get to the moonstones. At the very end, you can get a bag of dirt with rough stones in it. You pan the dirt for these beautiful stones. I think this was my kids’ favorite part of the Moonstone mining experience. They spent hours comparing their different gemstone rocks and examining them in the lights of our hotel room! 

Ropes Course

Howler’s Peak Ropes Course is an outdoor activity for the older children. My children were not the right height to participate in this. However, as my husband and I sat in the outdoor hot tub drinking a cocktail and watched the older kids enjoy and embrace the challenge of the obstacle course. 

Mini Golf

Howl At The Moon minigolf was a very fun attraction. They use a great deal of black lights and create such a fun atmosphere for people of all ages and abilities to play mini-golf. Both of my children enjoyed this attraction very much. My husband and I got pretty competitive with one another as well! 

Free Events

In the morning they do an animatronics Great Clock Tower Show. Its really cute! Yoga Tails is a ton of fun to get the kids moving and maybe a bit mentally centered in the chaos that is Great Wolf Lodge. The grown-ups can get involved with it too! Get a good stretch in! They offer arts and crafts projects and character appearances throughout the day. At the very end of the day they offer story time and a dance party to get the last little bit of energy out of the kids! The parents even get involved in the dancing with their kids. We had such a nice time at the dance parties! 

Things to Note

Customer Service Issues

I have given you the ins and outs of planning a trip to Great Wolf Lodge and having a good time. There are a few things I think you should know.

First, when calling the Great Wolf Lodge with questions on booking, you are being outsourced to a call center not the hotel. Some of the associates at that call center speak poor English.  I have asked questions about my booking on the phone and got conflicting information once I arrived at the hotel. For example, I could not seem to book a room with a balcony even though it was available. I called the number and they said, “Oh, its fine, I will book the room for you and you just ask for a balcony once you get there.” Well, they booked the wrong room. So, once we checked in, I realized we were given the wrong room. Then, when I asked for a room with a balcony at least, they could not do that either. However, the next night, we were luckily able to be moved to the correct room. (I was supposed to have the Wolf Den). 

Don’t Forget to Budget the Incidentals Charge

The next thing you cannot forget, is that the hotel charges a set fee for incidentals. From what I have seen, different resorts charge different amounts. The one in Grand Mound charged $100 for the entire stay.

Arcade Costs

Next, we need to talk about the arcade. While the arcade is a great way to spend time, it is very expensive. The arcade at the Excalibur in Las Vegas was much, much cheaper than this one (which is surprising)! In fact this was the most expensive arcade I have ever been to in the entirety of my life. For the $30 price point, one child got to play about 8 games. The games were so very many “paws” a piece.

Saving Money

If you are worried about saving money on your vacation, I saw lots of people bring in coolers full of drinks, food, etc. I also saw them carry in large boxes or bags full of snacks. 

No Resting

Finally, and this is the most important point-this is by no means a quiet place. The doors of the rooms do not shut quietly. As you know, in a hotel full of children, doors get slammed left and right! The first night we were situated by the elevator on the 6th floor. Right by the elevator is MagicQuest. This event goes on until 10 PM. But somehow there are kids running around seemingly slamming doors until around 1 AM. The rooms are also not sound proof. I could hear kids running around above us! 

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