Our decision to stay here was purely based on the Great Wolf Lodge reputation which was very good. We certainly enjoyed our stay here and if planning another family vacation, will more than likely return. I was able to secure a great rate by booking ahead of time. It helped to sign up to e-mail club to receive tips on promotions and events. I always research things ahead of time and it helped in this case. Let's begin, shall we?
I reserved online and it was easy, fast, and painless. Check-in was also easy because there is a separate line for people who already completed the "online check in." Since we did, we spent about 10 minutes, which was nice. I asked it it was possible to upgrade (I had heard of this tip before) but nothing was available. I had heard they were quite full for our Fri/Sat/Sunday weekend so we stayed with our room. Check out was simple too..If you didn't contest the bill, you could leave your keys in the room. To ask for a late check out was an additional $30.
Our Family Suite:
We did not have the wolf den or kid cabin...the family suite and it was more than plenty. We found the room to be very clean so I have no complaints here. We liked the side wall that contained the sofa sleeper as it added some privacy. We also enjoyed the balcony, so that was a nice feature too. The bathroom was small...a toilet and a shower...nothing too fancy. When peeking in the Kid Cabin room, I noticed that the bathroom was almost 3x the size of the family suite...so it was mental noted for next time. The family suite though suited our needs fine. We were never in the room anyway. The fridge and microwave were an added bonus too.
We did have an issue with our key not working and after visiting the front desk, they summoned someone to help me from maintenance. I timed their arrival and it was approximately 6 minutes from my request so that was VERY impressive :)
We did visit Camp Critter for breakfast on Sunday and they offer the buffet. I had a coupon from the Traverse City Convention and Visitors Bureau which saved us 25% off our meal. :) Make sure you check them all. Their promotion was Fab Fall and we stayed earlier in the fall and simply saved our coupons. GWL does give you a 15% off coupon meal on the day of your departure. Food was good..I went with the buffet, along with the kids and my husband ordered off the menu...Prices ranged from 6.99-9.99 for breakfast...The buffet was 11.99 for adults (beverage not included) and $6.99 for kids ages 4-10 (drink included) and free for kids 3 and under. I liked their omelette staton and they provided more than enough food for everyone preferences. The kids enjoyed the M & M's and sprinkles for their pancakes! My husband's breakfast looked plentiful too. The ambiance was nice in the restaurant and with the Magiquest wands, many children were activating all the interactive lights, sounds, and movement. We had a fun experience. It reminded me of the Rainforest Cafe, just nicer :) I think you pay for that atmosphere too.
We visited the Bear Paw too for ice cream. It wasn't bad. I paid $2.99 for a single and it was a generous size. They also had donuts ($1.49), hot chocolate ($2.99) for small and also serve Starbucks. I'm not a coffee drinker but know that it's there if you need that fix :) They also had all kinds of sweets....fudge, candy, caramel apples, sorbets, ice cream etc. They had great hours too...open early in the morning and open late at night.
The Buck Exchange shop was fun. There was TONS to see and the people in the store were very friendly and helpful. I enjoyed my experience in there. There was no pressure to buy and always someone to help if needed. Prices were average for a gift shop. You could find $1 trinkets and very expensive items too. There was a great range of prices for everyone. Clothes, jewelry, toys, gadgets, magazines, candles etc.
Scoops Spa/Element Aveda Salon:
We did not purchase any spa treaments but my daughter wanted to enter and see what it was all about. We were celebrating her 7th birthday and the signs around the resort intrigued her so I promised her we would stop in and so we did. She was decked out in her "7" rhinestone T-shirt and looked cute. Although it was visibly fun to look around, the older of the two employees (there were 2) kept asking "Mom" what fun things I was going to purchase for my daughter since it was her birthday. She said it twice to me while we were in the store and I didn't appreciate it while browsing. All it did was encouraged my daughter to ask what I was buying her and why couldn't she have this or that. I purposely did not purchase out of protest. I would have more than likely bought nail polish, lip glosses or even a robe (they were on sale) for her but simply would not after the pressuring to purchase upon entering the store. It was unfortunate.
On a much better note, with the exception of this employee, I must say that all employees at the GWL were exceptional. The maintenance who came to our room to help with the lock, our server Sherry at the Camp Critter, the employee at the Cub Club who was friendly and guided the Wolf Walks and the two employees who offered to take the picture so I may join my family did not go unnoticed. It was mentally noted and appreciated. They were also friendly, made eye contact, and SMILED which was welcomed!
It was great! A bit crowded but to be expected since it was a weekend! Again, very competent employees moved quickly to check heights and issue wristbands to the little ones. My little son, slipped and fell (while running) and after taking him the first aid station, all was well. The lifeguards were friendly and again, efficient in handling his boo boo :) The manager even came over and was talking to all of us during the process so again mentally noted.
We noticed that the park was the MOST crowded in the morning. Cleared out a bit for lunch (12 noon) but was at its best around 7pm...Most children had retired for the evening and even though there were adults and teens, it was not as full as before so we enjoyed it.
If you wanted to rent a cabana, it was $100 for the day and included your privacy in the cabana, pop, refreshments stocked in the fridge and a TV in the cabana. There might have been more but I didn't see...there were chairs and a table...I simply inquired to the price and was told $100 and they are sold for the day, you may not buy 1/2 days. FYI
They sold food, snacks, and drinks (both alcohol and N/A) in the water park too. Prices were a bit higher but it was for the convenience I'm sure...Drinks ran $2.99...Hot Dog Kids meal was $6.99, PBJ Kids meal was also $6.99. We didn't obviously choose to eat here because we ate elsewhere..(Great options nearby...Olive Garden, Buffalo Wild Wings, McDonalds, Wendys etc.) but if you are looking for convenience, this is the place to eat.
Pool water was clean, I have no complaints on the cleanliness of the pool. It was warm enough and we had fun.
We did not do the Magiquest game but it looked like fun. I believe it was $15.99 to play? Not sure though, please call and double check. We saw 2 characters while there and the kids enjoyed it. They offer a wolf walk at 9:30 a.m. and you travel around the resort learning about the various animals that are on display. They even have (weather permitting) BISON adjacent to the property. The kids loved it! Story Time was at 8 pm every night. We missed it because we were enjoying the park but like I said, there was plenty to keep us busy during the day!
We were on the 2nd floor and at night, could hear running. I would request a higher level floor...We also went to bed at 10 and hibernation time (quiet hours) started at 11 pm. We were fine though...There was also enough hot water in the morning when we did showers.
Well, I think that wraps it up. It certainly wasn't peaceful so if you're looking for quiet time or a romantic vacation, I would not recommend the GWL. There were LOTS of families and LOTS of kids! Not too relaxing but fun....
I also gave the rating of Very Good instead of Excellent because to earn an excellent rating, it needs to exceed my highest expectations. It did not do that but we had a fun time, enjoyed great customer service with the exception of the Scoops experience and made great memories in the process. If traveling again with our children, we will be back.
Choose a higher level room floor to avoid the running noise you may hear from upper or lower levels...
See more room tips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.