My family (wife and I plus our 3 kids ages 7, 5, and 3) stayed at Great Wolf Lodge for 2 nights (Fri-Sat night) over Columbus Day weekend. We had an enjoyable time and I thought I would post my review here for those interested in it.
The water park is the key attraction of the resort so I will start with that. When we were there the outdoor water park was not open so this review only applies to the indoor water park.
The indoor water park is nice, I would call it large but not huge, if I had to guess it seemed to be about the length of a football field in each direction. There are 5 main water slides of varying intensity:
The baby area has 2 little slides, easy access, fun to go up and down, good for kids ages 2-8
There is a giant treehouse/fort that has 2 water slides, these are good for kids ages 3-10 or so. I went down them, they were fine but pretty tame for an adult but fun for kids
There is a family canyon water slide, the benefit of this is that up to 4 people can go at once. You sit in a giant innertube, it goes pretty fast and is reasonably fun. The wait for this ride at least when I was there was relatively long so this ride doesn’t give you great bang for the buck. I did this ride twice.
There is a ride called Alberta Falls, this has 2 reasonably fast water slides (a blue and a yellow). The blue is faster, the yellow has more turns. You can go down with 1 or two people, the more weight the faster you go. I found this to be optimal to go with an adult and a kid but any mix is fine (all of my kids loved it). You need to bring the tube with you on this slide, if you have 2 people you have to use a 2 person tube. The line for this slide moves quite fast. In my opinion this offered the best bang for the buck, I went on this one about a dozen times, taking turns with my various kids.
The most intense ride is called the Howlin’ Tornado, you have to be 4’ tall to go on this ride although it didn’t seem like the lifeguards were super strict on that particular issue. It is a pretty fun, intense ride although reasonably short and the line can be pretty long. I went on this ride twice. My 75 year old father went on it so it wasn’t insanely physically demanding (although he is in good shape) but it was about the max that he would want to do. If you like ‘scary’ rides you’ll like this, if you hate those type of rides this might be too much for you. I thought it would be too scary for my kids and they were too short to ride it anyway.
There is also a wave pool although the waves aren’t super strong; a section with 4 basketball hoops; and a place to see if you can walk across moveable objects which is mainly for kids but adults can do it as well. There was a surfing area which we didn’t try the first day and then it was closed for some reason on the second day. They have 2 hot tubs - one just for adults which is nice, and a lazy river that my kids liked going around.
Most of the rides in this area had 5-20 minute wait times, I imagine on Columbus Day it was a bit more crowded than normal. If I had to guess I would say there were several hundred people in the water park when we were there. It was somewhat crowded although not ridiculously so. The temperature of the water and the air seemed fine. The lifeguards seemed very alert and vigilant which was nice to see. My kids aren’t awesome swimmers so I had them wear life preservers almost all the time, that way I didn’t have to watch them like a hawk all the time.
Things that could be improved: The main area that I saw that could be improved was there were not enough of the tubes/rafts for the people that wanted them, especially of the 2 person variety. It was annoying to have to wait for one to become available and you felt bad kind of hogging one but then again if you gave it up you might not get it back for a while. At one point the line was like 15 people deep just waiting to get a tube, and then you have to go up and wait in line to go on the ride. This is an easy fix and they should have many more of those tubes lying around for people. The tubes themselves were fine, properly inflated, comfortable, etc, they just needed more of them.
There are special rafts just for the Howlin’ Tornado and they needed more of them as well, on our second day they only had 2 of those rafts so the line moved very slowly. Again this is an easy fix and it should be taken care.
The Resort: The Resort itself is nice, it is quite large and well maintained, it has the look of a giant log cabin (more like a log hotel). I was with my extended family of 16 total people so we stayed in 2 suites of 8 people. The suites were nice, reasonably spacious, beds were soft but comfortable, pillows were okay – I thought they were too thick but I use a thin pillow. Our room didn’t have a window and it was pitch black at night which is great for sleep quality. We had TVs in the bedrooms and the main area, not huge but adequate. The bathroom/shower area was nice and spacious. We had a small balcony which was good for the smokers in the group.
For food we just had the breakfast buffet at the Loose Moose Grill, it was pretty good. It had scrambled eggs, a few variety of potatoes, bacon, sausage, biscuits, gravy, cereal, pancakes, and you could get eggs cooked to order as well as omelets. It was pretty good, they only thing that was disappointing was the fruit, they had just a few choices and it wasn’t much to get excited about, a few slices of melon or pineapple and that was it. They didn’t have hot chocolate when we there. We didn’t try the other restaurants in the resort.
There was a Starbucks downstairs which several family members really liked and used each day. They also had an ice cream and a dessert section which was pretty good, although I thought they were missing out on the opportunity to combine certain desserts like cookies plus ice cream etc kind of like Coldstone does, everything here was separate. There is an IHOP, a Red Lobster, an Outback, an Olive Garden, a Subway and some other standard offerings all nearby because this place is quite close to Williamsburg which has a lot in the way of tourist attractions.
The arcade was decent, they had some good motorcycle and car racing games, we spent about 2 hours in there one evening. My kids were a little young for this so I had to kind of ride with them, etc to help them out.
I liked how everything was connected to your wrist band and you didn’t have to bring your wallet with you, that was convenient. We didn’t do the attractions where you make a stuffed animal and they had a magic quest where you buy a wand and then go around trying to make things work with it. I could see how the kids might like that although I could also see it being a bit of waste of money.
Overall we had a fun trip. I don’t think one would need to spend more than 3 days here focusing on the attractions that they have to offer and for 2 days with about 6 hours total time in the water park (3 hours each time) was just right for us. You could use the resort as a home base to then go out and explore Williamsburg which has other activities. For our families it seemed like once we had spent about 3 hours at the water park everybody was ready for a break. I think this place is set up well for kids ages 2-15, with 5-10 being the ideal age IMO. Personally I would not see any reason to come here if you didn’t have kids. My kids would give the trip 5 stars, they had a lot of fun and it was great to see them run around and enjoy themselves. If it was just me and my wife we would have given it 3 stars but we did this for the kids. I give it for 4 stars because it is fun but it is mainly kid oriented and because as a water park it is a little limited, it is a good but not an absolutely great place to go. I felt like the price was fair but it wasn’t a great deal, it was a hotel plus a water park and you’re likely to buy a bunch of extras (food, drinks, desserts, toys, etc) which of course add up. I would go back with my kids while they were still young, I think it is more appealing to go with a group so everybody can run around and have fun together.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.