I took my daughter and my niece, both 11 years old, to GWL for one night. Fortunately, I joined the Wolf e-pack and found out about a good rate because it was an off-peak time. (the week before school started) Our room was ready when we arrived around 2pm, which was a nice surprise because I didn't expect it to be ready until 4. Checking in was easy--we had already done the online check-in before we got there. We were given bracelets that gave us entrance to the waterpark, and only my bracelet had an electronic room key on it. The lobby of the hotel makes you feel like you're in the forest. It's kind of dark and woodsy. Our room was almost at the very end of a very, very long hall. Downside: a lot of walking/ Upside: very quiet. We had one queen bed and a sofa bed. The sofa bed was very uncomfortable and I didn't sleep well, but I was too tired to care very much and it was just one night. (I'm not picky, but I really could not have done it another night.) The room is pretty plain. It has high ceilings and is echoey. It has a lodge feel to it. There is a mini-fridge, a microwave and a coffee maker in the room. I highly recommend bringing your own drinks and snacks because everything at the hotel is pricey, and your kids will get hungry and thirsty at a waterpark.
We changed and headed to the waterpark. This happened to be an unusually rare, cool, rainy day in August. The indoor park was pretty crowded and it took a while to find a place to sit. The chlorine smell is strong and does sting your eyes until you get used to it. The water was cold--hopefully they raise the temperature during winter months. It was kind of dark and a little gloomy. We went outside, but it was just too cool to be in the water. The hotel won't allow you to take pool towels out of the waterpark, so if you're not a big fan of walking through an air-conditioned hotel in a wet swimsuit, take your own towel or a cover-up. The slides are fun--some of them start indoors, go outside of the building, then come back in again.
We ate dinner at the buffet restaurant, Loose Moose Cottage. It was very good. They have a good selection of fresh food, a separate shorter buffet with kid-favorites, and some made-to-order stations (that night it was paninis and pasta) Our waiter was nice and gave the girls wolf-ear headbands.
After dinner, we went to the arcade which has the typical games that give you tickets you redeem for prizes. Next, we went to play Magic Quest. Here's how that works: You pay over $30 per person to sign up and get your magic wand. You choose a "quest", then you follow the clues that lead you to different places in the hotel. You wave your wand at things, they light up and your wand electronically records that you have found the item, then you go find the next one. When you find all the items, you go to the last place on the list, wave your wand, and are rewarded with a mythical creature that comes up on a video screen to award you a "rune". Then you choose another "quest" and go through the same steps to complete it. There are 11 different quests, so this whole game could take a LONG time. Some kids REALLY get into this. If your kid is a big Harry Potter-type, he/she will love it. I joked with my girls that it was really an exercise routine in disquise, because the clues had us running up and down stairwells. We were exhausted after just collecting 3 of the runes, and after a while it just wasn't that much fun any more.
The waterpark closes at 9pm, so after that you'll see a lot of kids running around doing MagicQuest or playing in the arcade. There's also a clock tower show and story time. Kids come to the lobby in their pajamas to watch animated mechanical characters come out of the trees to sing. This was cute, but too young for my girls.
There is a lot you can spend money on at GWL. Glitter tattoos, Scoops spa for little girls, photos from waterslides, the arcade, MagicQuest, gift shop, build-your-own stuffed animal store, restaurants, snacks and drinks. None of it is included, and all of it is expensive. I payed $17 for 2 ice creams and 2 bottles of water.
Not many kids over the age of 13 are going to enjoy GWL very much. (my 14 and 19 year old boys wouldn't have liked it) The activities are geared more toward younger kids. My suggestion: add more sport-themed activities (rock climbing wall, lazer tag) and a teen dance club, video game room and internet cafe'.
We ate breakfast at the buffet again, and it was very good. My made-to-order omelet was delicious, and there was an excellent selection of items including tamales, breakfast burritos, waffles, pancakes, biscuits, gravy, eggs, bacon, sausage, roasted potatoes, cereal, oatmeal, pastries and fresh fruit. The only complaint I had was that I couldn't get a good cup of tea. I ordered hot tea and our server brought a cup of hot water with a tea bag on the side. By the time I got back to my table from the buffet, the water was just warm. (sorry--big pet peeve of mine) Fortunately, there is a Starbucks in the hotel.
Being at GWL felt like part cruise ship on land/part summer camp. I'm glad we went once and the girls had a good time, but one night was enough. If you want to go, I recommend signing up for the e-pack so you can get a better deal. Take your own snacks and drinks and pool towels and be prepared to spend some money. $$$$$
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.