Great Wolf Lodge Review – Our 4th Anniversary

Another Guthrie Family Adventure

Breakfast Great Wolf Style

Several years ago I wrote a blog post called Why I Howled at Great Wolf Lodge, it highlighted my family’s experience at the Niagara Falls resort. This past labour day, we once again made the trek to Great Wolf Lodge from Ottawa. Several factors have changed since my “howl” post.  My children are 2 years older and my parents did not come this time to help with my three little wolves. Instead my sister Lisa & niece Maddie-Moo-Who, Julie my BFF from elementary school and my husband joined in on our adventures. My DH had never been to GWL and the kids &  I could  not wait to share our love of the lodge with him.
We stayed in a Kid’s Cabin Suite The the girls slept on the bunk beds and my niece on the day bed inside the log house cabin located in the room. DH and I shared the Queen size bed while my sister had the pull out couch. Overall the room was the perfect size for 7 or 8. It also had a fridge, coffee maker and microwave.
Katie Won the Hoola Hoop Contest
One tip I must share is the kids meal plan. At check in you can buy a meal plan, it costs 20.00 for a child & 45.00 for an adult. Each booklet comes with a breakfast and dinner buffet, as well as a lunch option from one of the other restaurants, think of it as a quick serve option. We stayed 2 nights, but I only bought one booklet for each of us. GWL has a buffet like none I have ever experienced before. The breakfast buffet had fresh fruit, cereal, breakfast pizza bar and an omelet station. For the dinner buffet there was roast beef, roasted chicken and a speciality entree station. If you add in the salad bar, dessert station, fresh fruit area and pizza everyone will find something to eat. I found that having the dinner buffet the first night, then eating fresh fruit, cereal and milk from home for breakfast the next morning worked well and saved a us little money. 
Interestedly enough, I once again entered the “Family of the Day” contest GWL hosts for returning families and we won! For lunch the entertainment staff at GWL provided us with fruit & veggie trays as well as drinks, so we decided to skip lunch and munch on the fresh food trays instead. We had a private cabana for the day, complete with loungers, a patio set, a mini fridge, towels and drinks. A very nice extra for my family and I.
The Girls Enjoying Some Pampering
This trip was AndiePandie’s birthday gift. Since your 7th birthday only comes once in a lifetime and I decided to left the girls experience everything GWL has to offer. My lovely niece bought my girls each manicures at Scoops Spa. Talk about pampering! The entire front of Scoops has an ice cream theme, down to the chocolate flavoured hand cream. Tucked in the back is the adult spa just for parents, away from constant hum of children enjoying the water park.
The Arcade 
The arcade is the area I thought I would actually hate, the lights, screams and constant noise might have me over the edge. However, watching my all three of my kids play games and share tickets to win prizes was actually fun. Mind you I had to put a limit on the number of tokens each child received and the amount of time they could stay. It was a nice time for me just to observe my kids and watch how the dealt with disappointment and joy. I had very interesting conversations with other parents and staff in the arcade. Most of us watched our children roam from game to game and share in their excitement as they brought their prized tickets over to show us.
My Happy Boy
Becket had a wonderful time as well. Chipmunk Cove was his favourite place to be in the entire park. From the time the park opened till 9 pm at night, he wanted to be in Chipmunk Cove. As a self proclaimed Helicopter Parent, is was very difficult to let Beckett walk up the slides by himself and stand at the bottom as he picked his favourite slide to tackle. The area is staffed with 3 guards, one guard is at the gate letting the little ones in one at a time, one guard is at the top of the slide assisting the little adventurers pick their slide and the last guard was patrolling the bottom. I still stayed in the water at the bottom of the slide the entire time Beckett was playing, but I did feel safe. Most of the time the girls explored the water park with the rest of my family and friends. Tip #2 Bring a friend, or family with you to GWL, it helps with the minding of the kids. We would all take a shift to go on the big slides, go to the outside pool or stay in the cove. Then each adult can have some quiet time in the adults only section of the lodge.
Tip#3 to save a little bit of money on your trip, check on line for discount codes.  The GWL website actually shows you a rate calendar so you know when the cheapest time is to visit. Being a teacher I use a specific code for educators & CAA members have the same discount. But don’t forget to give the reservation line a call as well. This time I found it was cheaper to book over the phone then to book online. However, remember I literally booked last minute. 
Being our fourth time at Great Wolf Lodge, you would think I had seen everything the lodge had to offer. However, this was our first  Labour Day at GWL and they were hosting a end of summer Lula Party. GWL had fireworks, dancing and singing, hula hoop games, balloon tossing, themed stories and crafts. Overall is was very well done, my three children had an exciting adventure. 
Great Wolf Lodge has several themed events will would love to attend in the future. If you’ve read my blog at all you know I love fall and winter. They are my favourite seasons, but also when I get need to go on vacation. 
These are my top picks for upcoming events at the lodge.
Fall has arrived at the lodge! 

The Howl-O-Ween party is at the top of our list. There is a costume parade, trick or treat trail around the lodge, spooky story time and a Monster Bash in the Grand Lodge. Everything my kids need to get into the Halloween spirit. 

Snowland! 
Wiley’s Winter Wonderland: This festival runs from December 1st until New Year’s Eve. The lodge goes all out for this festival including: Snow shows in the Grand Lobby, North Pole University, a giant Christmas tree, visits from Santa Claus, a working elf run Santa’s Workshop and story time with the amazing Lodge Elf’s…I mean staff.  The kids and I would love run away from the Christmas rush to GWL for a vacation. 
Real life sized gingerbread houses! 

However, I think best part of Wiley’s Winter Wonderland is the life sized Gingerbread Houses…you read that right life sized! My kids and I love normal gingerbread house building but building life sized gingerbread houses would be a fabulous adventure for us. 

Let’s be honest, Disney is just not feasible for our family of 5 on a yearly basis. Great Wolf Lodge is our Canadian Disney, it has everything we need to leave the stresses of the day and completely enjoy ourselves. Thank you Great Wolf Lodge for another Guthrie Family adventure, we are looking forward to our 5th trip next year. 
Disclaimer: You need to know something. I paid for this vacation myself. Please do not ask me how to get a vacation for free, I don’t have a clue.  I also booked later than normal so I did pay a premium price. I can send you my Visa statement if you don’t believe me. I can only speak to GWL in Canada, I have never travelled to any of the American resorts. 
****Don’t forget to enter the Family of the Day contest. We loved the cabana, fresh fruit, free mini putt and other perks for winning! 

2 Comments

  1. Kelly Little

    Looks like a fabulous time! Thanks for the great, in-depth review. Definately a place for me to take my family sometime!

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