We took a 3-day weekend mini vacation to the KC area and stayed at the Great Wolf Lodge (GWL). We stayed there two nights (Friday and Saturday). Since the lodge includes a water park we went with the idea that the GWL would be one of the vacation "attractions" we would visit. If you don't have interest in the water park and do not plan to spend a fair amount of time using the water park, it would be a pretty overpriced place to stay. If one considers that the water park is a vacation attraction and factors in the admission cost to such an attraction, then the cost is reasonable, especially for a family.
The cost for rooms varies considerably, by a factor of 2 or more, depending upon when you go, when you make your reservation, and how you make your reservation. I recommend calling the hotel directly and working with them to get your best price. They seem to be quite willing to work out the best deal for you, a real plus in my mind. I got what I thought was the best price available from their website for the dates we wanted. We ended up with an extra kid at the last minute and I fully expected to have to pay additional for the extra person when I checked in based on the information on the website. However, the person at the check in desk searched for discounts that might be available to me and I ended up paying less with the extra person than with my original reservation. Sure started the visit off on a good note.
As far as the water park goes, it is a so-so park with limited features which is pretty understandable given that it is indoors. There is an outdoor pool but we visited after it was closed for the season. However, it sure is convenient to be right in the hotel. Our mini vacation plan was Friday at Science City and Saturday at the KC Renaissance Festival with a bit of evening time at the GWL water park both days and then just goof around at the GWL water park on Sunday. By Sunday the two teens (girls 14 and 15) in our party were pretty much bored with the water park and I will have to say that I was too. A few times down each of the three large slides and a few other things and you have pretty much done it all. However, the two younger kids (9-11) were having a blast and, as long as I was playing with them, I kept entertained. We had to drag them away mid afternoon on Sunday.
A few comments on the water park: We visited in late September. The water and the air temperature were a little cooler than I would have liked but not bad. I had to make a trip every now and then to the hot tub to warm up. The youngsters, who were probably more active than me seemed to do okay. You can use the water park on the day of your departure until close (9:00 pm) so even with an overnight stay, you can get a full day plus of water park if you plan it right. They have showers, towels, and changing facilities in the water park so not having a room when you finish with the park is not a problem. All of the facilities seemed to be well maintained and they had adequate staff to ensure reasonable safety. Access to the water park is strictly controlled and younger kids have to be accompanied. The least busy time is from about noon until 3:00 based on our limited experience. Evening, not surprisingly is the busiest. However, lines for the slides never got very long at any time.
My wife and I had four kids with us including two teens. We stayed in in a Family Suite room which is rated for up to 6 people. It was adequate for six people but just barely so. We didn't spend a lot of time in the room other than to sleep. It would have been pretty cramped if we spent much time there. In general the room was fine and decently furnished and cleanliness was good throughout the lodge. There are several activities available (most cost extra) in addition to the water park but most were aimed at young kids (perhaps 8 and less) and we did not participate in any of them. With lots of young kids running around, I thought the lodge would be noisy but was pleasantly surprised at how quiet the room was at night.
Eating options in the lodge are pretty limited and restaurant choices in the general area are pretty limited. We particularly had a difficult time finding a place to get a real breakfast on Sunday morning as the regular restaurants close by were not open for breakfast. There is an IHOP not too far away but we didn't notice it until we had already eaten a less desirable fast food breakfast.
In summary, I would say the GWL is a good deal for families with young kids but do not expect the water park to hold the interest of most people teenage and older for more than a few hours.
- Also Known As:
- Great Wolf Hotel Kansas City
- Great Wolf Hotel
- Great Wolf Lodge Kansas City
- Great Wolf Kansas City
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