This Christmas my sister surprised my children and I, with a trip to Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls, Ontario. We have visited the same site 7 times over the past 10 years and have never been disappointed. We have never been compensated, received discounts or been a guest of the lodge, this is our experience.
The biggest change was the check-in situation. In the past, the line up to check in was monstrous and took an extra level of patience to maintain composure. Not so this year, I checked in online, walked up to the desk received my wristbands, meal vouchers and we were in the park 15 minutes later. I received a text at 4:01 pm that my room was ready and after we had already spent 5 hours in the water park, had lunch and enjoyed some time in the arcade. The kids and I, ages 9, 12, 14, 19, 20 (yes, the older ones are still kids to me) brought our swimsuits in a separate plastic bag, changed in the large washroom in the lobby area and rented a locker for a few hours while we waited for our room. It was a clean and flawless easy transition from holiday wear to swimsuit fashion.
During several previous visits, I was very concerned with how I “looked” in my swimsuit. I didn’t look like I thought I should and was uncomfortable walking around with hundreds of strangers in my swimsuit while chasing after the kids. Now, I just enjoy my time in the pools, water slides, and wave pool. My anxiety decreased because I just didn’t care what others thought. I cared more about what my children will remember about our trip and how I was an active participant, not a by-standard.
One thing that has not changed is the meal plan. You can purchase a buffet breakfast & dinner along with an express lunch for 50.00 for adults and 25.00 for kids. This meal plan typically lasts 2 days for us, with additional snacks (i.e., ice cream, cotton candy, muffins) purchased at the Bear Claw Cafe. The buffet has never disappointed us, there truly is something for everyone. The vegetarian options, meat station, fresh fruit bowls, pizza bar, salad bar and of course the dessert bar made all seven members of our family happy.
Since the kids are a little older I enabled their GWL bracelets to purchase items on their own. If Beckett needed a drink or Maddie Moo Who needed a coffee all they needed to do was scan their wristband. As well, I bought the Paw Pass for Beckett and Andie for $69.00, all of the included activities kept them busy in the park and outside of the park. You can read all the benefits of the Paw Pass here. The bracelet is also the key to the room which was very convenient.
There are also several new cabanas inside the water park. At first, I wasn’t sure about all the infrastructure build inside the park, but somehow it actually made the park seem less busy and more spread out. We did not win the Family of the Day contest, as it was a very coveted space this year. In years past there might have only been 5 or 6 families entered into the draw but this year there were 35 families waiting for the draw to take place. You can rent the other private cabanas, and there are even private hot tubs included with two of the VIP cabanas.
The last item I feel I must mention is Keith, the General Manager. Just before my visit, I received this note, welcoming and explaining the business of the season and how there may be a wait upon check-in. I appreciated the gesture and the thoughtfulness of the note. What really made an impact, especially for my two younger children was seeing Keith in action. On our second day, Keith, just after the Family of the Day draw came in the water park to great the guests. He spoke to the crowd and welcomed them all. Next, he got down on one knee, at the children’s level and asked them to come in close as he told them about a secret email he received. The email stated that today was splash your Dad at the water park day, the kids laughed and gave Keith a high five as they excitedly entered the park. This small touch of genuine interest in the kids and families that head to Great Wolf Lodge for a mini break is exactly what makes us want to return to our wolf pack each year.
Thanks again for another howl-tastic trip, we can wait for trip number 9 this summer!
This is not a sponsored post, we paid for everything and will return again in the near future.