23 November 2011

great wolf lodge

The girlie and I had an opportunity to spend the weekend at Great Wolf Lodge a few weeks ago.

For those of you who have never been to the Great Wolf Lodge I thought I would share some of our experiences and opinions.  

1.  The Room:  I was impressed with the room.  Mainly because there was an area that had bunk beds  that was separated just enough from the rest of the room.  The bunk beds were new and different and therefore totally fun for Mabes.  The separation made it possible for me to watch TV while she had her quiet time without disturbing her.  
Great Wolf Lodge Room
Never mind the fact that during her quiet time she kept climbing off her bed and trying to get into the top bunk.  She only ever made it to the second rung of the ladder before she would decide it was too high and freak out yelling for me to save her only to have amnesia about the whole situation and try it again a few minutes later.  

From what I understand not all rooms are the same.  Some have bunk beds in a cave like we had.  Others are set up in a tent or even a little log cabin.  There are also rooms that don't have the bunk beds at all.  It just depends on your wants and needs.

2.  The Water Park:  The highlight of the whole place.  Though, to be fair I had one complaint.  They claim the water was a steamy 85 degrees.  Sounds warm in theory.  I assure you it felt ice cold.  On to the positives, they had several different areas inside the water park.  There were water slides, a wave pool that started out as a nothing more than a glorified puddle and progressively got deeper as you walked in, a giant jungle gym area with more slides and of course the kiddie pool section that ranged anywhere from 6 inches to 18 inches deep.  
Great Wolf Lodge #11

Mabes spend the first 30 minutes screaming bloody murder and crying hysterically in the kiddie pool area.  Much to the amusement of everyone around her.  Why was she so upset?  Because her mother had the audacity to suggest she slide down one of the kiddie slides:
Great Wolf Lodge #18
Great Wolf Lodge #19

(Note:  These photos were taken after I told her that if she didn't stop crying and try going down the slide she would never be allowed to go some place really fun like Disney World because who wants to take a crying girl anywhere?  Dangle a Disney princess in front of her like a carrot and apparently she will dry up those tears and do whatever you want, at least for a second.)

Finally I gave up and took her to the wave pool.  For the record at the time I didn't realize it was a wave pool.  The water was very calm and I thought maybe I could get her used to the idea of being in a water park if we just sat in the shallow puddle area.  It seemed to be working and slowly I was creeping out deeper and deeper with her.  By the time we had reached about waist level on her she had even cracked a smile.  This was also the moment that the waves started up.  Thinking she would freak out I grabbed her hands and turned to get out of there.  Instead she started laughing.  Hysterical crazy person laughter while the waves crashed into her.  
Great Wolf Lodge #33

After discovering Mama had brought her to a FUN place and wasn't trying to murder her it was on to bigger and better things.  Like sitting on a miniature geyser, hiding under the mushroom and even playing in the kiddie area:
Great Wolf Lodge Playing
Great Wolf Lodge #15

On top of the jungle gym area there is a HUGE bucket.  It slowly fills up with water and every five minutes or so a bell will start to clang warning that the bucket was almost full.  Once it reached capacity, it would tip over and splash a crazy amount of water down on anyone standing two stories below.  Mabes started out standing back as far as she possibly could and just watched:
Great Wolf Lodge Bucket
As soon as she saw the water coming she would take off running for her life.  Run Mabes, Run!
Great Wolf Lodge Run Away
I was pleased with the progress she had made in the water and didn't want to push my luck.  So I stood back with my camera and let her run around without saying a word.  Then something crazy happened.  Look, is she about to be brave?
Great Wolf Lodge Wait For ItGreat Wolf Lodge #49
This is moments afterwards telling me what it felt like:
Great Wolf Lodge #50
Even more surprising, she loved it so much she did it a half dozen more times before I had to drag her out of the park to get cleaned up for dinner.

3.  Food:  One word, expensive and not much better than what you would find at places for much cheaper.  Sure, I'd recommend getting one meal there (breakfast) for the experience and they do give free furry wolf ears to the kids, but otherwise, eh.  I wasn't impressed.

4.  Other entertainment:  They have a wizard game.  It costs $15-$20 for a plastic wand (which you get to take home) and then another $12 for activation during your stay.  We didn't do this so I can't exactly explain the concept.  All I know is there were a crazy amount of kids running around with these wands and pointing them at various plastic objects which would magically come to life.  Think treasure chest lids opening and closing, that sort of thing.  I still am not sure what the wizard game has to do with a lodge setting.  There was also a spa for kids of all ages and a disco/club type area for older children.  We didn't check either of these things out, but they do exist.  We did play in a craft room that had all kinds of toys and books and coloring areas.  This was free to do.  However they also had t-shirts you could purchase and color with fabric markers and ceramic pieces you could paint all for a fee.  In the evening everyone can gather in the lobby near the big fire place and hear a story and watch an animatronic show.  Mabes had lots of fun sitting in her PJs with over 100 other kids and their parents having story time.
Great Wolf Lodge #13

All in all it was a good weekend.  Mabes still talks about the pool.  She tells everyone she meets about the big bucket of water and the scary kiddie slide.

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