Have you ever been walking in the mall or through a car, boat, or family expo and been stopped by the people trying to give away free vacations to the Great Wolf Lodge? Well, we did. At the time it seemed like a great idea. A free vacation. Just pay so much money, listen to a time share presentation, get a gift card with almost the entire amount that you just paid on it, and then have a fun and relaxing few days at a nice resort….
Well it didn’t quite turn out the way we had planned. First of all, we were given 3 different dates that we could stay. The only dates that worked for us was the weekend before school started. This wouldn’t normally be an issue, but my youngest had just gotten his tonsils out. He couldn’t swim or run around. The deal was, once it was booked we could not change, only cancel. In print unseen until booking, you have to pay $100 which is non-refundable. So, we were going on the trip sans one child.
Despite this, I was very impressed with our trip. We came in late Friday evening, right before the water park closed, so we couldn’t participate in the fun that night. We ended up grabbing some dinner and walking around Grapevinemills mall. When we went back to the hotel, I purchased the PAW pass, mainly to get a few souvenirs for the child who could not come.
The PAW pass is totally worth the money. For around $70 you get one MagiQuest wand and game, One Color Your Own shirt, One animal at the Great Wolf Stuffing Station (including outfit), 20 tokens for the Northern Lights Arcade, one 4×6 Paw Prints photo, one small Glitz Glitter tattoo, and one scoop of ice cream from Bear Paw Sweets & Eats. I like this PAW pass simply for the fact that you can try out almost everything that the hotel has to offer.
So we ended the night by playing a game of MagiQuest. Aiden got a sword and we ran up and down the entire hotel looking for clues to solve the mystery of the wizard or something like that. It was a lot of fun, and I don’t think I have walked or ran up so many flights of stairs in a long time. We didn’t get all the clues. We got a late start and the game ended at 11:00, but we had a good time.
The next morning we suited up, tried out the hotel’s Starbuck’s, and then hit the indoor water park. It was fun. I expected it to be a little bigger. There is a lot for younger kids to do, but unless you love water slides (and waiting in line for them) there really wasn’t much for the adults. I did the Lazy River, but kept getting frustrated with the families who decided to stand in the way, in order to talk. There really isn’t room for that. The river is more narrow than most, and when you stop to play with your child or talk to your group of 15, it makes it difficult for the rest of us.
I think we only stayed in the water park for 2 hours. That’s really all the fun that could have been had there. It was nearing checkout time, and it didn’t bother us that it was time to leave the water.
Once packed up we decided to take advantage of all the rest of the PAW pass activities. My son stuffed a dragon at the Build-A- Bear type stuffing station, colored a Great Wolf Lodge t-shirt (both for his little Bubba), and got a glittery tattoo. Then we ate some pizza at the pizza place, and wrapped up the day by eating the ice cream cone and playing in the arcade. We spent hours just having fun.
We really did have a great time. I started thinking that my youngest could have come with us after all. We didn’t spend much time in the water at all. We spent more time doing other stuff. I am excited to go back. They offer a story time for the kids at night, that we missed out on, and I want my youngest to experience everything.
We just stayed over night and I think that was perfect. I think a second night would have been okay, but I wouldn’t stay more than that. You have access to the entire resort for the day you check in and until 11:00 pm the day you check out.
If you have never been to the Great Wolf Lodge, I suggest going. It is very much geared to kids, so if you do not have any, you may not enjoy it as much. There is so much to do, and the kids will talk about it for days.
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