Going to the lodge....

Thursday, March 1, 2012

This week we visited Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound, Washington. We've been asked a lot of questions about life at the lodge....so I thought I would do a little review. 

First of all, we are already planning our trip for next year....so obviously we loved it!!

First Impression: Keep in mind....I just stepped out of a vomit soaked car, I was tired and just wanted to get to our room so the kid could be near a private toilet and we could all relax a little. So, upon stepping into the entry way, I had huge sensory overload! There were loud sounds, children running around like cracked out hamsters, bright colors everywhere and just a trillion things to do and see. I decided to ignore it all, look pathetic as I could, check in and BEG for our room. It didn't work....but the extremely nice, professional, sweet and compassionate front desk person did say she would do everything she could to get our room ready for us (including the pack n' play that I requested) and give us a call on my cell as soon as the room was ready. I was very appreciative of her and she gave great directions to the guest laundry room.

A few of my favorite things....
  • They really make you feel welcome. Every single staff member took the time out to say hello and give you a smile. And I'm talking EVERY staff member, not just the front desk. As I was walking down the hall and all the housekeeping carts were out, they would say hello and smile as you walked by. It was nice.
  • The lifeguards. They are AMAZING. There are a trillion of them, they pace back and forth and there will be no shenanigans on their watch. I love this as a mom of little ones. I'm sure teenagers hate this though! :) I did feel like the lifeguards were almost like Royal Guards, they were not going to crack a smile while they were concentrating on keeping people from drowning. Honestly, when the wave pool has waves going every which way, they all look like they are drowning, so I'm not sure how they determine when to jump in. But no one was hurt while we were there! :)
They look like that, but in red swim trunks!
  • Baby proof  plugs in EVERY outlet. I'm not just talking about in our room either....I'm talking EVERY SINGLE outlet in the hotel. As a mom of little ones, this is awesome!!!
  • Special bubble bath for the kids, I just love that special little touch. So did my son!
  • The water park and surrounding area is well laid out, there are always fresh towels, places to sit, easy to find bins to leave your dirty towels before you leave. 
  • The slides are insanely fun....I felt like a kid again! :)
  • Adult armbands double as your door-key and credit card. I am already missing the ability to open the door with my wrist, this digging for keys thing is for the birds!! I also miss paying for things with my wrist, but pretty sure I spent more money because of this amazing little convenience. 
  • They got us into our room about 90 minutes after we checked in, a full 2 hours before the 4pm check-in time.  
  • They have plenty of life jackets and they are all in good shape. I felt very safe sending my 3 year old speeding down the slides (REPEATEDLY) in his nice little life vest. And they had little ones for my 17 lb daughter too. Babies smaller than 15lbs might be out of luck though. 
  • Breakfast buffet was super yummy. You can pre-pay your breakfast when you book online. It saves you a couple bucks per person. There is an omelet station that made the most cheesy, yummy veggie omelet I ever met. Nolan loved the little kid touches like marshmallows, gummy bears and fresh made smoothies. They have a lot of special treats for the kids, which really is fun. Side note: I don't know why, but the online system charged me full price for all 4 of us. When we got there we saw that 3 and under ate free. So I asked at the front desk and the promptly credited me for the difference and said how sorry they were!
Things I didn't dig....
  • The guest laundry room was pretty dirty. I think I'm hypersensitive to this because of my new Norwex cleaning obsession (believe me, if I had my mop I SOOOO would have cleaned those floors) and the fact that I have a crawler. There were stains and just plain nastiness on the floor. The room was plenty big for a few chairs to sit in while you wait for your clothes, but they had no chairs. We ended up getting the double stroller out of the car so that we had somewhere to contain the crazy children.
  • I did have to call 3 times and waited 4 hours to get a pack n' play. I was told it would be set up in the room...which would have been nice. Since it wasn't there, Miss P didn't get a nap and was a bit of a handful. 
  • There is this Magiquest game your kids can play. I think it's like $30 for the wand and they run around the hotel on a scavenger hunt of sorts. When parents were with the kids, it wasn't so bad....but when the kids were in large packs, they would run you right over and get quite loud and rude. The "game" pieces are located in high traffic areas (which can be very frustrating) in the stairwells (which can be loud if you are near them) and near the elevators (which can get a little congested too). I guess if my kids were older, I might have found this fun, and it is good for the kids to have something to do outside of the water park. But, the whole "magic" thing doesn't "go" with the Great Wolf Lodge wilderness theme (this fact irritates me, but I'm Type A!!!) Yes, I sound like a cranky old person...and I am fine with this. 

Overall, there were very, very few things I didn't like. Most of my list was just me being my type A self. 

Here are a few random tips:
  • Pack all your swimming stuff in an easy to find bag. You can check-in at 1pm (most likely your room won't be ready until the official 4pm check in time, but they will call you and let you know when it is ready. Grab that swimming suit bag and head for the locker rooms (they are downstairs by the swim shop, which is awkward to get to when you enter from the 2nd floor.
  • They say no outside food or drink in the park....but it's pretty hot in there and we brought water bottles which was really nice!
  • Have your kid measured right when you enter the park. My son measured 42" up there (and they gave him a bracelet to show that he measured tall enough to go on the medium sized slides with an adult). The day before we measured him at the stairs to the slide, and he was 1" too short. The lifeguard at the entrance said that one is messed up for some reason. My son LOVED the bigger slides. He has to grow 6" to go on the SUPER crazy big slides though....and I'm fine with that!
  • Put the kids in the jammies and go to story time. AND REMEMBER YOUR CAMERA!!!!!! (I forgot, and my son didn't want to go back the 2nd night!)
  • Bring a camera you don't like very much, just in case you drop it in the water! :) Or buy a disposable! :)
  • Plan on spending a good chunk of change while you are there! Most things cost extra....but it's a vacation! My daughter and I will SO be getting Mani/Pedi's at Scoop's Spa when she is old enough! 
  • Don't get a balcony room when the weather is chilly out....the sliding door seemed to have a bit of a draft!
Thank you, Great Wolf Lodge for creating wonderful memories for our family! We look forward to next year!

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