We were looking for a quick weekend getaway destination that was a short distance from Philadelphia. After considering a number of destinations, we settled on Great Wolf Lodge in the Poconos. I was extremely hesitant to go there...between the lousy reviews online and the high cost, I was sure it was going to be a disaster. Boy was I surprised! We had a blast!
I'll start by saying that check in went incredibly smoothly. We arrived at 12:45 and waited in line for less than a minute. We learned that our room was ready (normally rooms are available after 4 pm) so we were able to get changed in our room for the water park instead of the bathrooms!
We are a family of three, two adults, one almost 7 year old boy. The kiddo had seen a commercial for GWL and saw the special kid rooms. We were able to stay in a "Wolf Den" room that included a bunk bed for my son. He only ever slept in a bunk bed once before and ended up hating it. He ended up sleeping in our queen bed. (Lesson learned, go for the two queen-bed rooms next time!) While the Wolf Den area was adorably decorated and perfect for kids, it just didn't work for my picky kiddo.
Our room overall was great. Immaculately cleaned despite having well worn furniture. (Or maybe that was the rustic look they were going for here?) The linens were soft, the bed was very comfortable. Had I not had a pair of six year old feet kicking my head half the night I would have slept great! I liked having a refrigerator (while some of the racks inside were broken) to keep all the bottled water we brought cold. Definitely bring your own bottled water. The hotel charges $3 a bottle! There was a microwave, but we didn't use it. The toiletries included two bars of soap, one small bottle of shampoo and a small tube of bubble gum scented body wash for the kiddo. He loved that! We stayed in room 2026, which was a good location...not too close to the action and quiet after the curfew of 11 pm. I loved having an outdoor balcony. Great place to sit a bit to think and good place to lay out a bathing suit to dry! The bathroom was very nice, but could have used one of those retractable drying lines in the shower for wet suits.
The water park itself was better than expected. We had watched the videos on the GWL website to see what we were in for and they hardly do it justice. My son has not been a brave swimmer, despite five years of YMCA swim lessons. He hates to get his face wet. We have season passes to Sesame Place and he loves going on the water rides there, so we hoped he would enjoy GWL. By the end of our second day there, our son had gone on every water attraction except the two he was too short to ride! He loved it. He even figured out how to swim underwater in the outdoor pool (which was really cold, but that had more to do with the unseasonably cold summer PA is having.) I liked that for the slides two people could ride in a double tube together. This gave my son confidence in doing the slides. By the second day he wanted to ride on his own tube alone! We found the water park to be extremely clean, not too overly chlorinated, and not too too crowded. The life guard staff were extremely professional and courteous. I loved watching how attentive they were while guarding the pool. They were hands down the most attentive life guards I've ever observed and I felt completely safe there.
The location of this GWL is not far from a number of dining establishments. We originally planned to only eat breakfast at GWL and go out for dinner, but we were having so much fun that we figured it would be quicker to just stay on site. We ate at the Loose Moose for both dinner and breakfast. The food was good, lots of selections and very fresh. The servers and staff were very friendly and helpful. It was really overpriced, but we felt we were paying for the convenience. Dinner was a fixed price buffet of about $24 per person and did not include non-alcoholic beverages. That was annoying and made me feel like I was being taken advantage of by management.
We had purchased the Paw Pass for my son, which I didn't completely understand what it was for but saw was recommended by many other parents. It turned out to be a good deal for him...he ended up adopting a wolf stuffed animal, overloaded on candy and ice cream, got to play MagiQuest and a few other souvenirs. I would have never bought all those things individually, so he made out well.
The MagiQuest game was interesting. My son wanted to do it but didn't completely understand it. (It was included on the Paw Pass.) He is not much of a video game kid, so that probably contributed to it. I think for an older child who doesn't need a parent tagging along, MagiQuest is amazing as a time filler. I don't think we got the value out of the overpriced video game, but my son enjoyed it for what it was. And, we probably would do it again!
My son already wants to return to GWL, so I will be on the look out for deals and discounts for the future. I booked online with a 20% off code, so that gave us at least a bit of savings, but the two day, one night adventure still cost us over $600. Way more money than we would normally spend, but on the other hand we had a fun and memorable adventure.
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- Also Known As:
- Great Wolf Hotel Scotrun
- Great Wolf Resort