Just returned from an overnight stay at GWL. Overall we were very pleased and would likely return again. The rate isn't cheap but there is enough built in value to make it worthwhile. Perhaps the greatest perk of this place is you get to enjoy the amenities beyond the timeframe that you're a registered guest. Given the rate, you really need to do this to get the most out of your visit. We arrived approx. 1 PM on a Sunday (check in time is 4) and left at 3 PM on Monday (checkout time is 11).
Water park has lots to offer to different ages. I've got a 6, 5, and 2 year old and we didn't feel limited by the different attractions. I loved that the lifeguards were Jeff Ellis trained. If you're not familiar, this program is far more attentive training than your standard Red Cross life guard training and this place needs it. Too many little kids and action going on at once. It's nice to see a venue commit to this as it's more expensive. The rides were fun and appeared to be well maintained. Great Wolf does supply the towels which was nice and in most cases they were warm from having just come out of the dryer which is even better!
There's a whole world of fun once you leave the watermark too. We grabbed dinner around 5 PM, finished by 6 and then spent 90 minutes playing Glow Golf and in the arcade. Unfortunately we didn't have time for the kids bowling but it looked fun. After that the kids changed into PJ's and we headed to the lobby for the fake animal show (sorry, not sure what to call this), and children's story time. GWL really does a nice job of supplying entertainment for all ages beyond the waterpark.
The room was great. We rented a Kids Cabin, which the little ones absolutely loved. My wife and I also liked having a fireplace in the room which was an added bonus! The bathrooms were very nice with tile finishes and a great supply of hot water. I loved that somebody thought of stocking kids body wash in the Kids Cabin! It's amazing how often a small step like this gets skipped by hotels.
There is a bar in the restaurant as well as one near the Wave Pool. I liked that this option was available. The restaurant would pour it in a to go cup if asked so you could wander the hotel with a drink or bring it to your room. I never encountered any seemingly intoxicated guests so the staff is likely well trained on this aspect.
Ride signage wasn't easily understood. At the slide complex it was easy to get in line and not really know which slide you were waiting for.
The service everywhere is only average. Our room wasn't ready at 4 but that mistake bought me an hour later checkout. The only time we encountered an employee who really provided exceptional service was our waitress Alicia in the restaurant who took great care of the kids. Other times the staff seemed to come up short on wowing you. I ordered a beer the first night at the restaurant bar. The bartender was struggling with the tap system as apparently it was foaming a lot. I eventually got my beer but it was only 80% full. When I questioned that she gave me a story about the CO2 being stored outdoors which caused the issue. Not really sure why that was relevant but she never did fill my beer all the way.
The food isn't anything special but it isn't bad either. I was expecting to get gouged on the price but was pleasantly surprised that everything was reasonable.
They really need a changing room in the waterpark. The restrooms adjacent to the entrance don't cut it. Also, they were filthy. Restroom cleanliness was by far the worst grade I'd give to GWL. I understand that a lot of people are using these areas as locker rooms if they're arriving before check in or leaving after but it didn't appear there were attendants assigned. Instead it must've been on a cleaning schedule which really needed to be re-evaluated. These areas were so dirty it made you uneasy as you ventured into the waterpark about how clean the water attractions would be. Thankfully my fears weren't realized but this was a terrible early impression.
There needed to be towel collection bins situated around the waterpark. The only areas I saw this were near the entrance. I'm guessing there were more but I never saw them and I'm guessing others didn't either as wet towels lying on the ground were commonplace. Again, it's kind of a skeevy trait to encounter in that setting that seemed easily fixable.
GWL has three mascots: a male and female wolf (Wiley and Violet) and a raccoon (Oliver). The mascots are a nice touch and they brand them well but the staff isn't trained on when and where the mascots appear. There was a placard sign in the lobby announcing times for when characters would appear but it was blank our entire stay. On our last day, when we still hadn't seen Wiley, we began seeking him out. The front desk told me the mascots aren't on a schedule and "just appear" which I didn't think would be the case. When I asked in the gift shop, they called the Cub Club, which was a kids area on the lower level. They told us the next scheduled time wasn't for several hours and it was just listed as a character appearance so there would be no way of knowing which character it would be. So in short, the mascot programming needed some work.
Walls are thin in the rooms. You could really hear lots of thumping and noise from other kids.
Last negative is generally speaking, the place needed some maintenance upkeep. While we loved having the Kids Cabin the room itself showed signs of age. Lots of chipped paint and peeling wallpaper in the kids bunk area. The low top dresser badly needed to be refinished. I'm guessing this is from guests leaving wet towels or bathing suits on the tops. Still, it looked worn. I also noticed several walls around the venue had lots of chipped and peeling paint.
Seemed like GWL made a few strange decisions in how they do things. They've got the evening show and the story time at 8 PM which was a great feature, but the animated show didn't really feature a wolf, nor did it feature the three mascot characters. The whole thing was just peculiar. Then they make the kids move what amounts to being 30 feet from the "Great Clock" to the fireplace for the story. Why not tell the story at the Great Clock? It had better sight lines and more room. Also, the night we were there Oliver the Raccoon and Violet the Wolf mascots were present for story time, but not Wiley the Wolf (their version of Mickey Mouse). Seems like it should be a shoo-in that he's present. It was nice that the mascots stuck around after story time for photos with all the kids.
We had looked forward to the visit as a little mini-vacation to entertain the kids and Great Wolf didn't disappoint. The kids had a great time and my wife and I were able to relax and enjoy the time. It's a very family friendly venue that we'll likely visit again. A couple of small tweaks here and there and GWL goes from being really good to exceptional!
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- Also Known As:
- Great Wolf Hotel Scotrun
- Great Wolf Resort